The Tucker & Bloom Rhodes 93 Backpack is a spacious, streamlined, square backpack, designed for DJs – and especially for DJs who carry vinyl. It’s in the shape! It’s made by a “boutique” USA company, in the USA, and is a “by DJs for DJs” product, with a lifetime guarantee – and if that appeals to you, you should definitely check it out.
First Impressions / Setting up
The Tucker & Bloom Rhodes 93 backpack is high quality (decent materials, luxurious suede panel on the front, brand-name zippers), but at the same time, not as bulky as some similar backpacks. The emphasis here is on something that can carry a lot, but that is streamlined.
And it’s also square, meaning it feels squatter and wider than your typical backpack, even DJ backpacks.
For review we were sent the blue bag in ballistic nylon with a cream interior, which is a lovely colour scheme, but other combinations of colours and materials are available, including canvas in place of the nylon.
Deciding where to put everything is simpler with the Rhodes 93 than most, basically because it is a simpler design than many. That said, there are plenty of nice touches.
There’s a flap to close the laptop/vinyl compartment that itself has a zipped pocket on it, which would be a good place to keep money and tickets.
There’s a separate top front headphones compartment, as well as a smaller but still substantial front compartment, that has some stitched-in dividers where you may want to keep small items. And the main compartment is pleasingly large, and so flexible.
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I’ve been using this for the past few weeks to carry around our XMG 15″ laptop, a small Serato controller (the Reloop Ready), a battery 2.1 speaker system (from Minirig), plus headphones and associated leads. For the sake of the review I tucked some control vinyl into the laptop compartment too (I don’t usually carry that with me).
The pack is comfortable, with wide straps and a padded sweat-web section that sits against your back. I grew to really like the unusual square shape, even though it didn’t really matter for what I was using it for – if you are a vinyl junkie it’d be perfect, though.
One thing I would say is that to achieve a streamlined, unobtrusive feel, the Rhodes 93 doesn’t have much padding, even in the laptop/vinyl compartment – be careful when plonking it down on hard surfaces, and if you carry around a spare sweatshirt, maybe consider tucking that in the bottom of the main compartment.
Also note that the drinks compartments left and right don’t stretch, so you’ll need a bottle that’s narrow enough to fit them if this is important to you.
No bag is going to be perfect for everyone. If you carry vinyl, though, this one is probably going to get pretty close for you.
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It is able to carry a lot, but due to both its square size and restraint in the use of materials and padding, it doesn’t feel bulky, and indeed can easily tuck under a plane seat, never mind in the overhead locker.
I don’t think it’s the right bag if you want to carry a pro mixer with you (mixers are too heavy for this design of bag), but it’s fine if you want to carry a small controller or Midi production controller, especially the squarer varieties (Launchpads, etc.).
If you’re in the market for a new bag, like the idea of supporting a company “by DJs for DJs” and a product made in the USA, and don’t mind paying a bit more for those things (plus you value a lifetime guarantee), you should take a look at the Rhodes 93 from Tucker & Bloom.