A salute to Luovi bags

This article is a salute to Luovi laptop bags designed by the late Christian Mäkelä. I’ve never really got into writing this article before even if I’ve thought about it many times. Now that I’ve bought my third model, I think it’s due time.

Unfortunately, you can’t find these bags on retail stores any more. I’ve been lucky enough to have bought my first two bags when they were still new and in retail, as well as finding the third one second hand in a color I like for a very reasonable price. I’ve seen a few more around, so getting one is still possible.

General notes

All the bags are handmade in Finland, and each of them has a personal message stitched in them that says who has made the bag. I’ve used the two of my bags for a long time, and neither of them have any broken parts or show any excessive signs of wear.

The design is very clean and minimal without compromising functionality at all. They are sturdy enough to keep their form whether they are full or almost empty. Overall, the bags are aesthetically very pleasing to me.

Luovi 001

The facts

The Luovi 001 model is a compact shoulder bag with the other side being a hard working top and the other side being upholstered. Both the wooden working top and the soft filling are removable and replaceable if they ever go in poor shape. Finally, the shoulder strap is detachable, so you can also carry it in your hand.

For actual carrying purposes, there are two compartments: one big pocket for a laptop and one for documents. The big pocket holds your 17″ laptop. With a smaller laptop, some accessories, like a power cord and a mouse, easily fit in. The document compartment holds a few documents, up to approximately a small newspaper.

The verdict

The hard working top and soft pillowy side make this bag a perfect bag to work comfortably on your laptop on the sofa even for longer periods.

I haven’t used the laptop compartment for carrying my accessories a lot because they get out of place and uncomfortable soon. Instead, I’ve used another bag for those. However, this little shortcoming is easily compensated by the compact size of the bag itself. The documents compartment has been mostly useless for my needs as well; it doesn’t hold many documents at once. Nonetheless, it’s a good addition and does serve it’s purpose very well if you need to take only some documents with you.

The photos

Luovi 003

The facts

The Luovi 003 model is a shoulder bag with enough room for a laptop and accessories. It has a compartment for a laptop and a bigger one for accessories and more. One of the sides has a hard top which can be used as a working space. Technically, there are two more pockets inside which could hold documents, but one of them holds the hard working top and the other one the uphosltering material.

In addition, there is a small ziplock pocket in the main compartment. There is one small open pocket on the outside, which is just big enough to hold a small smartphone.

The verdict

This one is very useful when you want to go light, but need more than just your laptop with you. Since the laptop compartment contracts easily, you will have the whole space usable for your belongings when you are not carrying your laptop with you.

Due to the design, the flap of the big pocket isn’t as sturdy as one could hope. I would also prefer if the outside pocket was closable with velcro; as it is now, I’m not comfortable keeping anything there since it might fall off relativelty easily. While these certainly affect usability, they help keep the design and excess material minimal.

The photos

Luovi 005

The facts

The Luovi 005 model is a backpack, with a big main compartment, two side pockets and a pocket for a rain cover and the shoulder straps for the bag.

The main compartment is split into three major sections: a upholstered pocket for the laptop, a side pocket for documents and a central space for your accessories and more. The central space has two small, different sized ziplocked pockets on the document side for small accessories. The documents section can hold a good bunch of documents. When it doesn’t have any documents, it collapses completely to give all the space for the main section.

The side pockets are big enough to hold a bunch of stuff and are closed with sturdy velcro strips. The pockets keep their shape well and close tightly.

The last pocket holds a rain cover for the back, which you can wrap around the bag to protect your belongings. While the raincoat wraps around the hand-carrying strap, it has another one sowed in it, so you can still carry the bag in your hand. The shoulder straps are detachable from the other end and fit in well in the accessory pocket.

The verdict

This is a wonderful bag. I’ve used this on all imaginable laptop-involving trips from a quick visit on a clients office to a week-long conference trip to Copenhagen.

The main compartment is big enough to hold all of the accessories I can imagine carrying with me, and more. It’s also proven to be perfect size to carry various board games with me. The ziplocked pockets make sure none of my important small accessories get lost in the huge compartment. I love the freedom the document section gives me; take documents or don’t take documents, there is always the same amount of space available.

The side pockets are perfect for my use. They fit a wallet, some pocket-size Moleskine notebooks and calendars (which I exclusively use) or other similarly sized items. They are in the perfect position to use when you unleash one shoulder strap.

The shoulder straps feel very solid and sturdy and when tightened well, they keep the backpack from tilting or shaking. While I haven’t used the bag lot without the shoulder straps, I value the ability to detach and hide them inside the bag highly; with the straps inside, the bag is a very compact package and does not ravel into anything on your way. Altogether the back is very sturdy and keeps its form well – it isn’t a random piece of carriage even when full of items.

Finally, the built-in rain cover makes tops off the bag as perfect. It’s an invaluable feature when you are on the move, it starts raining and you can’t get inside. Once it has stopped raining or you get inside, you can simply put the rain cover back into the accessory pocket and it will self-dry in a short time.

The photos

Final notes

As you can gather from my comments above, I absolutely love all of the bags and will not be parting with them lightly.

I’m also more or less continuously looking around to find the missing models of the line for purchase – and potentially duplicates of some of the ones I have already. If you have one which you are willing to part with (for whatever reason), send me an email!