If you have lots of smaller pieces of gear, or you carry varying stuff depending which gig you’re going to, and especially if you travel and have non-music stuff to bring along as well, it’s a great solution. The bag is not going to be suitable for you if you have a controller bigger than a VCI-300 – for instance, it doesn’t fit a Mixtrack, S2 or S4 – so you’ll be looking for another solution if that is you. Otherwise, there’s really nothing apart from the “boutique price” that we didn’t like about this bag
First Impressions / Setting up
The bag looks like a cross between a businessman’s flight / hand luggage bag (sober black nylon, shiny metal zippers and logo), a school bag (because it’s backpack style) and an army backpack (a nicely sculpted, well-padded back area, meaning it looks like it’ll be comfortable to carry over distances). More to the point, overall it works; it looks good. It is mainly black with grey edgings, has water resistant jumbo lock-ready zippers, and at first glance it is immediately clear that the bag has something some musicians’ bags tend to not feature – easy-access outside pockets.
There are two pockets on the side which aren’t heavily protected, and a flap on the front which is the same, and these areas give easy access for non-music items such as water, food, tickets, and so on, while not interfering with the real valuable stuff inside.
The outside back of the bag has three thick padded sections giving your back room to breathe and, along with a hard plastic insert, ensures that nothing pokes into your back however hurriedly you pack it. Combined with the padded shoulder straps and cross-strap stabiliser, it makes for an extremely comfortable pack, even when fully laden.
The bag has a big, comfortable carry handle on the top, and four sturdy feet underneath.
So let’s look a little more closely. The first compartment (the “flap”) has a nameholder / business card holder and a hook for your keys, both of which are nice touches, but apart from that is just as described – a simple flapped compartment for stuff that doesn’t need much protection.
The first area where you’ll want to keep your music gear is the next compartment back from this. Here there is a removable, adjustable padded section to encase a mixer, a small control device (think Launchpad or even an X1 or two) or something similar. There are small mesh pockets too, and the whole compartment unzips to open wide. Behind this is a flat compartment which looks designed to hold vinyl – typically, I’d guess, control vinyl for digital vinyl systems. It also has a flat, removable CD holder – again, perfect for control and backup CDs.
While this offers pretty good protection for vinyl (due to where it’s positioned in the bag and the fact that it has a decent amount of padding), you’ll have to be careful opening and closing it, as the vinyl only just fits, and otherwise you’d catch the corners of your vinyl sleeves.
Next, the main equipment area: my favourite part. The zipper opens “diagonally”, and the heavily padded base is folded across the bottom of the bag so it opens naturally according to the amount of gear you have in it, expanding only as much as is needed. That means a snug fit, without your gear rattling around.
The compartment easily fits a laptop up to 17″, and there are two big pockets for leads etc, but due to the expanding nature of this section, you can fit a DJ controller in here too, making the bag uber-useful for digital DJs who carry an array of stuff with them. It fits easily DJ controllers up to the size of the Vestax VCI-300.
I also especially liked the mesh zipped bag at the top of this compartment which is perfect for your headphones, in or out of their own bag. This keeps them safely perched in the top section of the bag, a part that typically sits empty once bags are packed on your back, and all the contents have shuffled down the bag thanks to our old friend gravity. A neat part of the design.
Finally, behind that is a thin, flat compartment with an iPad-shaped padded section, backed with more padding and a hard plastic insert between it and the back of the bag.
We’ve been lucky enough to review some really forward-thinking bags on Digital DJ tips recently, and this is yet another one.
If you have lots of smaller pieces of gear, or you carry varying stuff depending which gig you’re going to. and especially if you travel and have non-music stuff to bring along as well, it’s a great solution.
You can pack your valuable DJ items away carefully and safely, and have plenty of space left over for things which are essential when travelling – snacks, drinks, tickets and so on.
The expanding nature of the main compartment coupled with generous padding mean that your most expensive gear is all kept safe, and the way the headphones section has been designed to “sit on top of” all the rest of the gear is neat. The bag is not going to be suitable for you if you have a controller bigger than a VCI-300 – for instance, it doesn’t fit a Mixtrack, S2 or S4 – so you’ll be looking for another solution if that is you.
Otherwise, there’s really nothing apart from the “boutique price” that we didn’t like about this bag – it’s good to see designs coming to the market that realise that one of the best things about digital DJing is being able to move fast with your gear.
Bags like this mean that as long as you exercise some care in packing and transit, your gear will turn up in the same condition it was packed away in – without the need for heavy hard cases.