A lot of time, during my working day, and sometimes during my none working days too, I tend to have to carry my laptop with me, together with rather a lot of bits and bob, paper work, memory stick, pens and even a cuddly toy or two, (although the cuddly toy maybe a bit of a fairy tale).
So, when it comes from getting from A to B, or from my car to the office, or to a clients place, or even into the local ale selling establishment, I want to carry my things as easily as I can, whilst being confident that the items inside are going to remain as safe as they are when they are sat on my desk.
Over the years I have used several types of bags for this sole purpose, some being specifically designed for the purpose of carrying a laptop, others looking more like a case that a secret agent would be proud of using, whilst some look like I am about to go on a trek over the mountains of mischief on the West coast of Wales, (just passed Llenwidlyn, left at the mini roundabout passed the traffic lights on the brow of the golden bridge... roughly).
So, how does a person choose the right bag? I used go out to the local clubs and strut my stuff... hang on, that could go down the offensive to women route there. Looks like a quick turn around is needed with a bit of "women are lovely people aren't they???"
Back to bags, and choosing one for the right job, which in this case, or bag, as it is, isn't as hard as it sounds, even though there are so many different bags on the market these days.
I have to ask myself what sort of bag I need and for what purpose, which when it comes to work is on the grounds of something lightweight, easy to carry and capable of holding a laptop, paperwork and more, but without it falling to pieces or forcing me to have to ram the paper work into the bag, ruining any important documents that I may need.
That is why I opt for the good old fashioned rucksack type bag when it comes to carrying thing around from A to B on a works mission as I find them the best for the job. I've tried other types of bags, clamshell type, the ones that open up like, well, like a clam shell, or a mouth. I've also tried briefcase type bags that are made of solid material such as metal or very strong leather type stuff that can only be bent using a pneumatic press.
Those type always have a few issues, the main one being that you have to carry them in your hand which can be a bit of a pain sometimes when it comes to longer walking journeys when you're trying to do other things like answer your phone, eat a sandwich, drink from a can of coke, and other things. One hand is not enough so you tend to have to put the bags down so you can fine dine on the street.
But not any more as I now go for the rucksack type of bag mainly due to the fact that when I'm carrying it I have both hands free to do what I want to do and the bags stay firmly on my back. And it is one of these rucksack bags that I am going to tell you about here. One that I have been using since my old rucksack bag became a little too tatty for work, with some colleagues laughing at me as I wondered on by, some offering me money as they presumed I was a little short of money due to the bag I was carrying my things around in.
So I went and got myself a new bag. This bag. A rucksack in fact, has a well known computer company, that company is called Dell, and yes, they actually do more than make computers.
The bag I am talking about, which is actually sat next to me as we speak, or as I write anyway, sat staring at me, making me slightly paranoid really. This rucksack's full name is on fact the Dell Half day bag, but why it's called a half day rucksack I don't know, especially as I use it all day and it's not like there's a timer that shuts it down after half a days use.
Anyway, this bag itself, or shall I call it what it is? it's a Rucksack really. But then again it's quicker and easier for me to type bag isn't it..? So bag it is then.
Right. This bag is a good size, being about 450mm deep by 180mm from back to front and 330mm from side to side, weighing in at less than a kilo, and can take up to a 15.6 inch laptop.
It is made of a strong cotton canvas type material which should handle the throwing about that these types of bags have to go through, and, unlike some bags, the stitching on this one looks as if it has been done properly, looking strong and well 'knitted'. I mean, I've had some bags that have literally fallen apart before I've walked out of the shop doorway, (I'd have taken them back to the shop but you never get a receipt when you're out shop lifting do you..? Kidding).
Anyway, the colour of this bag is a dark gray, but it does have a few throws of black tossed into the colour scheme, making it a little more eye catching in a way. Although eye catching may be a bit of an exaggeration as really it looks as dull as an Adele's love song. But it's only a bag, (this, not Adele...!! Although...???!!).
The little tag that came attached to the strap claimed that this bag is water resistant, which I'm guessing means that it can handle a stint out in a short shower, not an underwater mission to find the Titanic, so don't be thinking that you can go dancing in the rain and expect your laptop to be as dry as a bone when you drag the soggy mess out of the bag.
This bag has quite a lot of storage space which is scattered all around it so that you can keep all you things separate if you want to. In fact, there are six sections in all, two large sections, a smaller pocket type section, a flat pocket on the front, a side pocket and also a side flap.
* Let's take a look inside shall we...
We'll start at what I think is the main section, where the laptop slides into, or the largest part. This is nearest the straps and has two zips going all the way around three sides. This section simply consists of a single compartment which, as I said, is big enough to slide your 15.6inch laptop into with ease.
Then, just on front of the main section there is another large compartment which also has two zips going around three sides. The front of this flops open on release sing the zips to reveal a rather good size compartment for maybe documents or even a smaller PC, such as a tablet, it has the space for those sort of things. Plus, on the flap section itself, there is a mesh pocket which is almost half the size of the flap. This is ideal for notes of loose pieces of paper.
Attached to this second large section there is a flat pocket type section with a single zip going across. This pocket doesn't open that far but it can accommodate paperwork with ease.
Then, on the front near the bottom, there is a good size pocket on the front, this being about 180 mm by about 210mm high and 60mm deep. This pocket has a zip that goes around three sides and when unzipped it reveals a few little pockets and mesh compartments inside which are large enough for such things as pens, memory sticks and anything around that size. This pocket then zips back up to keep everything inside nice and safe.
On one side there is another zipped pocket and on the other side there is a flap that has an open top. Both these side pockets are only small in themselves, with only one side having a zip to secure your belongings, but they are just there to add to the storage space of the whole bag, making this one even more special.
* So how about carrying it..?
Firstly, as with any rucksack, this one has two shoulder straps that are designed to go over your shoulder and under your armpits so that you can carry this around and still have full use of both hands.
The shoulder straps are nice and strong, with a thin but very comfortable strip of padding sewn inside them which help them rest nicely on my shoulders.
The straps are adjustable to accommodate different sized people and to help get it onto your shoulders in the first place, then allowing you to tighten the straps in order to give maximum comfort when carrying heavier loads.
But apart from the shoulder straps there is also a single carry handle on the top for when you want to carry it short distances. This handle is also slightly padded and does feel quite easy on the hand when I do carry it this way, which is more when I'm actually lifting the bag up in order to throw it over my shoulder.
* Is it comfortable..?
Hmmm. If you mean is it nice and comfortable to wear then I'd have to say no as there are no arm holes to put your arms and legs through so it can't be worn as a coat or a t-shirt. Plus, if you try and wear it as a pair of trousers then it might just squash places that should never be squashed... ouch..!!!!
But, if you mean comfortable as in carrying it on your back then yes, it's pretty comfortable in that respect.
The shoulder straps are slightly padded so they don't really dig into the shoulders, even when the bag has a bit of weight in it. Then there's the back of the bag itself, the part that rests on your back as you are carting it about. This too has some sections of padding, mostly where it will touch your back more. The rest has a mesh sewn onto it which acts like a breathable fabric, making sure that no matter who much you sweat on those long walks from the local Costa coffee, this bag won't make you sweat any more than you normally do. (Note: other WiFi coffee shops are available).
The clips, buckles, toggles, or what ever you want to call them, are made of a thin plastic which does feel as if it will split at any moment but it does manage to hold its own quite well, even when under a little undue stress from over weighted contents and a strong touch with cold hands.
* So what do I think of this rucksack..?
Since using this over the passed few months I've been pretty impressed to be honest, considering that I expected it to fall apart on the first trip out of the office, or watching with non surprise as the plastic clips on the shoulder straps shattered in my gentle touch. But none of those things happened then and they still look as though they are not going to happen for a while yet.
The main thing that impresses me is the quality of the bag itself. I'm talking the stitching above all. I mean, some rucksacks of this type have bad stitching. Not this one, this one seems to be riveted together rather that stitching, (not really but almost as strong as anyway). I have put a lot of stuff into this bag, filled up every compartment, cram packed every pocket and mushed in all the mesh, yet the stitching has still stayed attached to the material, keeping the whole lot together, which is what you want from a bag really isn't it.
Then there's the storage itself, with every pocket being as useful as any of the others, with main one, the one that I slide my laptop into, being big enough to accommodate my laptop, leaving a little room to spare, making the art of getting it back out of the bag a simple thin indeed.
The other large compartment is as good as the main one and can take almost as much stuff in there. I've had plenty of A4 folders in there and have not had any trouble with the edges of the folders crumbling due to me not having to stuff the corners into the bag in order to zip it up.
The actual zips are straight forward. They don't have the locking system that some zips have on them, you know the ones, the ones that you have to pull up the little zip part in order to move the zipper itself, so these zips just slide along with ease.
The two main pockets have two zips on each one which mean that you have to make sure you only move one zip in order to open the gap to get your stuff in and out. I mean, if you do what I sometimes do, move the wrong zip when trying to open the bag, then stand there wondering why the bag just won't open, then you know what I am talking about.
* what more can I say about this rucksack?
Let's summarise it here then... (summarise? That's a funny word, why not autmunise..? Or winterise..?)
Anyway, to summarise. This bag is built with some thought for strength and stamina. It can pack a lot into the may pockets and compartments, even managing to keep smaller items such as pens and memory sticks from rolling around, and it manages to keep it all safely inside.
Carrying it is made more comfortable by the padded straps and back end which makes excessive use of it a bit of a pleasure after a while, in a way, sometimes actually forgetting that it is on my back.
* So how much does this bag, or rucksack cost..?
This bag sells from about £25.00 which is not that bad really for the sound structure that it offers.
There are other bags on the market that look very similar to this Dell bag, with the same pockets, compartments and shoulder straps. These 'fake' Dell bags may be cheaper but I can't say whether they are as good a quality as this genuine rucksack from Dell actually is.
So if you want to be sure of a good quality rucksack that seems to have stitching of steel and more empty storage space than a Blockbuster warehouse, then go for the genuine Dell bag.
However, if you go for a cheap imitation of this Dell bag then let me know if it is made as good as this one.