Update 4 Nov 2020: Use coupon code ARTFORGOOD for $10 off.
Big thanks to Funk St. Outfitters for providing the bag for this review. This is not a paid review though.
I've been looking for a sling bag for my 12.9-inch iPad Pro for the longest time. I usually use my backpack but it's too big when sometimes what I want to bring is only the tablet.
This was how I brought along another tablet, 12.4-inch Samsung Tab S7+, to sketch outdoors before I had the bag. I had the tablet in hand all the time and it was drizzling. I wanted to use my backpack but as mentioned, it's too big for just one tablet.
So it was pure coincidence when Bryan from Funk St Outfitters asked if I wanted to review a tablet sling bag he's selling.
This is the Commuterpak, a bag made for tablets such as the iPad Pro. It can fit other tablets of course.
Price is US $79.
By the way you can use coupon code TEOH5 to get $5 off and free international shipping.
This bag can be used as a sling, waist bag or a front satchel.
Side profile is quite thin so it's rather compact.
You can sling it from the left or right.
And you can sling it from the front too to make it more secure from pickpockets.
The bag also comes with a detachable strap. The main strap attached to the bag is not detachable though. So if you use this detachable strap, then you would have two straps.
This detachable strap comes with a cushion pad for extra comfort.
On one end are snap-on buttons to connect strap so that it can go round the ring on the side of the bag.
On the other end is this hook.
The main strap wide and already quite comfortable to carry so I don't really use the detachable strap.
There are no visible pockets in front. The gray part is a reflective strip.
The material seems splash-proof enough. The bag only comes in one colour, black.
Dimensions of the bag: W: 11.5" (29.21cm) H: 9.0" (22.86cm) D: 4.5" (11.43cm).
Weight: 13.5 ounces (382g)
The bag uses a Fidlock magnetic buckle. it's not the usual buckle where you press on two sides to release.
To release the buckle, you have to pull the string upwards. This will detach the front buckle from the triangle protrusion which keeps the buckle in place.
It's a very functional design. It's different from usual buckles so it's going to baffle pickpockets for a while.
This buckle is magnetic so it snaps back and locks on easily.
Not sure about build quality since I only have the bag for a few weeks, but the stitching looks good.
Behind the cover are two large zipped pockets that measure height: 6.5" (16.51cm), width 4.0" (10.16cm), depth: 1.0" (2.54cm).
The pocket is big enough to house a Winsor & Newton 12 full pan watercolour box (picture). So it's certainly big enough to house the typical 12-half pan metal box.
It wasn't however big enough to house my iPhone 11 Pro Max (15.8 x 78 x 8 cm | 6.22 x 3.06 x 0.32 in) with case though — not tall enough. It's not an issue because there's a phone pocket inside the main compartment.
There are two zippers and the zip is designed to keep out water (you can't see the "teeth"). You can position the zippers to the top so that they are concealed behind the cover.
On the opposite side of the cover is a strap you can use to, erm, hold stuff. Pens are too long for the strap though.
Inside the main compartment two big pockets, one for the tablet, and one with more pockets.
The tablet pocket is 26.98 x 19.38cm (10 5/8 x 7 5/8 inches).
These are some tablet sizes for comparison
- 12.3-inch Surface Pro 7: 292 x 201 x 8.5 mm
- 13-inch Surface Pro X: 287 x 208 x 7.3 mm
- 12.4-inch Samsung Tab S7+: 285 x 185 x 5.7 mm
- iPad Pro 12.9: 281 x 215 x 5.9 mm
- iPad Pro 11: 248 x 179 x 5.9 mm
All the 12-inch+ big tablets can't fit the tablet pocket. Only 12-inch and smaller tablets can fit.
The big tablets can fit into the other pocket though, thankfully.
This bag would be more versatile if the tablet pocket was just big enough to fit the 12.9-inch iPad Pro.
When the cover is closed, the interior pockets are not exposed and are well protected from water (light rain).
So this is the pocket that can fit the 12.9 iPad Pro.
In this pocket are several smaller pockets:
- A phone pocket that's big enough for the 6.5-inch iPhone 11 Pro Max or 6.9-inch Samsung Note 20 Ultra
- A horizontal pen pocket
- A mesh pocket with zip
- Another sleeve pocket shaped for a phone but not deep enough for a phone
Here I've fitted an A5 sketchbook in the tablet pocket, a phone, a colour pencil box in the other big pocket, and a pen.
Note the zipper for the mesh pocket. That's a metal zipper which will be in contact with a tablet beside so make sure you have a tablet case to prevent scratches.
On the back are pretty thick padded cushions.
Here are my two typical setups and things I pack:
- A5 sketchbook
- Watercolour palette box
- Water mister bottle
- Watercolour pocket brush
- Fountain pen
- Wet wipes
Digital sketching setup
- Either 12.9 iPad Pro or Tab S7+
- Wet wipes
I may also add an A5 sketchbook with a fountain pen to the digital sketching setup so that I can draw with ink, and colour with watercolour back home.
Design looks good. It's compact and functional. This bag is discreet with the use of the Fidlock buckle and concealed pockets and zippers.
The build quality seems durable but I'll definitely update the review in a few months' time regarding this.
It's a missed opportunity not to make the tablet pocket 1-2 cm larger which would allow it to fit the 12.9-inch iPad Pro. You can fit the 12.9-inch iPad Pro in the other big pocket but having it in its on tablet pocket would be better and allow you to pack other stuff into the big pocket. This is my only quibble.
I've brought the bag out on a few occasions and I do enjoy how compact it is. It's big enough for me to bring all the necessary sketching equipment out but not too big that there's wasted space.
If you use the main strap, the bag will not swing around like a messenger bag. I use a skateboard so not having anything swinging is good and something I appreciate.
I'm not knowledgeable about other similar types of bags so I can't make comparison. You can decide whether it's worth the money for you.
Overall, it's a good bag. Something I can recommend easily to digital artists, urban sketchers or anyone who packs light.
You can get it at https://funkstoutfitters.com
Use coupon code ARTFORGOOD for $10 off.