If you’ve been following my articles on Macgasm for the past couple of years, you’ll know that I have a messenger bag fetish. I always have a bag with me, and have used quite a few brands. So when I was given a Booq Viper Courier to check out, I put it through some regular testing in my daily life that includes bicycle commuting, public transit riding, and walking between classes.
The Viper Courier itself is marketed as a “minimalist” bag for MacBook Pro users, and is essentially a MacBook Pro sleeve with an added storage compartment for chargers, a tablet and other accessories. In the bag’s main pocket, there’s a specialized compartment for 15-inch notebooks and another for an iPad or similar sized tablet.
With that being said, this isn’t a bag you’ll use to carry home groceries or haul textbooks as the Viper Courier is designed solely as a notebook bag. For me, this is a major turn-off as, being a bike commuter, I need maximum space to carry anything I pick up from the store on my commute home. However, for the average person, this bag should work out fine if you just need something to carry your laptop to work in while on the bus.
On the bag’s exterior, there’s a quick-grab pocket for your iPhone, small notebook, or keys. I personally found this pocket convenient when riding the train, so I could take out my notebook without having to open my messenger bag, exposing my laptop and tablet to potential thieves. Additionally, there’s a flat pocket on the back of the bag (the side that touches your back) that can hold magazines or even a small eReader.
As far as the bag’s build goes, the bag is constructed from a “natural fiber fabric” that’s waterproof, protecting your MacBook from sudden rainstorms and sprinkles. The fabric also looks nice and has a hard, wooly look to it that’s pleasant in its light-gray coloring.
When walking, the bag is actually very comfortable when not filled to the brim. I didn’t feel too much pressure in my arm when carrying an iPad Air, MacBook Pro, respective chargers, and a couple notebooks all day long between classes at school and walking around the city. The bag has a seemingly high-quality, seat-belt like strap with a shoulder pad that prevents it from cutting into your shoulders.
However, where the bag falls short for me is comfort on the bike. This is mainly because of the bag’s back, which is completely flat and doesn’t contour to your back. When riding my bike to my favorite coffee shop, roughly three or four miles away from my starting location, the weight of my full Viper Courier started digging into my back. Then again, this is completely irrelevant if you don’t ride a bike, though it is something you should consider if you’re the on-the-go type.
Overall, I can recommend the Viper Courier to anyone who needs a bag solely to carry a laptop and an iPad to work or school. The bag looks nice, held up great during my testing, and was surprisingly comfortable when off the bike. However, if you’re a bicycle commuter like myself or need to carry a lot of stuff, you’re better off purchasing something specialized for cycling.