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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.
Back when I lived in SoCal, I was fixated with the coast. The sand, the surf, the sailboats. In fact, I often sailed out of Oxnard, a sleepy seaside burb just north of Los Angeles, which also happens to hide Mac-friendly bag-maker HEX.
Makes sense, then, that they’d launch the nautically themed Cabana collection, a heavily striped gathering of MacBook carriers and cases, and even an iPhone case. And nothing says “boating” more than a copious helping of stripes. But the bags aren’t just all about looks; they’re also all constructed of tough, water-resistant waxed canvas. I can practically hear the seagulls.
Cult Of Mac’s gadget hunter Erfon Elijah stopped by the HEX booth at CES this year to check out some of the company’s new products, including a new backpack as well as some custom designed headphones.
HEX’s products are focused heavily on great design, and it shows in the new Origin backpack that was demoed at CES. Instead of going with run-of-the-mill materials, HEX developed the material for the Origin backpack themselves, to get just the right texture.
Although a bag fancier, there have not been many backpacks in my life that I have cared for. There was a plastic Optimus Prime knapsack when I was six that was pretty boss, and I traveled through over three dozen countries in my early 20s lugging around an 80 pound rucksack, but otherwise, backpacks are the accomplice of unpleasant memories: of inexplicable and unpublished high school rules of coolness dictating the correct number of straps to use in order to silently advertise your relative merit on the cosmic scale of “phat”-ness; of bags torn from my shoulders by laughing cromagnons and tossed into open sewers.
Worse? I think backpacks look dumb on adult men. I know there’s a vocal brotherhood who thinks that any bag on a man looks dumb, but at least I know that a messenger bag or satchel is as much a conscious fashion decision as it is a utilitarian method of hauling around your stuff. A backpack, though, makes even the most slender-of-hip, effortlessly dressed and stubbled metrosexual look as if he were a be-moobed 13 year old gasping and wheezing his way home after school with a backpack overstuffed with text books and X-Men comics. And I should know, because I was that 13 year old.
But backpacks have their purpose, and as I’ve gotten older, I’ve become a little more enamored with their practicality. They are easier on the back, and easier to lug around while biking. If only they didn’t look so ridiculous.
Enter the HEX Drake Origin, a fashionable backpack with a slim form factor that is none the less big enough to fit a 15-inch MacBook, and even has a dedicated pocket for a 10-inch iPad. This is a backpack I not only like; I’m not embarassed to wear it.