capsule review

GreenSmart's Baringo Messenger is well-crafted, but cavernous

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At a Glance
  • GreenSmart Baringo Messenger

The first I’d heard of GreenSmart was on the 2012 CES show floor. The eco-friendly bag company converts plastic bottles into a smooth, nylon-esque fabric for its line of MacBook sleeves, generic laptop sleeves, backpacks, and messenger bags—all made of 100 percent recyclable materials. I’ll admit that I was initially skeptical of such bags, as many of the “recycled materials” products I’ve seen before resemble their original materials more than anything new and beautiful. But GreenSmart’s wares delight in looking good while being well constructed and plentiful in pockets, zippers, and pouches.

There’s really only one problem I had with the company’s $60 Baringo Messenger—it’s just too big. The bag boasts that you can fit a 15-inch laptop inside, but I was able to slide in a 17-inch MacBook Pro with little difficulty. (My 11-inch MacBook Air and iPad were practically swimming.) And in addition to the bag’s cavernous main area, there are no fewer than five sub-compartments: a rear envelope, two side pouches, a zippered pouch on the top flap, and an interior pouch.

I attempted to stuff just about every free thing I had in my office—a hard drive, water bottle, a few books, some magazines, my laptop, my iPad, and some workout clothes—into the Baringo, and only then did it begin to take on the shape of your typical flexible messenger bag. With fewer items in it, however, the bag sags and generally envelops the side of your body that you’re carrying it on.

I had a larger, male coworker try on the bag as well, just to confirm that the issue wasn’t my relatively short frame, and—yes—when the bag was less than bursting full, it was very baggy indeed.

Don’t get me wrong—the Baringo is clearly well-made. It’s just far too large for me to practically use it, and I suspect that unless you're a very big person who carries very big things, it will be too large for you, too. I'd recommend checking out the company’s smaller bags, such as the Narwhal.

[Serenity Caldwell is an associate editor for Macworld.]

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At a Glance
  • GreenSmart Baringo Messenger

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