Keeping your gadgets full – the fūl Powerbag helps you do so

March 6, 2012

This year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas wasn’t as fruitful for me as in past years because I didn’t make the trip west. But, thanks to the kind folks in media relations and PR at a number of technology product companies, I’ve been able to share with readers my reviews of a variety of products.

Today, let’s take a look at the fūl Powerbag. This backpack lets you charge your gadgets, has padding to protect your laptop and other accessories, and has plenty of room and ergonomic features that make it useful when covering conventions, festivals and conferences. To that end, I’m putting the Powerbag through its paces prior to SXSW in Austin, TX.

First, SXSW is a crazy festival that requires a lot of walking…but it also requires that you have content-creation tools with you at all times. Here’s what I plan to put into the Powerbag…

Canon T3i DSLR
Two lenses
SD cards
Flash-card reader
Battery charger
LED video light
Zoom H2 recorder
Assorted cables and connectors
MiFi Hotspot from Verizon
USB flash drive
Business cards
Cowboy hat

Well, that last item is overkill and only necessary for the All-Hat event on March 11. But the rest of it is what I need to carry with me to create photos, write blog posts, tweet, film video and otherwise stay connected during the week I’m in Austin. So, in a preliminary evaluation, how does the bag measure up?

It’s pretty good. While it’s a little bigger than I’d prefer to carry during the festival, the padding on the back and the straps is cushy and comfortable. Inside, you find a number of different sleeves and pockets – one for a tablet, one hidden one for a laptop, and a lot of little sections for pens, cards, USB drives and other stuff like cables.

When I loaded the bag completely – even putting my camera bag AND my existing laptop bag inside the Powerbag – I still had room to fit more stuff and it didn’t seem too heavy on my back. That brings me back to the true use of this bag and what it’s great for and where it falls short. Here’s the skinny…

1 – The bag is really too big to lug around SXSW or similar event. While it carries a lot of stuff, that’s not what you need when you’re trekking around Austin, TX for five or more days.

2 – The bag is perfect if you are using it as a day-bag on a car trip or other venture where you have transportation. While it’s not great for walking about if you have it fully loaded, it is fantastic for keeping all your gear right at hand.

3 – It is POWERFUL. And by that, I mean it powers your stuff. The bag’s best feature is that it has a micro USB, mini USB and iPhone/iPod-specific adapter cables built right in. It also comes with a 3000mAh battery (upgradable to 6000mAh) that will charge your phone twice on a full charge. The other adapters will charge a tablet or any device that fits their connectors – or you can bring your own USB cable which fits a port inside the bag near the battery. This is what the bag is all about and that’s where it shines.

4 – Style. It’s actually pretty good looking. Take a gander at the gallery on the site or poke around at the other models.

My final take…

If you have $140 for a sturdy, versatile bag that supplies you with power, get this. Don’t buy it if you’re looking to travel light. But it’s actually pretty comfy on your back when it’s loaded. Just make sure you have some transport and maybe some comfortable shoes.

I welcome your thoughts on this bag if you’ve seen it or tried it.

BONUS – I’ll be giving this bag away during SXSW 2012. First person who finds me in Austin on Monday, March 12 and says the words “Give me the Power”, will be the proud new owner of this practically new fūl Powerbag. That’s what you get for reading all the way to the bottom. Congrats.