You’ve got to love a bag from a company named Bumbakpaks. Come on, it’s just fun to say. Bumbakpaks, bumbakpaks, bumbakpaks. Ok, now that I have that out of my system, I can tell you about their Urbanomic Hamptons Chocotango bag which the company refers to as a messenger bag. But to me it looks more like a satchel that a teacher might carry. Regardless as to what it looks like, this bag has the ability to hold all of your gear and your laptop. What makes the Urbanomic Hamptons Chocotango bag different than other bags is its ability to go from a backpack to a shoulder bag.
This bag is available in the Chocotango (Green/Orange) color, as well as Khaki Stone. Similar bags (those without compartments on the outside flap) are available in other colors as well. The exterior is constructed of 1680D military ballistic nylon with a polyurethane coating. The main interior area is made of a heavy gauge PVC tarpaulin. Sized at 16.5 x 13 x 5 inches and weighing in at 4 lbs empty, this bag is not a light weight.
The front flap has 3 compartments sewn on the outside, along with 4 metal D rings as attachment points for keys, or other items. The leftmost compartment is a 3 x 5 inch flapped pocket. The flap is held closed with a magnet clasp. The middle compartment is a 3.5 x 6 inch zippered pouch with a mesh pocket sewn on the outside. The rightmost pocket is a vertically zippered 3 x 5 inch pouch.
Having the ability to put some of your gear on the outside flap is a nice benefit, but it has its drawbacks as well. The problem is that the flap is already a bit on the stiff side. So, when you fill up the front pockets, it makes the flap heavy and awkward to open and flip back behind the bag.
I don’t want to forget to mention that I really like the clips used to secure the flap. Unlike typical pinch style clips, these are finger friendly. They are large with a large circular area that you can press and slide out of the latch.
There’s a hand grip (not padded) sewn into the top of the bag, and 2 elastic mesh bottle holders on the right side. Another pocket is located on the opposite side of the bag as well. It’s a ballistic nylon pocket, not mesh.
The back portion of the bag has two large mesh covered pads that match up pretty well with your bum when you wear the bag backpack style. Hence the name: Bumbakpak ;o) A removable and adjustable waist strap stabilizer attaches to the back of the bag via 2 metal D rings.
Photo courtesy of Bumbakpak
The bum pads are sewn on top of a compartment that can either be used as an extra pocket, or as a pass-thru for luggage handles. If used as a pocket, it is large enough to hold a standard sized magazine without it sticking out the top of the pocket.
Also located on the back of the bag is the dedicated padded and velour lined non-scratch laptop compartment. This is a zippered area that has a capacity up to 14 x 10.5 x 1.5 inches. An FAQ on the Bumbakpak site gives additional size info. The pocket does fit most newer laptops with 12″, 14″, and 15″ screens. According to the site, it will fit the Apple 12″ and 15″ G4 notebooks. Velcro adjusters inside the pocket allow it to hold small laptops securely. In the picture above, I’ve just placed some magazines in the pocket. I’m between notebooks at the moment…
Opening the flap reveals the eye popping orange tarp lined main area. On the underside of the flap are two adjustable umbrella or newspaper holders.
The sides of the bag are constructed in such a way that when the flap is folded in the closed position, rain and snow can not gain access to the interior of the bag.
Under the flap are several organizer pockets. There are 4 pen/pencil slots, with a vertically zippered pocket to their right. These pockets are sewn on top of a 9 x 6 inch zippered pouch which you see above. This pouch has a detachable key ring leash that you can barely see in the picture above.
Behind that zippered pocket is a larger zippered pocket that has 2 other pockets sewn into the back wall. You have to admit that this bag as quite a bit of organized storage available.
The main compartment is pretty large. I’ve just placed an iPod at the bottom to give you an idea of the size. A flat zippered mesh pocket is sewn into the back wall of the bag.
I was able to stuff my usual assortment of Waterfield pouches into this bag with room to spare.
The bumbakpak is a backpack style bag that isn’t quite like an ordinary backpack. As you can see from the pictures, it hangs lower on your back that a regular backpack. It may look odd, but it’s actually quite comfortable due to the bum pads and the nicely padded shoulder strap. Even carrying the bag fully loaded down with gear was comfy.
To convert the Bumbakpak from backpack to a single strap shoulder bag, you just unsnap the folded shoulder strap, unhook one end of the strap from the bag and re-hook it using another D ring. A nifty animation on the Bumbakpak site shows you step by step how to do this.
As a single strap bag, it hangs lower than is comfortable to me. The strap can’t really be adjusted for length… I’m not very tall though (5’5″), so it would probably not be an issue for someone taller.
The Bumbakpak is a very nicely constructed bag. I found no defects in materials or workmanship. The style of the bag is a personal preference issue though and although there are many features that I appreciate in this bag, it isn’t one that I would like to carry as my every day gear bag. At this point, I’m still more fond of the freeform Timbuk2 messenger bag that I reviewed not long ago. I find the Timbuk2 easier to get into and easier to throw over my shoulder. I would love to see Bumbakpaks make a similar bag in the future. If you are a fan of satchel style bags and want one that will hold a lot of gear, this rugged bag deserves consideration.