So iPhone 5S and 5C mania has died down (although someone needs to tell the entrepreneurs on eBay), OS X Mavericks has yet to go gold master, and the new iPads won’t be trotted out in all their magical unicorn glory for at least a couple of weeks yet. Obviously, only one thing will fill this gaping, Mac-news gap: luggage.
Boy howdy, luggage.
As someone who has schlepped a laptop and other assorted business paraphernalia to and fro betwixt office and home for nigh on 15 years (because such mobile devices were too expensive the first five years of my so-called career), I have developed a rather particular list for what I require in my personal technological man purse. In an era when eBags.com alone lists nearly 1,200 items in their "laptop bags" section, compromising form for function or function for form seems anathema. Yet, like most things used personally but produced en masse, it quickly becomes less about finding the perfect bag and more about finding one that’s close enough. Which technically only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades, but since I can neither tan my own hides nor sew 1050 denier Cordura into shapes more complex than a taco, close enough will have to do.
The last time I went looking for a new laptop tote, I attempted to go a bit old school, opting for a leather shoulder bag with classic buckles. I imagined that, over time, the leather would patina gracefully and obtain a look not dissimilar to Ricardo Montalban’s skin in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khaaaaaaaaaaan. Alas, my rudimentary knowledge of leather coupled with a desire to not drop several, as the kids from 1992 say, Benjamins led me to purchase a bag that only appeared to be of sound quality. If you know what bonded leather is, you know how this story ends—with me cursing the white backing layer that eventually began wearing through. And while said white backing was reminiscent of Mr. Roark’s suit on Fantasy Island, it was not quite the look of rich Corinthian leather for which I had hoped. Instead of looking like something Steve McQueen would toss over his shoulder as he leapt onto a Triumph Bonneville and sped off into the desert sun in search of some unfiltereds, my bag would eventually look like something my grandma would carry to bunko night.
So, the search for a new satchel began. And, reflecting upon the times in which we all now find ourselves, I knew I needed more than just a bunch of Chinese textiles woven into a series of oddly shaped pouches into which my 18 random USB sticks would eventually get lost. I needed a bag capable of getting me, and probably at least one of my children, through the impending zombie apocalypse. I know there’s a full-on 28 Days cycle of undead violence in the offing because I’ve seen it on the TV. And, obviously, the movies. And to those who scoff at the notion that the entertainment industry is an infallible prognosticator of future events, I point to the Great Dobie Gillis Outbreak of 1962.
Naturally, I turned to the world of tactical gear. In days gone by, that would have meant trekking down to Mickey’s Surplus in lovely Kansas City, Kansas ("The Town So Nice They Put Most of It in Missouri to Confuse People"), where inhaling the dusty remains of K-rations before purchasing an authentic East German bayonet lovingly machine-stamped in Taiwan made perfect sense. Sadly, Mickey’s is now 200 miles south of my current residence, and Omaha’s selection of military surplus stores is, conveniently for my wordplay, running at a deficit. To the Internet!
After what my company’s logs tell me were hours of online research, I settled upon the Messenger of Doom tactical messenger bag from Hazard 4. Yes, that’s its real name. No, it did not come pre-loaded with any amount of doom or an actual messenger thereof. Not even a tiny Gollum figurine stabbing a Precious Moments angel. I will not bore you (more) with my imaginary unboxing video, especially when I can just direct you to this one.
As a laptop bag, the MOD works wonderfully. The laptop section is separate from other areas and very well padded, and it fits my 15-inch MacBook Pro Retina quite nicely. (Hazard 4 claims the section will fit a 17-inch MBP, but it looks a little tight to me.) On the storage front, there are plenty of pockets, flaps, and other cubbies to stash just about anything that may legally require stashing. The side panels are bereft of the water bottle pockets that seem to plague most bags these days. (I subsist off caffeine and bile, thank you.) The hardware feels a couple notches above the usual fare, with übertactical box stitching throughout and zipper pulls that won’t yank off within a month. I’m pretty sure that, if I were to run out of shells for my boomstick, I could use the MOD as an impromptu mace and play Pop Goes the Zombie Head with it. At least after I add the spikes.
Which leads me to the best part of the MOD: the MOLLE/PALS webbing that covers much of its surface. With the main flap down, the MOD appears to be a clean, modern messenger bag. But just under the flap, a full panel of MOLLE/PALS webbing awaits for appropriate customization. Like, say, a carrier for three magazines that may or may not belong to the concealed carry weapon that may or may not be strapped in next to it. No, it won’t carry an undead-dominating shotgun, but I wanted a laptop bag, not a tactical viola case. The MOLLE goodness extends to the main pocket area, as well, where I’ve already added an additional pouch to store vampire-repelling garlic and holy water (because the first word in True Blood ain’t "fiction," Sookie).
Admittedly, I have only tested my black MOD for half of its intended purposes—the toting of my office gear. But, assuming my background check checks out and the oracles of the airwaves don’t let me down, I’ll be set to start picking off slow-moving Dobie Gillises until the cows come home. Which is usually around 8:30.