Friday, April 10, 2009

Heys Travelmate Sling Bag

heys travelmateHeys is a travel gear and luggage company best known for its very hard but lightweight rolling suitcases---those colorful ones you see whizzing by you in the airport. But they also make a lot of practical travel accessories and bags that aren't hard-sided, including this cool little Travelmate bag that slings over your shoulder.

Think of it as a miniature daypack, a travel purse, a hands-free travel carrier for dads, or a man purse, but the idea is that you can stow what you need in a small bag that doesn't get in the way. It's smaller than a backpack or messenger bag, but large enough to hold the essentials. In my test I managed to fit in the following: trade paperback, notebook, camera, passport, snacks, cell phone, pens, lip balm, and my Chargepod. There's a zippered mesh pocket on the side that will hold a small water bottle.

The Heys Travelmate stays snug against your body so your hands are free---especially helpful if you're trying to keep track of a toddler or push a stroller. If you're not traveling on business and you're on an airline that doesn't sock you for baggage fees, you could check your suitcase and complete the whole trip with just this bag. Then on the other end, it would do the trick for your days of sightseeing.

I have no complaints about the bag itself: it's rugged, well-made, and has lots of pockets for keeping things separated, including one on the front that's handy for things you need to get at often, like money and an ID. The flap on the front is attached with velcro, so you can open it with one hand. One inside pocket is clear and waterproof: handy if you're carrying cosmetics that could leak.

heys slingTwo of the three accessories that come with it are a different story though and should have just been left out. There's a cheap LED flashlight that was already dead in the model I received and a mirror that's about as clear as a piece of tin foil. The included travel wallet is nice though: the kind that hangs around your neck and goes under your shirt---handy in places where pickpockets could be working the crowd. (The bag itself would be pretty hard to snatch too; it would have to be slashed.)

The regular line of Heys Travelmate bags includes models in 14 different colors, from subdued to very bright. There's also an "exotic" line with zebra and leopard prints or the houndstooth one pictured here. Some of the shades and patterns are too feminine for guys, but there's plenty to choose from.

These bags generally retail for $23 to $30, so they're a good value. They're available in some retail luggage stores. Find out more online or go shopping:

Heys Canada
Heys USA

Solid colors at Amazon
Exotic line at Amazon

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