Saturday, December 15, 2007

VB Microfiber backpack review and comparison

by Rachel Silverman

My first thought -- this is WAY smaller than I thought it was going
to be! Although the website says it measures 11½" x 14½" x 5½" which
is suppposed to be about the size as the Lexie Barnes Duchess which
measures 15" x 11" x 4.5," side by side, the Duchess not only looks
a lot larger, the Duchess opens up *very* wide and can be stuffed,
while the VB has a much, much smaller opening and suprisingly, a
smaller capacity. The Duchess has a wide top and mouth, and the VB
backpack tapers and gets narrow at the top, and has a much narrower

I packed them both up, and the Duchess does hold a lot more -- in
addition to all of the things I put in the VB backpack, the Duchess
fit a small cooler, my pashmina, DD's sweater, and a coloring book
with markers. The Duchess has one larger front pocket that expands
and therefore can fit larger items, while the VB two small, front
pockets hold slim, small items and the pockets cannot be stuffed.

The front slip pocket of the VB also can't be stuffed without the
magnetic closure popping open, and thick items really bulge. There's
really no good place to put my "valuables" in the VB backpck b/c the
two small outside pockets are too small for my wallet, and I don't
want to put my wallet in the slip pocket that only has a magnetic
closure. Finally, the side mesh pockets of the Duchess are more
generous, although both fit my Playtex straw sippy.

In a nutshell, I can bring the Duchess for an all day trip, while I
would use the VB travel backpack for a shorter outing, and it really
*just* fits the necessities I usually bring around with me, nothing
more. To compare to some popular bags on the Board, the VB backpack
also holds much less than my Storksak Emily and the Oi Oi Hobo.

Ok, with that said ... I love the styling of the bag, and the straps
are much softer than I expected, which was a concern of mine.
They're not as comfy as the padded Duchess straps, but the Duchess
straps do give a bulky feeling to the bag. The VB backpack is
comfortable to wear and I don't feel like I'm weighed down by a
backpack b/c it's very streamlined. As a small backpack/hands-free
option, this bag is a perfect mix of low maintenance, comfort, and
style. I think it would make a great Disney bag, a personal bag to
take while traveling (not as a carry on), and for an everyday hands-
free bag, just not for an all day outing -- at least for how I pack.

I am going to play with it some more and decide if I will be taking
it as my personal travel bag for my upcoming trip, or if I want to
bring a small messenger style bag instead.


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