- Buyer's Guide
Gear Bags & Duffels
Julien Schiess is from Switzerland. Have you been there? I haven’t, been close though (Finland), but have heard amazing things about the country. We were lucky enough to cross paths with Julien a while back and got talking, which led us to getting Julien to contribute to the site with a Drive By for the QWSTION Weekender – a very nice-looking bag indeed. In his words, Julien gave us a quick overview (below in italics) followed by an in-depth story below.
“Great transportability, good organization features, for sport, business, giraffes, boyfriend or girlfriend, everything goes into the Weekender. Get onboard and see how this great piece of work done by QWSTION can help you spend the perfect weekend! Expectations will be even bigger next time and be careful, you may find yourself spending the next weekend alone with it…”
The dilemma story around the Weekender
A while ago when I traveled over a weekend, I had the choice between carrying my stuff in a backpack, or in my cabin trolley. Not the best scenario. With my backpack I had to optimize the little space I got, whereas with the trolley, it was just too big for the trip I wanted to take. In both cases – frustration.
Right now I live in place “A” during the weekdays and place “B” during the weekend (a 2.5-hour commute between the locations) and the problem stays the same. I am a weekend commuter and I need somewhere-in-between luggage to put my clothes for the weekend. It should also allow me to move some items from one place to another. It is now that the QWSTION Weekender comes into play; a bag I’ve been testing for two months. Keen to hear if it lives up to the hype?
Who It Suits
This is a bag that will suit weekend commuters, and people going on two to three-day trips for leisure or business. It will also appeal to people looking for a stylish gym bag that can alternate between work and workouts.
Who It Doesn’t
The bag isn’t particularly well suited for frequent movement by foot or on bike. Users such as students, courier messengers and cyclists will find other designs better suited to their needs.
A well presented bag that resembles a good winter jacket.
At first glance, the bag is rather good-looking, even more so on a second check. It’s constructed from a combination of proven materials: leather, seatbelt nylon with circlestitch and cotton canvas (TPU-coated) for the shell. The external material feels almost like a tarpaulin material which is unexpected. Although the touch feeling is a little surprising at first, the quality is impressive and it is a weatherproof bag – which is always a comforting factor to know if you get caught in a snowstorm on your way to the train station. 🙂
The real value from the QWSTION Weekender comes in the details. All the handles and small zippers are made of a real nice beige leather, which offers a great look and the smell rapidly confirms the quality of the leather. If you add the red color of the inside, with details printed on the material, you get a beautifully crafted bag that delivers great quality.
After two months of intense usage I did not see any problem. It still looks nice and durable.
“The real value from the QWSTION Weekender comes in the details.”
What about an insane run to catch the train?
Apart from the on-trend looks and the high-quality materials, the QWSTION Weekender puts forward a solid argument in terms of transportability with the option of three different carrying possibilities.
The first and classic way to carry it is with one’s arms straight down, with the two handles on the top (kind of like a briefcase or suitcase). The second option, still a classic, is to use the shoulder strap. I want to add here that the quality of the strap is very good. Being easily removable, it is a large and comfortable piece of seatbelt. It means your shoulder is not slaughtered in pieces even after carrying the bag for a while, which is always better, I guess…
I’m sure you’ve all had to run, once or twice, to catch a bus, train, cab or even just for the pleasure to run with your heavy fully packed bag on the shoulder [ed note: who does that?]. The process is very often a pain, right? Your bag is moving along your back, not fixed, hurting and hindering you to run at full speed. Let’s face it, you get your shoulder cut into pieces at the end of your run. The guys at QWSTION must have experienced such a pain as they are offering you removable straps that transform your luggage into a backpack if needed. A great solution done well.
“Apart from the on-trend looks and the high-quality materials, the QWSTION Weekender puts forward a solid argument in terms of transportability with the option of three different carrying possibilities.”
When running in the morning to catch my train I enjoy having my backpack well in place. When the straps are nice and tight-fitting it becomes quite comfortable to use the bag in this configuration. Once you’ve caught the train or arrived at work, just place the straps inside the pocket and use the bag as a trendy business attaché, where nobody could ever imagine the insane run you had before. This flexibility in terms of transportability makes the Weekender precious, enabling you to adapt your carrying style to the events of the day.
I always carry a giraffes’ family in my bag, you never know…
The Weekender has a small zipped external pocket, perfect for keys, a passport and wallet. It has a bigger open pocket on the same side of the bag which easily allows you to store your headphones, magazines or anything you need to have easy access to. On the other side of the bag you get a large pocket hiding the straps that enable the bag to transform into a backpack. You can of course also use this big pocket to store books, files or any other rather flat thing you have. At the moment I’m using it to carry files from work.
Let’s open the main compartment now. First striking feature? The two side zippers that offer an easy opening of the bag. In addition to that, the main compartment can be opened to 120 degrees. It is larger than normal and quite nice if you’re a heavy packer and intend to take full advantage of the space it offers. It also offers easier access to your luggage. The 29-liter main compartment is quite comfortable and offers enough space for a dedicated weekend trip. The bottom of the bag is nicely padded, a welcome detail especially when I am carrying back some bottles of wine: less risk of damage.
“The Weekender has a small zipped external pocket, perfect for keys, a passport and wallet. It has a bigger open pocket on the same side of the bag which easily allows you to store your headphones, magazines or anything you need to have easy access to.”
It’s really easy to load clothes in, and even fully packed the zippers allow you to close it nicely. Another good point is the separate bag for dirty or wet clothes or shoes, which is a great addition – especially useful at the end of the week to bring back your dirty clothes/shoes or even your stinky gym gear. This extra bag can be attached at the bottom thanks to two straps and you can release it at your convenience.
Inside the bag you can find a neoprene pocket that will fit, comfortably, a laptop up to 17 inches. My 13-inch MacBook does indeed enjoy the extra space in it. Furthermore, the pocket offers great protection for your laptop, therefore relieving you from an extra sleeve – it’s always good when you don’t have to spend extra money on a protection sleeve. Even if it’s not a pocket, the space behind the laptop sleeve offers you the possibility of storing books, files, notebooks and more.
“It’s really easy to load clothes in, and even fully packed the zippers allow you to close it nicely.”
The Not So Good
There are three pockets on the interior side of the bag: Two small ones and a bigger one where you can put your cables, toiletries, cards, charger or mouse. Unfortunately there is no space for a bottle of water or any kind of food, something I would have appreciated.
Shoes or no shoes, that’s the QWSTION
The only downside of the main compartment is once it’s loaded with a laptop, it is impossible to put a pair of shoes side by side at the bottom. You have to arrange them differently in order for your pair to fit into the bag. If traveling for more than one or two days most of us like to take a spare pair of shoes; it’s a shame you cannot do it easily when loaded with a laptop.
“Unfortunately there is no space for a bottle of water or any kind of food, something I would have appreciated.”
Something else worth noting is that the material lacks rigidity. Personally I would have preferred a more rigid material.
“The only downside of the main compartment is once it’s loaded with a laptop, it is impossible to put a pair of shoes side by side at the bottom.”
The QWSTION Weekender lives up to its name very well. It’s the perfect bag for a weekend trip. It offers great quality, good transportability and organization features. Weekend commuters, people traveling two to three days, and sports people will love it. Due to its nature, bikers, messengers and students will choose another option. This piece of luggage is now sticking to me.