Crumpler Designs and Construction

I had a chance to speak to David Rose, the co-founder and partner of Crumpler, and discussed various topics from the inspiration of their unique product names, to their unusual designs.

The vision for the company’s products comes from Stuart Crumpler the artist turned bag designer who likes working with metal and industrial styles. Today you can see this translate into their bags with big heavy zippers, mesh pockets,  and large buckles.

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Dave Rose describes Crumpler’s bags as being “over engineered” and I would have to agree. Crumpler uses very good materials and construction to ensure that their products are as tough as they are attractive. The nylon used on the exterior is extremely resistant to rips and wear, and the material is also naturally water resistant. The liner is made from a lighter nylon that other bag companies would use as their exterior material. Overall the material used is overkill – you really don’t need material this tough for most every day situations, but it’s all about providing a bag that is resilient and unique.

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The nylon on Crumpler bags are naturally water resistant.
This photo was taken after 5 minutes of putting water on the bag.

I personally own a Crumpler bag (a Karachi Outpost) that I have used extensively for the past year carrying 30 lbs. worth of computer and camera equipment. My Crumpler hasn’t shown any obvious signs of wear and tear aside from a stubborn mark during a 10 day trip in Nicaragua. From personal experience I can say that these bags are strong. In contrast, I own another notebook bag from a popular peripheral/bag company whose metal strap fastener broke on the 2nd day of carrying 10 lbs of gear (my laptop and some papers).

My only recommendations to Crumpler would be to consider adding some exterior pockets, pad the bottom of their bags to protect contents, and to add a handle to their bags so you can carry them differently.


I find the comfort of these messenger bags very subjective because it really depends a lot on posture, the weight of the contents inside your bag, and your physique. From personally testing these bags over a 2 month period, I can say that they are comfortable as long as you use them within reason. In all cases, I felt back and shoulder tension when I put too much inside the bag or carried it for too long without a break. You’re going to experience that with any shoulder bag, not just the ones from Crumpler.

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Interestingly, The Horseman and the Dreadful Embarrassment are both designed to be slung across the body rather than hanging off one shoulder. Both bags feel a lot more comfortable being carried this way because the bags curve slightly to hug your side or back… making it easy to lug around.

Personally, I like the feel of The Horseman because of its large thick shoulder pad and the 3rd leg makes it a lot easier to carry.

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