I was skeptical about the Agazzi urban backpack when my colleague and fellow nerd, Vlad Savov, mr connected to his Kickstarter. Why on earth would anyone need a bag with a fingerprint lock or internal and external lamps?, I thought, and why should they risk "buying it" through crowdfunding??
That was until Agazzi Designs sent me a demo bag to try by myself. I like it; it looks great, and the lock and lights are practical additions. This is the over-designed bag for over-engineered enthusiasts.
The Pro unit I tested is a pre-production prototype. According to Agazzi, the finished products will be delivered to the sponsors in October in about 95% of cases. It will cost £ 189 (about $ 246 or € 219) for the first contributors. Low quality versions without lights and locks are priced at £ 129 (around $ 168 or £ 150). It's expensive, but it matches other high-end commuter bags from companies like Peak Design.
In my eyes, Agazzi is inspired by Peak Design, leader in its category, with its red decorative stitching on a nylon fabric anthracite color. Both backpacks are made from durable, water-resistant materials. They keep their shape even when empty. The larger 23-liter Agazzi, however, is actually lighter than Peak Design's Everyday Backpack, weighing only 1.45 kg (3 pounds), compared to 1.81 kg (4 pounds).
I found the Agazzi very comfortable to wear when you were cycling, even when it was loaded with a powerful bank, a MacBook, an e-reader and some workout clothes. . I also tested it at night on the very crowded bike paths of Amsterdam. The red light and the reflective tape on the backpack are definitely welcome additions, and the light can be activated via a wired remote control in the quick access pouch located on the right shoulder strap. A similar pocket in the left shoulder strap is just big enough for your bus pass and some bank or cash cards.
The bag stands up well alone, but does not open completely when it is flat. As such, you end up with a dark cavern at the bottom of the bag, which is why the internal light is so useful.
The internal and external lamps connect via a USB-A cable to a power bank that you must provide. The USB-A cable from my prototype bag is connected to the 3D printed lighting module via a Micro USB port. Unfortunately, the cable continued to fall. Fortunately, the module was in a zippered compartment, which allowed me to reconnect it. I was told that the cables connected to custom molded modules in the production backpacks "will never be unplugged".
I have mixed feelings about Agazzi's suspenders. They are designed to be configured to your preferences once, then left alone. In fact, they are almost impossible to adjust when you wear the backpack. In practice, it did not really create a problem. I could carry the backpack in the desired position (top on the back) and can slide a hand in the strap to remove the bag. I wonder, however, if my success will be reproducible by people with different body types and different 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 cafe or armrest on a train.
- The number, layout and construction of the pockets are perfect for the daily needs of commuters traveling by bike or train.
- The lifetime warranty is excellent, assuming the company is there to honor it.
- I hate velcro, but its limited and clever use of the laptop strap does not exacerbate me.
- Two words: shoulder strap.
Let's be clear: this is not an exam. It is confirmation that the bag exists, that it is almost finished and that the society is aware of the existing problems and is trying to solve them. This should facilitate your decision to support them on Kickstarter if tempted.