Bag Strap Review

Here it is. Another review brought about by the reoccurring theme — "Bill
whines about something and Julie comes to the rescue." The strap on my laptop bag started rolling over and cutting into my sensitive
shoulders. Whaaa. :(

The original strap was a two piece arrangement — a seatbelt type nylon strap
with a padded sleeve. The sleeve was really comfortable in the beginning, but
after a year of being stretched over my sloped shoulder with 20 pounds of laptop
and accessories pulling at it, the padded sleeve began to sag and roll.
Effectively making it feel like there was no padding at all (can you hear me
whining from there?)

Julie checked around and found some potential replacements for me to try :)

All told, I tried four different straps from two different manufacturers. All
four were a decided improvement over the worn out original strap on my laptop
bag. Although I typically only get a three or four weeks to try something out
before submitting my review, I have actually used the two straps that I settled
on (laptop bag and camera bag) for three or four months. This will allow me to
provide a review based on more comprehensive real-world use. You, gentle reader,
will benefit from this overly long review period.

How is that for putting a positive spin on my procrastinate tendencies and
general laziness? Do you think Julie will buy it? Lets get on with the
particulars…

Tamrac Classic Padded Leather
strap

My quest was to find a replacement strap for my laptop bag. This strap from
Tamrac is more suitable for camera or pair of binoculars.

It has a pleasant, almost retro, appearance. The plastic snaps are adequate
for light loads and provide a really quick release.

If you need a replacement strap for your camera or a small camera bag, you
might consider the Classic Padded Leather strap from Tamrac.

Pros:  solid strap, retro appearance
Cons:  plastic snaps
Price:  $15.95 (at

B&H Photo
)


Op/Tech S.O.S Strap

This one has found a permanent place on my laptop bag. The material that
actually stretches across your shoulders is made entirely from a dense foam
material. Op/Tech calls this the S.O.S. strap which is short for "Saves On
Shoulders."

The first time I slipped this strap over my shoulder I found it a little
disconcerting. My twenty pound laptop bag actually stretched it out and the
weight went up and down slightly — the strap acted as a shock absorber. Again,
this took a little getting used to. After four months of using the strap nearly
every day, I guess you could say that I am used to it now. :)

Julie took this picture and I will not repeat the name she called me in order
to get me to smile for the camera. Of course she only used such coarse language
in order to make me smile. She would never EVER speak to me that way otherwise.

Here’s a close up of the underside of the strap. The stitching is solid and
still holding up well. Again, I would not be able to tell you that the stitching
holds up for at least four months of solid use if I had not taken so long to
write this review. The little shiny dots are rubber pads designed to reduce
slipping.

The snaps on this strap and the S.O.S. Mini strap are really solid.
Unfortunately, the eyelet holes on my laptop bag were too small for the snaps
that came with the S.O.S. strap. The S.O.S. Mini came with a similar snap, but
with a smaller profile that would have worked with this bag. I just removed the
snaps from my old strap prior to discarding it and replaced the stock snaps.

As I said at the beginning, this has become my everyday laptop strap.

Pros:  reduces shoulder stress, comfortable
Cons:  The snap did not fit my laptop eyelets.
Price:  $19.95 (at
Adorama)


OP/Tech S.O.S. Mini Strap

The OP/Tech S.O.S. Mini strap is simply a smaller version of the previous
strap.

This strap has found a permanent home on my camera bag. It easily handles my
eighteen pounds of photo gear and reduces the daily wear and tear on my
shoulder. The smaller version of OP/Tech’s solid all metal snaps fit nicely into
the eyelets on my camera bag.

Yes, if you were wondering, Julie did call me a bad name again — only for
the sake of the photograph.

Pros:  reduces shoulder stress, comfortable
Cons:  none.
Price:  $16.95 (at

B&H Photo
)


OP/Tech Pro Strap

The OP/Tech Pro strap feels very similar to the S.O.S. straps. This one does
have a nylon strap that runs over the top which should stiffen it up a bit. I
didn’t really notice any difference as far as the way it felt under load.

The snaps on this one are all plastic. Of the four straps reviewed here,
these were the worst connections. I did not feel comfortable trusting my
expensive equipment to them. Since the price is the same, I would recommend
going with the Op/Tech S.O.S. strap, or you could save a couple of dollars and
purchase the Op/Tech S.O.S. Mini strap.

Pros:  reduces shoulder stress, comfortable
Cons:  all plastic snaps
Price:  $19.95 (at
Adorama)

 Happy New Year everyone!!!!

 

Product Information

Price:
Manufacturer:N/A
Posted in: Audio, Video, TV Gear, Gear, Laptops and Gear

{ 16 comments… add one }

  • Julie December 31, 2004, 2:38 am

    Post your comments here on the Bag Strap review.

    http://www.the-gadgeteer.com/bag-strap-review.html

    Just click the POST REPLY button on this page.

  • questionfear December 31, 2004, 4:13 am

    so, what did she call you??? you’re clearly laughing in the picture, and now my curiosity is overcoming me….

  • williamray January 4, 2005, 10:16 pm

    questionfear wrote:

    so, what did she call you??? you’re clearly laughing in the picture, and now my curiosity is overcoming me….

    All I can say is that I should not say.

    :blink:

  • volan January 13, 2005, 8:18 pm

    The review stated that you like the OP/TECH S.O.S strap. I’m wondering if you’ve tried the “Absolute” Strap by Tom Bihn. If so I’d like to know how they compare.

  • williamray January 13, 2005, 10:07 pm

    volan wrote:

    The review stated that you like the OP/TECH S.O.S strap. I’m wondering if you’ve tried the “Absolute” Strap by Tom Bihn. If so I’d like to know how they compare.

    I took at look at Tom Bihn’s Absolute strap. The web page stated that it is manfactured by OP/TECH for Mr. Bihn. It looks identical to the S.O.S straps that I reviewed. Pretty sure the only difference is the name.

  • Judie January 14, 2005, 12:29 am

    williamray wrote:

    All I can say is that I should not say.

    :blink:

    Yes, because a gentleman never tells. ;)

  • FliesLikeABrick January 14, 2005, 11:58 pm

    I’d just like to say that after reading the review I was inclined to [and did] buy the OP/Tech S.O.S. Mini strap from the photo store that was linked in the review

  • rodaniel January 29, 2005, 12:22 pm

    Good review William!

    Just wondering – have you ever tried a Timbuk2 bag? Granted, the straps that come with a Timbuk2 are not removable and so cannot be used on another bag, but I do like that they offer a longer length for us guys who are a bit longer in the torso or just taller overall. And the strap pad add-on (looks very similar to the OP/Tech strap’s pad) is really comfortable!

    Anyway, I highly recommend trying a Timbuk2 next time you’re in the market for a new bag.

    Rob

  • williamray January 29, 2005, 3:36 pm

    Time to play catch up. For some reason I am not getting notified when people post to my subscribed threads. Julie has promised to look into this issue for me :o)

    judie wrote:

    Yes, because a gentleman never tells.

    Thanks judie. I am rarely called a gentleman (and that is certainly NOT what Julie called me when she took the picture)

    flieslikeabrick wrote:

    I’d just like to say that after reading the review I was inclined to [and did] buy the OP/Tech S.O.S. Mini strap from the photo store that was linked in the review

    Glad to hear it, Mr. Brick. Do you like the strap? As I said, my mini S.O.S. is on my camera bag and I go NOWHERE without it.

    rodaniel wrote:

    Just wondering – have you ever tried a Timbuk2 bag?

    I haven’t tried one of these, yet, but I will certainly keep them in mind. Thanks for the suggestion.

  • FliesLikeABrick February 8, 2005, 9:15 pm

    Yeah i love it. I use it on my laptop bag whenever I go anywhere, sometimes walking for 30-40 minutes across Troy to get to a coffee shop. It even helps comfort putting a heavy bag onto a person’s soulder, just because the padded part stretches and absorbs a lotta the shock. Very comfortable strap.

  • williamray February 8, 2005, 10:02 pm

    Glad you like it, too! :)

  • Jules April 11, 2007, 2:18 pm

    This review must be heaven-sent…I used the standard strap that came with my Toshiba laptop bag until it hurt my shoulder so bad I could barely lug it around. I then nicked a strap (kinda “springy”-like) from one of my dad’s old bags and it works fine for now. But seeing as I walk an aggregate of 3 miles everyday in the course of my work, with my laptop, I would need to look for an ergonomic strap soon.

  • williamray April 11, 2007, 3:22 pm

    Jules wrote:

    This review must be heaven-sent…I used the standard strap that came with my Toshiba laptop bag until it hurt my shoulder so bad I could barely lug it around. I then nicked a strap (kinda “springy”-like) from one of my dad’s old bags and it works fine for now. But seeing as I walk an aggregate of 3 miles everyday in the course of my work, with my laptop, I would need to look for an ergonomic strap soon.

    I am currently carrying two laptops, a 6×12 wacom tablet, a portable hard drive, along with power bricks and other misc accessories in my laptop bag. Of course I have a separate backpack that contains my camera gear. I don’t know what the stuff weighs anymore and I am quite sure I don’t want to know. The OP/Tech straps are terrific. I worried that they might eventually lose their spring, but, after well over a year (two?) of extreme use/abuse, mine are all still like new.

  • OP/TECH USA June 29, 2009, 11:14 am

    Just a minor correction to some of the information listed above. The strap that is displayed as the “Pro Strap” is indeed the OP/TECH USA “Bag Strap” (http://www.optechusa.com/product/detail/?PRODUCT_ID=3&PRODUCT_SUB_ID=&CATEGORY_ID=4). The Pro Strap is actually a camera strap.

    In the years since the original review was written, the connectors on all the above-mentioned straps have been changed to a slimmer-profile all-metal swivel hook. This would make them fit any computer bag’s connections, and provide the much-needed confidence in the Bag Strap.

  • Dudley McGarity May 5, 2010, 10:56 am

    Can I send you another style of strap to review?

  • Ivan W. June 28, 2011, 1:07 pm

    Hi Bill,

    Good review. If you ever do a part II of your bag strap review, check out http://kck.st/i9rwoO

    Will be happy to send you one.

    Cheers,

    Ivan

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