Review: ThinkGeek Bag of Holding Tote

Disclaimer: This is a review unit I was able to get from the lovely people at ThinkGeek.

As anyone who has been viewing this blog for a long time, you’ll know one of my pet peeves in my digital life is that I struggle immensely with finding the right sort of bag for my tech. I’m not entirely a “and the kitchen sink” kind of person. But, with my daily commute and the amount I have to travel, I do have to consider seriously what bag will suit my purpose the best. That usually depends on what I’m doing. Am I flying? Am I just going to town? How long will I be waiting for one form of transport to another? Do I need to bring clothes? A myriad of question always accompanies all of these essential choices.

Most people would know that I swear by my Timbuk2 Custom Prospect messenger bag. It’s my regular go-to for travelling and day to day use. You can find more of my gushing over it in my Women Tech Bag Video.

So, with the ThinkGeek Bag of Holding Tote, there are a few things that are worthy to note about it before we get started.

kgiq_convertible_tote_holding

Product Specifications

  • Convertible Tote of Holding
  • A ThinkGeek creation & exclusive
  • Comes with double handles and also removable backpack straps
  • Custom d20 print accent
  • Magnetic snap closure at top
  • Organizer built-in to lining (9 card slots, 2 open pouches, 2 zip pouches, ThinkGeek keyholder)
  • Metal feet on the bottom for durability
  • Materials: 100% polyurethane exterior; 100% polyester lining
  • Care Instructions: Hand wash
  • Exterior Dimensions: 13″ wide x 17″ tall x 4″ thick
  • Weight: 2 1/2 lbs.

It is a beautiful bag; its print accent is one of the most striking elements of the tote. It’s wonderfully detailed, and I regularly got compliments and comments from the passers-by who I encountered who were curious about where on earth I found a bag that had a pattern of a D20! It’s a testament to the care and craft of putting a bag together like this. kgiq_convertible_tote_holding_detSubtle details in the stitching and lining indicate this to the core. It’s challenging to find a rough edge on the tote, and that’s a testament to the craft of it in itself. However, that robust construction comes at a price in the form of its weight. It’s a good two pounds when its empty. So, if people are expecting this to be a light bag, I fear this may not be one for you.

That being said, I wanted to put it through its paces. I was off to a Ted X in Canada, and I decided since it was an overnight trip that I would need to bring a change of clothes for the event. I was also going to need to bring some form of entertainment, food. I made a noble attempt to fit all of these items into the tote but alas I failed to do so without leaving some essential items out. Which is a no-go for this bag to be used as my new travel companion. I’m not going to lie; I was pretty astonished that I couldn’t fit more into it, dimensions wise it’s a pretty big tote bag. Now, as my Youtube Review Video will show, I am bringing quite a bit, and arguably my packing cube for my clothes was the principal offender when it came to the space available. It was still none the less surprising though, as right now it’s not quite living up to my expectations for a bag that has the title of Bag of Holding.

My timbuk2 to had to resume its position for that particular trip as I had little issue getting the contents I needed there for my trip. Throughout my time bouncing from airport to airport to get to Toronto I was curious about what other use cases could I use this bag for? So, I decided I’m regularly in and out to college as well as the gym I would see if this would be a suitable all in one solution for this, as my Timbuk2 for those trips is complete overkill. Sadly, I ran into different issues when using this bag as a daily driver for my college and gyms trips.

kgiq_convertible_tote_holding_int1Cardinal of all sins for me is the lack of a dedicated pocket for my laptop/tablet. This is something I’m quite pedantic about. I think if you’re creating any bag, it makes sense to have a dedicated pocket for your tech that needs that added bit of protection. So having something that didn’t even protect my iPad had me quite frustrated in parts. I was always second guessing where things were in my bag or worrying if my lunch box was going to spill and what that would do to said iPad.

I ran into the space issue on multiple occasions too, sometimes having to forfeit a bigger towel for the gym or a bottle of water to fit something else in for a particular day. Which, evidently, isn’t a great solution for things either. It’s not as if I’d be bringing a lot with me for these sessions, but I’d always feel like I was running short on space.

It leads to a more significant comment too which is after a while it can tend to make the bag heavier than you would otherwise think. Having a 2-pound starting weight then adding other essential items on top of that can rapidly make a significant weight change to the overall bag and limits your options on how best to carry it.

kgiq_convertible_tote_holding_strapsMy go-to carry style was to use it by the handles on my shoulder as I was always overly aware in the backpack style that a small clip only closes the bag, and it would be straightforward to reach into the bag from that position pretty much unbeknownst to the wearer. So I didn’t have enough experience with the backpack style element to make a concrete opinion on it other than its relatively well executed but the straps suffer from the same fault that others do which is the straps are awful thin. This can lead to the straps cutting into your shoulders, and I am a women function over fashion. So, in my time of usage it didn’t get a lot of use, but as always your mileage may vary.

It might seem like I’m ragging on the Tote, but really, I’m not. I think I’d be more lenient on it if they’d omitted the title of it is a Bag of Holding. I think that’s where I’ve got the most of a mental block. I can’t view this bag out of the context of it being in its brand. The line is notorious for being compact but being able to hold pretty much everything. I’ve even seen the standard bags, and others in the range attest to this mantra. This, however, doesn’t.

Let me be clear; it is not a bad bag in the least. It’s incredibly constructed, aesthetically pleasing and works as a bag. But is it a bag of holding worthy of the namesake? I don’t think so.

You can find out more about think ThinkGeek Bag of Holding Tote at http://www.thinkgeek.com/product/kgiq/?srp=1

Coach X Disney @ Kildare Village

Usually this blog is reserved for functional fashion. I’ve written guides on stylist Tech Bags for Women (and men too!) and I’ve covered how you can buy fashion focused battery packs that will suit your purpose. So I’m hoping you can forgive my fawning over these bags from Coach and their collaboration with Disney.

I just think they’re super cute, and the last time I was in Kildare Village they were half price so, they’re definately worth the look!

Best Cases for the Nintendo Switch!

With the new release of the Nintendo Switch on Friday the 3rd of March 2017. New owners revel in their new purchase! (Myself included) However, in the excitement, it is always likely to overlook one of the biggest features of the Switch. That is, its portability. If you have just spent €312 on a console that you intend on carrying with you on communities, you should really have a case to carry the thing in! So lets have a run down of the top Nintendo Cases that are available to purchase right now!

SF/Waterfield Design – Switch Case

SF/Waterfield Design are known for protecting they’re gaming kilt. Already having bags for mobile devices such as the 3DS and the Vita, it is no surprise that they’ve created a case for the Switch. Made from Leather, this bag has a stunning appeal in terms of its appearance. You would not mind carrying this pouch around with you in public. It just oozes of class. With room enough for cables, game cards, and headphones this pouch should definitely be a must see for those who are willing to spend a little bit more to get something exceptionally classy.

SF Nintendo Switch Bag
SF Nintendo Switch Bag

Pre-Order: $79

For those who are looking to move more than just their Switch and Joy-Con around. There is an option for a Multiplayer Pro Case. This can Carry everything from the dock to the Joy-Con Grips all in the typical classy design that you would expect!

Nintendo Switch Multiplayer Pro Case
Nintendo Switch Multiplayer Pro Case

Pre-Order: $149

Gamestop – Official Nintendo Switch Case

For those who are looking for the more official route. Gamestop Ireland are stocking the Official Nintendo Switch Accessory pack. This pack has the case itself, with the Nintendo Switch logo on the front and comes with a screen protector  and kickstand/stand for the Switch included in the bundle. At €20 if you’re looking for the Nintendo solution to your carrying problem, this is a good case to look at!

Official Nintendo Carry Case
Official Nintendo Switch Carry Case

HORI Switch Tough Case (Nintendo Switch)

For those who are looking for something a little bit more robust in terms of protection, but still are looking for something sleek. The Hori Switch Tough case will be a difficult one to beat. It’s hard shell, and focus on protection of the touchscreen built into the case itself makes this case a great alternative for those who don’t like the hassle of having to worry about screen protectors. (But please, put on screen protectors)

£29.99 at Amazon.co.uk

HORI Switch Tough Case (Nintendo Switch)
HORI Switch Tough Case (Nintendo Switch)

So what do you think? Are there any more cases I missed that you think should be on this list? What cases did you get for your Switch? Let me know in the comments below.

Remember to give this blog a share on your favourite social media, and don’t forget we have a Nintendo Switch Unboxing over at Should You Care? YouTube.

Tech Bags for Women

As someone who carries a lot of tech with them, I am invariably torn by wanting a really nice bag vs something that I know will protect my kit. So standard issue black, executive laptop bags that will basically only hold that and nothing else. Doesn’t really cut it for me. But neither, does my trusty Coach Tote that I’ve had for years prior to this!

Update 1/2/17: Got an update from Pad & Quill about the process around creating leather totes.

The Problem as it stands

As someone who carries a lot of tech with them, I am invariably torn by wanting a really nice bag vs. something that I know will protect my kit. So standard issue black, executive laptop bags that will basically only hold that and nothing else. Doesn’t really cut it for me. But neither, does my trusty Coach Tote that I’ve had for years before this! Even with my MacBook Pro having a hard shell on it, it says nothing for the sake of my Vita, 3DS, Books, Lunch that has to go in on top of it!

That is what lead to me asking the question “Are there any tech bags out there for women?” and also led me to a followup question of “Why should people care about this?”. So, should you care about it? Absolutely! Everyone needs to protect their technology, and most people want to do it in a way that is not only convenient but fashion conscious. Letting people know that there are more options out there than just regular tote bags the more people options people can have for finding a bag that suits them!

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Michael Kors Studio Mercer Leather Tote

So let’s look at a quick use case, shall we? A lot of the bags that I see my friends and colleagues carry are Michael Kors. They have some breathtaking bags ranging from the $160 – $260+, and they’re awesome don’t get me wrong. But, I feel if you’re putting your laptop, purse, phone, etc. You’re going to, in most cases, be putting a lot of valuable stuff in your bag. So it makes sense that you’d want to protect them. Some of these bags aren’t designed with protective laptop spaces inside. So they aren’t ideal. But I can see the appeal of them, they’re super cute they’re known for being durable and reliable, and it has brand power.

The Solution

So I decided to ask around the mobile tech community for alternatives to this. Where you can get beautiful, functional, bags that will tick all those boxes? Of course, everyone has their own favourites that sometimes cost an awful lot less! Don’t worry, though, some of these bags aren’t just specifically for women, anyone can wear these bags. It’s all down to your personal style!

Juan Carlos Bagnell recommended STM and Booq. So we’ll start with Booq.

Booq

Booq aims to create high-quality products that can be worn by men and women alike, with

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Booq – Daypack

No gender stereotyping. All bags are made from a ballistic nylon material and feature numerous compartments to ensure they are versatile for both men and women, for work and leisure. When I was talking to the lovely people of Booq, the rep who I was talking with recommended the Daypack as being one of her top picks. Just for the sheer versatility of the backpack. Booq takes pride in these bags being ethically sourced and environmentally conscious. So, this is always a big bonus for consumers who have that as a requirement!

STM

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STM – Deluxe Laptop Sleeve

STM’s Grace line was the brainchild of STM’s co-
Founder Andia Jacobs. The Grace
A collection
of women’s laptop bags and sleeves are a reflection of Adina’s design ethos of simple, elegant, and fun, now focused directly on a female customer. With a focus on slimmer and simpler products, you won’t find an extensive range nor should you expect to fit a mountain of gear in these sleeves. At the time of writing, there was one deluxe laptop sleeve, laptop sleeve and a clutch. However, the elegant design and form factor should be a must-see for anyone who likes to carry light.

Waterfield Design / Peralta

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Peralta – Balani Backpack

Serenity Caldwell of imore recommends Padandquill and SF/Peralta. San Francisco’s
WaterField Designs, a veteran of locally-crafted bags and cases announces a new women’s handbag line—PERALTA. PERALTA’s debut bag, the Balani Backpack is designed to be multipurpose with a focus on a professional women’s’ everyday working life. As one of the only traditional backpacks on this list, it’s really worth a look if you’re interested in a classic twist on a traditional design.

Pad & Quill

When talking to the super people of Pad & Quill, they described their mission as a pure

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Pad & Quill – Laptop Tote

one. They want to make good art. Each of their bags bears the signature of the artisan who created it, and they have a warranty on their bags for 25 years. Leather bags like these tend to be more gender neutral, making it wearable for anyone. However, for those who don’t like backpack styles, they do have a tote version of their leather bag which has enough room in it to fit your tech with room to spare.

The leather totes are 100% full-grain leather! They are constructed with UV-resistant nylon stitching and solid nickel hardware, so the bags can easily stand the test of time. Instead of cutting a bunch of different pieces of leather and stitching them together, they use unique pieces. Less stitching means less chance of the bag falling apart after only a few years.
While they are not certified cruelty free, the leather we use does come from cattle who’ve lived cruelty-free lives. The leather producer/tannery purchase animals that are raised in beautiful pastureland. In our bags, you may notice slight scarring/marks. The cattle’s entire body gets used, from the hide to the meat, so that nothing to waste.
They also are committed to strong ethical practices in everything we do. The companies they partner with to produce and create our bags are as well. So for those who are a little bit concerned about where the leather comes from, this should help to alleviate some fears!

Timbuk2

Florence Ion recommends Timbuk2. Which, is a bag that I ended up getting from this list. They do a dedicated women’s line, which is some of the biggest that I’ve seen in my searching
the following for women’s bags. They have everything from messenger bags, backpacks, totes, duffle bags. So it’s really worth a look to see what fits your style. I got the Custom Prospect Laptop Messenger Bag, which I got in all

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Black with a blue trim and I adore it. My record so far for getting stuff in the bag is the following: my MacBook Pro, iPad Pro, Playstation Vita, Nintendo 3DS, 5 Hardback books, an umbrella, 2 ready meals, 2 ciabattas and some ham and cheese. This is along with all
of the random crap in the front pocket and the internal pocket which keeps things like medicines and other essentials. That’s an insane amount of stuff! And Yes. It was damn heavy. But never once on the 30-minute trek home from my local shopping centre was it ever actually uncomfortable. As heavy as the contents were the straps never once cut into me nor did I have to shuffle around any of the contents for better weight distribution. So needless to say, I can safely recommend going and looking at these collections of bags.

William J. Mills Inc & Brenthaven

However this I couldn’t possibly complete this segment without Michael Fisher aka

napthol_red_duck_duffel

MrMobile thoughts on the best tech bags. In his hometown, there’s a sailmaker called William J. Mills Inc., and they make his favourite companion bags of all time: the Classic Duffel. He’s had it for years, and he swears by it. However, for his present daily driver, he’s currently using the Brenthaven Collins Vertical Messenger Bag for the Surface Pro 4. You can find his thoughts on the bag in his Winter Wearables video so I won’t ruin any surprises for you! Both the duffle bags and the messenger bags all have a classic style about them, so could be a perfect fit for anyone.

Rounding Out

So what do you think? Are there any bags here that would make you ditch your daily driver? Do you have any recommendations for bags that didn’t make a list? Tell me about them in the comments below. All of the links to each of the bags and people I’ve mentioned today will be in the text above so be sure to check them out. Be sure to Like, Share and Subscribe if you liked this blog and be sure to check out the video version of this blog by checking out the Should You Care? Tech channel.