Review: Boblbee’s Megapolis Executive Hardpack

by James Bain Oct 15, 2007

Sometimes, life hurts. Painful, unforeseen things can, will, and do happen to you (like my losing the first and almost completed version of this article to a Windows application failure). [save] And if you’re carrying your laptop and a bunch of other stuff with you, do you really want to have all that stuff smashed to bits if you take a tumble? I didn’t think so. [save]

Taking a quick look through my laptop bag here, I find: a laptop with adapter, PDA with cables, digital camera and cables, iPhone with cables, iPod Video (for audio not already on my iPhone) with cables, various earphones in cases, Bluetooth GPS, USB TV tuner, memory card reader with cables, tonnes of cables for other stuff, decongestants, some papers, and three granola bars. Now imagine my taking all this, putting it on my back, stepping up onto my desk and then falling deliberately backwards [save] onto the floor. Does anyone want to take a guess as to how much would be usable after I got out of the hospital emergency room? Now, replace the desk and the deliberate fall with the car (blue as I recall, but that’s all that I recall) that did a hit and run on me on Merivale Road seven years ago, kicking me attitude over arrogance across the sidewalk. With that same load of stuff in a soft backpack, I’m not sure I’d even want to guess what would have happened to my electronic stuff, had I been carrying any that day.

There are, sadly and tragically, much worse and many more accidents out there and I do hope none of them happen to you. But they might. If they did, wearing a helmet might protect your head, but what about your back, let alone your stuff?`

What is a discerning and concerned person to do? Enter the Boblbee Megapolis Executive!

All of Boblbee‘s Megapolis backpacks, the Executive, Sport, and Aero, are TUV Rheinland certified against the toughest standards available for back protection. Whoa! [save]

So, with a suitable helmet and a Megapolis pack, you can laugh at danger! Well, not quite, but it’s close, IMHO.

Boblbee recommends the Megapolis family hardpacks for bike and motorbike riding, skiing, rough hiking, and that sort of trekking stuff. As well, any urban wheeled transportation just cries out for this as well. Personally, however, I think rough hiking, rock climbing, and camping are my presently preferred recommendations, though if I started four season bike commuting again like I did for years and years, this would be on my back in a second.

More detail then:

The carrying portion of the backpack is made out of a monocoque, injection molded one-piece ABS plastic hardshell (BTW, ABS is what a lot of motorcycle helmets are made out of). So, like, it’s really durable. Enough said!

Shape-wise, the Boblbee Megapolis has a really well-designed (and patented) Lumbar Support System, meaning it has the right sort of curve to make sure that the weight in the pack is carried in such a way as to avoid crippling you after any protracted use. The s-design separates the load area of the upper part of the pack from the lower lumbar area above your hips. This weight distribution reduces stress on your pack and greatly eliminates the chances of weight related injury.

Now, what I found really wrapped the design up for me was their G3 (I guess they had two previous versions) Bucketseat harness. They say it gives you the stability and comfort of “a second skin.” My joy was that I didn’t even notice I had it on, it was that comfortable! I can’t remember ever trying on a more comfortable and stable harness. It’s a beaut!

Oh yeah. It’s got a laptop compartment (14” x 10” x 2”/36cm x 26cm x 5cm) which seemed to fit my MacBook Pro 15.4-inch very well. It also fits IATA standards for use as cabin luggage.

There’s also an optional datacom organizer for your discs, cables, mouse, spare battery, cables, and other computer peripherals to keep your accessories at bay, as well as an overnight organizer with space for a shirt and a pair of pants, as well as a detachable toiletry bag.

You can get a detachable cargo net for the Megapolis for everything you’d need handy access to, like your windbreaker, gloves, helmet, headphones, lunch, water bottle, binocular, or pashmina scarf.

If the Executive’s up to 25 litre capacity isn’t enough for you, there’s an optional lumbar cassette/cargo waist pack that fits to the lumbar (go figure) curve of the Megapolis. Its hip pockets can be positioned horizontally or vertically (your choice whether you want them out of the way or accessible). Overall it adds 10 litres to the volume of any Megapolis pack.

If you still want more, the Sidewinders are strap-on side pockets, with convenient ski pole attachments, which can be used with a lumbar cassette as well as by themselves. They add 6 litres on their own. With both, you’ve gone above the magic 40 litre mark where you can reasonably, with a light sleeping bag and small collapsible foam sleeping mat strapped to the outside, start thinking of overnight camping as well! Woo woo!

The Aniara strap-on accessory pocket is a protective plastic shell with room enough for both a cell phone and an iPod at the same time. The included foam dividers protect your accessories from each other and a detachable shoulder strap allows you to use it on its own if you want.

And there are other bits you can add on too, for snowboards and snow shovels and who knows what else, but I haven’t had a chance to check those out as well. If they’re as good as what I’ve tried now, they’re bound to be impressive.

My overall score [save] is 93%! Which translates into the vernacular as “pretty freaking awesome.” Improvement-wise, personally, I wouldn’t mind if it were a bit bigger, 5 litres more spacious say, and had a built-in solar recharger and post for a GPS antenna would have been just swell. And maybe a rehydration reservoir, an oxygen generator, and a microwave. And while I’m asking, I’d like a pony! Seriously, it’s quite impressive and very amazing. It’s a specialty, not an every-day/every-person bag. I have seen one “in the field” as it were, on the back of a skateboarder on Bank Street here in Ottawa. He was wearing a helmet too. Smart guy! Hopefully, if we all take function and safety as seriously as we should, I’m sure I’ll be seeing a lot more of these on the streets and on the slopes in the months and years to come. Take a look, and if you travel in risky areas doing risky things, seriously consider it. Please think just what you (and not just your electronics, incidentally) are worth. Thanks! Stay safe! [save]



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