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Product Review: Proporta’s Gadget Bag

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Chances are you carry quite a few bits and bobs on a daily basis. As a self-confessed geek, I carry (in no particular order) an iPod, a pair of headphones for the iPod, a wallet, a NintendoDS Lite, a mobile phone, a hands free kit for the mobile phone, some form of portable charging device for both the iPod and mobile phone, car keys, house keys, a book, a notepad… the list goes on.

In the winter when wearing a nice, roomy coat or jacket, I've got a number of pockets in which to store my equipment. That said, there's always the danger of reaching critical mass; at which point you're going to need a bigger jacket (or maybe you'll just explode). A Clint Eastwood-style duster or greatcoat is ideal, but lacking in practicality. Inevitably, the summer comes and my jacket (or greatcoat) needs to be retired, and I'm left with a bit of a problem.

Enter Proporta's cleverly named Gadget Bag, which just might be the answer to the above problem.

Previously I've used either a satchel-esque record bag to carry my possessions, or the RoadWired Pod. The satchel is great for larger items, but has a tendency to eat your iPod and not play nice and give it back when asked. The Pod served me well, but is designed in such a way as to hold very specific items (there are obvious sections for batteries, for example; not something I carry). And it looks quite a lot like a camera bag.

The Gadget Bag is smarter than your average bag: it's a lot flatter than a camera bag, and yet it seems to hold a marvelous amount of gadgetery. It's designed with three main compartments (although it arguably has four). The two symmetrical front compartments – which are removable if they're surplus to your requirements – are designed to house your iPod, or your phone; whatever you like, really. I've comfortably fit my iPod (other mass storage MP3 players are available) in one side, my smart-phone in the other, and still had room to spare.

Then there's the larger rear section – this is twice the size of the front compartments, and will easily consume a couple of DVD cases. Within this third compartment is the fourth, a smaller pouch-like pocket that's intended to house headphones, I suspect. It "Velcros" to the inside of the bag, and has comfortably accommodated my USB keyfob since I started using the bag.

Each of these sections (with the exception of the pocket) has a rubberized opening to allow the use of headphones or a wired hands-free kit. Without opening zips or puncturing your bag, you can easily thread your cables out of one compartment and into the other, or your ears, or hands. As an example, a battery powered charging device can live in one of the smaller front compartments, and the cable can run into the second and charge a device.

Thanks to their removable nature, you can leave the rest of the bag behind and just take one of the smaller sections with you; handy if you're just taking your iPod out to the car, or over to a friend's house, but don't want to remove everything from the bag first.

The split between the sections is key to the bag's success: you're never rooting around trying to find something, it's either in the left compartment, the right one, of the larger rear one; it's a logical split that doesn't mean you have to learn your way around a maze-like sack with numerous nooks and crannies.

There's a real cleverness to the Gadget Bag; it's clear that a lot of thought has gone into it, and it's been created by someone who is in the same boat as me: lots of gadgets, and not enough pockets. The only (minor) gripes I had were the lack of a smaller carrying handle (it just has a shoulder strap) and the colour – even though I've warmed to the bag's silver, I thought it would be great to see a choice of black or silver bags. I was quite pleased to discover that Proporta now offer a black version, which eliminates the larger of the two, admittedly quite minor, complaints.

This is a wonderful bit of kit, easily the best bag I've ever carried; versatile enough to accommodate everything I've wanted to put in it (and there's a lot), and sufficiently lacking in bulk so as not to get in the way, or on your nerves.

If you read the first paragraph of this review and recognised yourself, even to some small degree, then it's well worth investing in the Gadget Bag. No self-respecting geek should be without one, and there's a lot to like even for "normal" people.

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