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I do a lot of travelling and use a copious amount of bags. My previous rucksack got a tear due to feline attack (my cat got into the cupboard and scratched it) so I decided on replacing it. I saw a range of Kipling bags, I had used Kipling bags before and knew they made a good quality bag. There was a rucksack named a firefly which is apparently from their Basic range. The bag is man made with large zips allowing access to an array of compartments. The main pocket has a chunky zip that you can undo to right down half of the bag. This makes the bag really easy to pack if you need to carry a lot of items. This is also great as it enables you to find items at the bottom of the bag. Covering the main pocket is a large flap which fastens down with a Velcro. Over time the Velcro has become less secure and the flag is easier to pull of (though I it is yet to come loose on its own accord). In the back of the bag is an inside pocket. I use this pocket for my wallet as it is safe in the inside although there is plenty of room for a mobile or mp3 player. There are two smaller pouches found on the exterior of the bag. This again are sealed and opened with the identical style chunky zip used on the main pouch. They are great for carrying little snacks or putting items like your keys in them. In the centre of the inside of the bag is another zipped pouch. In here are little holders for pens and a part where you phone can be placed. The bag is all held up by with two strong straps. The straps distribute the weight well and do not cause any irritation. I have the black version of the back and I like the simple design. The chunky zips add a little bit of definition stopping the bag from looking dull. I paid £50 for the bag and over the two years I have had it I can now say it was money well spent. The bag is still in great condition despite being taken on numerous bike rides and forest hikes. Although 50 pounds is alot of money the bag has no signs of needing to be replaced for a number of years.
If I were ever to meet George Michael I wonder what he might say to me? "Don't look now, There's a monkey on your back"*. Relax though, mine is a Dutchman who goes by the name of Ulrike. Lets not go there, hmm George? ~ The folk at Kipling ~ Kipling have named this backpack the Firefly. It's one from their Basics range, and a nice touch is that the little fluffy monkey that comes attached to each bag is named after a member of their staff in Holland. So, greetings from England Ulrike. Their bags range from this hardwearing one in nylon, probably aimed more at teenagers, all the way up to more expensive leather creations I can ill afford. ~ The firefly ~ I wanted a bag I can fit a whole lot of stuff in for when I'm out and about, which won't feel too heavy or cumbersome. This, as backpacks go, was ideal. The main pocket if you like has two zips which come almost halfway down the bag. Ideal for me if I just want to put my hand in quickly to reach something without undoing it all. This is then covered over with a flap that Velcro fastens shut, should you be worried about anyone behind you trying to open it without you hearing. It's big enough to just about fit two 500 ml bottles of water in. When I've been out walking my dog during the summer it was more important to take some water for her than it was for me. And a foldable dog bowl. And occasionally her comb for when she's moulting at full throttle and looks like a chubby ginger furball. I could just about squeeze my purse in to the main part as well. A little zipped pocket inside the back is just about deep enough to fit my purse into. Across the middle of the bag is another zipped compartment. Although this has got a phone holder and pen holder inside I tend not to use it much. The bag overall has so many compartments I find it easier just to use a couple in the hope that I'll be able to find things more quickly. The two smaller front pockets are useful for my keys and any other dog paraphernalia such as poo bags. All of these are zipped, with the zips having little round rubber tags on the end. What I liked about this was that it was a proper backpack with two shoulder straps. I find I need two hands free when I'm out walking, often the dog lead is in one and I'm holding one of her toys in another. Mine is in a dark blue with an inner lining a lighter grey blue. This colour blends nicely with most of my jackets or jumpers. This seems to be the most muted of the colours as it also comes in grape and tangerine for those wanting something more daring. I've also seen a fluorescent yellow one which might look funky when you're holding it, but if you happen to be wearing any black, you wouldn't want it slung over your back unless you want to look like a giant wasp. One downside of any of these other colours is that they'll probably show any dirt more easily than mine. I've only had to wipe mine down once, after a slightly muddy experience but a damp cloth was all it needed. It isn't waterproof either although this hasn't proved to be a problem for me yet. I haven't flown anywhere since I've bought this, but when I do I would probably still opt to use a larger holdall for hand luggage over this simply because I tend to pack more than I need. Having used it for weekends away it's been ideal though. Putting our larger luggage in the boot of the car, this is still big enough to carry all my essentials and small enough to keep by my feet in the front passenger footwell. ~ King of the jungle? ~ It's well designed. It's a similar size to other backpacks but in having five other storage pockets besides the main one Kipling seem to have thought about everything. The overall effect is of something quite natty too, which can't be bad. Should you prefer to use this as a shoulder bag rather than on your back, it comes with a shoulder strap which clips on easily and the two smaller ones can be removed. I haven't used it this way, as I prefer to have my hands free when I'm walking. It's good quality. Despite the outer material being only nylon, the bag is well made. The zips are robust and still work well. The zip pulls are tactile and chunky and apart from the monkey itself and a small Kipling emblem on one of the small front pockets this is the only place you'll see the brand name. Monkey notwithstanding, Kipling advertising is unobtrusive on this bag and all the better for it. I'd certainly recommend it for anyone wanting to use a decent sized backpack or perhaps instead of a handbag when they're out and about. It's not large enough for me to use as hand luggage on a flight but would be perfect for when I arrive. The only downside and it is a big one is the price. I paid £39 for mine in a local handbag shop, although that was in a slae. A quick look online and they usually retail for between £65-75. As much as I like it I wouldn't have paid full price for it, so I'm knocking one dooyoo star off for value. *Lyrics from Monkey and sung by George Michael many years ago.