Created by the same family as the Casetec brand, Pakuma strives to move away from more traditional designs and offer an entirely new, rugged, and carefully conceived laptop carrying solutions.
The bags' concepts come from Christian Drew who, while living in Venezuela for 8 years running an expedition company, spent plenty of time with the Pemon tribe, noting that often the simplest designs can achieve the greatest goals. In fact the company name, ‘Pakuma', is actually the Pemon word for the woven bag, used by the tribes people to carry tools and hunting weapons in, and the companies logo is in fact the local symbol for a Shaman.
All manufacture takes place in the Far East by the same factory that produces the top-end Lowepro photographic carrying systems, so pedigree comes as standard, as do lifetime guarantee on all products.
The messenger bags come in two sizes, the K1 being the larger at 15”x15.5”x7” (designed for those of you who have to have 17” notebooks) and the K2 offering the more compact option, although not by much, at 14.5” x11 “x8”. The larger bags comes with more pockets, to secrete peripherals and accessories in, as well as having a larger, better-padded, strap. The smaller K2 is available in a wider variety of colour schemes though, and is aimed more at the unisex market. That said, all the colours are muted reds, browns, greens and blues, so military buffs and fans of hiding in the great outdoors should be equally stoked.
The core of the Choroka K series is the ‘notebook cocoon' and grandiose though it sounds this equates to a partitioned rear section, made of ribbed and reinforced memory foam, designed to cushion its precious contents from knocks and dings. The exterior of the bag is made of high grade woven waterproof fabric, with all zips being made by YKK and Duraflex clip-lock buckles throughout, reducing the chance of bits coming off in your hand dramatically. The interior of the larger K1 has enough pockets and hidey-holes in which you can lose all your possession several times over and both models come with a dedicated MP3 player pouch with headphone ‘out-port', so wires can get into the bag without having to undo clips or zips.
Gripes, well in order to get a messenger bag as large as the K1 to sit against the body and not bang around, as you wander around, you need to use what's called a ‘cycle strap' (a secondary strap that fits around the waist that draws the bag onto the hips). The only problem is in order to draw that much weight against the hips properly you need to tension the strap to the point where by it begins to bare some of the bags weight itself and, as it lacks any sort of padding, this begins to cut into the wearer after a while. This can be remedied by adding a second smaller pad to the cycle strap, so comfort over duration can be attained.
It would also be nice to be able to separate the ‘cocoon' section from the main bag, so that when you get to you destination you can decant the bulk of the K1 into a corner and go the last 100 yards pared-down to laptop, smile and your own good self.
Overall, a well designed, ruggedly constructed and practically placed addition to the current laptop transportation market. The colour schemes are metrosexual enough to keep both genders happy and the ‘K' series designs are as simple as they are effective. I'd suggest that the next set of Pakuma releases might aim for the more petite end of the market as you have to be fairly well built to consider even the K2 model, although, intriguingly, Christian has mentioned he wants to investigate some vintage bag design to see if he can give them modern twist. Laptop-Gladstone anyone?