The bag arrived via UPS ground, well packaged and in perfect shape. Par for the course these days, but still worth mentioning. My initial impression is generally positive. The bag is made of fairly rugged gray canvas, with a black nylon shoulder strap, briefcase style handle, and trim. Nice neutral colors. The Bag of Holding logo is prominently displayed on the outside cover flap. There are lots of compartments, six total (I think). Starting from the back (dimensions are available via ThinkGeek):
A slim outer compartment closed with a magnetic snap suitable for holding a thin ream of documents. Nicely placed for a map or other quick access, but the closure is just a single snap, so I wouldn't trust it with anything valuable.
A padded laptop compartment. My monster laptop fits snugly, so I'm fairly certain this bag will hold most any laptop made. The padding is pretty thin, and doesn't cover the sides of the case, which is a bit disappointing. I may retrofit an additional strip of padding along the bottom of the case to supplement the poor protection offered there. The laptop compartment is closed with a zipper.
A cavernous compartment with an interior pocket. This is a huge amount of space, easily consuming the 3.5 D&D boxed set along with my laptop's huge power brick and standard-sized mouse with room to spare. This compartment is also zippered.
Another full width, slightly shorter compartment, also zippered. I managed to fit a full set of 1st edition books (Dungeon Master's Guide, Player's Handbook, Monster Manuals I and II, and Fiend Folio) in this compartment.
An accessories compartment closed with a magnetic snap fastened flap. And by accessories compartment I mean 'good-sized women's purse.' There's easily room for a dice bag and miscellaneous junk, plus organizer pouches for cell phone, iPod, writing tools and other essentials.
Finally, there's a zippered outer pocket on the main flap (which covers all but the first document compartment and laptop slot. This pocket would be ideal for cell phone, documents, mints, cigarettes, or anything you need quick access to. Since it's zippered it's a bit more secure than the first compartment.
So how much does it hold? A LOT. I did a quick test and fit the following items:
- Huge laptop
- Laptop power brick (which is actually bigger than a brick)
- Standard Mouse
- 1st edition AD&D Dungeon Master's Guide, Player's Handbook, Monster Manuals I and II, and Fiend Folio
- Three pads of paper (lined, graph, blank)
- 3.5 edition D&D boxed set
- Hefty dice bag
- Sketch pad
- A dozen pens and pencils
- Cell phone
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So far so good, but there are a few negatives I should mention too:
- The two inch wide strap is unpadded, making for an uncomfortable fit with a heavy bag. Something I'll probably address.
- The zippers seem a bit cheap, having a tendency to catch instead of sliding smoothly. We'll see if usage smooths them out.
- The laptop compartment padding is very thin. I would have liked a bit more protection there.
- Magnetic snaps on a computer bag? There were probably better choices available.
- The organizers in the accessories compartment are all kind of stubby. There's no easy way to fit my mini-maglite in one.
- It's not waterproof, something that I'll remedy with ScotchGuard.