Living in Oregon has taught me to appreciate water resistance. It is going to rain here during fall and winter and you are going to have to go out in the rain unless you plan to say in the house all day everyday. Since it can start raining at any moment, that has pushed me towards bags and gear that will stand up to the rain. Given the fact that it was on sale, and the fact that sale items were 25% off, I could not resist getting the Jack Spade Coated Canvas Computer Field Bag at the clearance price of less than $75 at the awesome Jack Spade Portland store. I love the style and the lines of this bag, and the coated canvas fits a niche well between the nylon canvas and the wax-wear. While the nylon canvas bag is too flimsy for my taste, and not very water resistant, and the wax-wear bags are wonderful, but they are heavier and expensive (five times the price I paid for the coated canvas bag), the coated canvas sits somewhere in the middle.
Jack Spade Coated Canvas Computer Field Bag
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The coated canvas material holds its shape well and is very water resistant (it even earns a special water resistant dongle on the price tag). In fact, it kind of reminds me of a cross between a Chrome bag and a Jack Spade bag (albeit not at water-proof or rugged as a Chrome bag). The Jack Spade bag is very simple. There is a single main compartment that has a separate laptop compartment. The website says it is a padded laptop sleeve, but I would highly recommend putting your computer in some kind of light sleeve, for protection from bumps and for increased water resistance. There is also a secondary pocket for a Tablet, and several pockets for pens, power adapters and other small items. Interestingly, there are no zipper pockets on the bag, as there have been on every other version of the bag I have seen. All of the pockets are open. With the laptop in the sleeve, and held firmly against the back of the bag, there is a ton of room in the bag for all kinds of other stuff.
The only downside to the bag is that it uses velcro as a closure, although it's not as much of a downside as I originally though. Velcro is loud when opening, and eventually wears out. However, in its favor, the "soft" side of the velcro, the kind that tends to wear out, covers a large vertical portion of the bag, so I think it should last a while. The velcro patches are also sewn "through" the front of the bag, so replacing the velcro should be easy and will not mar the appearance of the bag. On the plus side, the velcro allows infinite adjustability of closure, so you can make sure the bag is sealed tight against the weather. This is very similar to a Chrome bag, although Chrome also gives you clips and straps. While I would love secondary clips and straps on this bag, it just would not look "right". Maybe Jack Spade designers could figure out how to put hidden clips underneath the flap or something on the next revision?
Anyway, I really like this bag. I took it for an unplanned multi-mile walk this morning in the cool misty rain. It was loaded up with my 15" MacBook Pro, headphones, several books and notebooks a few other items. It was incredibly comfortable to carry. While I would not recommend using this bag while cycling, due to it's lack of clips and straps, I think it's a great bag to carry around town. Most importantly, the bag looks even better when it gets wet. So it's a perfect back for Oregon.
Check out the bag here:
Jack Spade | Coated Canvas Computer Field Bag