The nice folks from Mixbag sent us over a sample of their awesome transforming bag to try out and review. What makes this bag unique is that it can be flipped, twisted, hooked, zipped, folded, and otherwise contorted into 10 different bag styles. So many ways, that it actually comes with a set of instructions showing you what it can do:
The bag is essentially two bags that can be zipped together. As you can tell from the instructions, the bags can be used together as one big bag, or you can be separated to use only one side if you don’t need as much bag. That’s flexibility! You can see that in the photos below showing the front and back of the bag- note in the bottom picture I partially unzipped them from one another:
On the back you’ll notice 9 circles on each side in an X formation. Those are actually magnets that keep the two halves together when using the bag in some ways. All of those triangular clips let you attach the strap as needed. As you can (sort of) tell from the photo below, inside both sections of the bag there are a number of velcro and zippered pockets to keep your stuff organized as well as a stiff divider. The inside lining is a waterproof nylon.
One of the pockets has a clip on a string to hold your keys. There’s also a mesh bottle holder that unzips and pulls out from beneath one of the smaller pockets. It comes in two sizes, designed to hold 11″ or 13″ MacBooks (or similar sized computers or iPads). The size we are reviewing here in the 11″. The Mixbag has even more tricks up it’s sleeves. Unzip the bottom of one of the larger pockets and out drops a nylon pouch that expands the pocket size:
This essentially doubles the size of the bag, allowing you to use it in “backpack” mode (#3 in the manual above). The Mixbag is made from a thick cotton exterior and comes in two colors, as shown for the smaller bag and black for the larger sized bag. But wait, that’s not all. Stuffed inside yet another pocket is a waterproof nylon rain cover with stretchy elastic around the border (like a fitted sheet) to wrap around the bag, as demonstrated below with our security guard:
They really thought of everything, right? Overall we really like the Mixbag. It is extremely functional with all the different configurations and pockets but still has a stylish urban sophisticated look to it. We like the many zippered pockets and the fact that each zipper has a pull on it and zips smoothly without getting tangled in the fabric. The bag feels very sturdy inside and out. The strap is thick and feels comfortable and we like that it has a quick release fastener.
While I was not exactly a fan of all the different modes of using it (example: over the shoulder with one half on the front of your body and one half on the back just felt weird), there were certainly enough ways that were great and useful. I felt like it would be more comfortable if the strap was just a bit longer for some applications, such as carrying it over the straps going over the shoulder across the body. It is also a bit pricy, but obviously there is a great deal of workmanship that goes into such a complex bag.
Overall the Mixbag is a really useful, versatile, and stylish bag that has a lot going for it. It works as a laptop/iPad bag as well a travel or everyday bag. It packs a large number of pockets and compartments into a small package. It separates into two bags so if you just need a smaller pack, you don’t have to haul around excess baggage. It’s a very solid well thought-out bag. You can pick one up at Mixbag’s site.