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Review: TUMI’s Luke Roll Top manages to be a charming business backpack

TechCrunch TechCrunch 1/06/2016 Stefan Etienne

Though the Tumi Luke Roll Top is expensive for a backpack, it partially makes up for this by taking a military-inspired look (the roll-top) and heavily stylizing it. This says a lot, considering that Tumi typically focuses on appealing to the business aesthetic, rather than just selling pretty backpacks — it just so happens that this one manages to do both.
Price as Reviewed: $395 at Tumi

Basics

  • Measures 19  x 14  x 6 inches
  • Dry weight of 3.2 pounds
  • Made of ballistic nylon and leather (full leather option available)
  • Expanded depth of 25 inches
  • Carries up to a 15″ laptop
  • Two side pockets with waterproof lining

Experience

The usage of a backpack is very linear: it goes on your back and carries your things. Whatever, whenever or wherever your bag might find you is separate from the bag’s job to survive the trip, while also keeping your belongings safe (and easily accessible). This backpack does a good job doing just that.

Think about your favorite shirt, gadget, hat, even the shoes you wear: the taking to heart of the object isn’t instantaneous, but really a series of small events that lead to your loving it. So you can easily take it out a couple of times and it will turn into your favorite backpack.

Unfortunately for me, by liking too many well-designed backpacks that are suitable for different scenarios: cycling, business, adventuring and so on, I don’t really have the chance to use it for everything. After all, there isn’t really a bag that can do it all.

The whole bag is very thoughtful and smart of Tumi, and it shows.
Tumi took the basic roll-top design, added a ton of great zippers and pockets, a means of accessing the roll-top pouch from the zippered section at the back, two waterproof pouches and to top it all off, a long zipper to the side, which let’s you stretch out the backpack and stuff it with ease.

And yes, for the business travelers: there’s a little leather card holder for your contact information — the whole bag exhibits these thoughtful and useful additions.

One thing that always concerns me about backpacks: how they look on my shoulders, but more importantly, a blazer. If the straps are too thick, you look funny. If too thin, it’s looks like a drawstring bag, but somehow Tumi incorporated tons of cushioning on relatively chunky straps without setting my blazer style off. Which is nice, and again something that makes this roll-top appealing to the business traveler.

Also, there”s little to no back sweat, thank heavens.

Bottom Line

Things I don’t like are more subjective, like its lack of more color options, or the exclusion of an elastic pocket for something like a water bottle.

Things I dislike about Tumi’s bag are more subjective, like its lack of more color options other than black, leather, urban camo and green, or the exclusion of an elastic pocket for something like a water bottle — arguably you could just zip the bottle in with one of the front pockets.

For those of you with the budget who need for a business pack styled like a roll top that can double as an everyday carry, then Tumi’s offering should be right up your alley. It’s comfortable to wear, holds a ton of gear (enough for a weekend trip), looks good and holds appearance with different levels of dress.

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