The Daily Mail reports that four in five men now carry a manbag, which on average weighs more than a typical lady’s handbag. It’s a trend attributable to the need to carry an ever-growing number of electronic gadgets such smartphones, iPads, Kindles, and laptops in addition to the traditional and pocketable keys and wallets.
I can identify. I read the Daily Mail piece shortly after returning from a road trip during which I carried my iPad in a Waterfield Sleevecase, which I suppose qualifies as a manbag (although not a “murse,” since it has little excess capacity for anything more than the tablet in its cover case). However, Waterfield has a workaround for that that I’ll get to in a moment.
The Daily Mail report says that on average, contents of a manbag are worth £1,108 and weigh 1.5 kilograms, while a typical woman’s handbag weighs in at a more modest 1.2 kilograms, the median having actually dropped by 61% over the past three years, thanks to gadgets becoming smaller. The contents of my Sleevecase are whatever the residual value of a used 16 GB WiFi iPad 2 and a used Acme Orikata case amount to, plus, of course, the value of the Sleevecase itself.
But are iPad manbags making men “effeminate?”
Commenting on the iDevice driven manbag proliferation, CNET’s Chris Matyszczyk notes that purses are a sensitive subject, and “murses” even more so, but evidence such as the metrics cited in the Daily Mail piece is that men are carrying more murses, and technology is to blame. However Matyszczyk expresses confusion that men apparently feel the need to carry iPads around in large girlie bags, while women increasingly don’t feel the need to carry them around at all, or is it that women’s bags are getting smaller because they are using separate bags for their iPads and other tech paraphernalia?
Personally, I don’t have any gender identity issues or anxiety about carrying the Sleevecase. It’s relatively compact, and rugged enough in appearance to satisfy my standards for masculinity affirmation, while not being so excessively macho that a woman would feel uncomfortable carrying it. The wide web shoulder strap connected to the Sleevecase with hefty quick-release carabiner clips underscores the businesslike effect.
The only sour note as aforenoted is that there isn’t enough room to stuff the iPad’s power adapter into the Sleevecase comfortably. The solution to that is Waterfield’s “PiggyBack” auxiliary case option, a small pouch that attaches onto the Sleevecase that’s tailor-made for that job. As noted, my Sleevecase is equipped with the optional shoulder strap, and the extra weight and bulk of the piggyback case (itself available in four sizes) is not much extra burden.
Like most Waterfield computer bags, the Sleevecase is highly configurable, and available in a variety of configurations and accessory options. Actually, my Sleevecase is a model made to accommodate a small Apple laptop, but Waterfield makes a dedicated iPad model sized for a snug fit and that is TSA Checkpoint Friendly.
The Sleevecase is made of ballistic nylon just like bigger Waterfield computer bags, with your choice Indium color or Leather accent across the bottom. It comes in 30 or so sizes in horizontal or vertical orientations.
My Sleevecase is a horizontal model with optional flap and also optional ($22.00) adjustable suspension shoulder strap of 1-1/2-inch nylon webbing with a fixed shoulder pad (complete with “traction” panel) and those high quality quick-release carabiner hooks on stout swivels that snap onto beefy metal D-rings fastened to the Sleeve Case with stitched web loops. As a service to their customers, San Francisco Designs will retro-fit SleeveCases returned for upgrading with the shoulder strap options for the standard option price.mm
The SleeveCase’s computer compartment is padded with what looks and feels like 1/4-inch or 3/16-inch neoprene “wet suit” type foam backed material. There is also a full-width pocket on the back panel, which I find handy for carrying a file folder when needed, and my only criticism is that there is no Velcro or zipper closure to secure content in the pocket.
The Waterfield Sleevecase makes a very satisfactory lightweight computer bag for day-tripping, especially with the optional flap and shoulder strap, but to carry that power adapter, dongles and cables and other oddments you’ll want that auxiliary “Piggyback” or “Piggyback Mini” case ($25-$27).
Made from matching ballistic nylon with reinforced zippers, the Piggyback has soft divider pockets inside to protect your power adapter, even a small external drive or what-have-you. Note that if you are ordering a Piggyback for your Sleevecase, it must have D-rings sewn onto the sides in order for the Piggyback to have a place to attach. Waterfield is happy to add these for you for a nominal $5 plus the cost of return shipping.
The Piggyback available in four sizes:
- Horizontal $25 / 11.0″ to 9.0″ x 7.0″ / 5 oz.
- Vertical $25 / 10.0″ to 8.0″ x 9.5″ / 5 oz.
- Mini Horizontal $25 / 9.0″ to 7.0″ x 5.75″ / 3 oz.
- Mini Vertical $25 / 8.3″ to 6.5″ x 7″ / 3 oz.