Part rugged carry-all, part super-secure laptop case, the bags in the colorful Embarrassment line of messengers from Australian company Crumpler are the perfect compliment to an active lifestyle. Use them, abuse them, take them anywhere.
The Embarrassment comes in three entertainingly named sizes: the Dreadful Embarrassment ($105) for 17-inch laptops, the smaller Considerable Embarrassment ($100), which holds a 15-inch laptop, and the smallest, the Moderate Embarrassment ($95), which fits a 13-inch notebook. I tested the Moderate Embarrassment.
The design of the Embarrassment bag is classic messenger with flair. Each size comes in four kicky color combinations with a bold-colored lining—lime green inside the Black/Gunmetal and Grey/Rotten Orange bags, bright orange inside the Olive/Lime bags, and teal inside the Brown/Red bags. The color combinations are inspired, young, and fun, but not so crazy that they’ll look dated in a year or two.
Crumpler also has a successful line of camera and photography bags, so the company is no stranger to thoroughly protecting expensive technology. The Embarrassment starts its preventative measures on the outside: To shield your precious cargo from the elements (say, if you’re mountain biking, in a rainstorm…with your MacBook), the exterior of the bag is made from durable, waterproof, rip-stop nylon. The top flap secures shut with a combination of two Velcro strips and two compression clips—when both methods are used, the chances of your laptop escaping are pretty much nil.
The Embarrassment’s defenses aren’t limited to its shell. Inside the bag is an abundantly padded laptop sleeve with a top flap that swaddles your computer. It’s definitely one of the most secure and protective sleeves I’ve seen. There are also six smaller pockets and one large compartment for all of your non-laptop belongings. Finally, the bag sports a comfortably cushioned, adjustable shoulder strap that can be worn across the body to keep the bag from bouncing around or putting too much stress on your back.
The Embarrassment line is incredibly well-made and sturdy—the sort of bag you use and abuse for years knowing that bumps and stains will only add to its character, and will never make the bag any less sturdy. (Crumpler’s lifetime warranty helps, too.) The messenger style makes the bag easy to swing around for whipping out your computer, even with the multiple layers of clip-and-Velcro security. And the laptop-sleeve padding inside has the added bonus of making the Embarrassment comfortable to wear—there are no sharp laptop corners digging into your body.
If you’re interested in a stylish messenger-style laptop bag that won’t tear, rip, or fall apart, the Embarrassment is a solid investment.