Review of Crumpler Schrinkle by Doctorit
This is a backpack style photobag with accomadations for up to a 15" laptop. The bag is currently out of production, but has been replaced by a similar bag, the Customary Barge. I believe, but don't quote me on it, as its hard to say since Crumpler thinks is more important to have flying pigs and talking monkeys on their website, than some real information. Also the site is all in flash, so I can't give you a direct link.
This one cost me about $140, directly from Crumpler. I'll be darned if I can tell you what a new one costs.
For a good time, surf here: Crumplerusa.com
The main internal pocket is accessed from the rear. The entire inside is "fluffy", so the velcro dividers can be placed in just about any configuration you can dream up. And they give you PLENTY of dividers, I don't think I've ever used them all.
Space is ample. As you can see, my pro-body fits in there, along with a spare body, ipod charger, cleaning kit, spare battery, and some, err, refreshments in lieu of more gear which is en route to me at the moment.
I especially like the top pocket at the top with its own mesh cover for the small bits that tend to fall out. This whole little pocket can also velcro out if you would rather fit bigger lenses (or refreshments).
Since the bag is rear loading, there is a handy mesh flap cover that zips all the way around. This holds your gear in if you just want to access your laptop... as you'll see in a moment.
The included laptop sleeve mates to the back cover of the bag by a nifty set of velcro loops and flaps (which by the way velcro together, so that if the sleeve is not in place, there's no velcro to snag on anything.
This is the back of the sleeve, it is shown detached. The laptop in question is a small 12" Averatec (only a bit bigger than my 12" Powerbook).
Here we have the laptop sleeve in place. The idea is you can throw your bag on the dirty ground, access your gear and not have dirt on the back cover, which ultimately goes on your back.
Some people complain this means you MUST remove the bag to access it. Show me a backpack you don't have to remove in order to pull out a D2h with a 70-200mm telephoto mounted and you win a prize.
Notice the laptop sleeve also has a few handy pockets of its own, for pens, business cards, and even a small zippered one for your stash... or whatever.
This is my one slight beef with the bag. Flop the cover shut and the darn sleeve sticks out. You have to tuck the corners in to really get it closed. And that is with a 12" laptop. I can't imagine this trick with a 15".
That being said, I don't think the laptop sleeve is meant to accomodate walkaround/daily shooting. More for the trip out on the plane, letting you stash all your gear in one bag. I've found it useful for just that.
Now we get to the front of the bag. There is a loop system on the side. My big a** monopod fits in there no problem. I do wish they'd make both loops adjustable. As it is, only the lower loop has a D-ring on it. You can get around this by slipping only one leg of a tripod through the upper loop, and then securing all three legs in the lower adjustable loop.
There are also two pockets in the front. The top one is more expandable (pleated) and will hold a small novel, your iPod, and maybe even some more refreshments. The lower one requires feminine hands to get into, especially if the rest of the bag is full. I keep my passport in there, as I know it'd be darn hard to remove by a thief.
There is also another side pocket. Its only good for one refreshment. Bummer. I guess you could put a pad and pencil or something like that in there too.
The back end. This is the part your body cares about. The straps are curved superbly, and there is ample back padding and even venting. I LOVE carrying this bag. Even full, the load is distributed nicely, and there chest compression strap is in the right place. There are nice retaining clips on the lower portions of the strap, so if you're small and have lots of spare strap, you can clip it away. There is also a nice handle on top for picking it up or toting around short distances - just be careful, as this handle is attached to the opening cover, so be sure its zippered or you'll open it up and have a yard sale in the airport terminal.
Nice thing about this bag, it stands up on its own. Here's the mesh flap doing its job holding in the goodies while I open it up.