This post kicks off our series of reviews on the newest Crumpler bags and accessories. Design-wise, the latest batch is a big departure from their well-known models. Read on to find out what we think about them.
My first impression upon pulling the Keith Heist out of the plastic bag it came in was “This is a large, ladies’ tote.” And if it hadn’t come in gunmetal grey, with the name “Keith” appended to it, I probably would have passed on it. But it did, so I carried this tote around for a couple of weeks to see it it could actually pass for a man’s bag and serve as a substitute for my daily bag, the Considerable Embarrassment.
Lots of room to spare
This combo tote-vertical messenger bag has both tote handles and a (removable) shoulder strap. In terms of features, it’s fairly simple: just a single, large compartment sealed by a waterproof zipper. Inside this compartment is a large padded pocket for laptops (just right for 15-inchers; roomy enough for my 13-inch MBP with its sleeve, which is how I prefer to carry my laptop when placing it in a bag), four smaller pockets, and one large main compartment. It also has a smaller, hidden side pocket where you can dump items such as keys, pens, small notebooks, your mobile phone, and other stuff that you need to get to quickly.
Officially, the capacity is 13.5 liters of space. In real world terms, this is what I managed to fit in: my laptop with its sleeve, the charger and a 6-m-long extension cord, a folding laptop stand, several small cables, pens and a few other office supplies, about two and a half inches worth of printouts that I needed to read and review, two thick magazines — enough material to keep me working at home for a week. Which I was tempted to do, but the next day I hauled all of it back to the office, and discovered that while the Keith Heist is quite spacious, you wouldn’t really want to fill it up unless you plan to always carry it as a tote. The shoulder strap is thin and becomes uncomfortable within minutes when the bag is fully loaded. Definitely not something you would want to do when you foresee long walks ahead of you.
Good enough for corporate types
Design-wise, it’s unique; not as juvenile as previous Crumpler designs, but certainly not run-of-the-mill. It attracts attention without a funky-looking design and loud colors. The waterproof zippers are a nice complement to the durable, all-weather material that Crumpler uses. If this was made with the same quality as my Considerable Embarrassment, then expect to use it for at least a few years without a tear in the fabric, or a busted seam, nor even loose thread.
The Keith Heist is a good, no-nonsense laptop bag, suitable for a wide range of environments, from corporate to student life. It’s best used with only a few things tucked inside, but can easily handle a week’s worth of work of paperwork if you need to bring them home.
Still, because of its price point (SRP is Php6,250), I won’t recommend it to everyone. If your approach to bags is utilitarian (as long as it looks ok, and it protects my laptop), you can pass on this. If your wife readily spends ten times as much on a handbag, then by all means get the Keith Heist if it appeals to you. My personal criterion is that if I spent Php60,000 on my laptop, then I wouldn’t mind paying 10% of that cost to get a good looking and durable bag to protect it. To each his own, I guess.
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