We got an advance look at an interesting new laptop-bag concept from OGIO. Thanks to PC Magazine reviews editor Laarni Almendrala Ragaza, a petite female, and senior editor Sean Carroll, a strapping male, for field testing and reportage! Laarni: The idea seemed logical to OGIO: Take the innovative Shling strap from its line of golf bags and put it on a messenger-style laptop bag. But what is probably a great carrying solution on the greens doesn’t translate all that well to a day-to-day bag.
The Shling laptop bag weighs a little over 5 and a half pounds, empty; with my laptop and other neccessities, it was a bit over 14 pounds. Inside are a padded laptop pocket, 2 sleeves for papers, and some smaller pockets; outside are two bottle compartments. The most notable feature of the bag, of course, is the strap: a hard piece of plastic with padding where strap meets shoulder. The way the strap would distribute a large, unwieldy golf bag’s weight makes sense to me. In a laptop bag, not so much. I beaned myself several times before I mastered the technique of swinging the bag onto my shoulders. When I tried it on the train, I nearly knocked a fellow passenger unconscious.
The strap is designed to distribute the bag’s weight evenly and let you stand upright easily. But I found myself tilting forward anyway. And it wasn’t comfortable on my shoulders, though I tried adjusting the strap to fit my 5’1″ frame. I felt like a yoked ox. (As a woman, I felt a tad self-conscious about the way the left side of the Shling pointed directly at my cleavage.) Sean: I was painfully conscious of how ridiculous I looked in this harness. I felt the same sort of fashion shame I imagine you’d suffer if you had to wear a posture brace in high school. Finally, even though I lack Laarni’s curves, I found that the left side of the yoke dug into my chest in such way that it felt as uncomfortable on me as it looked on her.
Socknacki take: The Shling bag and its patented strap has potential, particularly if OGIO finds a way to make the strap more comfortable. And if the company bundles instructions on how to take it on and off without hurting oneself or others in the process.OGIO expects the Shling to be available in or around October, for an estimated $199; check later this year on the company’s site for details.