When does a feature become a hassle? When referring to laptop safety versus portability, that's a very good and vexing question. Rickshaw Bagworks, a San Francisco-based company focusing on a high-end line of laptop-carrying messenger bags that use a fair amount of recycled materials, made us wonder about that when testing several of its products. Its Waterproof X-Pac commuter bag ($160) is a case that will withstand downpours or puddles, but it's not exactly the most svelte of computer bags.
A top flap made of waterproof technical sailcloth is, as Rickshaw itself proclaims, lightweight. The rest of the bag, however, feels heavy. Inner waterproof linings on all bag walls make the X-Pac feel very safe, but it also feels as if you're carrying a foldable raincoat over your shoulder. Two zippable outer pockets have a pleasant rubberized padding that's also lined, and inside all of this is an additional, thickly padded (and removable by Velcro) laptop sleeve. Yes, that's a lot of waterproof layering, but perhaps with valuable devices, it's better to be safe than sorry.