Booqbag Boa.XL Review

by Otto on April 12, 2007

With the purchase of my MacBook Pro 15.4″ behind me, I started looking around for a good bag to haul this new notebook around.  I found a great wiki listing all the bags, backpacks, sleeves, and hard cases out there.  I’m sure it’s missing some, but it gave a pretty comprehensive starting place.  After a lot of thought and research, I decided to go with the Booqbag Boa.XL System.

Since I’ll be attending several conferences this year and traveling a little more then normal, I wanted a backpack.  I was using Patagonia’s OneBag, which is a shoulder bag (it can convert into a backpack, but the straps are not nearly as good as the shoulder strap).  I enjoyed the sleek design of Patagonia’s OneBag and I wanted something just like it.  (Side note, I used to do a lot of mountaineering / alpine climbing, so I’m a snob when it comes to gear!  Only the best will do!)

I went with the Boa.XL for several reasons.  It has a pretty plain look to it, was black, and I could grow into a slightly larger notebook without having to get a new bag.  It also had ample storage for extra gear, books, devices.  I also like that the system came with a sleeve and cell phone / iPod case.

I’ve had the bag for almost two weeks now and I’ve grown to love it.  When I put it down on the floor, it stands up on it’s own.  This makes it very easy to put the laptop away or get it out.  The area for the laptop is perfect, just the right amount of space, with a little wiggle room.  The additional pockets are nicely designed and well thought out.

Since it took a while to transfer all of my old files off of my Dell notebook, I used this backpack to carry both and it did so with great ease.  The second compartment worked perfect for the Dell and I still had room for files, magazines, and misc items.

The backpack carried all of this very well.  It also didn’t look like it was going to explode due to overpacking.  The load felt stable on my back, rode well, and felt good.  The chest strap on the other hand, was pretty useless and is there more for looks then function.  I also didn’t use the waist belt.

A couple important things to note.  Booqbag is a boutique shop and there might be delays in processing your order.  Their web site says that it could take up to 24 hours to process your order.  It took them over 48 hours to process my order, which was painful, because I wanted the bag ASAP and I paid for overnight shipping.  Communicating with Booqbag was not easy also.  I sent emails, left voicemails, and typically got a response in 24 hours.  Since I paid for overnight shipping and the order didn’t get processed for 48 hours, I felt that I had room to complain (I placed my order on a Wednesday and it was processed on Friday at 5 PM, meaning I would not get my backpack until Monday).  Booqbag refunded my shipping costs, which was what I wanted them to do.

I’d buy the bag again, but next time I would only do so knowning that I’d have to wait a while before it arrived.  What can I say, I’m a typical child in that when I know what I want, I want it now.

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