Bags are not normally the stuff of history but they should be, bags play an elemental part in our lives, the bag, probably more than the wheel, was I am sure, the starting point of civilisation.
Think about it, for hunter gatherers the bag must have been the backbone of your existence otherwise carrying around the things that you need and bringing back the stuff that you want would have been a challenge.
Which is why the modern bag, given all of our technological knowhow is a conundrum that no-one appears to have given much thought too, because as a society, instead of having one multi-purpose bag that can be adapted to a whole range of activities we have developed more bags than at any time in our history.
Watch the Olympics and you will see a greater range of specialist bags than ever. Each sport, each activity has its own bags from fencing, to the javelin, to hockey, to dressage, and even those filming them, purpose made bags are de rigueur.
Which is why Crosskase’s solar panel bag is quite refreshing, because for once you can see that someone’s put in a certain amount of thought into what makes today’s general purpose bag.
In the information age the answer to that has to be electrical power, there is nothing worse than taking your mobile phone out of your bag to find out that the battery is about to expire and at least with this bag the paperback book, or slightly smaller than a Kindle-sized solar panel does give you a fighting chance of keeping your mobile going.
Perhaps there has been just a bit too much thought, at Liverpool Station a couple of police officers bored of their Olympic watch asked me why there was a red-light shining on the bag. I cheerfully explained it was powering up and also pointed out that if a terrorist had put a light on a bag their thoroughness might have been counter-productive, but still they were just doing their job.
And the solar-panel does work though – I can say that with honesty because I have put it to the test over a number of days. Given that we are in the UK, not noted as a beach destination there are days when the bag might just be making enough power to get by on but I found that every time the Prada phone I was using was complaining that I could plug it in and keep it going.
Though it’s worth noting that while the bag can keep either a mobile or a tablet alive it draws the line at a laptop.
Which brings me to the next most notable thing about the bag – it is thorough in a way that you notice. It’s well made and the materials reflect that, this is a bag that will last, for some reason for me it was all about the zips.
On bad bags it is always the zips that let them down, they jam, the zipper comes off the tracks and the zip is forever open or even worse the zip-pull breaks off and you have to thread a piece of wire through any convenient hole to use it. Not the case with this. The zips are reassuringly effective and run beautifully and effortlessly with no hint of bad bag snag, when the zip sticks you use too much force and there you go, you have the beginnings of a former bag.
This attention to detail is continuous, whether it’s the soft material for a pocket I assume is for a tablet, or the multiple connectors – a joy that meant that a travelling wifi access point, disabled since its charger died now lives again – unfortunately, the same magic did not happen for a treasured Dictaphone but still the connectors cover most eventualities.
Though that does bring me to one of my gripes, there were pouches for laptops, mobiles, tablets and any number of things but I could not find any for that most useful and timeless of things, the A4 paper sheet.
Sure it’s the information age and it’s a bag for its time, but paper is not quite dead yet, and you only need to make one more of those pouches fastened with yet another smoothly running zip, just between the padded handle and the padded back-plate.
The Crosskase Bag is available online from www.crosskase.com at £139.99