Friday, July 11, 2008
Awhile back, for various reasons, I gave up my Critical Mass and went with the Half Mass. Recently, I decided to leave the Masses altogether and purchased a Lightwire Tote. It's been a really great bag and has turned out to be ideal for my laptop, files, iPod, wallet, Altoids, etc.I picked the Midblue color which is darker than this picture shows. My first impression was that it's bigger than the pictures from the Patagonia catalog and website might lead one to believe. It has a generous amount of room and the zippers are beefier when looked at up close. I put a quarter on it for comparison:
They look like they would withstand the angriest guy at work who just had an argument with his boss and quickly packed up his things, taking out his frustration on his laptop bag's zipper. I think they'll last a long, long time and if they didn't, you know that Patagonia's guarantee would take care of any failure.
Next, the laptop compartment is firmly padded and has hook-and-loop closure (Velcro) to keep it safe and secure. I have an IBM (Lenovo) T60 and it fits beautifully.
The main compartment has room for several files and has two mesh zipped pockets for small items. This is a neat feature that allows me to see what's inside those pockets so there's no grab-bag surprise when I'm looking for the items I put in there. Toward the bottom of this compartment there's also an expandable pocket. This feature has me a little puzzled as I'm not quite sure why it's there. Really, it just kind of gets in the way when I'm putting files in. But overall, this compartment is great and holds more than it looks like it would.
Among the other features are a back zippered pocket, a sleeve to slide the bag over the handle of a carry-on, and a heavy-duty strap with a split shoulder pad that allows the strap to be secured to the top-handle for when you want it out of the way.
What I like best about the Lightwire tote though is the organizer pocket on the front. It's filled with slots and pockets (one larger mesh one at the bottom) for little things and pens, and has a padded pocket that fits a cell phone or music player.This is a really handy bag, particularly for the person looking to take it to the office with a laptop. The ShiftLayer fabric is different than some of the other Patagonia bags, but it does seem really durable. If you are in a working environment that is lax and will allow a more rugged looking bag, then the Masses might be the ticket. But if your office requires a more professional look, then I would strongly recommend the Lightwire Tote.