A lot of you are familiar with my quest for the perfect gadget bag. Well to tell you the truth I’d settle for a bag that will carry all my stuff and passes my wife’s “manly” test. You know, a bag that she won’t laugh at and call my man purse. So, when I had the opportunity to review a bag called appropriately The Man Bag, I jumped. After all, if the slogan is “if it’s not a Man Bag it’s a purse!” it must pass my wife’s manly test, right?The Man Bag is manufactured and sold on the Man Bag website. Actually the official name is the Man-n-Bag but they are known throughout as simply the Man Bag so that’s what I call it. They offer several bags of different sizes but the one that interested me most was the smallest- the Axible. Strange name but, well, manly.To access photos of the bag in action go here.
The bag arrived in a simple box and was well packaged for shipping. Opening it up the first thing that struck me was how simple the bag looked. Clean and sleek lines are the standard for the Man Bag. The bag is very well constructed of black sleek nylon, while the front flap is a matching black mesh material. The materials are very light so the bag weighs almost nothing empty. The bottom and sides of the bag are semi-rigid so the bag retains its shape even empty. The Man Bag logo is tastefully attached to the lower front flap and looks pretty manly, too. A very comfortable shoulder strap is securely sewn to the bag so no worries about it coming off. The strap is adjustable and can be as short or as long as is comfortable. I do wish the strap was removable but they probably decided against going that route as there is no handle on the top of the bag. The missing handle was something I wish they had included in the design, and I would wish for one over and over. The front flap is very light and pliable and sometimes makes the bag hard to close when it’s loaded with stuff.The dimensions of the bag are:Width: 8.5″Height (standing up): 9.5″Depth: 2″So how does the bag work in daily use? The front flap covers the entire front of the Man Bag while closed and fastens with a very secure magnetic closure. Works well and is simple to use. Opening the front flap reveals two small pockets on the inside of the flap. One has a mesh front so you can see inside and is perfect for business cards and the other is a clear plastic pocket for an ID. There is nothing else on the inside flap.Once opened you can get a good look at the front of the actual bag and you see two tall but narrow pockets. Both pockets have a narrow oval in the middle with a mesh material that lets you see what’s in the pocket. That’s a nice touch. The left pocket is slightly narrower then the right one and is sized perfectly for cell phones. The right one being a little larger will fit most PDAs or devices of that size. The pockets are not stretchy so you don’t want to put anything too small in them or they might fall out if the bag turns upside down.The main compartment is accessed via two large zippers that run the entire length of the top of the bag and about 1/2 inch down either side. This creates a nice large opening making it possible to get stuff in and out of the Man Bag quite easily. Looking down into the bag you see basically a large pocket, as the bag is essentially one large compartment without dividers. No doubt they did this to make the bag more versatile but it does cause stuff to shift around when you put smaller items in there. There is a large zippered pocket on the back of the inside compartment that is covered in mesh allowing you to see what’s in there and as it’s very stretchy you can put some fairly thick items inside. The finishing touch is the key clip that is tethered to the inside of the bag at the top. The tether is quite long, about 6 inches, so it’s constructed to allow you to unlock doors without having to remove the keys from the clip. I find the long tether causes it to flop around inside the bag and get in the way of the items placed inside.Over all I like the bag and it definitely looks more professional than the Mini-backpack I’ve been using. I take my bag into client meetings so looks are important and it definitely looks better than the backpack. It fits all the mobile stuff I carry every day and still has a little room left over for more, which is important to a technogeek. Of course the real test is how it meets my wife’s standards since she has to be seen with me using the bag. It must look “unfeminine” and “not geeky” to get her seal of approval. Her verdict- definitely not geeky but it still looks like a purse. Oh well, guess it’s back to the Swiss Army Mini-backpack.The Man Bag is available from www.manbag.com for $40. They also have several larger bags that are messenger bag types that might fit your needs if you’re looking for a larger bag.