Review: The Thirsty and The Winkler

A teeny backpack for all your digital storage needs. (May 25th, 2006)

MacNN Rating:

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Product Manufacturer: Crumpler Bags

Price: $12 to $15 US

The Good

  • Excellent quality. The Thirsty is versatile and fits a number of electronics. Good colors.

The Bad

  • The Winkler lacks features needed in an iPod case.

There are so many small devices on the market now, that unless you own a pack or computer bag with well-padded pockets, such as the Booq Folee, you risk damaging your equipment every time you toss in another item to go. Crumpler solves the potential banged and crushed problem with a series of small packs perfect for cell phones, cables, cameras, memory cards, iPods, and USB and FireWire paraphernalia. They call them Digits - bags for digital stuff.

The Thirsty series of Digit bags come in extra small, small, medium, and large. These cute little bags are made with the same care and quality as their larger bags, which you will read about on MacNN in the upcoming weeks.

Excellent Quality in a Midget Pack

The outside is a Water resistant 900D Nylon shell that looks similar to canvas. The 420D Ripstop Nylon lining inside mine is bright yellow, to complement the oatmeal color. The actual pouch in the front is neoprene. The belt loop is a Velcro release belt flap that includes a sewn-in loop suitable for a lanyard or a carabiner. Colors available will fit any wardrobe of bags, including green, red, baby blue, light purple, black, and the oatmeal. There is not one thread out of place in the review units I received. The stitching is fully reinforced and the Velcro is secured almost to the edges. I did notice that there is a seam inside that may scratch a digital camera LCD if it is inserted facing toward the back.

For those little things

The small Thirsty AL S bag is perfect for my Motorola V551 phone, even covering the antennae. I can store my earphone in the inner Velcro-closure pocket or wrap it around the belt loop. While I'm sure the bag will protect most electronic devices from a 2 or 3-foot drop, they're not designed for extreme accidents, like a rolling car tire or an irate 6-year old's toss.

These bags aren't inexpensive, but they're priced comparably to other bags in their small class, ranging from $12 to $15. I think the quality and design easily makes them a 4-star product.

The Winkler Digit Bags

The Winkler bags, designed as iPod and iPod nano cases, are the same quality and design, but only come in two sizes and limited colors. They sport an opening on the top to accommodate earbuds and other audio accessories for an iPod or iPod nano. I am not as impressed with this design, because the last thing I want to do is remove my iPod from a case every time I need to change a playlist or adjust the volume. The small bag is $13.00 and the larger bag is $14.00. If I rated these bags separately, I think The Winkler is a 3-star product.

The Winkler
The Winkler Bag

Beer For Bags

If you have reason to be in New York between June 3rd and June 11th, you can swap beer for a Crumpler bag in their Soho or West Village stores. The Australian company with two stores in New York decided that bartering for bags was a novel idea, so, one week a year they only accept beer for their products. Except for a strange encounter with the police in Adelaide, Australia last year, it's been quite a success. Later in the year, they invite age-appropriate buyers back for a beer party, and you can use your new bag to carry your stuff as you walk home from the event. You can see an advertisement for this event, complete with an exchange rate wheel and a video on the site.

Editor's Note:

As each of my reviewers went to Crumpler's Web Site to choose a review product, they groaned and moaned over the none too understandable interface. Before you join the hard working curmudgeons, let me ask that you root around the site for a while. It is very imaginative, entertaining, and full of interesting prose. It may take you a minute or two to figure out, and it may not be the most effective sales site, but it is creative and fun. Their philosophy of enjoying quality and life is inherent in the design. If it doesn't make you smile, feel free to email me and kvetch, or post a note in the blog area.

by ilene Hoffman, Reviews Editor


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