Members of the SNEWS® team have had their eye on the Haiku bag line for a few years now, admiring the design elements and detailing that made the shoulder bags, purses, laptop cases and backpacks so unique. What held us back from using them was the weight of the bags -- although feminine and functional, they just seemed a bit too heavy to carry while traveling or while cruising around town.
Haiku recognized that it needed to offer lighter bags and launched the new Rumi collection this year. Named after the 13th century Sufi poet who taught love and acceptance, the collection includes a messenger bag, purse and accessory clutch, and each piece is made of lighter-weight recycled fabric. SNEWS testers took the messenger bag for a spin around town, while traveling, and on trips to the office and class -- and were pleased with the results.
The Rumi messenger bag is made of 100-percent, post-consumer recycled fabric made of recycled bottles, and is described by the company as its “everything” bag. It has a laptop sleeve, numerous organization pockets, yoga mat straps, a roller-bag sleeve and a water bottle holder.
Our testers liked that it has so many internal organization pockets internally for things like files, books, computer cords and the like. It also has a zippered file-sized pocket on the back that was handy when we needed to quickly grab work files, boarding passes and passports. One tester noted that she would be less likely to use the bag for true business functions because it lacks an “organizer” for pens, glasses, mints and smaller items.
The laptop compartment is well padded and has a good suspension system, so our testers felt secure about stowing their computers in the bag. The computer pocket has a simple elastic strap with a hook-and-loop closure to secure it in place, and this proved practical when we had to grab a laptop out of the compartment at airport security checkpoints.
One tester liked that the bag has a sleeve that can slip over the handle of a rolling suitcase. It was wide enough so it was easy to get on and off. Also, it fit securely on baggage handles and made one traveling tester feel more confident that all her bags were fixed firmly to each other while hustling from hotels, shuttles and through airport customs.
The side pocket received mixed reviews from our testers. One said it seemed “overcomplicated,” and she couldn’t get a larger diameter water bottle to fit in it and felt it was a bit deep and tight for other smaller items. Another thought it was useful for shorter, smaller-diameter water bottles, and also liked slipping a cell phone or camera into it for quick access while sightseeing.
The closure clips under the front flap were a bit troublesome for testers. While they understood that the clips were placed under the flap for aesthetic reasons, the clips proved to be a pain to access and work with, and testers fumbled with them a bit.
On the plus side, straps on the bottom are designed to expand and hold a yoga mat, but one tester found it was also great for securing a jacket to the bag while another thought even an umbrella or tripod could sit there nicely.
Indeed, the Haiku messenger bag is practical, but its appearance is simply striking. One tester said simply, “It looks SOOO cool!” The embroidery and appliqué on the front flap feature tree branches with a smattering of leaves in a deep, rich shade of burgundy, and these elements lie on a black background. Or, you can get the design elements in lighter pink set against a brown background. Paying homage to its namesake, on the side panel is an embroidered passage from a Rumi poem that reads, “In silence there is eloquence. Stop weaving and watch how the pattern improves.”
Our testers agreed that all these small touches have made this a nice-looking go-to bag that will serve you well when you’re walking around town or when traveling with a light load (computer and a few extras), and you don’t need a workhouse that holds everything and the kitchen sink.
SNEWS® Rating: 4.5 hands clapping (1 to 5 hands clapping possible, with 5 clapping hands representing functional and design perfection)
Suggested retail: $109
For more information: www.haikubags.com