Bags for this and bags for that. I have specialized bags and cases for almost all of my daily use items. The problem with all these bags and cases is that they lack versatility. While some have the ability to carry other item besides the items it was designed for, there is usually no easy way to make the bag larger or smaller for specific carry situations. Enter the MIXBAG by Alex Krovin, a duel modular bag system that adds flexibility to your carrying needs.
Note: Images can be clicked to view a larger size.
I know some of you may say that the use of the word modular may be a stretch with the way the MIXBAG is designed, but the way the MIXBAG is designed is exactly why I call it modular. Before we discuss the merits of my use of certain terminology, let’s look at what the mixed bag is and its design. One of the first things I will note is that the MIXBAG is a Ukraininan designed product, so the webpage can be hit and miss at times. The MIXBAG comes with:
- MIXBAG back part
- MIXBAG front part
Just for reference, I was sent the 13.3″ black model to evaluate. The bag itself is made out of a heavy textured cotton while the lining is made of waterproof nylon. The accessories are made out of various material including plastic and rubber.
The MIXBAG is a saddle bag type design that is made to be separated into two sections via a zipper. On the webpage lists 10 ways the MIXBAG can be carried. When zipped together the bag looks just like an ordinary saddle bag with two separate and distinct bag sections. In the zipped together or saddle bag configuration it can be carried in a variety of over the shoulder configurations as well a hand carry and shoulder strap carrying configurations. From an airport traveler’s point of view the size is perfect for a carry on situation.
As I noted above, the MIXBAG has the back and front part sections. The back part is the larger of the two parts, but only by about 3/4 of an inch (the carrying compartment is roughly 13 3/4″ by 9″). This is where the shoulder strap section is permanently attached and has the backpack feature that I will touch on later. The front of this sections has an opening slit towards the bottom to allow you to store the included nylon rain cover as well as the MIXBAG logo.
The back of this section of the MIXBAG has two triangular clips rings to attach the belt to and also has nine integrated magnets to help hold the two sections together. As you may notice the rear sections of both bags are larger than the cargo sections of the bags.
The inside of this section of the bag has a zippered compartment, an open separated compartment with several sewn in pockets and the main compartment with the drop down nylon backpack section.
One of the more unique features of the MIXBAG is the backpack. On the bottom of the back section there is a zipper that allows you to drop down the sewn in nylon backpack section. The backpack add an additional 9″ to the height of the MIXBAG. The backpack section has a zipper on the side for easy access to it. Although this is unique and nice feature it would probably only be usable with both sections of the bag connected.
The front half of the MIXBAG is what I would call your more every day type of carry bag. With an outer large zippered pocket containing a key clip, a Velcro pile strip and a Velcro secured flap, it is perfect for carrying and storing quick access items. The main inner section of the front part of the bag is similar in layout to the back section except the pockets are on the lining opposite of the separated compartment. The inner compartment is slightly smaller than the back sections compartment by about 3/4 of an inch.
The back of this section of the bag is the same except for the extra triangular clip and the zipper to receive the back sections,
The right side of the front section has a nice handle to allow you to carry this section when not attached to the back section. The handle is well made and not intrusive when not in use.
So, let’s get to the nuts and bolts of the MIXBAG. When both sections are zipped together you have a bag that in its basic set up can carry a 13″ laptop, a tablet device and all the accompanying peripherals that may be needed. But what’s truly great about this system is the fact that you can make two separate bags designed for different types of situations. This is a versatility that you do not find in many bags. As a frequent traveler, this set up allows me to use the MIXBAG as a carry on piece of luggage for traveling and then separate the halves to use just the section I need for whatever function I need it for.
How do I use the MIXBAG? In the front main pocket I place my iPad air, charging cables, back-up battery, glasses, various pens, stylus and any paperwork I may want to bring. The front sewn on pocket I use to carry my phone, passport and any other quick access items. If I am on a pleasure trip I will also add my HD video camera to the bag and some mounts. Having the stow-able zip out water bottle pouch on the bottom of the bag also lets me easily bring some water with me.
In the rear section of the MIXBAG I will either bring a 13″ laptop and all the needed accessories or I will tote the iPad 2, a keyboard, non-essential paperwork and any other peripherals that we may need.
So, what’s my bottom line on the MIXBAG? I love the versatility of it. Being able to configure and carry it in several different ways is what makes the bag. Now for some things that I think should be noted. All the zippers are nylon or plastic type zippers, On the larger ones used for the main zippers this did not seem to be a problem, but the smaller ones were all pulled apart when the bag arrived. A simple re-zip of these zippers fixed the issue, but it does cause me concern in the durability department.
The second issue is more a quality control issue. The expandable nylon part of the MIXBAG was sewn into the interior of the bag making it impossible for it to be fully opened. I resolved this issue by carefully sniping the loop of the piece of thread holding the section up. This did not damage the bag, but was a little perplexing before I figured out what was wrong.
At a price of $237 for the 13.3″ model and $212 for the 11.6″ from the MIXBAG website, the cost may be the only thing that would hold anyone back from buying this bag.
I reviewed the MIXBAG a few years ago and it is still my go-to travel bag. It is a great carry-on for flying and once I get to my location the fact that it separates into two bags allows me to have a smaller everyday carry bag. The MIXBAG has plenty of carry options with its removable shoulder strap and strategic mounting points on each bag half.