I have always been a fan of messenger bags. They are better than backpacks because it is much easier to access your stuff inside. And the smaller footprint means it is easier to carry around at airports and in airplanes.
When Evernote first announced this product, I immediately thought: I have to have this! Especially after I saw the Evernote Triangle Commuter Bag featured on Wired
I have been using one of these bags for the past 4 months, so now I can give you a proper impression on how it is like to live with it every day.
Evernote Triangle Commuter Bag: solving an old problem
If you are a regular messenger bag user like me, you probably have noticed by now that they tip over every time you try to leave them upright.
As the name suggests, the Evernote Triangle Commuter Bag has a triangular profile: larger on the base, thinner at the top. The base is made from Tarpaulin coated with PVC, so it is firm and makes sure that the bag is always resting standing up.
The Evernote Triangle Commuter Bag exterior is made of a 65% nylon, 35% polyester fiber which is very resistant. The nylon interior helps protecting the bag contents in case you get some rain, but I wouldn’t classify it exactly as waterproof. I got through some pretty heavy rainfall in New York and São Paulo and didn’t get any water inside, but I wouldn’t abuse it.
Inside, there is a 15″ laptop pouch, two smaller pouches and a larger compartment which is customizable by 3 nylon dividers which you can move around to fit your needs. When you fully open the bag, the side panel folds down and reveals two more zip-sealed pockets: one concealed, and one mesh pocket.
Evernote Triangle Commuter Bag: interior
There is an external, perforated leather pouch which is very useful to store things acquired on the run, or to place items you need to access readily. Since it is perforated, things you put here will get wet in case it rains, so be careful. I keep only my keys and my Mophie Powerstation XL with a Lightning cable to charge my iPhone in there.
The strap is very sturdy and easily adjustable. It is sewn to the bag at an angle, so that the whole package is tilted down when you are carrying it, reducing the stress on your shoulders. It is by far the most comfortable messenger bag I have ever used.
The Evernote Triangle Commuter Bag is made by AbrAsus and is available in three color finishes: Dark Grey, Berry and Wheat. Apart from a very discrete Evernote metal badge, you wouldn’t notice it is branded. The price is $199 and it can be ordered directly from the Evernote Market only.
Getting your stuff in there
The Evernote Triangle Commuter Bag fits a lot of stuff in it. I mean, really a lot. When I am travelling for a long period, I carry:
- 15″ Retina MacBook Pro and power supply
- MiniDisplay Port to VGA cable
- Thunderbolt to Gigabit cable
- CAT6 flat ethernet cable
- iPad Air 2
- iPhone 6 and charger
- Mophie Powerstation XL
- Lightning cable
- Micro USB cable
- Fujifilm X-E1 with a 18-55mm f/2.8-4 OIS lens
- 2x 64GB Lexar SDHC cards
- Microsoft Wireless Mobile Mouse 3500
- iPod Shuffle and charger cable
- Sennheiser CX 300i earbuds
- Jawbone Mini Jambox
- Belkin P2-P2 stereo cable
- Writing instruments: one fountain pen, one ballpoint pen, one permanent marker and one click pencil
- Moleskine Evernote
- Card holder, money clip and coin purse
- Water bottle
- Tissue paper and hand sanitizer
Evernote Triangle Commuter Bag: all of this fits inside easily, with room to spare.
Of course, my everyday bag contents will be much less than this list, but it gives you an idea about how much stuff you can carry in it.
Since this blog features a lot of articles about productivity and traveling, here are some tips to get the most out of this bag:
- Only carry what you will need, not what you might need. The frequent flyers already know this mantra, but most people usually carry around all the crap they can. Carrying too much weight is bad for your shoulders and will slow you down. The biggest offensor here is the laptop. When I carry a laptop (i.e. for a presentation, or for editing photos in an expedition), I usually choose to leave the iPad at home and bring only the Kindle and the MacBook. If I don’t need a laptop, I will carry only the iPad and an Apple Bluetooth Keyboard, and leave the MacBook and the Kindle at home. All cables and accessories for the devices I leave at home stay there as well.
- On the lines of the previous item: don’t carry items with overlapping functionality. If you are carrying an iPad, you don’t need a Kindle, for instance.
- Use wisely the internal dividers. Depending on how you position them, you can dramatically affect the functionality of the main compartment.
Living with the Evernote Triangle Commuter Bag
This bag will fit all the stuff most people need everyday. It is a perfect companion to carry to work or traveling. Here are some remarks about it considering my experience using it for the past 4 months:
If you are an adopter of ultra-thin laptops, this bag is for you. Otherwise, you may have problems. Although the specifications say that you can fit a laptop up to 15″ in it, the laptop pouch is actually very thin. The only 15″ laptop I could easily fit in it was the 15″ Retina MacBook Pro. A regular (non-Retina) MacBook Pro will fit if you force it in, but that isn’t ideal. 13″ laptops or smaller will fit easily, as long as they aren’t ultra-thick. A 14″ Dell Vostro would be the limit for a thick laptop. Evernote will probably never admit this, but this bag was designed with the MacBook Air in mind — and I don’t blame them for that.
You probably carry a water bottle on the go if you care about keeping yourself hydrated. Most bottles will fit in the bag, but be careful to not spill anything other than water inside. The cloth surface where the velcro dividers attach to is a pain in the ass to clean if you drop, let’s say, some soda on it.
Going through security with the Evernote Triangle Commuter Bag is a breeze. It is very easy to quickly access your laptop and pull it out for screening. In addition, you may even fit your 3-1-1 bag in the external pocket for easily getting out for inspection. Inside the airplane, it will fit easily below the front seat in most coach cabins and business/first cabins. The only exception I found is the United BusinessFirst seat, where the tight space below the ottoman was interfering with the leg rest when moving the seat to the flatbed position. Even that isn’t really a problem, as if you fly a premium cabin, you probably have room to spare in the overhead compartments.
The strap is very comfortable and slides around your shoulder easily, so you can move the bag around quickly and keep it close to your body in a crowded bus or subway. And since it is very discreet (it doesn’t look much like a laptop bag), it doesn’t draw too much attention to yourself. You can leave your public transit card in the external pocket for quick access and avoid opening the bag (and showing your valuables) in public.
The Evernote Triangle Commuter Bag is not really a photographer’s bag, but does the job well. By positioning the dividers correctly, you can fit one DSLR camera + all-range zoom lens, plus 3 lenses up to 10″ long (or 2 lenses and a flash). The two internal pouches can store a bunch of 77mm filters and other thin items (like a white balance card or an iPad, for instance). The two pockets on the side panel can hold other small accessories: memory cards, batteries, etc.
This is a very easy recommended purchase. The only real complaint I have about it is that it comes with only 3 internal dividers. They could have thrown a couple more. But other than that, it is an excellent product.
- Sleek, cool design
- Fits a lot of stuff
- Very comfortable
- Very versatile
- Won’t fit thick laptops
- Internal cloth lining is somewhat difficult to clean
- Only 3 dividers come with it
- Only available through the Evernote Market