I was skeptical of the Agazzi urban backpack when my colleague and fellow nerd, Vlad Savov, linked me to his Kickstarter. Why the hell would anyone need a bag with a padlock for fingerprints or internal and external lights I thought, and why should they risk "buying it" through crowdfunding ?
That was until Agazzi Designs sent me a demo bag to try on my own. I like it; It looks very good, and the padlock and the lights are practical additions. It's the envelope bag designed for those who love excessive engineering.
The Pro unit that I have been testing is a preproduction prototype. It's about 95 percent of the finished product that Agazzi says will be sent to sponsors in October. It will cost £ 189 (around $ 246 or € 219) for the first sponsors. Versions with less specification without lights and padlock will sell for £ 129 (approximately $ 168 or € 150). That's expensive, but it's in line with other top-quality travel bags from companies like Peak Design.
In my opinion, Agazzi has been inspired by the design of Peak, leader in its class, with its red stitches in carbon-colored nylon fabric. Both backpacks have durable and water resistant materials, and keep their shapes even when they are empty. However, the larger 23-liter Agazzi is actually lighter than Peak Design's 20-liter daily backpack, and weighs just 1.45 kilograms (3 pounds, 3 ounces) compared to the notoriously heavy 1.81 kilograms (4 pounds).
I found the Agazzi very comfortable to use while riding a bike, even when it was loaded with a power bank, MacBook, e-reader and some exercise clothes. I also tried it at night in the very congested bike lanes of Amsterdam. The red light and the reflective strip on the backpack are welcome additions, and the light can be activated via a wired remote control in the quick access pocket on the right shoulder strap. A similar pocket on the left shoulder strap is large enough for your bus pass and some bank cards or cash.
The bag holds up very well on its own, but does not open completely when it is flat. As such, you end up with a dark cavern in the bottom of the bag, so the internal light is so useful.
The internal and external lights are connected through a USB-A cable to a power bank that must provide. The USB-A cable in my prototype bag connected to the lighting module printed in 3D through a Micro USB port. Unfortunately, the cable continued to fall. Fortunately, the module was in a zippered compartment, which allowed me to plug it back in again. I have been told that the cables that run in the modules molded to measure in the production backpacks "will never be disconnected".
I have mixed feelings about the shoulder straps of the Agazzi. They are designed to be configured according to your preferences once and then left alone. In fact, they are almost impossible to adjust while carrying the backpack. In practice, this did not really create a problem. I was able to use the package in my preferred position (above my back), and I was still able to slide a hand through the strap to remove the package. However, I wonder if my success will be repeatable for people with different body types and flexibility.
Some other observations:
- The fingerprint sensor is fast and reliable.
- The safety cable is long enough to attach the bag to a chair in a cafeteria or armrest on a train.
- The number, design and construction of the pockets are perfect for the daily needs of people traveling in the office by bike or train.
- The lifetime warranty is excellent, assuming the company supports it.
- I hate velcro, but its limited and intelligent use in the laptop strap does not enrage me.
- Two words: luggage strap.
Let me be clear: this is not a review. It is a confirmation that the stock market exists, is almost ready, and the company is aware of the existing problems and is working to solve them. That should make your decision to back them up on Kickstarter a little easier if you feel tempted.