Like all mobile techno-geeks I’m always looking for the right bag to carry my gadgets while stumbling out in the streets. When I first got the Sony U-70 I was using a JanSport field bag that I picked up years ago in a Discovery Channel store in the mall. Not very chic, and didn’t hold very much, but it worked OK. My wife calls it my “man purse” and generally made fun of it so I had my eye out for a replacement that would work better and carry all my stuff. I found a good solution for me at a Bag N Baggage store in the local mall. I’ve always liked Victorinox stuff as it’s usually very well made and rugged. They’re the Swiss Army Knife people, if you’re wondering why that name is familiar.To view photos of the bag in action go here.
The bag I settled on is the Mini-Backpack by Victorinox. Before you go off googling I’ll tell you you won’t find this bag on the Victorinox web site. It’s not there for some reason- I looked. But there is one place that has it online- LuggagePros. They list it for $49 but I paid about $35 in the Bag N Baggage store so I’d try there first if you have one close by.The mini-backpack looks just like a big backpack only it’s mini. :-) The dimensions of the bag are:H: 10″W: 9″Depth: Fully loaded about 6″; empty about 2″It’s a small bag that can carry a bunch of gear. The bag has a main compartment accessed by dual zippers that allow the compartment to open completely, making it easy to stick your stuff in. This pocket will accept gear that is up to 3 or 4 ” deep, and there’s a big flat pocket on the bag with a zipper closure. Directly in front of this compartment is a smaller compartment that opens the same way but it’s not as deep. This area has a hanger for keys, a pen pocket, a larger pocket, and then a mesh pocket with a zipper closure. You can still accommodate gadgets a couple of inches deep in the smaller pocket. The very front of the bag has a good sized flat pocket with a central Velcro closure, making it perfect for putting stuff you need quick access to. On one side of the bag is a small but long zippered pocket designed to fit a water bottle when stretched open. There’s also a big loop on the top of the bag for picking it up or even hanging it up.What makes the Victorinox unique is the way they have attached the shoulder straps to the bag. To wear it as a backpack you wear it with two shoulder straps just like you would expect. But you can also use it as an over the shoulder bag with just one of the straps. Or you can use it as a messenger bag with one strap over the shoulder and the other around your waist to keep it from flopping around. This works due to the way the shoulder straps are attached to the top of the bag. They use an intelligent ratcheting system that lets you move the shoulder straps around in a circle to fit what you want to do. It’s very simple but works well, and the ratchet is stiff enough to hold the strap at the angle you set it to. The very back of the bag is a thin open pocket that you can fit one or both of the shoulder straps into by turning the ratchet assembly pointing down, thus keeping the unused strap out of your way. This pocket is closed at the top with Velcro so you can put other flat stuff in too. The two shoulder straps can be unattached at the bottom of the bag with one hand for easy removal.All in all I really like this bag due to it’s versatility, and how I can fit a lot in there. My bag is black and they also make it in red, if you’re feeling racy. To give you an idea what I normally carry in the bag:Sony U-70 in the optional case with standFellowes Stowaway USB keyboard with cable (Sony keyboard easily fits in here too)Pen/stylusKeysAudiovox CDM9500 cell phoneUSB cable for phoneMisc. sundries, gum, etc.Canon S-50 cameraUSB cable for cameraSony headphones w/remote controlWith all of this loaded there’s still room for other stuff, for example the external Sony DVR-RW drive I have would easily fit it with all the other stuff. The cradle probably would to with the back removed and stowed separately. For the size it’s amazing what you can fit in here as the ballistic nylon material is very pliable and stretchy. I love this bag as I can take as much or as little as I need and it still works.