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Crumpler Nhil Heist Laptop Backpack review

Crumpler is probably best known for their whimsically-named vibrantly-colored trendy bags. Ideal for students, these, however, may not be a perfect fit in the corporate world. Enter their newest offering, the Nhil Heist.

The Nhil Heist is a laptop briefcase-inspired backpack that tones down the funkiness a notch, but certainly doesn’t hold back in terms of quality and features some Crumpler ingenuity along the way.

Quick Stats

Width: 31 cm / 12.2 inches                                     Pockets/Compartments
Height: 43 cm / 16.9 inches                                    Inside: 1x padded laptop sleeve (up to 17-inch), 4x side pockets
Depth: 12 cm / 4.7 inches                                       Outside: 1x side pocket, 1x top pocket
Volume: 17 L kg / 1037 cu”
Empty Weight: 0.85 kg / 1.87 lbs                            Philippine SRP: Php6,650.00

One size, fits many

Despite its slim profile, this is one spacious bag. Here’s a rundown of the items I crammed into it:

1. Apple 85W MagSafe Power Adapter, power cord
2. Canon Ixy 600 with carrying case
3. HP Mini 210 power adaptor, power cord
4. 2G iPod Touch with Belkin crystal hard case
5. Apple 15-inch Macbook Pro
6. 5 bottles of 1L Del Monte Fit ‘n Right
7. HP Mini 210 netbook
8. Nokia C3 mobile phone

The biggest surprise here is its expandable main compartment. With all its other pockets packed, I still managed to squeeze in a total of 5 1L bottles of Del Monte Fit ‘n Right (4 standing, 1 lying on its side) into it. Of course, normally I wouldn’t be mixing bottle drinks with my beloved gadgets in one bag, but this extreme example should prove my point that the Nhil Heist’s got plenty of room to store all your gadget goodies and then some.

The other top hidden pocket that’s adjacent to the main compartment is also big enough to accommodate a laptop/netbook up to 10-inches in size. The side pocket, for its part, can fit in a cellphone with room to spare for a wallet, portable hard drive or other similarly sized devices.

It’s no Ninja Turtle backpack, but it’s definitely not lacking in terms of storage capacity either.

Being Different Counts

Designed back-to-front, this isn’t your typical laptop backpack. Traditionally, the laptop sleeve would be the nearest compartment to your back. With the Nhil Heist, it’s now the farthest. The strap design is also new here. Instead of being fastened to the back of the bag, it stretches from the front to your shoulders. It may look awkward when worn, but this novel design is actually a good deterrent for would-be pickpockets as the straps block off access to the top-mounted zippers.

Speaking of zippers, that’s another notable feature of the Nhil Heist. They’re water resistant. As the old adage goes, a structure is only as strong as its weakest link. In most water resistant bags, that’s usually the zipper. Crumpler equipped the Nhil Heist with water resistant zippers so that it’s just as weather proof as the rest of its body.

The side pocket, meanwhile, provides users with easy access to frequently used items without having to remove the Nhil Heist once it’s already on your back.

It’s great, but….

As good as the new front-to-back design is, it does, however, take some getting used to. Because of the new design, the bag actually now rests on your mide-section to lower back as opposed to being hunched to the back of your rib cage. Once worn properly, however, it’s actually quite a joy to use.

A more serious point of concern though is the outermost location of the laptop sleeve. Yes, it’s padded, but padding can only provide so much protection. If it were located closest to your back, whatever items you store in the main compartment can certainly help insulate your mobile computer from damage when something hits you from the back.

I also wished it were available in a variety of colors instead of just black, but that’s just a matter of personal preference.

Bottomline

The Nhil Hesit may not be as much of a head-turner as Crumpler’s other offerings, but this bag’s definitely worth checking out especially if you’re more after functionality rather than styling. It’s very roomy, and is well built for all weather conditions.

Its steep retail price though is its biggest turn off, but hey, whoever said quality comes cheap?

Likes

  • Water resistant zippers, weather proof body
  • Lots of roomy compartments
  • Well-padded compartments
  • Great ergonomics – easy to reach side pocket, comfy to lug around when worn properly

Dislikes

  • Expensive
  • Somewhat boring design
  • New front-to-back design takes getting used to
  • Location of laptop sleeve puts laptop at greater risk of damage if something hits you from the back
Allan David

Allan David

Online, Allan’s got you covered as far as news (and some reviews every now and then) goes. Offline, you’ll see him either sweating it out in the badminton courts or dining out in one of the new restos around town. His favorite noodles: cold soba.

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    • talkintech|

      I think I like this better than the Keith Heist. Oh, BTW, how expensive is “expensive”? Crumplers are really durable so it may cost a bit in the beginning but its durability more than make up for that.


    • Allan David|

      The price is listed in the Quick Stats above :)


    • sparkymarks|

      looking at the last picture, it kinda seems awkward to wear.
      one of the things i like about this tho is the amount of space it has.
      still….pricey -_-;;


    • sneaky|

      I agree… in the picture, it look awkward. I noticed that the new release are more on the minimalist side. Not anymore the colorful bags that crumplers are known for


    • bad_boy|

      Wow, Crumpler really is growing up, huh? The design doesn’t seem very ergonomic, though.


    • Allan David|

      As I mentioned in the review, using it takes some getting used to. It may look awkward, but compared to other laptop backpacks, the Nhil Heist is surprisingly easy on the shoulders and quite comfy to use.

      Can’t say the same though about the price being easy on the pocket…


    • Kind of looks like it will hurt the lower back if it’s fully loaded. But then, so would most backpacks.
      And yes, 6k for a bag IS pretty expensive.


    • geraldo3|

      nice and spacious … nice touch for bikers like me that its water proof / resistant. :)


    • Allan David|

      @arythia
      It’s actually well-designed so that the weight is all on the shoulders only :)


    • sparkymarks|

      actually, looking at it longer made me realize that it’s somewhat of a mandurukot proof since zipper is behind the shoulder straps making it hard for other people to open it without you noticing it first, unlike most back packs that has their zippers exposed


    • testdummy|

      Well, it’s different, to say the least. It doesn’t look like your typical backpack, which is actually a plus for me. Ergonomics wise, it seems to put the weight in your shoulders, sparing your back. What counts a lot for me in evaluating bags is the storage space and this bag seems to have a lot of it. Pricewise, yes, it is a tad expensive, but it’s the quality that counts. I do agree, however, with the comment on the location of the laptop compartment. Putting it in front of the bag exposes it to damage as compared to its position in the back.


    • minanget|

      . .this is better than keith. . haha. . but then again, it’s still expensive. . does crumpler have any budget-friendly backpack style laptop bag?. .


    • gatoblanc|

      @allan. maybe you’ve forgotten to pack some noodles hehehe! But hey, for form and functionality I’d rate it 4.5 stars, for the review: two thumbs UP and for the bags’ price: its still Php6,650.00.


    • Carlo|

      The design reminds me of a bulletproof vest. Nice. :)


    • Allan David|

      @gatoblanc
      hahaha…we ran out of instant noodles that day that’s why I wasn’t able to include it :) but yes, you can still fit it in the side pocket along with the cellphone.

      @minanget
      Crumpler has some more affordable options, but since these are targeting the executives/businessmen, this is prolly why their so expensive.


    • azeroth|

      ive never used a bag where the weigh is on the lower back part. well the design seems alittle bit boring but the functionality as stated might be good enough reason to buy one.


    • rom|

      Don’t like the look – it is fugly! :D With that ‘new design’ of having the load on the lower part of the back, it is akin to the Bum Back Packs Hybrids.


    • Allan David|

      @rom
      actually, it can be worn a little bit higher. With a full load though, it’s hard to do that. If it’s not jam packed, it can be worn much higher than shown in the picture.


    • extreme_aljii|

      Crumpler Nhil Heist Laptop Backpack! I also wanna have one! cool!


    • Typical design of a laptop bag. Very boring and raw.


    • This laptop bag will definitely suit guys who are on the go and the adventurous types. Not really for the corporate type.


    • Arcel|

      I have a Crumpler School Hymn. I am loving it. I am looking forward to owning a new Crumpler. I think you did a great review on the Crumpler Nhil Heist. The pros and cons are deeply elaborated. I will check out if this will be my next purchase. Thank you. :)


    • DrRandz|

      I’d say quality makes it worthwhile


    • dvsadvocate|

      Very nice radical design! I think Im gonna get one as soon as I get me a new Macbook Pro! Love the black color too! Might be a good time to sell my old unused Considerable Embarrassment!


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