Review: Three of Crumpler’s Laptop Bags and Totes (Verdict: Names Are Bizarre, But Bags Are Tough)

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Three’s a crowd… unless the three in question are the latest bags from hip Australian bag maker Crumpler.

Branching out from its original line of messenger bags, Crumpler now offers, amongst others, the Salary Sacrifice (a laptop rucksack), the School Hymn (a laptop clutch case) and the Barney Rustle Blanket (a messenger bag). The names are weird, but the bags aren’t.

Hit the jump for full reviews of all three.

Salary Sacrifice MacBook Backpack

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First off, the Salary Sacrifice. This neat looking rucksack is designed to accommodate any 13’ laptop, but especially complements the new unibody MacBooks, which slide in and out with ease.

When I was a kid, the very mention of the word “backpack” would summon images of the local nerd, but not this puppy. With it’s sleek low-profile design, cool coloring and throw-off-the-side-of-a-mountain durability.

The inner sanctum is just as neat, with a whole myriad of compartments, pockets, holders and most importantly of all, the padded laptop sleeve. There are plenty of compartments for all of your mobile devices (cell phone, ipod, work papers etc). And “durable” isn’t strong enough a word – this bag is really put together, and waterproof to boot.

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Unfortunately, the extra padding, compartments, and so on, lead to one down side: It is slightly on the heavy side, weighing in at around 3 lbs unloaded. But ultimately this is a small price to pay for comfort, style, durability and functionality.

Rating: ★★★★☆


Company: Crumpler
Model: Salary Sacrifice
List Price: $140.00
Compatible: Most 13’ MacBooks
Buy Now: The Salary Sacrifice is available from Amazon for $135.00 – $140.00 with free shipping.

School Hymn MacBook Clutch Case

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Next up is the bizarrely-named School Hymn, a laptop case specifically designed for all models and sizes of MacBooks and older PowerBooks. The School Hymn is a sleek, sturdy case/sleeve for your precious MacBook, providing protection from the elements, coffee spills and bumps & bangs. Although I didn’t dare test it with my MacBook Pro, I would guess that the rigidity of the case would be more than adequate to protect your laptop from being dropped to the ground from three or four feet.

It has a scaley outer surface that’s easy to grip, and a foam pad on the inside to provide protection. The super-smooth zipper around three sides allows you to actually use your laptop whilst it’s still sitting in the case (this is especially handy if, like my wife, you can’t stand the heat generated by your laptop into your lap).

Of course, like all Crumpler products, the sleeve is excellently designed and comes in a wide range of trendy colors.

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The down side: No handle. It seems strange to me that Crumpler chose not to add a handle to this case, though admittedly Crumpler call this a ‘clutch case’ not a carry bag.

And that’s the beauty of this case – it simply is a clutch case, not a laptop bag loaded with tons of other junk you have been carrying around that you don’t need.

Rating: ★★★★☆


Company: Crumpler
Model: School Hymn
List Price: $60.00
Compatible: All MacBooks (13’ — 17’) and PowerBooks.
Buy Now: The School Hymn is available from Amazon for $50.00 with free shipping.

Barney Rustle Blanket Messenger Bag

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Finally, this brings me to the even-more-bizarrely-named-if-that’s-possible Barney Rustle Blanket messenger bag. The first thing that strikes you about the Barney Rustle Blanket (BRB) is the coloring on the outer flap which looks like the cover of a Grateful Dead album. On the plus side, there is not much chance of getting hit by a car whose driver hasn’t spotted you.

Again, like the previous two Crumpler bags, the BRB has been built to last. I loaded it up with some heavy dumbbells and went for a walk around the neighborhood, it soon became clear that I would break before the bag did. For a bag that when empty has a narrow profile, this bag is actually quite voluminous when opened out. The website proudly boasts that it can hold two six-packs side by side; no mean feat.

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I also like the added stability strap on the shoulder that stops the bag slipping around the front when you are cycling. As with the other bags, it is waterproof of course. A great messenger bag overall, very tough and durable, it also comes in a range of different color combinations if the one shown is not to your taste.

Rating: ★★★★☆


Company: Crumpler
Model: Barney Rustle Blanket
List Price: $125.00
Compatible: Most 13’ MacBooks
Buy Now: The Barney Rustle Blanket is available from Amazon for $125.00 with free shipping.

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About the author

Chris Kahney

Chris Kahney is a civil engineer who lives in San Francisco with his wife and daughter. He's a soccer fan and likes expensive import cars.

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Posted in Laptop Bags, reviews |