Gadling Gear Review: Tumi Ticon Leather Backpack

Tumi Ticon Leather BackpackRadio Frequency Identification (RFID) chips have become increasingly popular in recent years, with the inexpensive technology finding its way into everything from our credit cards and cellphones to passports. The chips allow for the sharing of information over a short range making it possible to make purchases with just the tab of a card or to pass through a security checkpoint more quickly. But the technology has also shown a penchant for being easily hacked, allowing someone to obtain a host of data simply by scanning for nearby RFID-enabled items. This has led to a rise in identify theft while consumers scramble to protect themselves from yet another threat.

Enter ID LOCK from Tumi, a company well known for creating high-end luxury bags and luggage for the seasoned traveler. When the designers at Tumi saw the threat of identity theft via RFID hacking becoming a bigger issue, they put their heads together to come up with a way to defend their customers from this new form of high-tech pickpocketing. The result is ID LOCK, a specially designed pocket on Tumi bags that helps to prevent RFID signals from passing through, making it nearly impossible for anyone to capture private information from the chips.

The secret to keeping your data secure while on the go is in the fabric of the ID LOCK pocket itself. Tumi has woven metal threads into the cloth, forming a barrier that prevents RFID signals from getting in or out. The pocket is easily identifiable on any Tumi bag as it is always a distinct color of red. Placing your passport, credit cards, mobile phone or any other item packing an RFID chip inside the zippered pocket instantly dampens its signal, greatly reducing the chance of anyone tampering with your information.The ID LOCK pocket is an example of how Tumi is always looking for ways to innovate in an attempt to make their products better while also providing travelers with peace of mind in the process. It is a welcome addition to the company’s wonderful Ticon leather backpack, although it is just one small part of what makes this bag stand out from the crowd. In terms of carry-on packs for the typical traveler, this is a backpack that delivers everything you could possibly need in a compact, durable and attractive package.

Tumi Ticon Leather BackpackThe pack includes more storage than you would think possible at first glance. The main interior pocket is spacious enough to carry most things you would need on a typical flight, including books, magazines, headphones, an iPod and more. Tumi says that it has been designed to support notebooks with up to a 12-inch screen, but my 13.1-inch MacBook Air had no problems slipping into the laptop sleeve as well. A dedicated pocket just for the iPad is a nice touch too and adding a tablet to the load didn’t make the Ticon feel over burdened in any way. A zippered external pocket provides another versatile and easy to reach storage option, while two side pockets, each with magnetic closures, are suitable for small water bottles. Pen loops, a key clasp and an internal card pocket help round out the pack’s other features.

Listing the storage options for a Tumi bag is a bit like reviewing which items come pre-installed on a BMW. They sound good on paper but they do very little to convey the true quality of the overall product. Quite simply put, the Ticon leather backpack is one of the finest bags that I have ever seen. It is lightweight, incredibly well put together and designed with frequent travelers in mind. The pack is built from extremely high-quality leather that will likely look just as good in ten years as it does today. The Ticon has a timeless ascetic about it that somehow manages to appear both modern and classic at the same time, and while using the bag over the past few weeks I’ve had numerous people comment about how much they like it. Several of them I even had to run off with a stick as they eyed the pack a bit too longingly.

The Ticon is versatile enough that it certainly can be put to good use even when you’re not traveling. For example, I used it as a commuter pack for a couple of weeks and found that it served well in that capacity. I occasionally felt like I could have used a bit more room, but overall it handled the job admirably. Ladies looking to ditch their purse when they head out on the town will find the pack to be a great alternative as well, providing all the capacity needed for a night out.

Of course, considering the price of this bag you’ll definitely want to maximize how often you put it to use. Tumi is well known for making high-end products and that is certainly reflected in their pricing. The Ticon leather backpack comes with a luxury sized price tag of $595, which puts it beyond the means of most consumers. But if you’re someone who appreciates very high quality travel gear and has the cash to spend on such products, you certainly won’t be disappointed with what Tumi has delivered here. The Ticon really is in a class all its own, deftly melding form and function into a beautiful package. Throw in the added benefit of the ID LOCK and you have a product that will serve you well on numerous travel adventures for years to come.

[Photo Credit: Tumi]

Daily deal – Tumi yearly clearance sale – up to 50% off

My daily deal for today is for the yearly clearance sale in the Tumi luggage store. Tumi makes some pretty classy (and usually quite expensive) luggage, but it is the kind of stuff that can survive almost any kind of abuse you throw at it.

I’ve been pulling the same Tumi rolling suitcase around the airport since 2000, and while it may look like it’s been to hell and back, it’s still solid as a rock.

Of course, solid as a rock means it comes with a pretty hefty price tag. A “normal” Tumi rolling case will cost between $400 and $750, but the yearly sale event is the one time a year you can pick up some very nice pieces of luggage for as little as $100. Some of the highlights in the sale are the expandable rolling suiter pictured above, or this fantastic hard shell rolling case for just $175.

Expensive luggage is not for everyone, but if you are like me, and you are not very nice to your bags, then it is a great investment in something that will last for many years. The sale lasts till January 31st, but items may start selling out pretty soon.

Daily Deal – Tumi annual summer sale

Today’s deal of the day is another luggage sale. Tumi is holding its yearly “Summer Sale“, and some of their most popular products are on sale for as much as 50% off.

Tumi products are not cheap, but when it comes to $300 luggage, there are 2 kinds of people; those who love $300 luggage, and those who laugh at those who love $300 luggage.

When your backpack, duffel bag or rolling case is also your home for most of the year, you learn to appreciate high quality luggage. If you have ever watched your suitcase come down the baggage carousel followed by your clothes, you’ll understand why I have been a happy Tumi customer for many years.

My poor rolling case has been around the world several times, but still feels brand new, give or take a couple of battle scars and about 40 airport security stickers.

Some of the highlights of the sale (in my opinion) are the Mulberry 22″ wheeled duffel for $199 (was $295) and this 24″ wheeled packing case for $229 (was $345).

Don’t get me wrong, not everything is a hot deal, unless you are looking for an overpriced $89 leather envelope or this $1200 suitcase.

All Tumi luggage comes with either 3 or 5 years warranty, and the first year is a full coverage which also covers accidental damage by the airlines. All Tumi luggage products include their free Tracer program which allows you to register the item serial number with Tumi, which could come in handy if it ever fails to arrive at your destination.

The Tumi summer sale lasts till July 31st and shipping starts at just $5.

Deal – Tumi summer sale – luggage up to 50% off

My deal of the day for today is another luggage clearance. Tumi make some of the worlds best luggage (in my personal opinion) but their prices are often on “the high side”.

There are 2 kinds of traveler: people who like $400 luggage, and people who laugh at people with $400 luggage. Either way, it’s a personal choice, but if you are a frequent flier, you’ll learn to appreciate high quality luggage. I’ve been using Tumi bags for years, and my 9 year old rolling bag still looks new, despite being dragged around the world multiple times.

The Tumi summer sale has a large assortment of Tumi products with discounts up to 50%. There are some very nice rollers and duffel bags, as well as some overpriced accessories ($150 pen anyone?).

Some of the highlights of the summer sale include a 24″ wheeled packing case for $229 (was $345, pictured on the right) and this 20″ wheeled case for $179 (was $275).

There is something for everyone, including this classy Baker wheeled suitcase for a very “reasonable” $1199 (was just $1595).

Almost all Tumi luggage comes with their comprehensive 5 year warranty, which includes an accident protection warranty during the first year.

The sale runs till July 31st and can be found here.

Ultra Slim Universal Power Adaptor Kit

Tumi’s Ultra Slim Universal Power Adaptor Kit is equal parts James Bond; Inspector Gadget; and Robert Young Pelton. In other words, not only is the kit stylish and discreet, it’s completely geeky and will likely get you out of a jam.

Compact and lightweight, the 120-watt AC/DC power adaptor Kit allows users to suck juice from a wall, an auto, or an airline connection. Featuring retractable cables, the Kit comes complete with a variety of tips to charge all your electronics while on the road. Its foldable carrying case can even slip inside your dinner jacket.
Being tricked out will cost you, though: the inch-a-half-thick Kit will set you back $195.