Friday, October 13, 2017

Tumi Cameron Commuter Review

The Cameron Commuter
Tumi. A brand specializing in bags and luggage. Often a lifestyle brand and on the high side of pricing. My wife surprised me with a Tumi backpack, and this prompt me to write a review, as I believe this backpack deserves a mention.
Tumi Cameron Commuter.
This is a low profile and sized at 29cm(W)x12cm(D)x43cm(H) which is significantly smaller footprint when compared to the (office) standard issue HP backpack at 36cm (W)x9cm(D)x51cm(H).

Wifey’s intention was to prevent me from lugging everything I can as my everyday carry (EDC) when I go to work or travel (for work). Volume wise, the Cameron is 23liter vs HP a 25liter pack. 
The Cameron Commuter is a very well built bag - you don’t expect anything less at the (high) price you paying for. 
Size comparison visually
Coming almost to the same price point as my Camelbak Kudu 18, the Cameron are certainly more refined and business-like. While my Camelbak made statement due to the bright colour, the Cameron blends in elegantly without shouting “I have a Tumi”. If you seen how one of the Tumi bag model are common among business travellers, you will know what I meant - and why the leather patch with your initial is essential (because many are carrying the same bag model from Tumi!)

The most subtle indication it's a 
Tumi on the Cameron
When I first got the Cameron, I transferred all items from my HP bag and realized this Tumi swallowed up all the items, and still have a lot of space. So, I removed all my items again, unlike the HP when I can’t put anymore stuff into the front pocket compartment as the main compartment already filled up (and pushed against) the outer compartment.
From experience (of having many bags, bagpacks, messenger bags), having many pockets and compartment doesn’t meant they are all usable (maximized) due to stackability - and the Cameron 12cm depth vs HP 9cm deep is a dead giveaway why this Cameron fits more than it looked.

That was when I decided to test, and document what this Cameron can do, hence worth the trouble for this review. Below is my usual travel EDC. These items are essential (some say I overly prepare) and they include headlights and red blinkers inside the yellow Camelbak tool case.

A little about my EDC, the larger black pouch carries the laptop chargers, phone wall charger and phone cables, and the Kensington lock. The small black pouch has my wireless mouse, earphones for conference calls, wiping cloth(I hate fingerprints on screens) and 12feet of paracord. I bring my Bose QC25 for travel to make the plane ride more enjoyable, and I always have a power bank, my pencil case (which is a Camelbak tool bag), a camera (Panasonic FT4), a foldable jacket (Salomon), an additional earphone (JVC no less) and a waterproof bag. Other items such as extra ziplock bag, cable ties are dependent but as important for travel. When I am not travelling, the charger pouch, passport and Bose stays home. It is then replaced with another pouch that carries other “survival” EDC. 
Field test

The shoulder pad were sufficiently padded and able to manage the load full. Due to the smaller footprint, it doesn’t feel particularly big, or uncomfortable. Weight distribution is neutral for typical commute/travel. Unless you plan to have this behind you whole day long, something with better air circulation (to separate the physical bag and your back such as those available on hiking bags) may be a better choice.

The bag zippers were smooth. No indication of brand (as YKK is often synonymous with durable zips). The main main compartment zipper will end in either one of the side pockets, it is a bit troublesome to “dig” it out especially if you have the side pockets filled. I do not leave my zippers in the middle of the bag, as it may actually pry open or opened when you are commuting/travelling in crowded spaces.
Both zipper ends in the side pocket
The inner pockets were functional except the name card holder. It’s too shallow to hold anything except your name card, and if you have a card holder, it won’t fit in there as well. Maybe it’s just meant as a slot to place your contacts card should you misplace or lose your bag, which brings me to the next paragraph.
The pocket closest to this caption is the card holder.
Tumi Tracker - it’s a feature that Tumi included in this bag that may potentially make it possible for you to be reunited with your bag should you lose it because of your own carelessness. It’s not a GPS chip embedded type of function so there are limitations. There is a 20-digit code unique to each bag and if a Good Samaritan finds them, and decided to do you a big favour, call the US number, give the 20-digit number, you may get your bag back. I will hold this hope with humanity.
You only need to register once - and you have the number back to your email. So don’t worry about having to remember the numbers; as it actually make more sense to keep your bag close to you. However, if you do own the luggage bag (to check in), this may be an additional insurance should the airline misplace your luggage .. and the airline tag gets separated... maybe.
The two front zip - Left and Right Pockets
The two-front zipped compartments were impressive. Tumi did some magic and made them both highly usable instead of just aesthetic. One side has a phone sleeve able to fit my OnePlus2 5.5inches. A 16k mAh powerbank, a Buff and a reflective vest all fits in with space to spare.
Powerbank, Phone, Camelbak tool Bag
And still have space for this two items!
The other side slips in my tags, earphone in a casing and a folded dry bag, with space to spare.
And still with space to spare...
Inside the Cameron, there is an inner zipped pocket that runs 3/4 height of the bag - which I have not utilized. It also have a padded slip pocket for tablets, which I am unlikely to utilize except maybe as a separate compartment for passport and boarding passes. There are two more slide pocket deep and wide enough for an external HDD each.
How it all fitted in
Right pocket with lining for cold drinks that may condensate

Left pocket for other utilities.
There are three daisy-chain loop that you can use to attach anything, including a metal buckle - perhaps a touch to make you feel it’s an exclusive (read: expensive) bag. The other two daisy chain is at each of the strap which is useful to clip blinkers perhaps?
You can hang marketing stuff here if you want
Loops for you to secure other items
One more nice touch to the bag is a hidden compartment behind the bag that is secured with magnetic closure. The size fits a passport and boarding pass very nicely. I supposed this, together with the Bag-sleeve (where you use it to hang/secure the bag to your carry-on luggage completes the "commuter" tag this Cameron lives up to. Nice touch Tumi.
Secret Compartment

able to fit my passport and the leather cover

where the passport is relative to the size of the compartment

the luggage sleeve
Wrapping it up
It’s a very nice bag that is not loud. Something you don’t see often as the market is flooded with the monogram series. My wife choice (I am one of them) were perfect. While she bought this hoping I won’t put all the items above, as I do have the tendencies to put everything I think I need, the Cameron surprised me and her that it holds everything I need and don’t need.
If there is two things I wished it had, a leather patch for my initial (isn’t that why people get a Tumi?) and the material to be Cordura (hardier and self healing) instead of Nylon - because Nylon does not reflect the exclusivity of the brand.
leather detailing on the bag

Size comparison against a 21inch Echolac carry-on luggage

side profile vs 21inches Echolac

Specification (from a few sources online, as Tumi does not have much info surprisingly):
Dimension (approx): 29cm(W)x12cm(D)x43cm(H)
Weight: Approx 750grams empty
Laptop dimensions: up to 15 inches (my office issued laptop is a 14.4inch and fits nicely)
Other Details:
Two zip pockets on front
- Double zip top closure
- Open pockets on sides
- Bag sleeve on back to slide onto luggage handle
- Adjustable padded straps with leather detailings
- Double Nylon grab handle 
- Hidden pocket with magnetic closure
- One Zip pocket
- 4 slip pockets
- One pen holder (which is really a pocket, not explicit "pen" loop, which is great!)
- One padded slip pocket (for tablet?)
- One key sling with clip
- Tumi Tracker ID sewn 
100% Nylon outer
100% Polyester lining inner