I carry my laptop with me just about everywhere I go (let’s face it when you ride the train for an hour each way, you need something to entertain you). Because my laptop is such a critical part of my daily routine, I am always looking for new and improved ways to carry it. Anything which will lighten my load and carry all of the pieces, parts, peripherals and do-dads is welcome in my house. So, needless to say, I my interest was piqued when Judie asked me to review the Crumpler Skivvy, an extremely nice looking bag.
My first impression after I looked at the bag on the website was that while it might not replace my “everything but the kitchen sink” laptop backpack, it seemed like an excellent solution for getting around town and keeping my laptop easily accessible. So, let’s take a closer look.
My Skivvy came in light blue and orange. This probably would not have been my first choice of colors (I am more of a black and tan guy), so it is fortunate that Crumpler offers an array of colors. Even as picky as I tend to be, I was able to find colors I liked. In addition to light blue, the Skivvy comes in: black, brown and red.
Overall, the bag is a nice size. It has the look and feel of a messenger bag. I really appreciate laptop bags that do not look like laptop bags. First, a typical laptop briefcase is just plain boring and uncomfortable Second, when you stop in a busy airport, they just scream “steal me”. A bag like this hides the laptop nicely and, from the outside appears to be just a typical messenger bag filled with papers.
The bag fits comfortably when it is carried by the included shoulder strap, however, the shoulder strap could have used some additional padding. It can dig into your shoulder a bit if you are carrying a heavy laptop for a significant distance. Additionally, I really liked the carrying handle, which lies flat and is practically invisible when not in use, but is easy to grab in an instant when necessary.
The outer flap has a huge piece of Velcro which holds it securely fastened. I know when I am hurrying with my laptop in my bag, I must be assured that it will not fly open at the slightest jostle. With a swatch of Velcro like this one, you know your laptop will be safe. I did, however, have some concerns about the outer flap. Primarily, this flap is all that protects your laptop when it is inside the bag.
There is no strap and no zipper. This means that you must be careful to secure it tightly or your laptop could bounce around inside the bag. It also means that there is not a weatherproof seal protecting your laptop. I would have preferred a zippered compartment beneath this flap so that my laptop could be completely enclosed. As it is, I would not trust this bag on a rainy day or even a particularly windy day. Although the material itself is water resistant, the sides of the compartment holding my laptop are exposed to the elements, which could cause serious damage.
Inside, the laptop compartment is substantially padded. This is extremely important in a bag like this, and I was pleased to see that Crumpler appears to have erred on the side of including extra padding rather than not enough. Nonetheless, this also created another problem. The Skivvy bag has a second front pocket. Typically, in a bag like this, the cushion for the laptop will be sectioned in such a way that it will not encroach upon other sections. Not so with this bag.
When I inserted my laptop into the bag, the padding expanded in such a way that it completely cut off the second pocket. I was completely unable to put anything in this pocket when my laptop was there. This means I could not carry a power cord, PocketPC, my gadget bag, a cell phone, or even so much as a notepad when I was carrying my laptop. Because of this, I could not recommend this bag for anyone who intends to use it with a laptop. However, it would seem to be a good bag if you just need a large spacious bag in which to carry your every day items, peripherals or books.
Where to find it: Crumpler
MSRP: $57.00 (Medium. There is also a Small ($55.00) and a Large ($60).
What I Like: Heavy, water resistant outer shell that won’t rip or split; comfortable strap and handle.
What Needs Improvement: Laptop padding encroaches on front pocket; laptop section is exposed to elements, even when flap is closed; no padding on shoulder strap.