Crumpler’s The Salary Sacrifice Backpack Review (pics)

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Crumpler The Salary Sacrifice

Crumpler’s The Salary Sacrifice backpack is designed for owners of 12″ and under notebooks and tablets who want to add a little flair to their carrying case. It’s not hung up on good looks alone though, the Sacrifice is comfortable and offers a good deal of flexibility.


Bag Specs

  • Exterior: 11.8″ x 17.7″ x 8.3″
  • Sleeve: 10.2″ x 11.8″ x 1.4″
  • Weight: 2.75 pounds
  • Shell: Water resistant 1000D nylon


Bag Overview


Sacrifice front view (view larger)

The Sacrifice comes in four colors; our review unit is the dark brown, oatmeal and orange combination. The color combinations scream style, all four are put together well and even our conservatively colored review bag shows its true personality when you open it up. The bright orange interior and exterior accents really make the Sacrifice stand out from the crowd.


Sacrifice from the side (view larger)

The exterior feels and looks a lot like canvas. It’s really a 1000D water-resistant nylon shell though. The pack is full of innovation and interesting features. Perhaps the most obvious is the main compartment zipper mechanism. The bag is actually designed to be opened face down, to give better access and to prevent the back and straps from getting dirty.  The zipper comes down the sides of the pack around to the back to allow for a large opening when unzipped.

Crumpler The Salary Sacrifice
Sleeve attached to the bag (view larger)

The inside of the bag is a little unique too. The main notebook sleeve is actually locked into place with Velcro. It’s easily removed; which means you can take the sleeve with you and leave the pack behind. In many cases it’s great to have that option, when traveling short distances or to meetings and such. The sleeve is padded, but it’s not the thickest; the sleeve isn’t good for high impact situations. The bottom of the bag isn’t padded at all, so the sleeve is your only impact protection. It is elevated though, so it doesn’t sit on the bottom of the bag. The sleeve also offers a zippered pocket, along with two pen holsters and three business card sized slots. The design of these pockets isn’t that good though. The zipper is hard to open, being obstructed when even small pens are loaded in the sleeve. Additionally, the three business card sized slots are very shallow; fitting five cards in each pocket is tight.

Crumpler The Salary Sacrifice
Sleeve by itself (view larger)

Opposite the sleeve are three internal pockets. One on top is a mesh zippered pocket that’s easy to access. It’s great for storing an MP3 player or other small electronics. A little lower and on the sides are two 8″ deep pockets secured with Velcro. These are perfect for PDAs, cables or other taller items. While the main compartment isn’t huge; you will be able to fit several file folders, magazines or perhaps a text book or two. This isn’t really a problem though, since the goal of this pack is to be light and portable.


Pockets opposite the sleeve (view larger)

On the front of the Sacrifice are two zipper pockets that mirror the space taken up by the internal ones. They’re also deep, which is fine, but the zippered openings aren’t very wide. I had a hard time getting my hands to the bottom of the pockets, something that made them almost unusable. People with smaller hands than me (3.5″ wide) will probably be fine though. One downer is Crumpler didn’t include any mesh pockets on the front of the pack. I love those for stashing a bottled water or other items that I want quick access to. They bag does have two loops that make it easy to attach a water bottle via carabiner, but that’s more effort than I like to invest.


Sacrifice back (view larger)

The back of the Sacrifice is very well padded, complete with a spine slot for comfort. The straps are also nice and thick, making this one of the most comfortable bags I’ve tested, something that’s refreshing in a bag of this size As I noted early on, the styling of the bag is great. This is true all the way down to the smallest details, like the buckles for the shoulder straps. The main buckles are tucked underneath fabric on the straps, hiding everything but the release lip from view. The straps also offer two D rings for clipping on accessories and two thin retro-style reflector strips. If you need more support, the pack offers a chest strap. The only down side I found with this part of the pack is the handle on top of the bag. It’s very rigid and I frequently noticed it poking into my back. It isn’t painful or even that much of a problem, but it’s enough to be annoying from time to time. I’m told this is a known design issue that impacts some people and Crumpler intends to remedy this with a revised design.


Conclusion

Crumpler stands for style, even if style means being a little goofy. To see what I mean, check out their website. The Salary Sacrifice is a great looking bag, perhaps the best looking bag I’ve ever used. It’s also very comfortable, even after long periods of wear. The sub 3-pound weight is also great; meaning this pack probably won’t outweigh the notebook you intend on carrying. While I really enjoy the Sacrifice, it’s not perfect. The sleeve or pack needs improved padding, easier access to the pockets and a handle that doesn’t poke the wearer in the back.

Pros:

  • Great styling
  • Comfortable over long periods
  • Excellent construction
  • Removable sleeve

Cons:

  • Padding is a little light
  • Some pockets hard to access

Bottom Line:

At $130 The Salary Sacrifice is expensive, but the number doesn’t really scare me, especially when compared to other high-end competition. I’m more concerned about some of the minor issues I’ve noted. It’s a great looking pack though and is very comfortable, aside from the handle. If you’re easy on the bag and have smaller hands than I do, you’ll probably enjoy this bag and you’ll earn many more style points than anyone else you know.


Purchase Information

Crumpler offers the Salary Sacrifice in four color combinations for $130.


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