LINK: Orbit Concepts | PRICE: Starts at $130/€130/£130
Why again? Allow me to explain.
Some time ago, the very good people at Orbit Concepts sent me one of their original Jetpack Slim bags. Pitched as the DJ’s day bag, the only way to properly test it was to use it as my commuting to the Worxlab and back sack for a while. And this I did, for a full six months. In that time it ticked more or less every box, but one. But I’ll get to that later.
Thus I hammered a significant number of words into the WordPress editor. And in a feat of spectacular stupidity, I managed to throw the whole thing away while doing some database housekeeping. Idiot.
But then Orbit contacted me to see if I was interested in the new version of the bag. Essentially the same but coming in different fabrics. “Oooh yes please” followed by profuse apologies and an explanation of my total idiocy for failing even the most basic of site management tasks. This new version answers, without prompting, my main issue with the original. But again, I’ll explain this later. Time to see if I can remember the words I wrote down once before. Who am I kidding? I can’t even remember what I had for dinner last night*. Ho hum.
* At the time of writing, it was pasta bake. And when I say pasta bake, I mean cappelletti with diced pancetta and broccoli, in a chopped tomato sauce with fresh oregano and sage, topped with mozzarella, vintage cheddar, and parmigiano reggiano, finished with a liberal handful of fresh basil and olive oil. And I just realised there’s leftovers too. I’m do happy right now.
Much DJ luggage has passed my way over the years, which definitely satiates my inner bag whore. But this one is different — it’s not designed to take your entire DJ setup and the kitchen sink, but is for your day-to-day gubbins. This is the bag you take to the office, to school, or just generally out in the day time hours. It’s not the one that you cram your entire DJ existence into, but allows you to comfortably transport your personal life around.
In my previous review, I described the oh so familiar black nylon material, and lamented how it was just the same as every other bag in existence. Thankfully this has been changed a little, with the new one being available in Hip Hop de rigour camouflage, and in the case of the one next to me, grey. The regulation black is still available too. But certainly in the case of the grey (I don’t have the camo), I feel like it won’t take the knocks that the black nylon will. It does however still feel pretty tough.
The Jetpack Slim complies to airline requirements, and even if crammed full will easily fit into overhead lockers. Hell, it may even pass as a carry on and fit under a seat for all I know. My review budget of zero quid doesn’t allow for flying anywhere to check though. What I do like is how it opens right up front and back — this means that airport security can get easy access to everything should they wish, but for you as the user it means that your small stuff won’t get lost in the bottom of a closed dark bag.
The Jetpack Slim is essentially a rucksack with front and back compartments. The body is semi-rigid, which helpfully offers protection and stops the bag looking like a deflated nylon balloon. The back is for the larger bits of your daytime existence — laptop, tablets, files, books etc. The Slim happily takes my 15” MacBook Pro and a hefty Germanmade sleeve. And for those living in the last decade, it also comes with a CD holder, although that’s easily removable and put straight in the bin. 😉
On a related note, this section will take 12” vinyl, but only if you remove it from its sleeve. This means that purposefully disposable records like battle and control vinyl will be OK to transport. But anything special that you want to protect properly won’t fit.
The front half contains a multitude of pockets, compartments, and sleeves for all your daytime gubbins. There are no real surprises here — it’s been designed to maximise the space with all manner of nooks and crannies, all of which will keep some part of your daytime existence safe.
For me, this includes cameras, phones, endless pens, more notepads than I need, and several sets of keys. And even with all this amount of daily detritus, there still seems to be space when I wanted to put something bigger in there. The diminutive size of the Jetpack Slim belies it’s real Sport Billy omni-sack nature.
In the picture above, I’ve got the following:
- Laptop in heavy sleeve
- DVS vinyl
- Laptop power
- 2 x USB drives
- Many pens
- Good sized book to read
- Reusable coffee cup
And there’s still room for more. And on my back (one shoulder or both), it’s extremely comfortable. That’s because some of the more important features are not the sexiest, such as the foam padding for your back. Or the pass through sleeve that keeps the Slim sat in your wheelie case handle. Or the stash compartment for your keys. Or the flare holders… wait what?
As my day bag for not one but two extended field tests, I soon found that everything I carry around permanently found a safe spot. My old messenger bag was great for just throwing things in, but it lacked the aforementioned nooks. All my small odds and sods simply floated around in the bottom of the bag, getting damaged and in turn damaging the bigger things. It’s a vicious cycle. Everything needs a place.
If I had a functional complaint (well more of a comment) it would be that the soft carry handle at the top of the bag would be slightly more rigid. I don’t always throw the bag on my back, especially in a queue, and found myself having to fumble for it more than I would like. As I said, more a comment — it’s a perfectly well-functioning handle. I just wish it were more rigid.
NOT AIMED AT ONE BAG COMPANY IN PARTICULAR BUT…
It’s clear that I’m a big fan of the Jetpack Slim. But as a day bag i.e. being seen out during the day, and largely being an extension of my style and character, looks play a greater part than with a regular utility DJ bag. I get that they have to take a huge amount of abuse, and should be made accordingly.
But the Jetpack Slim must be a good-looking as well as functional. And the black nylon edition, while supremely functional as a day bag, doesn’t say anything about my own sense of style, character, or personality. The camo edition will definitely find favour with hip hop heads, and the grey one adopts a more neutral and possibly more business professional stance in terms of style, and will look more casual than utility on many an owner’s back. It’s just a shame that it’s still dayglo orange when you open it.
There is however the option to adorn your Jetpack Slim with your own choice of graphics. I had started to type “your DJ logo” but then it occurred to me that you could add any graphics you wanted. Got a statement to make? Jetpack will happily embroider it (one logo for $85, and $160 for a pair) on your Jetpack Slim, but only if you order from them directly. You can have multiple colours, but no shades or gradients. I have to say that the DJWORX logo looks fantastic, and I’ve seen others on social media that really pop. But to achieve that can cost more than the bag itself.
But this old man is all about antique leather, brass, and heavy canvas. If someone made a DJ day bag that say Barbour would make, I’d be in luggage heaven. For now, my unnecessarily huge Billingham camera bag (50th birthday pressie) will have to do I guess. But my point is that as a day bag, perhaps some additional colour ways would be welcome. It’s absolutely time for DJ bags to step outside the black nylon and plastic fitting bubble.
This however is a personal preference, and doesn’t impact on how well the Jetpack Slim works as a day bag, which if you haven’t worked it out by now is first class. The bag is light to start with (unlike my Billingham), has all the pockets you’ll need on a daily basis (I can literally add more to my Billingham too), and is extremely comfortable on your back. It has graciously accepted everything I’ve thrown at it (including a mixer leaving little room for anything else), and has lived to tell the tale.
The DJ market is well serviced with bags and rucksacks of every conceivable shape and size. So it’s nice when a manufacturer of such things decides to offer something rather more diminutive to serve the daily needs of the same DJs. And depending on your needs, the Jetpack Slim also serves as a small DJ bag too, with obvious compromises on lugging mixers, controllers, and vinyl. After all, your pocket is big enough for a USB key — how big a bag to you need in the digital age anyway?