Road Tests :: Crumpler Spring Peeper
The Spring Peeper from Crumpler is fun. Why? If I’m using it, it normally means I’m packing to go somewhere for a few days, generally somewhere fun – otherwise I’d be using a different bag. I guess that’s more of a mental note than a functional or helpful note, huh? Anyway…
It’s a weekender, but you knew that looking at it, right? If not, maybe you need to peek at this post… Crumpler have just gone through a pretty dramatic change up in the last year or so – new branding, vibe, direction, feel, etc. All good things. Good things which are now being reflected in the product being released. When we first took the Spring Peeper on board I was a touch skeptical regarding how it would perform, but after slamming it round all sorts of places over the last 8 months, the proof is in the pudding :: this bag is pretty damn good.
The size. You can pack a small family in it and still get it past as carry on – how awesome is that! Seriously though, you can actually fit quite a bit in it.
It’s a weekender, so I wasn’t expecting much in the way of organisational pocketing (kinda defeats ‘getting away’ for the weekend, right?). Surprise surprise! While not at the office backpack level, the Spring Peeper has some neat little organisational options on the inside down the side – mesh w/zippers and a real handy ‘wet pocket’ inside there too. Bonus pockets? Sure, there’s some sneaky little pockets on the outside too.
The structure of the bag was impressive; when empty the bag still maintained its shape and overall look rather well. Most weekenders tend to flop down and forget who they are until they are woken up to be used again. The Spring Peeper knows who it is and is proud to stand tall and let you know at all times – thanks to a lovely reinforced polyethylene-EVA foam laminate.
It held up real well. I mean, I abused this bag like a lion would a zebra – it got flogged. But, given the Spring Peeper features a super strength water-resistant 900D outer, 150D Rip-stop lining, flamed polypropylene webbing, injection molded solid rubber feet, and bonded nylon thread with bar tack stitching on all stress points (phew), it pretty much handles anything you can throw at it.
The shoulder strap was pretty uncomfortable. The actual padded strap that goes on your shoulder when you’re carrying it was just too short. I was constantly having to jiggle it back or forth to sit at a decent angle on my shoulder.
The overall balance of the bag never really allowed it to just hang all McQueen style off my shoulder (swagger is important when using a weekender!). I had to constantly keep readjusting it and re-balancing it on my shoulder – pretty annoying when you’re carrying other items.
Connection points for the strap to the bag are plastic. I’ve had far too many bags with setups like this buckle under too much weight. I just don’t have a lot of confidence in them. To be honest, I never had the clips fall out, snap, etc. but I’d just much prefer something a little more sturdy…
Any niggles, annoyances…
Not sure if this is petty or not, but the ends of the bag (where they have ‘handles’ to allow better gripping when picking up) are quite cumbersome when you’re trying to un/zip the bag. Considering the size of the Spring Peeper, the concept isn’t really needed. It feels more like a design element that got carried over from the larger version (where it would be needed, but probably no less annoying).
Best suited to
Anyone who is taking off for a couple of days (well maybe not over-fastidious females who need to pack the kitchen sink). It really is an easy bag to just pack up and run off with. The zipper gives you a large opening where you can really just stuff a lot of gear into it really quickly, zip it up and bail. Perfect for that surprise naughty weekend away, right?
Not suited to
If you’re the type of person who lays out everything they are taking away for a short holiday, folds it neatly and has a place for everything. This is the type of bag where stuff goes missing, like how you lose one sock from a pair. Rest assured you will find it at some point, but for a while the big black hole of weekenders will win. So you’d want to be a more flexible traveller than a ruler-straight one…
Similar options out there
Well, there’s a whole bunch out there depending on your tastes. Here’s a couple of our favorites:
Ally Capellino Duffle
Patagonia Black Hole Duffle
In the eight months I abused it, I took the Spring Peeper here, there and everywhere in between. In all honesty, I’d say it accompanied me on around 8 trips, including the trifecta of domestic travel – planes, trains and automobiles. Length? Trip varied from 2 days to 10 days with the bag allowing me to take what I needed for that duration.
The Spring Peeper feels like a solid bag, it will hold up to long-term abuse and will probably be your go to weekender bag for a long time. It’s easy to fill and just throw in your car or as carry-on on your flight and simple is good in any situation.
Would I buy it? Yeah I would; I just love the simplicity of it. Sure, there’s some organisational elements I’d love in there. But for what the bag is and is trying to be, it ticks all the boxes. Good bag indeed. It’s running for $195 AUD (which I imagine would be the same globally, around $200) and you can get it direct from the Crumpler store which can deliver globally…