Harry Hoard Premium Laptop Case – Review

Harry Hoard Premium Laptop Case
Company: Crumpler Bags

Price: $240, with free shipping from the company’s online store
Available in black, brown, green, or red

Crumpler Bags from Australia (and New York City) provided three laptop carrying cases from their new Squirrel line for our MyMac evaluation. Donny reviewed one, Owen is working on a second, and here is mine.

Harry Hoard (abbreviated as HH) is a large, overbuilt, heavily padded, colorful, and expensive laptop briefcase or shoulder bag for the strong, stylish, and unlimited budget crowd. HH has an unusual array of permanent and removable storage and portable office compartments within a thick, cushioned, and balanced body. This product is a love-it-or-hate-it flagship addition to Crumpler Bags’ quirky and idiosyncratic collection of stellar computer cases.

Warning: the company’s web site has been updated, but it is still bizarre. The link provided here is low-tech, if you have trouble with Crumpler’s Flash-based pages that include additional info plus a cute video of Harry Hoard unloading itself.

HH’s handle is massive and comfortable. During the last dozen years of reviewing laptop cases and packs, MyMac has often been disappointed with top-dollar items that have inadequate handles. This is a stupid spot for bag manufacturers to save a little money. When you pick up a loaded Harry Hoard by its hefty handle, you know you can run for a bus or hang on to a subway pole with full confidence the handle will remain on the case and not in your confused fingers.

A large, sturdy black strap with insufficient shoulder pad appears to be permanently affixed to HH’s sides. With a little investigation, you can figure out how to remove the strap if you don’t need it. Or you can purchase one of two much larger padded shoulder pads, and replace the dinky original one. MyMac wonders why Crumpler includes the smallest pad on HH’s strap, instead of at least the medium-sized one. For this much money, and when carrying a heavy load, the original pipsqueak pad is a serious disappointment.

Examining Harry Hoard’s storage from the outside in, we find one each of a:

• Zippered, velcro-secured pair of deep large-man’s-hand-sized pockets suitable for food, water, supplies, portable electronics, cameras, cables, and other smallish stuff.

• Velcro-secured single deep pocket for papers, magazines, and similar flat objects.

• Versatile portable office or student supply section that pulls up via an embedded handle to expose pockets and inserts for paper, pens, pencils, business cards, batteries, iPods, phones, adapters, and accessories. I use this sliding sectional all the time. It isn’t removable; instead it remains on two recessed glide straps that should be durable for a few hundred thousand miles of tugs and releases.

• Angled three-zone space for more papers or thin accessories. I keep my folding laptop stand in one. Two are open-top, and one is zippered. Clever magnetized straplets keep this area accessible and safe at the same time, as needed.

• Large and secure interior primary area for portable computer, 15″ or smaller. Computer can reside directly within HH, or it can fit into a removable, padded, open-top sleeve that uses velcro for closure and for stability within the case, as appropriate.

Harry Hoard is not an ultralight! The base case is substantial enough that Olympic weightlifters will sense its size even when HH is empty. Fully loaded, HH is a large, rectangular mass that is impossible to ignore, and not especially svelte, if that’s your priority.

I’ve been using this Crumpler case as my primary traveling office ever since I received it months ago. It’s so different from what I was using previously that it took me a few weeks to be fully conversant with its compartments and finer points. MyMac certainly recommends it, but be aware HH’s color, size, and weight are not trivial attributes. If red or green don’t ring your chimes, you can choose boring black or blah brown.

This bag stands tall, literally. HH is very stable in the upright position, open or closed, which we applaud. With its heavily padded exterior and bottom, if you drop the computer case on a colleague’s shoe or a client’s child, no permanent damage will occur. Construction is top quality throughout: “Water resistant 600D polyester shell, 150D Ripstop lining, Brushed polyester lined main compartment.”

People’s eyes bulge when they see me coming with my bulging, bright red Harry Hoard. I’m a colorful character, so they get used to me and my jumbo portable office. If you have the cash, and don’t want your computer to suffer a physical crash or an occasional splash, then dash over to CrumplerBags.com for additional information.

Hey! I just found a secret magnetic-closing slot and pocket, between the zippered office supplies section and the main frame. An open pocket can contain an iPod, iPhone, or travel documents, and an arm-wide pass-through is perfect for slipping HH over the handle of a rolling travel suitcase. I’ll use both of these areas next time I’m going out of town.

4 out of 5 MyMac rating


Hi-res video of Bianca Dillon from Crumpler with Owen and Nemo, at Macworld Expo 2008

Review by Donny of Reginald Transfer budget priced laptop case from Crumpler’s Squirrel Line

Review by Ilene Hoffman of Chester Squander for MacNN

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