HEX’s Cabana Laptop Duffel Is A Beautiful Way To Take Your MacBook To The Beach [Review]

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Sometimes, a product can really sneak into your heart. Such was the HEX Drake Origin backpack, which I gave a positive review.

Cabana Laptop Duffel by HEX
Category: Laptop bag
Works With: Up to 15-inch laptops
Price: $100

Although I loved it from the first for being a backpack that a fashionably-inclined, full-grown man could wear without looking like a slobbering, buffoonish manchild — no mean feat — the Drake Origin has become even fonder to me in the months since, until I found that I was more inclined to hoist it up onto my shoulder as I left the house than I was some of my other cherished messenger and satchel bags.

What I loved about the HEX Drake Origin wasn’t just its incredibly solid stitching and construction, but the way it made me feel when I picked it up, I felt as if I suddenly went back in time, and becamed a dandyish Oxford student in the 1910s lugging a tweed backpack full of natural philosophy texts across a blustery, autumn-strewn quad. This may seem precious, and is in fact precious, but the way we all look at fashion is through the romanticized lens of nostalgia. Fashion is a way we tell other people a story about ourselves, and I liked the story I thought the HEX Drake Origins told about me.

I don’t feel the same way about the HEX Cabana Laptop Duffel, but it’s not really the bag’s fault. If the Drake turned me into an Oxford student from a hundred years ago, the Cabana Laptop Duffel turns me into that Oxford student’s girlfriend on a day out at the beach. It’s a very feminine bag that I love, but perhaps not the right bag for me.

The HEX Cabana Laptop Duffel is an exquisitely pretty bag.

The Cabana Laptop Duffel is an exquisitely pretty bag. One of the hallmarks of HEX’s design strategy is releasing bags in extremely high quality and with fashionable textiles. The Drake Origins was a gray tweedish thing, while the Cabana is more striped and lineny, in red, dark blue, and cream. The impression the material makes — and why I say it reminds me of a fashionable girl’s bag taken to the beach — is that it has something of a very nice beach towel about it, in both look and feel. The fabric is waxed, offering a degree of water resistance,

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The HEX Cabana Laptop Duffel also has a handy pocket for an iPad.

On the padded inside, the Cabana Laptop Duffel is large enough for a 15-inch laptop, and there’s a smaller dedicated pocket big enough for an iPad or other tablet. There’s also another section, big enough for books or general storage, but not really that roomy; in addition, there are two interior pockets for pens, business cards, floppy disks and cables; and two outside compartments suitable for keys or business cards, or even your iPhone.

The material choice of this bag isn’t quite right for me, although it would (and does) make an excellent accessory for my girlfriend’s wonderful mid-century chicness. It’s a bag that makes an impression. If I were to buy a bag like this, I would probably take it in another material, which is indeed an option (you can even get it out of the same gray tweedish stuff as the Drake Origins backpack I love so much). So don’t let the actual material of this bag discourage you: there’s a HEX Laptop duffel for everyone.

Perhaps the biggest impression the bag makes on me, outside of its beautiful looks and superlative stitching, is that calling it a ‘Duffel’ is really a misnomer. When I agreed to review this bag, I was expecting, well, a duffel bag with specialty pockets. The specific use case I had in mind was that this might be a great bag for a work weekend: big enough to accommodate a change of clothes and a book, in addition to a laptop and a tablet and all its chargers.

Too small to be a real duffel. It’s more like a large laptop bag.

In truth, it’s too small to be what I would think of as a real duffel. It’s more like a large laptop bag: it fits a lot into it, but not enough to make this a weekender bag, or even a daytripper bag. If you get a HEX Laptop Duffel, keep that in mind.

That’s about the only complaint I can muster, though. As I said earlier, the point of fashion is to tell a story about yourself, and HEX’s entire line-up of bags are designed to tell a very sophisticated and, yes, nostalgic story about the kind of person you are. The HEX Cabana Laptop Duffel reminds me of bright young things glittering with sea salt, drinking cocktails on the coast. That’s not the story I want to tell about myself, for obvious gender reasons, but if it’s the story that appeals to you, this is a bag to think of.

laptop_duffel_4Product Name: : HEX Cabana Laptop DuffelThe Good: Exquisitely pretty, beautiful construction, a real eye-pleaser.The Bad: Not really big enough to qualify as a ‘duffel.’The Verdict Another wonderful and romantic bag from HEX, but more feminine than some other HEX choices.

Buy from: HEX

Cult of Mac rating: Excellent

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About the author

John BrownleeJohn Brownlee is a Contributing Editor. He has also written for Wired, Playboy, Boing Boing, Popular Mechanics, VentureBeat, and Gizmodo. He lives in Boston with his wife and two parakeets. You can follow him here on Twitter.

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