The Crumpler King Single is a laptop backpack with a low profile. That’s not to say it won’t draw attention; the color and styling is hard to miss, but the design holds your laptop and your stuff close to your center mass.
Crumpler bags are extremely well-designed, and the King Single is a fine example of this. It’s a backpack yes, but the way the weight is carried and the straps are set up really improve the way that the bag fits. This is not a standard day-pack, the strapping system is more what you would expect to see on an actual hiking pack. In addition to the standard shoulder straps, the King Single also has a chest strap (to keep the shoulder straps from sliding off) and a waist strap (to help you carry the bulk of the load on your hips, instead of the your shoulders). This is somewhat unusual in the realm of laptop/cargo bags, they normally just put some shoulder straps on there and call it good. I was disappointed by the lack of a carrying handle on the top however – it seems like that would be a logical addition to the design. Both shoulder straps are equipped with d-rings, which made a really convenient place to clip my multi-tool. Crumpler also has a mobile phone case on their site that would be ideal to clip onto this particular location – I didn’t have one, but it’s worth mentioning.
Moving into the bag, the first thing you notice is the color. The bag sent to me to review has a tangerine interior. While it’s not the color I would have chosen, it’s normally zipped up anyway, so not a huge issue. Just be aware if you order the green/brown bag you’re going to need sunglasses when you open it. The cloth has an excellent texture to it, almost plush to the touch; I’d have no issue trusting my delicate electronics to the inside of this bag. There are several large zip pockets on the inside of the bag, and one extremely well padded laptop slot against the back with an organizer on the front of it. The laptop slot closes with a massive velcro patch, which will definitely keep your computer secure while you’re move about.
The laptop slot is not removable as it was in previous versions of the bag, and it’s held firmly against the back of the bag. This keeps the bag from pulling you backwards as you’re wearing it, and improves that balance mentioned earlier. The interior pocket are (in general) a generous size, and all of them have a high quality zippers and metal pulls. One thing that I noticed was the rather small size of the pockets on the interior organizer. There was the standard size pen holders, but the other pockets seemed to be rather small and scale, almost to the point of not being usable. Compared to the size of the other pockets on the inside of the bag, they were practically lilliputian.
I like the King Single. It’s not perfect, the organizer pocket size is definitely a problem, but other then that it’s a perfectly usable product and I wouldn’t have any issue recommending it to someone looking for a decent laptop backpack that will last pretty much forever. In fact, it’s worth mentioning that Crumpler warranties their bags for life. While the King Single is not cheap at $155, I feel that it is worth the price. Just make sure you don’t get that tangerine interior.
Update: Crumpler emailed me after I posted this review. It turns out the the review samples were lacking the carrying loop, but the production versions have them.
PS – The Crumpler site is worth a visit just to check it out, it is pretty damn cool in its own right.