Need a new brief case? XD Design Bobby Bizz Review

Hackpack V1.0
Bobby Bizz

Tortuga Set Out Divide
Things to Pack
Packed Up and Ready To Go
Slings - carrying light

I am planning a trip to India to attend the wedding of my friend's daughter. I would then take the opportunity to spend another 4-8 weeks travelling.

After much research and trying out luggage I already have for volume and weight I decided I need a travel backpack and a daily carry backpack. The travel backpack will go cargo because for two months I want to carry a pocket knife and that will not go with carry on. In one bag travel carry-on the weight is 11-12kg with an 8kg limit internationally and 5kg on some domestic flights some items have to go cargo. All the tech has to fit into the carry on backpack for the flights out, back home and internal - including shaver and electric tooth brush and wash bag kit.

Besides the two packing cubes for clothes, a suit, second pair of shoes there will be some wedding presents.

Security is important. I had a camera bag lifted by thieves on my last trip to India with video camera, two Minox cameras, a Rollei, flash, guide book, some cash and passport. In China the bus driver spotted that I had been targeted by cut and slash thieves and shouted out. My pocket was empty otherwise their trick was to slash your leg, wallet falls out you can't run as your leg bleeds out.

For touring I expect to want to catch up on social media and e-mails at some stage of the sight seeing and will have camera, tripod and a drinks bottle with me. So camera, extra lens, mobile phone and perhaps an 8" tablet. My choice is the anti-theft Bobby Bizz from XD Design. €84 on Amazon, €89.95 direct (€99.95 October 2018).

Bobby Bizz

Like the original Bobby the Bobby Bizz has the zips next to your back and hidden from sight. The surface has anti-rip and cut proof material. There is a steel wire down one shoulder strap and combination lock that allows it to be locked to a fixed object like a post or radiator pipes etc. Locking the loop on the wire to the dual zippers of the main compartment and around a post prevents the bag from being grabbed or opened. A thief might struggle with the steel cable but I suspect even the YKK zipper pulls can be snapped off with a some  force. Zippers with a lock feature would make more sense.

The zippers where a little stiff at first, particularly when moving past the corners. This freed up with use.

The handle is very comfortable.  As it holds its position it is easy to grab.

The backpack looks like a brief case. It is semi-ridged with a steel frame around the sides. This adds protection to the contents, support to keep the shape and security and explains the weight of 1200g. The handle is firm and comfortable even when fully loaded with laptop and books. A luggage strap is in the channel between the two back supports. A sideways through channel for air gap would help. I soon gets warm between it and your back. In summer and hot climates it heats up quickly.

The straps are hidden away in a Velcro pocket.  They are made of a similar material to that used on the sides of the backpack with a mesh webbing underneath. Although one strap has the steel cable inside there is no additional supporting webbing to fix it to the bag. XD Design claim that the Bobby Bizz can hold 20kg. It would be very hard to pack much over 10kg in it even with a lot of technical equipment or heavy text books. But the G forces, holding just 5kg, then running for a bus or train puts a lot of strain on the straps.

To grab the carry handle the back swings down from the left shoulder. There is a loop at the top between the two shoulder straps that can be used to grab as well as to hang from a coat hook and hides away with the shoulder straps when no in use.

A loop at either side of the carry handle allow the detachable strap to be fixed. As these are close to the back of the Bobby Bizz it will hang at an angle and not balanced from the middle. With the clamp shell opening along the narrow side the heavy objects will be at one end.  The convertibles that use a suit case opening along the longer side, like the Hackpack, are better balanced when carried as a brief case. I would like a loop on both sides at the top of the brief case, either side of the shoulder straps. Carrying it with the thin grab handle with support of a cross body shoulder strap would give a better balance although for shorter people this may hang too low or bounce off the hip in walking.

The Bobby Bizz can also be carried as a cross shoulder back using either shoulder strap but fixing diagonally across to the other side. Only one strap, with security if using the one with the steel wire in it, more comfortable than the detachable strap and one less thing to carry.

If the fixture of the shoulder strap to the backpack was with a

- central steel ring,

- on rotating locking fixtures


- two loops of strong webbing to clip in rectangular clips like the other end of the shoulder straps

the shoulder straps could then be removed completed. This would allow one or both to be used as over the shoulder strap in messenger mode.

The two shoulder straps have pockets for a metro card, ticket or ear buds. The opening is not zipped, just an opening to a pocket that extends down in the strap 15cm. The contents will not fall out, as long as the straps are in the vertical position. If taken down from an overhead shelf or storage or through the ticket gates and turnstiles held as a briefcase I don't think the content is secure.

Small side fixtures prevent the bag from being opened beyond 45 degrees. Content will still gravitate to the bottom of the backpack. With a laptop and tablet in the pockets there is little room for a water bottle or flasks. I have a 475ml bottle that fits into a drinks holder in a car. This has a diameter of 74mm. There is no space for it with the Lenovo MXII700, Dell Venue 8 Pro 5855 with the keyboard and case. If the tablet is placed on it's side the flask fits. There are no external pockets for a water bottle. A carbineer clip and water bottle can be hung off the loop used for the supplied shoulder strap.

The supplied shoulder strap has very heavy steel G hooks. Many users have reported that these slip out whilst being carried. I will get a pair of rectangular clips for the waist strap and use the padding from the supplied strap.


Height: 44.5cm
Width: 31cm
Depth: 12cm

Laptop compartment: 
Fits a 15.6” laptop
29 x 36 x 3 cm (Width x length x depth)

Tablet compartment: 
27 x 29 cm
Fits most commonly used tablets like the iPad and Samsung tablets. Flat pocket with no depth and the tablet sits at the bottom of a deep pocket.

With both laptop and tablet the depth in the main compartment is very much reduced. A Velcro strap clips down on the laptop and tablet compartment.

Patch pocket:
29 x 19 cm

Elastic band:
3.8 cm  for a pen or small object at the top of the bag

Hook with loop:
Total: 4.5 cm
Hook: 2.5 cm

Mesh phone pocket:
12 x 16.4 cm (width x length)

Mesh mouse pocket: 
12 x 16.4 cm (width x length)

Mesh pocket with zipper:
24 x 12.5 cm (width x length)

Pocket on shoulder strap:
15 x 6 cm (height x length)  no security, no zipper or Velcro but the depth is twice that of the opening

Undoing the retainers and the laptop sleeve folds flat. Unfortunately these retainers do not fold away and can't be strapped down. If you fit two small square of Velcro on the mesh pocket you can then fix them out of the way.

The internal pockets have no dimension but the mesh stretches. One is labelled for a mouse, the others appear to be charger and mobile phone. The internal USB cable provided is at the bottom of the case and comes out on the almost hidden quick access pocket near the handle. The external pocket is not easy to get into. It is tight and close to the metal band that is around the sides. It is perfect for keys, wallet and mobile phone. There are two small pockets which hold a minimalist credit card wallet and/or coin wallet. There is a key hanger inside at the top of the backpack but it is much easier to get into the quick access pocket for car and house keys or the ID and security card used in many offices.

Above the quick access pocket. Below the zip pocket used to hold the solar power battery charger.

Empty, with only the laptop I can fit in a packing cube with a change of clothes, say for a weekend trip or an away business meeting.

Packing for daily travel to the office. I am unlikely to need the 8" tablet as well as the 12" convertible laptop. I can program, word process and search the internet on either. The Lenovo MXII700 laptop with 12" screen, 8Gb RAM  and faster processor make the laptop easier to use on intensive tasks but for most things the Dell Venue 8 Pro 5855" works fine. Both use each other's pressure sensitive stylus or a capacitor basic type. Both chargers are shown, but only one is needed for the three devices.

The flask is from Wilford and Sons, Germany. It includes an infuser so you can brew up in the bottle and remove the tea leaves when ready. No drinking cup. Contents remain very hot for several hours.

Below the solar panel 24000mAh battery are Sony XBA-H1 ear phones. I have Sony Bluetooth ear buds but they have their own charger and the radio requires wired cable for antenna to operate so I never used them.

Around the inside of the backpack is a zipper. A hidden compartment, alas no. It is only a tidy way of fastening down the sides to cover the steel band around the outside of the case. Seems over engineered and adds both weight and cost. Other bags I have had used Velcro or ties. The briefcase style carry handle is riveted through this metal band, so you can not remove it unless you cut it out.

Below: the covered steel bar around the side of the backpack. I guess it could hide away a stash of bank notes or a strip of micro film - does anybody use those anymore? The metal has ridges, it isn't flat. This adds strength and reduced the chance of it bending in the middle of the longer sides (see below).

Yes, I still have the tags on it. So, turtle shell, Mission Impossible or the Milk Tray man from the 1970 advertisements dashing from danger to sneak in a box of chocolates because the lady loves Milk Tray. Certainly the Bobby Bizz is up to the job of being the backpack whilst skiing down mountains or the daily grind of the commute on public transport to the office.

Even though the Bobby Bizz is only 10 litres and 1.2kg the laptop etc fills it to 5.6kg so I added waist straps.

I changed the spring clips for rectangular clips like XD Design uses for the backpack should straps.

Taking the padded cover and using it with the waist belt creates an alternative over the shoulder strap.


The real differences is that the waist belt is only two-thirds as long. However I found the length fully extended to be about right.


Below is the waist belt as over the shoulder strap fixed to the Bobby Bizz. In use the rectangular clips are still going to bunch up the tags. They are quick release and will not come undone when in use unlike the G buckles of the supplied over the shoulder strap.

The existing loops for the backpack shoulder straps are large enough to take the clips for the waist belt. It you don't use as a shoulder messenger strap then you don't need extra clips to fit the waist belt.

 It is also possible to just use the clips of the backpack shoulder strap clips. The D clips might make sense on a sternum strap and you can still hang stuff from a waist belt. Cinching down the straps would also remove one level of hardware clutter leaving the adjustment next to the buckle..

Tourist daily travel backpack

So it is perfect for the office commute. Even room for a packing cube with gym clothes in. What about daily sight seeing?

Here is my expected day out kit. reading glasses, wallets, Compass, Swiss card, SD card holder, torch, mobile phone, ear bugs, tablet with keyboard, solar panel charger, cables, camera and 18-200mm lens, external microphone, extra batteries & charger, Joby GorillaPod and flask - do I really want to carry both the 475ml and 330ml bottles?

Seems there is so much space I have added an HP Bluetooth mouse and a Braun electric toothbrush!

Everything fits in and still space for a jumper when it gets dark and the temperature drops to 8 degrees Celsius. But nothing is protected from each other and from gravitating to the bottom of the backpack. The mesh pocket on the back of the Bobby Bizz competes too much with the contents so can only be used for very thin and flat objects - passport, tickets. The three other mesh pockets can store some of the gear but the lower full width zip pocket can not hold the lens or flask which both take up the full depth of the space.  Two O rings at the top would allow a suitable packing cube to be fixed at top and still allow for quick access to the two mesh pockets underneath. Now packed out this weights 6.2kg with the Mee Foto tripod another 1.2kg.

Tech pouch

What is needed are tech packing cubes to protect the camera kit. Using a packing cube for chargers and cables works well with mirror less cameras like the Sony Nex 7. Most camera inserts are too tall.  Might need an additional tech packing cube for the other small pieces so that the content does not spill out every time it is opened. The Bobby Bizz is still full, as expected and near capacity.

The Sony Nex 7 and 18-200mm power zoom lens fits in with space for the spare batteries, microphone (not shown here), ear buds and cables. The top has space for SD cards and cables and still room for the charger(s). The camera battery charger is included so that the spares can be charged up from the solar battery pack.


Zipped up the tech bag is a bit floppy. The grab handle helps when taking in and out of the Bobby Bizz, as long as you remember to zip it up every time it is put away. This Travel Digital Pouch from Yiwu Runhui Bag Co Ltd is 245x185x100mm. It bulges to store the zoom lens but is the right size for this mirrorless camera. The 18-200mm powered zoom has a diameter of over 9cm, the fit is over tight if a laptop or tablet is included reducing the available depth to 7cm. A thinner packing cube at the bottom and the camera ready technical cube at the top solves the problem.

Below is show with the thermo flask next to it and the Joby Gorillapod at the top and over the battery charger. In the laptop compartment is the Dell Venue 8 Pro 5855. The two mesh zip pockets at the bottom of the Bobby Bizz can only hold very flat things, like a passport. The mobile phone can be stored in the laptop or table compartment or in the quick access pocket on the outside of the Bobby Bizz.

With the packing cube in place the Bobby Bizz has to stretch out to accommodate but barely noticeable (below). Packing cubes add weight but are a tidy way to protect the gear from each other.

Tech pouch - Side by Side

As an alternative to having a tech bag to contain all the cables, camera, lenses and accessories the Side by Side pouch stores a shed load of stuff in a long narrow pouch that expands to accommodate awkward stuff.

This also packs the USB C hub and Bluetooth mouse, USB charger and spare camera batteries and their charger. It is easier to just take this out of the backpack and unzip one of the pockets than trying to access the built in mesh pockets that have other junk in the way.

Camera pouch

Most camera insert bags are at least 10cm deep. This is larger than needed for a mirror less camera like the Sony Nex 7. Being soft they squash down but the thick padding is superfluous on the Bobby Bizz.

In the laptop compartment I have the Dell Venue 8 Pro 5855 tablet with keyboard. This drops down to the bottom where ideally the camera and large lens would be stored. The Side by Side pouch, the flask and Gorilla tripod are used to push the camera insert to the top.

This packing causes the Bobby Bizz to bulge out. This set up weights 6.5kg.

Organization pouch

As an alternative to camera cubes inserts a handbag organizer can be deplored. These are under £2 from eBay and Amazon with some variation in side and loads of colour combinations.

The minimal padding allows it to sit at the bottom of the Bobby Bizz with the tablet battling for the available depth.

Using the Side by Side and Gorrilla tripod it can also be forced to stay at the top. The downside of this is that the top has no seal to stop things falling into the main compartment when switching between backpack and brief case mode of carrying.

The organizer with camera and lens can sit at the bottom but is them harder to get at if all the other stuff lays above it. Access to the mesh pockets is much harder. 

DIY Camera insert dividers

In making dividers to fit into the Bobby Bizz we have a 50cm width of 92cm wide felt. The stiffener is heavy elastic 50mm wide length of 2 metres. Velcro 20mm 2 metre long. For padding bamboo strip 10cm wide. The long strip is to fix at the bottom of the Bobby Bizz up to the press stud buttons leaving 20 mm off both ends to attach the Velcro. The next longest piece goes from side to side so 24cm with 2x2cm for the Velcro. Then two 12.5cm and two 10cm for internal dividing. Total cost of under £12.

Cut, ready to sew.

It is very hard to sew through two Velcro strips so the longest strip is staggered with the grip on the outside and the soft material inside which only needs to allow for spacing the separators. The dividers are 6cm across.

Inside the Bobby Bizz is a zipper going all the way around. This can be completely separated and a Velcro soft strip stitched to it. This has to be done my hand. The Velcro is self adhesive but will not stick firmly enough to hold in place as the bag is carried from back pack to brief case style.

The two wings have a pop button and Velcro strip to prevent the bag from opening fully. On the other side is fixed self adhesive soft part of the Velcro. This keeps the longest padded strip in place.

The 24-200mm lens is still too large if both laptop and tablet are stored in the back panel. If the tablet is on the side and moved away from where the lens is store it prevents bulking out.

The 12.5cm dividers are long enough for the length of the lens and width of the camera. The longest strip can be turned around and using the support from the sides gives a greater bonding if the back pack is turned upside down to hold the camera gear in position.

If carrying less, the 10cm dividers allow the camera and lens to be laid long ways at the bottom of the Bobby Bizz.

Ideally the bottom pouch would include a Velcro strip to add support for the divider running the width of the back pack. When the side wings are buttoned down there is sufficient give to allow the camera to be retrieved and to prevent it from falling out of the backpack.

Fully packed out at 5.7 kg with the Dell 8" Windows tablet and keyboard,  Sony Nex-7, 24-200mm zoom lens, microphone and remote at the bottom, the organizer pouch with the gorilla pod and solar panel charger, 450ml flask and the Side-by-Side pouch with all the cables, mouse, spare camera batteries and charger. There is still room for the  Lenovo 12" MX700 or a pad of A4 paper.

Using a sling as a camera cube

The Alpaka go Sling Pro is exactly the right size to use as a camera cube inside the Bobby Bizz. It is twice the size of the Side by Side tech cube.


For use as  carry-on  I also need to include a wash bag, electric tooth brush and shaver - at least basic toothbrush, tiny toothpaste tube, small soap bar and towel - flights between 8 and 14 hours. It is a tight fit as the ridged format of this backpack has little give - so rethink what to carry and what can be left with the clothes in the travel backpack. There is also that wedding present - the expensive components of which I did not want in cargo.

In terms of carrying the weight distribution, even with loose contents, is good and the waist straps makes a big difference to comfort.


As noted the shoulder strap is very heavy with heavy and poorly designed hooks. There is no waist straps provided and for the majority of users they would be of little value. With heavy computer and camera gear this can get to over 8kg. Using thin waist straps does help with the support. These can double up as a serviceable shoulder strap by adding a couple rectangular carabineer clips.

After daily travel for 25 days in India carrying the Bobby Bizz loaded with camera, zoom lens and power bank the left shoulder strap is creased and crunched up. I have to put over my left shoulder first as the wrist watch prevents the strap slipping into place if the right shoulder strap is mounted first. I would like to have more confidence in the wear ability of these backpack straps.

The main zip pulls have lost much of the black paint. Not particularly important but disappointing when those on the other bags show no wear at all.

The Bobby Bizz excels for use as a brief case to carry a laptop and business documents. The tablet space is the size of a laptop and so a small tablet drops to the bottom and battles for anything stored in the two bottom mesh pockets or that gravitates to the bottom in the main compartment.

The padded pocket for the laptop and tablet pocket take away valuable space even when you don't need to carry a laptop.  A possible solution is If the pocket (along with the flat tablet and mesh pocket) could be removed and replaced with a tablet pocket and camera insert.


Another solution that works is having a set of padding dividers for the camera and lens as seen with the Temporary Forever 24 hour switch particularly if the laptop pocket (along with the tablet pocket and flat mesh pocket) could be swapped out for one with just a tablet top pocket. There is not the depth for a full sized DSLR but a mirror less 4/3rds camera is under 8cm high and even the largest lenses under 9cm. In fact this is what XD Design have done with their latest Bobby Pro, along with lockable zippers.

Last updated 22nd May 2021