Thanks to evildoers and their evildoing, going through an airport these days is just plain taxing. And if you happen to rock a laptop that is a ginormous 17-incher like the one owned by yours truly, then going through airport security really becomes a total pain in an unnamed part of the human anatomy. With the exception of having a bunch of bawling kids in tow, there’s nothing quite as harrowing during one’s trip through the meat market that is the TSA security line than coaxing a large laptop out of a tight-fitting bag while emptying your pockets and taking off your shoes and belt as the dagger-like glares of the folks behind you impale your back. One can only pray that your now unbelted trousers don’t drop and you inadvertently give the folks an impromptu show that you and — let’s be honest — they don’t really want.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at the ECBC Tomahawk messenger laptop bag. Unlike the backpack style of the Slappa Stovepipe Chaos or the more luggage-worthy approach of the Balanzza TRUCO three-piece roller, the Tomahawk goes the shoulder bag route. Measuring 22.3 inches wide, 13.5 inches tall and 4.5 inches thick, this is one spacious little — er, big — bugger. The main inner pocket, for example, can fit my ASUS G74SX laptop, which is a feat in itself. For the uninitiated, the G74SX is a gaming laptop that’s so big, it typically does not fit regular bags designed for 17-inch laptops. I know because I’ve owned several such laptops through the years and my regular bags do not fit my ASUS.
In addition to the main compartment, there is also a padded rear compartment that can fit a regular 15-inch laptop or tablet. In fact, the biggest strength of the Tomahawk is its healthy number of pockets and compartments for fitting all sorts of stuff. The front flap for example, has its own pocket. Its outer sides has pockets that can fit smartphones while the inner front of the bag has a host of pockets of varying sizes as well, including a see-through mesh pocket that’s secured by a zipper. The latter is good for fitting stuff that you want to quickly see but don’t want falling out of your bag, like your passport or tickets, for example. The inner compartment itself has two extra pouches that can be secured with velcro straps. This is good for securing stuff like paper documents that you don’t want falling out when you open your bag at the airport security line or in the plane. Although the contents of the main compartment are secured primarily by the outer flap, the Tomahawk also comes with a zipper opening on its top for quick access to its interior while the flap is closed.
As far as materials, the bag is made from ballistic nylon, which makes it tough yet still light for its size. The lightness is important because any reduction in weight really helps when dealing with a bag that can fit plenty of stuff. Padding is also pretty good overall.
As far as drawbacks go, one would be its $139.99 price tag, which is a bit high. Another one is its looks. Although it's well-designed ergonomically, the Tomahawk appears a bit generic. It’s also huge, which is great if you’ve got a large computer but probably makes it too big for daily use unless you tend to carry a lot of stuff with you.
In terms of travel, however, the Tomahawk really shines, especially for heavy gadget users. I’ve loaded this thing with my giant gaming laptop, my 15-inch work laptop, books, my tablet, several portable gaming devices, chargers, books and other electronics all at once (with apologies to my poor back). And if your laptop fits the rear pouch, you can open the whole thing out while the laptop is still secured because it’s TSA FastPass compatible. That means that you don’t have to take out your whole laptop from the bag during screening. If you’re a gadget geek who likes to travel like yours truly, then the Tomahawk is definitely worth a look.
Final rating: 4 stars