booq Taipan Shadow XS: Possibly the Perfect iPad/Netbook Travel Bag

booq Taipan Shadow XS: iPad/Netbook Bag (exterior)

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Since we first got our hands on booq‘s Boa Flow laptop backpack, we’ve been in love with their tough, kickass line of laptop bags and backpacks.

After a weekend in Manhattan with nothing but their latest Taipan Shadow XS on our shoulder, this little iPad/netbook travel bag proved it can readily handle anything you can throw at it. Although booq bills the Shadow primarily as an iPad bag, we found it to be the perfect carrying case for our 10″ Asus EeePC netbook. The quality and design is spot-on and few, if any details, have been overlooked.

The Skinny

Considering it’s a seemingly straightforward product, the feature list is quite lengthy. A few highlights about the Taipan Shadow’s solid construction in booq’s own words:

  • 1680 denier exterior fabric with water-repellant coating
  • Contrasting water-repelling interior ripstop lining
  • Adjustable seatbelt nylon shoulder strap with removable shoulder pad
  • Metal hardware including buckle, strap adjuster and square-rings
  • Removable key ring and high-performance YKK zippers
  • Soft Nylex® lining won’t scratch your gear

But wait, there’s more! According to booq, the Shadow XS also manages to ingeniously store quite a bit, given it’s relatively small form factor:

  • 1 zipper pocket on main outer flap for quick access items
  • 1 large slip pocket on back for flat item storage
  • 1 hidden mobile phone/MP3 player pocket on back with soft Nylex® lining, which won’t scratch your gear
  • Front pocket expands when stuffed and snap-closes flat when empty
  • 4 flat slip pockets and 2 pen slots
  • Slim, but spacious main compartment for laptop accessories

Sounds great. But how did it stack up?

booq Taipan Shadow XS: iPad/Netbook bag (interior)

In Detail


We love the slick understated minimalism of the Taipan Shadow XS. The padded Velcro flap simply and securely covers the bag’s contents. This not only minimizes the likelihood that ne’er-do-wells might snag your expensive electronic wares, but also makes for a nice streamlined design that ensures the Shadow won’t snag on subway turnstiles, handrailings, etc.

The “hidden” cell phone pocket is a nice touch. Although not 100% invisible, it’s not entirely obvious to onlookers either. We used it to stash our iPhone but it’s a great place to a keep your emergency beer travel stash as well.

All told, we packed the Taipan with: the aforementioned 10″ netbook, a point and shoot digital camera, stack of Moo business cards, pens, moleskin, iPhone 3G (with thick external battery case), a weekend’s worth of accumulated business cards (from other travelers), Skype headset, headphones, a copy of Wired, and receipts from half the bars in Manhattan. And it still wasn’t “full”.


As with other booq products we’ve tested, the build quality is fantastic. From the spot-on stitching, thick nylon exterior, plush lined interior, heavy duty “seatbelt-esque” strap, et. al. – it’s all very well done.

Terralinq System

We’ve yet to lose any of our luggage. But, like the old proverb about flat tires, there are two kinds of people: those who’ve never gotten one … and those who will. Why leave it to chance? Booq’s Terralinq system is a bit like LoJack but on the honor system:

If you ever lose your booq bag with its valuable cargo, Terralinq may help reunite you with your lost bag once it has been located and reported to Terralinq. To make this possible, this bag carries a unique item number on a metal label. Registering links a product’s unique number with an identity – yours. Should a registered bag be reported as lost and found, Terralinq will attempt to contact you with a bag’s location and the finder’s contact information.

Sure, it isn’t perfect. But it’s certainly better than nothing. And, frankly, can we agree that deep down, most folks are pretty honest?


Available now for $79.95 directly from

Bottom Line

This was the only shoulder bag we used during the entire debacherous weekend that was TBEX 2010. The Taipan Shadow XS provides plenty of room for everything the modern traveler might need within arm’s reach.

We’re not gonna lie: all in all, it’s a great a man purse. And we’re not (entirely) ashamed to say so. Highly recommended.

Founding Editor

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