Your laptop is safe.
The Tester: Audrey Farnsworth, Editor, Fodors.com
The Bag: Gruv Gear Club Bag, $149.99
The Trip: A 16-hour plane ride, with connections, from Los Angeles (warm) to Copenhagen (not warm)
The Bag Itself
At first glance, this bag is fancy and intricate–and very large. It comes packed with Gruv Gear’s new Bento creation—packing cubes for Gruv Gear backpacks that keep all of your odds and ends a little more tidy and organized. The many bento compartments are convenient, all in all, separating everything so that although you’ll have to open up many zippers, you won’t be excessively searching for any one thing for a long time. The Bentos fit into the pockets and can store many small items, especially small business accouterment, tech gear, or, in my case, a lot of skincare products.
With this bag, it’s certain: Your laptop will be safely secured. The back compartment unzips to reveal a tethered laptop system, compatible with optional Sliiv Tech Sleeves (included!). The front of the backpack is a “glove box,” with an overhead clip for sunglasses or headphones, and the bottom compartment of the backpack has a shelf-and-drawer construction (where the bentos will fit, should you choose to use them). Overall, the bag has a 20-liter capacity, and is meant to hold items for “everyday carry and quick trips.”
Wearing this bag is truly the equivalent of strapping a bento box to your back, and would work best for business travelers needing to transport valuable or fragile tech equipment—things that need to be separated to keep them in a good state (the freestanding, fully-padded construction protects your valuables very well). But, hey, just to let you know, it also stores skincare products quite well.
What I Packed
I packed everything I could possibly want on a 16-hour plane journey. During this journey, I wanted several things: to be able to get work done, to be comfortable at all times, and to keep my skin looking and feeling good as hell. The bag worked for this agenda! I packed my laptop and a notebook in the “main compartment,” which is very flat, but gives my laptop a sturdy little bed to sleep and be safe in. I stored multiple portable batteries and chargers in the big middle “bento,” as well as a makeup bag containing everything I could possibly want for the overseas sky trek. It was a very organized situation, as usually, I travel with a bag with only one compartment, and therefore all my things are essentially a stew. This was very convenient and made me feel like not a trash person for once, which I very much appreciated.
In the bottom compartments, where you are supposed to use the bento pouches, I stored a whole fluffy jacket, a hat, socks, and an extra shirt, for when I landed in my destination and would be cold. What can I say–those were my needs! Was it as efficient as following the directions and storing smaller items in the pouches that fit perfectly into the compartments? No! But I wasn’t transporting THAT many little items, and I used it for what I needed–which also works, so hey, right on.
The bag is bulky and, depending on what you put in there but especially if you include a laptop, pretty heavy (it’s six pounds without anything in it). It just takes up a lot of space (18” x 11.75” x 8”), and sometimes I felt like I was carrying around a small, yet convenient, boulder. The organization factor is worth it, but carrying around such a brick of a bag for a long time was difficult at times for someone who is physically rather small. For as big as it is, you would think there would be more storage room inside, but again, it’s meant for tech and carry essentials, so the general construction does make sense. My laptop was certainly safe and sound in a tethered laptop system situation. It’s definitely not meant to carry a lot—just basic necessities for a carryon or day trek.
I knew it wouldn’t be a good idea for me to use the little pouches because there was just too much going on. I was going to lose something. Also, using them kind of felt like Tetris when I tested it out, which I am also bad at. Again: If you’ve got little items you don’t want to be messed up or tangled (like cords!), these would work great.
The bag fits under airplane seats, and the large back pocket unzips to slip over luggage handles–securing your belongings in yet another situation! Seriously, if you are worried about the belongings you are traveling with, this is the bag for you. Worry no more, and know: Your things will be safe! In a world where you can control nothing, you can at least control the fact that your things definitely won’t break during your traveling time.
I liked how organized this bag made me. The bag inspired me to be a more efficient traveler, and this is definitely the first time I have ever been inspired by a backpack. I recommend this bag to you if you are an on-the-go, sturdy businessperson, who doesn’t have the bandwidth to worry about whether or not their business items are going to be safe in transit.
You’re definitely going to need to bring another bag with you–this is not the bag to bring all of your things in! However, it definitely works for carry-on (business + skincare + one or two clothing items) purposes.