By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)
Whether you are a college student or just in need of a new carry all bag (backpack or messenger-style), Equilibrium USG has a product you can customize. You can have specific types of smaller pouches to store items in. This company hits all major comic book conventions (well, those that are managing to continue during this medical crisis) and I was curious why cater to a specific audience? Why don’t they have a product to sell in a regular store? The reason is that they can’t decide on how much stock to keep. They take orders to build on demand. To note, due to the current global shutdown, their output has slowed until the COVID-19 cases are in control.
With pop culture conventions more or less year-round, it’s inevitable you will see this company showing off their product at a nearby show. I’m thinking of adding to what I currently have. While I’m waiting on last year’s Black Friday sale to arrive (it can take up to eight months, depending on workload, & coronavirus fears in Asian manufacturing notwithstanding), I’m already considering an upgrade.
Unless I missed a tutorial, you can’t carry the Assault Panzer style completely along its longer (horizontal than vertical) axis. The Recon Prime is closer to the traditional vertical axis messenger bag design, but not by much. I have a pdf where they were once advertised as messenger bags, but after some weeks of use it feels more like a backpack. I might as well turn it into a proper one. I just need to decide on which harness is best for me, and I did not want to mail order blind.
Since they do have Black Friday and holiday sales which can offer up to 30% off, money can be saved by waiting to receive one of their emails. Some convention deals are good, but it’s of course best to be patient and know what you want before committing to an order.
I wanted a custom messenger style bag for the longest time. The one I bought (at a convention) is just as strong since I’ve been using it since 2015, but adding one pocket was not enough to keeping my mobile safe wasn’t enough. I wanted a slot for my audio recorder, my camera and sunglasses. I’ve always imagined a bandoleer to hold smaller items.
Their Bandoliro really does the job, even for other products not sold by them. It can slide onto any strap, be it a small messenger bag, satchel or otherwise! Add a “buckshot” pack or two, and it’s the perfect way to keep smaller items easily accessible. The fact there’s a huge zippered area inside is perfect for tucking away cables or other smaller items as long as they’re flexible. Many companies make a strap packs, like Clakit’s, but I’m very picky in what I want from the design. As a roving journalist, I found my Zoom microphone case can attach to the Bandolario easily. Pens can even dangle off it.
Professional photographers may want to consider this company’s backpack since it can allow them to keep different lenses in separate compartments provided they fit.
Lastly, “skyns” are simply window dressing to make your luggage stand out. As much as I would have liked to have one, it was an expense I could do without. It’s a strap on vinyl protector for any front pockets added to the base unit, and you can put in any design you want (or chose from the company’s catalog). While you can switch out art to suit your mood, I’d still be torn between what image to use. I love using images that portray some aspect of the Ancient Egyptian or Aztec world. For pop culture, it’s a tough call between TRON, Godzilla or How to Train Your Dragon.
After months of use since my pack arrived, I’m still torn between my love for the ten-year-old Mountain Equipment Co-op daypack; it has a few features that this company has yet to offer, like zippered pockets to hold loose change and pen-sized slots to hold my favourite writing instruments. The difference is in how both handles weight distribution. Equilibrium’s product simply excels.
Ultimately, the decision is on whether you have the extra money to buy this luxury item. Customization is nice, but it also paints a target on you if used abroad. I’m the type of tourist who wants to blend in with the locals. At the same time, I’m hoping this company will consider something new. I’d love to see an option to allow mobile users to recharge with either their own power bank or this company’s own. With more wireless headphones in the market, slots to feed wires around for music listeners feel unneeded as it’s already “built-in.”