First Look: Shiny, Happy 'Book Bag

Leslie Ayers's picture

First Look: Shiny, Happy 'Book Bag

Our first thought when we unpacked thePakuma Choroka K3LT laptop bag in Chilli Red (62.99 pounds, about $124) was that we don't have enough tattoos, piercings, or clothing items made by Ben Davis to be schlepping our Macbook Pro in this retro tomato-colored vinyl messenger bag with white racing stripes. We do schlep a lot more than the 'Book, though, so we need a messenger bag that can hold various and sundry items, and protect the MB Pro from the hard knocks that sometimes accompany frequent patronage of a metropolitan public transit system (If you're the 6-foot-4-inch WSJ-reading businessman who stomped on this editor's toe on the train this morning, we're talking to YOU!) The 3K3LT is not as ridiculously oversized as some well-padded bags in its class, which we like, but it does offer enough extra room to fit necessary stuff like a wallet, glasses case, portable external hard drive, an iPod or iPhone, two paperback books, and a few not-too-stuffed manila envelopes. It's also got a passthrough slot for your earphone cable, although it we searched all of the bag's seams, pockets, and pouches tand never found it...we don't think.

 

Is this the headphone cord pass-through slot? We have no idea, but there is supposed to be one somewhere on this bag.

 

This bag's best features, besides roominess, are the richly padded laptop pocket - which is lined with vertical bands of memory foam that wrap your 'Book in a protective cocoon - and an innovative clip at one end of the shoulder strap (where it attaches to the bag) that makes readjusting the strap's length a fast, one-handed endeavor. Loading and unloading a MacBook into and out of the padded pocket is also a one-handed affair, although the way the pocket's Velcroed flap is designed makes it a bit awkward to rip open and fold closed without getting the top of a zippered mesh pocket caught underneath. This slight bit of required fumbling is forgivable, though, when you consider how well-protected your laptop is inside the bag, which is relatively lightweight (2 pounds, 12.8 ounces) for a bag with a vinyl exterior and so much padding.

 

No animals were harmed in the making of this shiny vinyl-coated laptop bag, the Pakuma Choroka K3LT in chilli red.

 

The shoulder strap has a comfy removable pad and an additional thinner ripstop strap with a caribiner-style clip on one the hanging end that you can use to secure the bag if you wear it like the real bike messengers, slung over your shoulder with the main strap running diagonally across your chest and the bag portion resting high up on your back like a turtle's shell. This "cycle strap" comes in handy if you have to make a sudden mad dash to catch a bus or chase down an old friend you just you just recognized off in the distance.

 

Overall, there's a lot to like about the K3LT, although the vinyl finish might not fit with everyone's personal style. And you'll want to avoid wearing it with a leather jacket...the leather-vinyl combo tends to make a lot of embarrassing noises as you go about your daily business, akin to what you hear when siding across a vinyl restaurant booth wearing shorts or a mini skirt.

 

It's nice and roomy, and your iPod even gets its own mini padded pocket.

 

If you're looking for a roomy, well-designed distinctive-looking bag for you 'Book, the Choroka K3LT won't disappoint. And if you slop coffee on it while you're waiting for the bus, it'll wipe right off with a damp cloth.

 

All it needs is a little spit on a finger to clean off the occasional drip of coffee...or whatever.

 

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