Overland Equipment Cambridge Bag Review

Like all of their products, the Cambridge is for the person who would like a functional, stylish, and durable bag that keeps you organized wherever your adventures may lead. 

I initially heard about Overland Equipment from reading some of my favorite blogs, Tales of a Mountain Mama and Adventure Tykes. They each did reviews on various bags, like the Taxi, Sierra, Belvedere, Maisie, and Auburn bags!

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After reading their reviews I decided to invest in a Large wallet early last year, because I wanted something that would keep all my essentials safe at school, while teaching, on the road, and while kayaking! It has withstood dirt, rain, dog drool, and being zipped and unzipped many, many times. It got me hooked on Overland’s quality. I’m a practical gal, who loves for a bag to be functional.

When I saw that Overland Equipment was having a Fall Colors contest on their Facebook page back in October 2013, I entered in hopes that I could win and choose a bag of my own! Luck was on my side because I won and got to choose a bag from their entire collection and share my review with you!

I wanted a bag that had a zippered main compartment, a pocket for a water bottle, was easy to clean, had lots of pockets, and would be able to handle switching between work, school, and travel. Many Overland Equipment bags fit my list of wants, but the Cambridge had all the features I was looking for AND stow-away backpack straps! I envisioned myself being able to haul all of my articles and textbooks to my car after school.

Then, I envisioned myself (years down the road) being able to chase after a little kid with the bag on my back and his or her water bottle stowed in the front pockets. It’s still weird for me to think that one day CroMagnon and I might have kids, but I like the idea of becoming an outdoorsy Mom, who also happens to appreciate good looking, versatile and functional gear! I also watched this video before I made my final decision.

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This review of the Cambridge bag comes from my personal experience using it for work, school, and travel and all of the opinions are honest and my own, of course! I couldn’t wait to share with you how great of a bag this really is!

It has been a few months since I first began using the Cambridge and each day I become more impressed with the durability, look, and organization. My favorite part of the bag is the pockets on the front because they allow me to carry my water bottle, coffee mug, and umbrella. Being hands-free is a real luxury to me! Upon receiving the bag, I was surprised at how tall and slim it was. At first I was a little nervous that it’s slim design wouldn’t allow me to carry all of my things, but I was pleasantly surprised.

The bag’s material is a blue color called Denim, made of 839 D & 1680 D Ballistic Nylon with 210 D Ripstop Nylon. It’s some tough material and sheds water easily. On a few walks to school I’ve encountered light rains and when I got into my office, my contents were safe and I could wipe the remaining water off. For heavier rains, I pulled out my trusty umbrella.

My typical daily load: lip balm, wallet, pens, sunglasses, snack, journal, and yearly planner
My typical daily load: lip balm, wallet, pens, sunglasses,
snack, journal, and yearly planner
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Testing the Cambridge!

The interior is a bright, pastel green color called Sprout and there are multiple pockets where you can store your phone, keys, pens and pencils, sunglasses, lotion, and lip balm. I have a thing for zippers because I like to know that my items will not fall or bounce out of my bag, so the zippered mesh pocket is perfect for storing my USB, which holds my entire grad school life and more!

The bag arrived at my house about a week before I was to take my written comprehensive exams and I was constantly lugging my study materials with me. I usually carried this bag and my backpack, but one day I decided to test it’s strength and carrying capacity and ditched the backpack. The results?

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Side Compression Straps help stabilize your bag

The bag held more than I thought it would! The slim design of the bag held up nicely even though I pushed it to the max with large binders. The comprression straps on the sides allowed me to stabilize the load and get it nice and compact before I attempted to carry it to my car. I used the shoulder straps, but probably should have used the backpack straps. It probably weighed 20 pounds. 

A stylish, functional travel bag for flying.
A stylish, functional travel bag for flying.

 

My Cambridge bag has also been with me to some football games and held a jacket for me and CroMagnon, our phones, an umbrella, snacks, and my camera.The Overland Equipment website says the Cambridge can fit a laptop up to 15.4″. I have a huge laptop (17-inch) and it fits in the padded compartment, but it doesn’t allow me to zip the main compartment closed. I can only use the buckle to keep it from being wide open, but that works for me, at least until I can save enough to purchase a smaller, more travel-friendly laptop. In the picture above, I am using my Cambridge bag to travel. Love it!

It fit underneath the seat in front of my on the plane, allowed me to look less foolish getting my laptop out for the security checkpoint, and let me be hands-free as I was waiting to board the plane. It’s a great carry-on option when you want to have more than just your wallet and boarding pass with you.

On the way to the game, I used the shoulder straps. On the way back, I used the backpack straps.
On the way to the game, I used the shoulder straps. On the way back, I used the backpack straps.

This bag is exactly what I was looking for and has exceeded my expectations. I have a love for bags of all shapes and sizes, especially practical bags that are tough, but look cute, too! I am confident that when it comes to purses now and in the future, I will always be an Overland Equipment shopper first, and this bag helped solidify that!

I only have three very minor wishes for this bag.
– I wish it had a key fob with a clip, like some of their other bags.
– I wish it had more color options
– I wish it had a larger, inner zipper compartment to hold larger items.

KeyLoop_OverlandEquipment_Cambridge_BienvenidoAdventureI was able to find a solution for my wish of the Cambridge having a key fob! All I did was use the little tab next to the zippered compartment and hung a Nite Ize S-biner on it and it works great!

Overall, I am very happy with this bag and very thankful that Overland Equipment is so generous in the contests that they hold! When you purchase an Overland Equipment Bag or accessory, you can rest assured that you’re getting a quality product!

Here are my final opinions on the Cambridge Bag:

Specs on this bag:

  • Retail Price: $95
    (I know, a little pricey, but this bag will last! As a broke grad student, I am careful with my spending and these bags and wallets are worth their price. And as my Mom has always told me in Spanish, “Lo barrato cuesta caro!” which means that eventually, buying cheap items turns out to be expensive when you have to replace them multiple times!)
  • Dimensions – 15.5″ x 13″ x 6″
  • Available Colors – Demin/Sprout (my bag) & Black/Dusty Blue

Who is this bag for? 

  • the professional who needs a stylish briefcase to carry items to and from work,
  • the student who wants a bag that can convert from tote bag to backpack in a few seconds,
  • the traveler who likes a functional carry-on and pockets for organization,
  • the Mom who would like a durable diaper bag or a bag to hold the older kid stuff, or
  • the person who would like a functional, stylish, and durable bag that keeps you organized wherever your adventures may lead you

Why should you buy this bag?

On their site, Overland Equipment says this bag is “designed for everything you need and nothing you don’t” and I completely agree. Do you want a stylish, functional bag with durable fabric and lots of pockets to keep you organized AND a versatile bag you can carry in multiple ways? You need this bag!
Where can you get this bag and other bags and wallets?
Visit www.overlandequipment.com and check out the different categories! I have my eye on the Donner in either Ultramarine/Agean Tree of Life Print or Moss/Green Lake Print.
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Do you have any bags or items of gear that you love?

Would love to hear from you. Thanks for stopping by!

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