I am a self proclaimed bag lady. Not the kind that has a shopping cart to hold my most precious belongings. I’m talking about the kind whose husband shutters whenever a purse aisle is nearby. Or cringes when I wander towards the backpack area. I don’t know what it is. But I am obsessed with these things that can hold my stuff.
So, when High Sierra sent me their Vivian messenger bag for review, I was absolutely pumped. As soon as I opened the box, I was immediately struck by just how good looking the Vivian is. I chose pattern #1115, which is a bright, vibrant plaid. Given that I am a high school and college professor by day, it fits in great with my lifestyle and where I am going to be using it the most.
Looking beyond the pattern, the physical design of the bag itself is equally stunning. It features three exterior zippered compartments: one on a side, a front compartment, and then the primary opening on the top. The zippers, where other bags feel cheap, are very substantial and easy to grip. They are made of a heavy-duty, brushed metal, which adds a hint of class to this lifestyle bag. I am notorious for breaking zippers and, after countless times of using them, the zippers on the Vivian are still going strong. As for areas without zippers, the exterior of the Vivian features two pockets that are easy to access and not secured with a zipper or anything. One of these pockets is located on the side of the bag and is an absolutely perfect pouch for your water bottle. The other, which happens to be my absolutely favorite pocket, is a small area on the back of the bag which is accessed just through a small opening. Why is it my favorite? It is the PERFECT place to put ANYTHING that I want to access a lot but don’t want to dig for. I use it for my keys, cell phone, and sometimes my access card. It is so convenient! To give you an idea of the size, I can fit a CD case in to it without a problem and without it sticking out (so it’s probably about a 5″ by 5″ pocket). For those of us who are always holding up the line because we have to dig through a bag for something (I’m guilty of it), this simple addition has been an absolutely time saver.
Looking at the inside of the bag, the most notable feature is a padded laptop section, which is practically a mandatory feature for any lifestyle bag in this day and age. Unlike other bags that boast a HUGE padded place that, when it doesn’t have a laptop in it, still takes up more than half of your bag, the laptop section in the Vivian is very minimal and definitely does not take away from the bag’s functionality when I’m not lugging my laptop. However, it still provides plenty of protection for when I do carry it [the laptop]. Along with the laptop compartment, the interior also features an organizational panel for smaller objects like cell phones, pens, MP3 players, etc. There are two solid pockets that have Velcro flaps and then an additional mesh pocket with a zipper. There are countless more pockets that are not secured as well as a hook to attach your keys to.
Overall, the Vivian is one spiffy bag from High Sierra. It has all of the features I look for in a bag and many more than that. I’m very interested to see how it does as I use it more and more in my every day life. My primary concern right now is how the adjustable strap that I use to carry the bag keeps it’s grip since it seems to lengthen on its own a lot. So, check back later as I discuss what has worked well (or not well) about the Vivian and how it holds up to carrying a ton of work around every day.
|Manufacturer: High Sierra|
Product Model: Vivian
Available Colors: Black; Forgotten Flowers, Black; Multi Crosshatch, Black; Ash, Charcoal; City Map, Ash; Purple Argyle, Amethyst
Manufacturer Website: http://www.highsierrasport.com/