Short version: A totally novel messenger bag. But it works. In fact, it works really, really well. You have to see this.
I’ve noticed after reviewing two Booq bags previously — the Boa Flow XL & Boa Squeze — and then looking over this one, the brand’s bags all have four distinct characteristics: the extensive use of rip-stop material, tons of randomly-placed pockets, high-quality feel, and premium pricetag. I’ve yet to see another manufacturer stay so consistent across their entire line. The Booq Mamba Catch is more of the same.
This bag is novel. That’s clear from the start. Instead of having multiple zippered sections through-out the bag, there’s really only one compartment to the bag. But how it opens is what catches you off guard. The zipper runs around the entire length of the bag, from the bottom left corner, up around the handle and then back down to the opposing side. The flap opens like a big mouth, reveal tons of internal storage and organizational pockets.
It’s somewhat strange until you start carrying it around. That’s when it hits you. The design is perfect for those that need constant access while standing — like a tradeshow. You can effectively open up just the top of the bag, allowing the unzippered flap to cover the opening, but then easily reach into the bag anytime. This gives you access to nearly all of the bag’s contents as the majority of the pockets are in this one compartment.
The large front flap opens up nearly as much as a briefcase. That’s actually a great way to think of the bag. It’s nearly a messenger bag-briefcase hybrid, offering the best of both worlds: internal compartmentalization with the look and feel of something a bit more contemporary.
There are a few outside pockets with a small one on the front flap and then one on each side. Combined with the large internal pocket, I could easily fit my standard tradeshow gear of DSLR, large speedlight, 15.6-inch notebook, power adapter, extra battery, random wireless cards, and a bottle of Mt. Dew. Plus, the strap seems comfy enough.
But it’s this strap that worries me the most. It’s detachable by snaps and velcro on each side of the strap. While it didn’t happen when I was testing out the bag, I kept feeling like I would accidentally hit unhook it. I’m sure that fear will subside with more use and I believe the straps are this way to complete the briefcase-ish feel, but I just don’t like the design.
I seriously think this is my next bag. My Ogio Hip Hop has a lot of life left in it, but this bag’s top-opening flap feels so right. I’m actually nervous to tackle the next tradeshow (CEDIA, September) without my trusty Ogio, but I think I’m taking this bag to Atlanta with me and that’s the best recommendation I can hand out.
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