Hideo Wakamatsu Super Hybrid Gear II: awesome road-warrior travel-backpack

My beloved backpack bit the dust last month and I've been on a quest for a replacement bag ever since. Last week, I found such a bag, and I've travelled extensively with it since and am prepared to pronounce it good.

The bag is a Hideo Wakamatsu Super Hybrid Gear II; a hard-shell pack that appears to contain some kind of Tardis, as I have been able to fill it with my two little gear pouches, a pencil case, my sunglasses, my document sleeve, my laptop, a power adapter, two boxes of business cards, a book, a mini-multidriver, a mini-maglite, and a Moleskine. For all that it's got a solid layer of armor, it still weighs in at less than three pounds; the straps and rear are well-padded, with a chest clip. There's an integrated, Velcro-closing laptop sleeve (already saved my ass at the Dallas Fort Worth TSA checkpoint, when I nearly dropped my laptop on the floor). I'm also quite enamored of the slit pocket that can be opened without opening the main body of the case -- perfect for train tickets, itineraries, etc; there's a second slit-pocket containing a rain-cover.

The $109 bag comes in silver (they appear to have discontinued the navy blue and khaki green models; I bought the last green one in the store). My wife's had a Hideo backpack for five years that looks and wears great; I love their design sense, which marries simplicity and practicality with very spare lines.

I have a nice little semi-rigid Samonsite spinner for overnight use, but when that one wears out, I think I'm going to replace it with the Hideo equivalent; it's even lighter than the Samsonsite, and shares the excellent interior design of the Super Hybrid Gear II.

Super Hybrid Gear II Silver


  1. I appreciate the quality and utility, don’t get me wrong – but don’t you feel at all fashion-conscious wearing such a thing? It’s better than the typical laptop backpack from Best Buy (or worse, the one people got at the Windows 7 conference or whatever) but it still looks pretty funky. Perhaps it’s better in the other colors.

    That said I do love the design of that rolling carry-on case. I don’t use rolling luggage myself – I have a perhaps unsubstantiated hate of it despite doing lots of traveling with heavy shoulder bags – but if I ever changed my mind, I’d look into this brand for sure :)

  2. I concur with penguinchris – overwrought fashion bling, and I could find no mention (including on the official Wakamatsu site) about product warranty. I think I’ll be sticking with my lifetime warranty Red Oxx shoulder bag rather than a space wasting rollerbag as well.

  3. A nice hardshell case for my laptop is exactly what I’ve always wanted. Too bad this one only supports small machines. My 17″ laptop relegates me to second-string bags at best.

  4. I also recommend the Boblbee Megalopolis (http://www.boblbee.com/) which is approved to be a back protector for motorcycling. also it is super super comfortable and additional stuff can be attached through all sorts of straps and hooks. I do not even remotely work for boblbee (i’m a computer scientist) but have found myself evangelizing about the Megalopolis since the day I bought it :)

  5. Hi Guys, I’m Ignacio and work at Hideo Wakamatsu USA. @Plainsman mentioned about the product warranty on his post.
    To clarify: we offer a warranty (full refund or replacement) for the first year on any manufacturing defect, and after that a 65% discount on any purchase. Hope this helps!


  6. I love hard cases, and they should ALL have wheels. Preferably, they’d just follow me..

    For non-hard-side cases, one might want to take a look at the Tom Binh bags, made by hand in Portland, Oregon. (Used to be in Santa Cruz, California, iirc.)

    I’ve gotten a couple of these over years, for friends and relatives. The quality is superior; the customer service remains human, real time, and domestic, return policy is good (I’ve tested it on an order i made by mistake). Prices are not cheap, but not nuts.

    otherwise, I’m liking the looks of this Wakamatsu. Be nice if it had wheelies though.

    1. You’re THAT guy. Yes, that one. The guy with the hard case luggage at the airport with the tiny tiny wheels. Clack clack clack clack clack clack clack clack over the brick. Why is there brick in the airport? Who knows? Who knows how many people you annoy every time you visit the airport. Even worse is the poor kids in school who you know their parents dress them, wheeling those damned things around school, taking up the space of three students in the already overcrowded halls, dragging those things behind them.

  7. I actually just bought that Jelly Bean luggage in blue for a trip; it was perfect. Well-designed, small enough to carry-on anything but a little regional jet, and surprisingly roomy. If you’re going someplace warm, you can easily fit a week’s worth of clothes in it, and I imagine you could fit quite a bit in it even for winter as long as you just brought one big coat and wore it on the plane.

  8. Personally I prefer a messenger bag: indestructible, easy access, and lots of room. A chrome bag is probably my favorite, except for all the comments about the chest strap. YES it is a seatbelt buckle, no I did not make it.

  9. I have a Hideo Laptop Bad and it’s awesome. The quality is great and I had it for over a year now and it still looks like new… It’s the Casa Model…

  10. the hideo looks like a nice bag. i am a big fan of hardshell cases. my current bag is an Outdoor Products Power Laptop Pack 2.0.
    other than its lack of waist strap i love it. it has helped me simplify my life without much pain (if it fits it stays if not probably don’t need it)
    I have never heard of outdoor products before, but when i saw it in the store it was exactly what i was looking for.
    I like posts like this because the comments are useful in my search for useful things that don’t complicate my life.

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