Everybody looks like a giant dork at a convention. They’re carrying far too much gear — laptops, smartphones, SLR cameras — while chatting up vendors, exchanging business cards and scrambling to take notes. Inevitably, at a certain point of the day, you’ll see these folks hovered around any free outlets to power up their devices.
No need, for RFA Brands makes the perfect trade show gear. Its line of Powerbag backpacks, messenger bags and slings includes a built-in battery pack, so you can juice up your near-dead smartphone as you bounce from booth to booth. And perfect for convention goers, this bag will make you look like a huge nerd. It’s the kind of backpack a helicopter parent would purchase for a child, with plenty of storage space and even straps to improve posture when carrying heavy loads. There’s a very distinct look to Powerbag, with its slightly bulky and sloping shape. It’s not the worst-looking bag out there, but it’s also not as stylish as the company would have you believe.
Having gotten a chance to try the entry-level backpack from the Ful Collection, designed by the namesake company, I have to say the design is clever, especially for people who live out of their bags. The battery pack includes iPhone, mini USB and micro USB charging cables in a side pocket as well as an additional USB port for a fourth device. The included 3000 mAh battery can charge a smartphone twice over, but there is an option to upgrade to a 6000 mAh pack to solve your dead-gadget woes.
The smart-charging system detects the number of connected devices and distributes power evenly among them. When the backpack is plugged in — there’s an opening from the outside to plug in a wall charger — the bag prioritizes power first to devices, then to the backpack battery.
One thing I’d love to see is laptop charger integration. Once that’s in place, not only would this be a great bag for conventions, but it’ll be the perfect work-on-the-go bag, whether you’re on a subway, at a coffee shop or tethering in the car.