Friday, June 28, 2013

Crumpler Squid Impression: Not All Drawstring Bags are Created Equal

Crumpler Squid Folded
Folded Squid - just almost as wide as a regular iPad
I'm admittedly a backpack person, eschewing the more popular and stylish messenger bags as the years have not been so kind to my back especially when lugging heavy stuff (during my office worker days, I've been known to bring anywhere from 15-20 pounds of stuff every single day -- electronics, gym clothes, shoes, toiletries, books, notebooks, reference materials, food, etc.). 

That said, I'm no stranger to drawstring bags, maybe not as my main pack but as a secondary bag or during trips, an emergency one.  I am not much of a loyalist when it comes to brands, choosing which one serves my purpose and target price point at a particular point in time (Deuter, TheNorthFace, Columbia, Coleman, Kata, Eastpak, Crumpler, Black Diamond, you name it).  Still, it's not hard to find a liking to the Squid, Crumpler's foldable drawstring pack.  Why?  In a nutshell:  it's light, foldable, waterproof and seems built to carry heavier loads -- a drawstring pack built more like a heavy-duty bag.
Crumpler Squid Unraveled
Unraveled, the Squid fits a laptop with so much room to spare
What I like about it:
• Roominess -- For a drawstring bag that folds to almost the width of a regular iPad, this pack expands to fit a 13" (even a 15") laptop with room to spare.  For an unplanned trip to the grocery, this baby can handle 20 liters of even canned and bottled stuff -- not something you will want to try using a conventional drawstring bag.  (Actual size is 11 inches wide x 16.9 long x 8.6 deep -- sizable any which way you look at it)

• Waterproofing --  Most drawstring bags can't compete in this area.  The Rip-stop material and tight enclosure come in handy especially during sudden downpours (something that happens more and more often these days).  Of course, I would want to wrap the stuff I put inside just to make sure (Ziploc bags do the trick) but the waterproof material is reassuring (of course, just remember to pull the hem tight).
Crumpler Squid Stitching and Looping
Solid construction
• Ruggedness -- the loops and hem are neatly-stitched, the drawstring is actually a misnomer as it seemed more of a rope (the Crumpler guys call it a woven polypropylene cord) that can really handle heavier stuff (think laptop) and yet does not "bite" or "bind" into your shoulders as much as smaller-diameter, flimsy strings do.

• Neat design -- at the heart of it, the design is clean, simple and uncluttered.  The pouch that contains the bag doubles as a convenient outer pocket when the bag is unfolded (good for coins and other stuff you'd want to be able to access in a jiffy).  The small details -- such as the Crumpler zipper -- makes for a hip-looking drawstring bag, not that I care much for looks but what the hey, it's neat and cool.

What I use it for:
• A real eco-bag - With the expanding regulations on the use of plastic bag for supermarketing, the Squid offers a nifty alternative to brown bags (still wasteful IMO, also not practical if you find yourself caught in a sudden downpour) and eco-bags (maybe it's just me but the proliferation of eco-bags seems to run counter to the environmental cause it meant to address as there's just too many of them and almost every event that I attend gives away one or two until they pile up).

• Pasalubong bag - The Squid can come in handy for out-of-town/country travels where pasalubong-shopping (souvenirs) becomes a spur-of-the-moment decision and the main pack is just too full to take in any more stuff.  Folded, it takes up so little space anyway, disappearing in my Black Diamond fanny pack with so much room to spare or even my much smaller Deuter belt bag so I'll bring it everywhere just in case.  

• Carry-on/emergency bag - The pack can also serve as a secondary carry-on bag for bringing home stuff on the plane or as a lug-around pack for my camera and electronics during boat rides (splash-proof, can serve as secondary protection when used in tandem with a drybag).

Details do make a difference

Any room for improvement?
• Easily creased material -- Just a minor nitpick here: the folding wrinkles the pack so much, it detracts from the overall appearance when the pack is unraveled.  I've also read a similar observation elsewhere but I guess it's because of the nature of the Rip-stop material.  Still, IMHO, durability/weatherproofing beats proneness to wrinkling. 

• Funky color combination -- I've also read about the complaint about the use of pink cords to go with the black -- I have no qualms about the unusual color combination.  In this regard, I liken Crumpler to Apple in the sense that both adhere to stylistic un-conventionality and quirkiness.

Where to score the Squid:
Any of the Crumpler stores in Metro Manila (Bonifacio High Street, TriNoma and Robinsons Magnolia).  But if you have the time, do drop by at the newly-opened flagship store at the East Wing of the Shangri-La Plaza Mall in Mandaluyong City.   Visit or Crumpler Philippines on Facebook.  SRP: P1,200 • Disclaimer: product provided by Crumpler; however, writer's views are his own.


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