Pakuma Akara K1
Local company Pakuma has revamped its popular K1 range and we've got our hands on one ahead of its push into department stores. The rucksack design has been improved with water resistant materials and more durable fastenings, as well as a fresh colour option.
The bag itself packs various pockets for tech, including a large 17in notebook cocoon, a neat A4 tablet section, a smartphone pouch and various others for chargers and cables. An audio out flap on the top means Pakuma thoughtfully caters for music lovers frustrated by the wet British weather too.
The K1 is lightweight, a comfortable carry and has plenty of capacity for a lunchbox or two. It's a little too rucksack-styled for my everyday needs, but for what you get, its price is admirable.
Reg Rating 85%
More info Pakuma
This conservative waterproof backpack features a bog-standard array of pockets for your tech, protected by the bag's "unique shock-absorbing material". I wouldn't go chucking it around, though.
The main compartment has a slot for notebooks, securely fit with a velcro strap, while a mesh pouch opposite can be used for smaller gadgets. Despite space for a tablet in the front-most section, those with a plethora of tech and cables may want to look elsewhere, particularly if there's the need to squeeze a hefty lunchbox in too.
However, anyone with minimal kit – and keen for a bag to keep both owner and tech safely out of public eye – will no doubt appreciate its simplicity. Its inexpensive pricing is also a plus, of course.
Reg Rating 70%
More info GearZap
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I bought a Crumpler half-photo about a dozen years ago when going on a long trip. I wanted something that could take a fair amount of gear, some knocking about and was waterproof. The only thing I could find was a Crumpler and I haven't regretted it.
They are expensive but do come with a 30yr guarantee. Mine has been sailing trips to Far East, on safari, a round-the-world and Cape-to-Cairo. I've carried laptops, cameras, phones, ext HDDs and accompanying paraphernalia without one item getting damaged or wet. Even when I'm drenched, the insides stay dry.
I cycled for years in London in all weathers and went over the handlebars a few times without any damage or damp.
I was leery of the price when I bought it, but now it seems a bargain, particularly as it's barely marked, has retained its structure and still gets the job done.
No, I don't work for them - it's just nice to get what you pay for and then some...
...worth the money. Mine has been all over the world and is absolutely bulletproof. The Pakuma I had before it fell to pieces in about three months.
What about us bikers?
I've found the kriega ranga to be actually waterproof, as have done long journeys with their tail units (I have a US-20 plus the side attachy bits whatever the model is) in torrential downpours - you know the type that gets your goretex kit thouroughly soked, yet opening the bags I find 100% dry clothes and laptop.
My mate has their backpack jobby and his kit was also dry. Would any of the listed bags be trustworthy in a similar downpour? i.e.: is water resistant the same as actually rain proof?
Re: No Timbuk2?
I'm still rocking a 10+yo Dee Dawg messenger bag. None of your fancy padded backs or a gazillion little pockets to search through when you can't remember which one has your change/notepad/pen/commuter pass. Just a big honkin' waterproof bag with a proper strap. No mesh, no elastic, no apologies and no prisoners. I have a sleeve for my laptop and a pencil case for fiddly bits. My power brick has its own rubbery band thing, and any other cables just get coiled up and tossed in. Works a treat, and since I'm only about twenty years from retirement I don't imagine I'll ever have to replace it.
I see the Swiss pack a lot but personally I use an older Timbuk2 Swig backpack. This is a fairly basic hauler which meets my needs of being big enough to haul an HP 8530W and small enough to fit in a BMW motorcycle saddle bag. Mine was out of date and thus cheap, the newer ones have a nicer back panel and a sternum strap.
Their especial dos and tres are also well regarded.