T-Tech Adventure Wheeled Carry-On Backpack – Review


Company: Tumi

T-Tech Adventure Wheeled Carry-On Backpack, Style 5772R (Red)
Price: $295.00

Alpha Neoprene Medium Laptop Cover, Style 26155
Price: $75

From the moment I departed home until I collapsed upon return a week later, Tumi’s exceptional Wheeled Backpack accompanied me. On every stairway, sidewalk, escalator, airplane, train, monorail, bus, and automobile, this amazing rolling rucksack was a champion.

At San Francisco’s 2009 Macworld Expo, the faithful Tumi Style 5772R was always within my grasp or sight, never more than a few inches away. Casual observation would lead people to say or think, “Oh, there goes Nemo with his little red roller, just like every year at Macworld Conference.” Little did they know this wheeled case is like no other.

Tumi is an American company with a global brand. How can they have the nerve to charge nearly $300 for a basic rolling pack? What’s so special about it to make the price so expensive?

CONSTRUCTION is rugged and overbuilt. Fabric, zippers, and wheels are the best we’ve ever seen or used. The extension bar is wide and thick, with a strong but responsive press-shut/open spring, and a rubber handle that is easy on the fingers. Top deck grab handle is beefy, yet flexible and comfortable for carrying.

DESIGN is clever and straightforward, with a few surprises. Tall, vertical zippered side pockets are great for water bottles, travel food, newspapers, roll-up garments, and quite a bit more. An unusual rear flap contains the well-padded shoulder straps when in roller mode, and then Velcro’s out of the way when used in backpack mode.

STABILITY is best-of-class. Regardless of how it was loaded or positioned, 5772R remained upright and ready for action. Wheels and extension handle did their jobs over curbs and up/down steps without any complaints.

VERSATILITY is deceptive. As a weekender non-computer case, this Wheeled Carry-On Backpack can go anywhere, any time. Loaded with techie gear, I suggest you use self-contained interior pouches and sleeves, so your computer can reside flat against the back section in a padded sleeve, for easy access when needed. I was concerned this would be difficult to maneuver at the Expo, and now I’m a believer.

SIZE is just right for under an airport seat or in an airline overhead bin. The physical profile is slim, but the capacity is ample.

PORTABLE OFFICE? Nope. Only minimal slots are provided for this purpose, but clever use of individual interior smaller independent pouches and sleeves that you provide can get the job done to your specifications. My primary gadget bag was Boot by SpireUSA, which holds a vast array of cables and assorted gear.

Traveling to San Francisco from Arizona, I loaded the red Tumi case with clothing and food. During the week-long Expo and on the journey home, the pack was packed solid with techie gear. (I traveled with an additional non-rolling backpack, to be reviewed separately.) Fabric and zippers are tough enough to withstand rigorous use, and flexible enough to perform as advertised when in stress mode. I have confidence I could attend different faraway conferences every week of the year for many years without breakdowns or repairs.

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This case is part of Tumi’s new T-Tech line. A basic luggage lock is provided that is easy to program to your individual combination. Each pack has a serial number and a phone number to call if the luggage is lost and found. From the company web site:

In March 1999, Tumi introduced Tumi Tracer—an exclusive, innovative and complimentary program for our customers that helps reunite people with their lost or stolen items. Since that time, Tumi Tracer has helped thousands of our customers reclaim their luggage and business cases.

The core of the Tumi Tracer program is a unique 20-digit individual product bar code number printed on a special metal plate that is permanently affixed to Tumi luggage, business cases, casual bags and timepieces. That number, along with the owner’s name, address and phone number will be entered into our Tracer database when a bag is registered with us.

If a lost or stolen Tumi Tracer item is found, the finder can call the free, worldwide collect Tumi Tracer hotline number (732.748.8864) that is also printed on the metal plate. Once the 20-digit number is reported, Tumi will match the number with the owner’s information, notify the customer that the bag has been found and provide information on how the bag can be recovered.

All Tumi Tracer products come with a written explanation of the program and a product registration card. You may choose to register by mail, at an authorized Tumi retailer, or online.

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My Apple laptop traveled in Tumi’s gorgeous, expensive Transportation Security Administration approved black, zippered, Alpha neoprene sleeve. Like the backpack, this humble sleeve is a world apart from others we have used. It’s a one-trick pony that will win any Triple Crown derby without breaking a sweat.

We have reviewed other “premium” rollers and packs here at MyMac Magazine, all priced under $200. At nearly twice the price of previous competitors, Tumi’s 5772R Wheeled Backpack is without hesitation far superior to all of them when style, construction, and versatility are your top criteria. The price? Worth every penny!

Reminders: T-Tech Adventure Wheeled Carry-On Backpack is not dedicated laptop computer luggage. Instead, it is an all-purpose, go-anywhere rolling rucksack with a top-tier pedigree and sterling specifications. You will need a separate sleeve to travel with your precious portable computer. Clothing, tech gear, and personal effects can cohabit this compact, wondrous weekender, with its unusual side pockets being a definite bonus. Choose your interior pouches and sleeves carefully, to maximize the pack’s efficiency. This is a comfortable, well-balanced grab-case, rucksack, and roller, depending upon the situation.

Before sending their Wheeled Backpack for our MyMac evaluation, the company representative asked if it would be re-sellable after the review. I said no, due to the demanding travel and professional wear it would sustain during Macworld Expo, the most strenuous week of the year. Now that I’m back home, the red roller is not exactly in mint condition, but aside from a few modest blemishes, its appearance is surprisingly fresh and jolly. I’m planning for another trip, and I can’t wait to use Tumi’s backpack again.

MyMac rating: 4.5 out of 5. It would receive a perfect score if a few more portable office features were included, to put a bit more “tech” into the T-Tech brand.

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