Review: Vaya Bags Recycled Bike Tube Laptop Bag
At a Glance
Vaya Bags' $99 Laptop Bag is, like all of Vaya's products, made from recycled materials—in this case, recycled bike tubes. Vaya Bags prides itself on reusing and recycling materials that are already weather resistant, such as canvas scrap from sailboat factories. The Bike Tube Laptop bag is a great everyday bag for carrying your laptop and tablet while commuting, but like everything else in this world, it isn't perfect.
This particular laptop bag is available in both a 15-inch and 13-inch version, optimized for 15-inch and 13-inch MacBook Pros, respectively. I tested out the 13-inch version of the bag which has overall dimensions of 15 inches by 11 inches by 2 inches for the main compartment, and a front pocket which measures 10 inches by 6.5 inches. Despite it's petite proportions, it fit my 13-inch laptop (along with an iPad) quite nicely. There was even a bit of room left over for the charger, leaving the front pouch free for my miscellaneous items.
The pouch on the front of the bag is surprisingly capable at carrying around all the random bits I like to keep handy. Things like thumb drives, pens, sunglasses, and adapters all fit nicely without making a big bulge. It should be noted that while the front pocket is constructed from a different material, it's still waterproof—the front pocket is constructed from a waterproof canvas, repurposed from Sunbrella marine awning.
The bag is pretty slim, being more akin to a laptop sleeve than a full-sized messenger bag, but it's versatile enough to be used for non-laptop carrying when needed. When I took it to the store to get a bit of food, it fared pretty well. Granted, I wasn't going to be able to get a baguette in it, but I avoided needing a plastic bag from the store—which was my goal. If you're thinking about taking it to class, you probably won't be able to fit any large sized textbooks alongside your laptop but a notebook might work.
While the waterproof material does well to protect your electronics from the elements, there isn't much in the way of shock protection. The bag is two layers thick, with recycled inner tubes making up the outer layer and a layer of waterproof vinyl-coated polyester lining the inside. While rain won't ruin your day, dropping the bag or getting knocked off your bicycle might cause some damage to the items inside as there's no real padding to speak of. That being said, Vaya does custom make bags, so it's likely they could add some if you wanted.
Overall, the Recycled Bike Tube Laptop Bag is a good, light bag that will protect your gear from the rain, and is capable enough to carry various odds and ends as well. However, despite its solid construction, it's not going to be able to carry all of your books, nor is it lined enough to protect against impacts. It will do a solid job of carrying your laptop or tablet—and related chargers and adapters—but might not be big enough for you if you're looking to carry books, DSLRs, or other sizable equipment.