POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, Apr 28, 2013
» What it is: A lean and mean messenger bag with amazing water resistance despite the attractive look of fabric. It has a sturdy, padded shoulder strap and a padded carrying handle.
» The good: This is named for the god of the sea, rivers and floods, among other lordly domains, and that makes sense. Water beads up on it like it's a nonstick frying pan. When I'm transporting my painfully expensive iPad, I want to know the machine will survive getting caught in the rain. ECBC makes a larger messenger, which I also tried, but I actually prefer this smaller version for negotiating the city and transportation. There are more interior pockets than you need for a phone, iPod or whatever, plus an exterior zipped pocket for boarding pass, passport, etc. A zipped bottle pocket at first seems small, but it expanded nicely to grip my bottle with authority. It also has a sleeve that slides over your drag-bag handle for easy transport. To test the limits of its payload capacity, I put my iPad in the interior "holy of holies" slot, then a big honking (71⁄2-by-10-by-21⁄2-inch) dictionary and four smaller guidebooks into the main compartment. The iPod and other items still fit into the various pockets. The bag could accommodate a 13-inch laptop instead of an iPad.
» The bad: The main flap is held in place by two stubborn Velcro strips and two plastic buckles. It seems that the buckles would be enough, and the Velcro creates quite a racket when opened in quiet places. On the other hand, an airport thief certainly would get your attention with the Velcro "alarm," so it could be a good thing.
» Cost: $100
» Available from: ec-bc.com, wayfair.com, amazon.com
Ross Werland, www.chicagotribune.com