Booq Mamba Courier review: A little more style than substance

booq mamba in houise

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At a Glance
  • Booq Mamba Courier

Most Booq bags have a few things in common—most notably a serpent-inspired moniker, and more often than not, an unusual shape and design. This makes the Mamba Courier a bit of an anomaly for Booq, as it features a fairly standard, straightforward messenger design and eschews the 1680 denier ballistic nylon for a natural fiber material, jute.

The Mamba Courier is available in three colors, black, sand, and grey, and three sizes, 11 inch, 13 inch, or 15 inch; with the 11 inch style resembling more vertically oriented bags such as Ogio’s Covert and the 13 and 15 inch messengers featuring the more expected horizontal design. The only other member of the Mamba line, the Daypack, is constructed from the same jute fiber and has an unadorned backpack design.

booq mamba full black

The 15” Mamba Courier that I tested came in black, with a deep red nylon interior. The Courier weighs about 2.3 pounds when empty, and measures 16.7” x 12.8” x 4.4” —I had zero problems sliding either my 13” ultrabook, or a 15” Macbook Pro into the designated, padded laptop sleeve.

The fiber material is waterproof and organically dyed. The overall design of the bag is clean and simple throughout: There are no pockets or pouches on the outside of the bag, save for the rear slip pocket (which also has a smaller pouch inside, ideal for smart phones or bus passes).

booq mamba rear 2

The rear slip pocket is the only external storage on the Mamba Courier

The front flap of the bag latches into place using hooks slid through loops—this is quite possibly my least favorite method of securing a bag, as it means I have to stop what I’m doing, reach down and guide the hook back out through the loop in order to access the contents of my bag. While I much prefer clasps and buckles, I will say that the hook method used here was quite effective in securing the front flap of my bag.

booq clasps

These hooks work, but can't compare to the snap & release clasp style access that I'm used to.

However, and this struck me as odd after I’d been using the bag for a few weeks, it’s a little strange to even have a front flap on this bag—both the main compartment and the compartment on the front panel are secured with zippers, so the flap is simply one more barrier between you and your stuff. It does however, serve a higher purpose, and that is to make the handle useful.

booq mamba courier rear

The handle on the Courier is attached to the front flap, while the shoulder strap is permanently attached.

While the Mamba Courier has a shoulder strap, which cannot be detached, it also—like most bags—has a handle. A handle that is made entirely useless if you do not secure the front flap of your bag down, as the handle itse;f is sewn into the front flap, not the top of the main compartment. That was a minor frustration.

Another minor frustration was the main compartment itself—while it was both large enough to hold all my day-to-day items and gadgets, and well-padded enough for me to feel comfortable putting my laptop inside, I found the zipper placement at the top of the compartment cramped and cumbersome.

booq mamba roll down black

The best way to access your items within the Courier is to roll down the top panel (as seen here) which... No. Just, no.

See, the Mamba Courier has a rather square shape overall, something that lends itself to a more professional, serious design and feel—and something that causes issue with the main compartment, where the zipper is placed farther back (towards the back flap) instead of in the center. This means, after you unlock the front flap and unzip the main panel, you’ll have to peel back the material along the top of the compartment (or yank it open) in order to actually see and access the items inside.

Now, if the zipper had run all the way along the left and right sides of the bag, so you could unzip and fold it open, or alternatively, if there had been two zippers so that I could have pulled back the entire top panel of fabric, I could see the purpose in keeping the shape. But even the press photos of the bag show this top portion being uncomfortably rolled back (see above), which is not something I can get down with.

booq mamba courier top issue

A view of the square top panel (and backset zipper) of the Courier's main compartment.

Another drawback? While the interior of the main compartment does offer up three pen slots and three pouches, none of them are zippered or sealed in any way at all meaning the items inside can easily slip out and into the main compartment. What’s a girl gotta do to get some Velcro around here?

Bottom line

Those (relatively minor) inconveniences aside, I can say that the Mamba Courier easily carried my laptop alongside all my general detritus (wallet, make up bag, notebooks, smart phones, chargers), and that the contents remained well distributed throughout the pockets.

Aside from the kerfuffle with the front flap, and main compartment zipper, everything was easy to access. I can make no complaints either about quality of materials or construction as both were done according to Booq’s reputation and standards, but I was over the awkward zipper/roll down top design pretty quickly.

This story, "Booq Mamba Courier review: A little more style than substance" was originally published by TechHive.

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At a Glance
  • Booq Mamba Courier

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