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Crumpler Dry Red No. 9 Travel Bag | Review

Wait a bit, isn’t the Crumpler Dry Red No. 9 technically “A Laptop Bag”? Then why call it a travel bag?

Well, because it is. And in this season of travel, you Crumpler fans out there may want to know just how well this stacks up as an uber-stylish suitcase.

Take note, the Crumpler Dry Red No. 9 is a tad on the pricey side, even by the already uppity standards of Crumpler. But hey, it’s a stroller luggage bag, so Crumpler-wise it’s par for the course.

How much, you ask? Let’s just say that it’s pricey enough that I’ve hatched a nefarious scheme so that I can get to possibly keep the review unit (snicker snicker)… and the plan is to simply test the beejeezuz out of the Dry Red No. 9 until it hopefully looks so used and worn out that, well, Crumpler will just wring their hands and say “Keep it! Keep it!”

So here’s the chronicle of my adventures wearing out the Dry Red No. 9.

First Impressions

Man, that is one red bag. And that’s a good thing since the Dry Red No. 9 is flashy like a Ferrari. Then again, a bit of a caveat: everyone else and his mother is also making bright red bags these days, supposedly to make your bag stand out at the airport carousel … so if everyone else has a bright red bag too, then, uh…

Does it come in any other color? Yes, it also comes in black, although you wouldn’t know it by looking at Crumpler’s home website. And it does feel kind’a awkward calling it Dry Red if it comes in any other color, no? At any rate, I’ll focus primarily on the red because, well, it’s particularly eye-catching… and it’s what I got.

Whenever I study a bag, I pay attention to the little details because that’s where the character of the bagmaker comes out. And in this regard, the Dry Red No. 9 does not disappoint. It offers enough character to delight the Crumpler fan:

Even if everyone else happens to have a Ferrari red bag, the sculpted form still makes the Crumpler stand out, and you can tell it’s your Crumpler even from afar (hint: its build quality is much better than those cheap red suitcases all around you).

Capacity

I was heading to Hong Kong for a weekend, and I figured that that would be a great place to really test drive the No. 9 to bits: lots of walking, bumping against things, and lots of dragging the bag around.

A three day trip means a couple of changes of clothes, netbook (I don’t use a big laptop, so too bad I don’t get to test the “laptop bag” aspect of the No. 9 — it holds a 17″ laptop pretty well), tablet, lots of chargers and accessories, and space enough for my shoulder bag (in case I just want to drag along one piece of luggage).

Verdict: Not bad for a “laptop bag.” The No. 9 can hold quite a few things. I’ve seen better in terms of capacity, and you can blame the configuration that the No. 9 uses for stowing its telescoping handle, but I can’t complain. Again, it’s a laptop bag. If you want to carry a week’s worth of clothes, then go get a real suitcase.

Aside from the main clothes compartment, the No. 9 has a padded laptop section, a token rear quick-access zippered shallow pocket, plus the frontside accessories compartment:

Hmmm. Yup, as the picture shows, the accessories compartment doesn’t open up completely. It’s really meant to be folded down just halfway like a flap. I guess it’s a style thing, and it makes for an interesting profile:

… but honestly, it does make it a tad uncomfortable reaching in to get your stuff, especially if you want to make the most of the compartment and stuff it all the way in with your accessories. You wants style, you pays the price.

Aside from that little kerfuffle, this is one gorgeous bag … for a soft shell. Soft shell luggage tend to look deformed or blobby after a while, but the Dry Red No. 9 maintains a distinguished stance even after heavy use.

Love that seamless neoprene handle:

Torture test

So yeah, Hong Kong. I ended up staying in this hotel that required quite a lot of walking to get to. Which meant dragging the No. 9 along through lots of concrete pavement and walkways and the occasional bumpy patches. I also checked it in to make sure that it gets tossed around with the rest of the airline luggage.

I’m thinking, hah, if all that action doesn’t wear this out good,  I don’t know what else will.

Result: after all that beating up, the Crumpler essentially held its form and still looked almost new. Of course the tires got a bit of wear and tear, but that’s par for the course, especially after very long trolley takes. And all things considered, they held up pretty well.

The bag itself? Well, soft shells are prone to getting dirty. Here’s how the No. 9′s nylon skin looked like after my trip, up close:

So yeah, expect airport grime to get to it, particularly if you check your luggage in. But it’s nothing that some detergent can’t take care of. Your Dry Red No. 9 can still look quite newish even after a very deliberate torture ride.

Which sucks for me because, well, if the level of wear and tear on it isn’t that obvious, then the good guys at Crumpler might still want their review unit back.

Hmmm. This means that you’ll have to excuse me while I get some mud and gunk and plaster it all over the No. 9 before I hand it back…

Crumpler Dry Red No. 9

Price: Php 11,950

Availability: All Crumpler Concept Stores

Likes

  • Really nice, striking form in a bright red package
  • Excellent build quality (Hey, it’s a Crumpler!)
  • Surprisingly tough for a soft shell bag

Dislikes

  • Accessories pocket is kind’a cumbersome because flap doesn’t open all the way
  • Nylon can easily get dirty over time… but then that’s normal, and this one’s easy to clean
Art

Art

Art is a long-time editor for a number of technology publications. He is a Palanca-winning writer (he got lucky) whose day job is to try to be as serious as possible while being a management consultant and lecturer. His favorite noodles: chapchae.

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