Growing up and living in Colorado my entire life has taught me one very important lesson -- the value of ruggedly-built gear that can hold up to temperature extremes, bright sunlight, and the occasional drop onto rocks or into cold mountain streams. Lander is a rather new accessory manufacturer that is located in our neighbor state of Utah, so they "get" the need for Apple fans in the Rocky Mountain West and elsewhere to have gear that stands up to the worst Mother Nature can dish out. Today we're looking at two new products: the Timp Messenger Bag ($99.99) and Cascade Powerbank ($34.99 - $69.99 depending on capacity). If you're a supporter of Apple World Today, check out the bottom of the post for instructions on how to enter to win these two products -- and if you're not, make a pledge today and you'll be eligible to enter the giveaway.
Timp Messenger Bag
Now here's a messenger bag that I would have been proud to carry my gear in during last week's spring blizzard! The bag comes in one color -- black -- and has a coated rip-stop material on the front that's not only weather-resistant, but won't tear if you drag it against a bare tree limb. The Timp Messenger Bag has a 20 liter capacity, includes haul handles on all four sides for easy pickup, and has a shoulder strap for comfortable carrying.
The Timp Messenger Bag also has reflective Illumaweave tape in two strategic locations, making it easy to find the bag in the dark by just aiming a flashlight (or iPhone flash) at it in the right direction. Each of the zippers is weatherproofed and has easy-to-find red zipper pulls on it. Inside the bag, there are a number of interior sleeves and pockets for organization of your stuff, whether you're carrying the bag on a hike or just heading to work on your bike.
The design is classic messenger bag, and the Timp would look at home slung across your back on a bike. The back side of the TIMP features a breathable mesh material, so even if it's a hot day it's going to keep your back dry.
The main pocket is big enough for even an old-school 15-inch MacBook Pro, with separate areas for an iPhone, an Apple Pencil, an iPad mini, or even a full-sized iPad (see image below). Both the main pocket and a separate side pocket are lined with soft materials that are sure to keep your gear from scratches. There's a soft felt lining in the "back pocket" -- the one I'd use for an iPad Pro -- while the other uses a ripstop material.
The Bottom Line
The Timp Messenger Bag is a rugged, spacious and affordable bag for carrying your tech gear, and it's much more weather-resistant than many of the bags we review. For those who like messenger bags, it's got a lot going for it. If you need more capacity or want a bag that can be used as a backpack, you may want to look at the Timp Backpack either in 20 liter ($99.99) or 25 liter ($129.99) capacities. The backpacks also feature the solid design and materials of the Messenger Bag.
Apple World Today Rating (out of 5 stars): ★★★★★
There's one problem with a lot of the external battery packs that we review for Apple World Today -- they're too big to carry around all the time, so they're usually not available when they're really needed. Today's review is of a nice, pocketable external battery pack with a 2,600 mAh capacity -- the Cascade Powerbank (US$34.99).
That capacity is enough to almost recharge Apple's biggest iPhone battery -- the one in the iPhone 6 Plus at 2,915 mAh. It definitely has more than enough power to recharge the iPhone 6 (1,810 mAh) or the iPhone 6s (1,715 mAh). If that's not big enough for you, there are two other models, one rated at 5,200 mAh ($49.99) and another at 7,800 mAh ($69.99).
All of the Cascade Powerbanks come pre-charged, have a reflective jacket material on the carrying lanyard for easy identification in the dark, and use a smart charge technology that powers off automatically when the battery is topped off. They all share a similar design, too -- an octagonally-sided case with coining (ridges) on two sides that give the case a good grip in the hand.
For the 2,600 mAh device we reviewed, there's a lot of power packed into a very small volume. It measures 4 x .875 x .875 inches (101.6 x 22.23 x 22.23mm) and weighs just 2.4 ounces (68 grams). I consider it small enough to put into a jeans pocket, or you can attach the lanyard to a backpack or purse.
Atop the Cascade is a button to turn charging on or off, a USB port to plug your charging cable into, and a micro-USB port for charging the Cascade. A USB to micro-USB charging cable is included for the latter situation, while you'll need to provide your own USB to Lightning cable.
The Bottom Line
While it's not the least expensive external battery pack on the market, the Cascade Powerbank is ruggedly designed and can take an accidental drop in stride. The design is surprisingly small considering the capacity, and it looks good. If there was one change I'd make, it would be to add a small cover to the business end of the pack for more protection when it's being used in the great outdoors.
Apple World Today Rating (out of 5 stars): ★★★★
AWT Patrons! Enter for a chance to win the Lander Timp Messenger Bag and Cascade Powerbank. We'll be sending out an email to all of our patrons with a link to a giveaway entry form. Fill it out and you may be the lucky winner. If you're not currently a supporter of Apple World Today and want to get in on the action, just head on over to Patreon and sign up as a supporter to be eligible for future giveaways.