By Nick Caruso
It’s become a necessary part of my life – and no doubt to some extent yours too – that I must always have my computer and other gadgets along with me when I go anywhere for longer than a workday. Without my laptop, I can’t work; without charging cables, my laptop won’t work; I also need a phone cable, and maybe a few USB drives… catch my drift? What bugs me most isn’t that I have to take my electronics along with me, even on short trips; rather, it’s that I have to pack them all…
My bag arsenal consists of a computer sling, a messenger bag, an overnight bag, a duffel, a roller, and a backpack, and I also have a leather laptop sleeve. Problem is, when I travel, these separate pieces don’t really…fit each other – I can’t get the laptop sleeve in the messenger bag, and the computer sling isn’t able to carry two chargers. The sleeve is small enough to slide into the overnight bag or the duffel bag, but then it rattles around and makes the whole assembly unwieldy. For those of you keeping track, this is what would be considered a slew of “First World Problems.”
Regardless, there is a solution, and an elegant one at that. Unit Portables, a Stockholm, Sweden-based company churning out creative, functional, attractive solutions to the gear-schlepping dilemmas we’re all oh-so familiar with. Shoulder bags, iPad bags, document bags, accessory bags – the product range is impressive, and each is identified by a different Unit number, making a very sensible system out of the whole line. I’m the proud owner of Unit 05 Overnight Bag, which includes Units 06, 07, and 08 as well. In numerical order, those extra units are a mesh Travel Pouch, a Laptop Sleeve, and a Cable Bag.
Allow me to elaborate. The Overnight Bag is the perfect size for a change of clothes and some ‘stuff,’ and will settle beneath an airplane seat, in the overhead bin, the car footwell, or next to you on the train with ease. What’s more, it’s quite comfortable to carry, even when loaded to the brim. I was recently forced to walk almost three miles through Manhattan while bar hopping (more like bar commuting), and I had the Overnight Bag on my shoulder the whole way, with nary a complaint to be heard. As Unit Portables point out, the see-through mesh Unit 06 Travel Pouch is helpful for travelers going through security at airports, and will fit all the little travel-sized goodies you’d ever need. The Unit 07 Laptop Sleeve is a slim affair, and comes in 13″ and 15″ sizes. Generously sized, the Unit 08 Cable Bag is a flat, clamshell shape, and zips open fully to reveal two elasticized pockets for cables and miscellany.
The best part of the Unit Portables experience, though, is how they all fit together. Each of the smaller units has loops that snap open and closed, in order to be attached to the Overnight Bag in any manner of placements, both inside and out. Fasten the 07 to the outside of the 05 for easy access, and the 06 and 08 can roost along the inner walls with your clothing, safely tucked out of the way. Or snap each unit in a totally different spot entirely. Everything is held in place, and the positions are fully customizable.
Overall, this is a great system, and just what I need. I dig how compact and well thought out the whole shebang is, and now I can rest easy when packing for my gear-laden weekend journeys into the unforgiving First World.
Shop for your own Unit Portable system online at http://unitportables.myshopify.com/, or if you’re in NYC, check them out in person at one of these locations: AC Gears (69 E. 8th Street), Scissor (80 Varick Street), and Vetted (10-10 44th Avenue Studio 317, Long Island City).