Sumo Cases: a design dynasty beyond iPod?

Dennis accessorizes. Larry accessorizes. I don’t really accessorize. Besides functional protection for my iPod-du-jour and the occasional Oakley bag, I don’t need or buy a lot of extra stuff to carry around. So when I do, it’s gotta be something really cool.

You probably already know about Sumo Cases’ PlayThru cases for the iPod. One’s in the picture above. But you probably didn’t know that Sumo also makes laptop cases – and more. I liked the “more” so much that I bought one for myself. Appropriately, you’ll see first pictures by clicking on Read More below.
I buy a new backpack once every three years or so; my last was an Oakley Sandbag, which technically was a gift from my ex, but I hand-picked it. A few months ago, we spied a new Sumo backpack prototype that was seriously impressive. “I’ll buy one,” I said to Sumo’s principal. “We’ll send you laptop cases,” he responded. They arrived a couple of weeks ago, and like Sumo’s quilted iPod cases, they were very impressive: inexpensive, well-built, padded, and stylish. Virtually ideal laptop sleeves, except not super-thin – an asset for some, a minus for others.

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Needless to say, the laptop case ($39.99 for 15”, $34.99 for 12”) held up wonderfully on my trip to New York City this past weekend, keeping a 15” PowerBook in tip-top shape inside of my carry-on bag. (It doesn’t hold accessories and doesn’t include D-rings for a strap, my only reservations.) But the thing I was really waiting for, and willing to pay for, was this – my own copy of the company’s backpack, still not available to the general public.

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Dennis calls it “metro,” but no one who knows me would call me metro. Larry, maybe. Dennis is self-described that way. But not me. Thanks to black ballistic nylon, this thing is all tough, except for the inside, which thanks to a hugely Sumo-branded interior does have a touch of the softness.

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There’s a generously-sized, zippered external compartment on the front, with two leather-tipped open pockets on its sides. Above, there’s a zipper-closed lid, which reveals a padded laptop holder large enough for a 15” PowerBook, a large zipper compartment, and space inbetween them for a bunch of other goodies.

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The back straps are padded on the inside, leather tipped, and mostly ballistic nylon, like the body. A leather loop at top and surface at bottom provide shiny contrasts with the rugged nylon, which in Sumo tradition is quilted on the rear. It’s as nice a backpack as I’ve ever seen, and though not cheap ($110), worth it for me. These guys have proved with every product they’ve released that they really know how to design, and since I like to support good design, this one’s a natural for my collection.

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