Drive By :: Henty Wingman Backpack
Introducing new contributor, Nick Houlihan. One of the many shirt-donning, two-wheelers braving the morning crush and car-jammed traffic to bike his way to work…
I’d argue that most professionally-attired cyclist commuters find that transporting ‘work-clothes’ from home to the office presents a problem. Crinkled clothing, multiple trips, taking the train or driving in some days to transport gear in to work: sound familiar? My personal method entails dropping off suits at the dry-cleaner by my place of work and a trip every fortnight laden with ironed shirts that are soon creased by the time they are stuffed into my locker in the work change rooms. Sure, I’d probably be better off getting my shirts dry-cleaned as well but why have a dog and bark yourself?
So what if there was another option to creased shirts? Another bag that would do it all? Tasmanian bag company Henty has a proposed answer in the Wingman Backpack – a well-built, hardy bike bag that promises to do it all, but how did it fare?
Who it suits
Working professionals who commute by bike and need a way to prevent suits and/or shirts looking like they’ve already been worn for a week before they’ve even got to the office.
Who it doesn’t suit
People who need a work bag that looks slick in any situation. The Wingman’s sporty look will stand out in a formal business setting, so it’s not the best option if you need a bag that can handle a bike and a boardroom equally well.
Put simply, it is a suit bag that rolls up into a neat backpack (as the name suggests) and is filled with a nifty gym bag. The build is terrific. It is sturdy, waterproof and the zips are great. The gym bag can also be carried separately but doing so looks like you’re wearing a large toilet bag or ugly purse. Although the bag features a number of zip-up areas where you can store all sorts of things including a 13-inch laptop/tablet, wallet, phone and other essentials, these features aren’t located in areas where they are altogether accessible or convenient.
This being said, the bag fits together nicely and is easy to assemble after a couple of goes. It could do with a flip-top pocket on the top of the bag like a traditional backpack. This would negate the need for some of the less conveniently located pockets.
It claims to fit one suit and one shirt or up to three shirts or blouses but I’ve managed to cram it with a suit and up to six shirts. The bag hits the mark as far as the concept goes. It can carry everything you need including shoes, toiletries and more. It also has a nifty swivel coat hanger that enables you to hang your backpack as a suit bag – I think this feature is particularly cool (though a bit fiddly to use).
The Not So Good
Where the bag falls down is the location of the clips of the bag. Sitting on the right hand side of the bag, their additional bulk is the first thing you see when you peer over your right shoulder for that approaching vehicle. A possible explanation for this design choice might be that the bag is intended for international markets where you would ride on the other side of the road and look over your shoulder minus the buckle vista.
The Henty Wingman Backpack does what it says it does. It carries your work gear like most other bags cannot, it is well made and is comfortable to wear. Personally, I’d probably lean towards the messenger bag version of the Wingman (less buckle vista) – it is also twenty bucks cheaper on the Henty website.