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ECBC B8 Sparrow: The "everything bag" for business travelers

I've written a lot of reviews of cases and bags over the years, but this is the first time I've actually had the opportunity to review luggage that is electronics-friendly. ECBC recently started producing the B8 Luggage line featuring the Sparrow Wheeled Garment Bag (US$399.99). Before you start wondering if you're actually reading "Luggage Daily" instead of TUAW, I need to let you know that this is perhaps the most Apple-friendly piece of luggage you'll ever find. One lucky TUAW reader is going to win this bag, so read on.

To begin with, let's talk about the electronics capability of the Sparrow, since that's what will appeal to most TUAW readers. There's a front TSA-friendly fold out zippered compartment -- what ECBC calls Fastpass -- for electronics. In it is a padded foam compartment that can hold any 15-inch or smaller laptop, so the entire current MacBook line will fit with no problems. Modular inserts can be added or removed to make sure that your 11" MacBook Air isn't flopping around in that compartment

Since you'd be a fool to travel without your iPad as well, there's a special padded pocket for it as well. If you happen to sport an iPad mini instead of the full-sized member of the family, you can add modular inserts to hold it in place as well. Need to give your iPhone a quick charge? No problem, since the Sparrow has a rechargeable 4,500 mAh battery for just that purpose. You'll need to provide your own iPhone charging cable, but there's a USB to micro-USB cable for recharging the battery pack.

Two more small pockets for carrying your iPhone or another device as well as a cable or charging adapter round out the interior of this Fastpass pocket.

Moving back from front of the Sparrow bag, we next get to a dedicated garment area, perfect for that suit or jacket for a quick one or two day trip. You can fold it up nicely to avoid wrinkles, and there is also a small area with two triangular corner zippered pockets for socks, underwear, and the like.

Then we get to the main part of the bag, where all of the rest of your clothes will reside while you're flying. Like all good luggage, there are compression straps to help you cram more into the bag and keep it from flopping around in transit.

This is a rollerbag -- designed to be used as a carry-on -- so there's a locking handle. Fortunately, most of the time it can be hidden inside its own zippered pocket. When you need to move, just unzip that pocket, push the button on top of the handle, and extend it to the desired length. The wheels were a little tight on the bag I reviewed, but should roll more easily with use.

While playing around with this, I was not surprised to find some other niceties. There's a zippered fold-out water bottle holder and a really cool ID holder that you just pull out to show your ID, and it retracts back into its little hiding place. There are two nicely padded handles for lifting the Sparrow into the overhead bin, and -- last but not least -- the traditional "magazine pocket" on the front of the electronics compartment.

All of this is miraculously packed into a space 22" x 14" x 9", weighing only 9 lbs. Like other ECBC bags we've tested, it has a 210 denier Double Diamond ripstop lining and a tough 1680 denier HD ballistic nylon exterior in either black or grey. All of the zippers are big, easy to pull, and look like they'd even put up with the overpacking I usually do.

Conclusion

If you are a businessperson or student who needs to travel light with both clothing and computer equipment, the ECBC Sparrow Wheeled Garment Bag is an extremely well-constructed, stylish, and brilliantly thought-out piece of luggage.

Pros

  • Intelligent design for containing both clothing and electronics
  • Handle has its own zippered pocket to keep it nicely stowed away when not in use
  • Tough zippers open all of the compartments wide for easy and complete access
  • Separate garment area is perfect for dress clothing on business travel
  • Built-in battery pack is a nice touch for allowing emergency recharge of iPhones
  • Very attractive design
  • Lots of pockets for holding everything from ID to charging cables, both inside and out

Cons

  • Quite expensive, but then you get what you pay for

Who is it for?

  • Any person who travels both with dress and casual clothing as well as electronic gear who wants to avoid the hassle and expense of checking a bag

Giveaway

As much as I regret giving away this beautiful piece of luggage, it's our TUAW policy. So one of you extremely lucky people is going to be able to use the Sparrow Wheeled Garment Bag on your next business trip.

Here are the rules for the giveaway:

  • Open to legal US residents of the 50 United States, the District of Columbia and Canada (excluding Quebec) who are 18 and older.
  • To enter, fill out the form below completely and click or tap the Submit button.
  • The entry must be made before October 24, 2013 11:59PM Eastern Daylight Time.
  • You may enter only once.
  • One winner will be selected and will receive an ECBC Sparrow Wheeled Garment Bag valued at $399.99
  • Click Here for complete Official Rules.

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