The Trabasack is an innovative lap-tray-meets-bag designed in the UK by husband and wife entrepreneurial team, Clare and Duncan Edwards. It is currently available in two sizes, the Curve and the Mini with a third, the Max, available for pre-order and expected in Spring 2013. It’s a lap(top) tray, but with the Connect surface it is also a Switch Mount and the detachable straps makes it ideal to fasten to anything – a wheelchair, a push chair, a car seat or when fastened to a normal chair, a high-chair for a toddler.
The bag has a built-in flat tray on one side and a bean-bag in an interior zip-pocket on the other. The tray is covered with a choice of two materials, a leather-feel surface that is easy to wipe down or a special “Connect” tray surface that makes it easy to velcro devices to it for more stability. A non-slip PVC mat is available for the Curve that slides over the tray surface to help keep it clean. It is also machine washable. Trabasack is a simplistic design that works very well and provides flexibility in its configuration to suit many different users.
The Trabasack looks like a small notebook style bag that converts to either a messenger bag or backpack using the included straps. It also converts into a lapbag for wheelchair users or can be attached to the back of any type of wheelchair. The big difference is the additional beanbag pocket inside that rests comfortably on your lap as well as the hard or “connect” tray surface on the other side that creates a stable lap tray. It is 33 x 25 x 7.5cm and weighs 700g. Laptops or ultrabooks smaller than 14″ will fit well and all tablets and phones can easily be carried with room to spare.
Some nice touches demonstrate the attention to detail that makes this an exemplary bag. The tray has an edge that prevents items from sliding off, the zipper pull rings are chunky and large and easy to use even by those who have some impairment in their hands or small children. Two types of clips are used to attach the straps, a swivel clip and a snap hook clip, both are again easy to use.
The Trabasack has six D Rings and two adjustable straps. Each strap has a snap hook at each end that attaches to the D rings as well as a swivel buckle in the middle. The straps can be used to secure the tray on your lap or to convert it into either a shoulder or back-pack. Unfortunately, the straps are difficult to adjust and depending on the configuration, at times you are left with extra trailing bits of strap and no way to tidy it up.
The interior consists of one large pocket and zip compartment that contains the removable bean bag. Some interior pockets or netting would have been nice, particularly as the bag zips open on three sides and you run the risk of the contents spilling out over the floor if you’re not careful. The sides are canvas style with no protection, potentially leaving electronic devices carried without a cover slightly vulnerable if you carry the bag in any position where it may receive bumps on the side.
A proprietary media mount is also available, but it’s quite bulky to carry in comparison with other media stands. If you have an integral cover with stand, a small portable stand or primarily use a laptop, its superfluous. It’s durable, soft, squishy and safe for kids or anyone with a disability that causes them to frequently drop things. It’s most useful as an extension of the tray’s groove to provide a barrier when the Trabasack is used by a small child or someone with severe motor impairment who are more likely to knock things onto the floor.
The tray is stable and works well for eating and typing and any items that sit well, like a laptop or tablet on a stand. It’s flexibility and innovative design provide some extra bonuses, like a pillow in an airport or a seat when sitting down in the park or if you have mobility issues and need a rest where there are no chairs. Pictured above is the Nexus 7 with a cover that has an integrated stand and it is very stable and easy to use on your lap on top of the tray.
If you are worried about devices slipping, the Trabasack also comes with velcro strips that can be stuck to items which will then stick very well to the surface. Most people don’t want to stick velcro on their tablet or smart phone, but in some situations, it can be very useful. It is a specialist function that enhances the tray for people with disabilities who cannot hold onto devices, like game controllers, at all. Switches, a mouse mat and controllers can all be stuck to the tray in an ergonomic position for the user, preventing slippage and making it easy to move the whole tray with attached devices instead of having to balance or remove all devices before being able to move the tray to get up.
Size: 33 x 25 x 7.5cm
Weight: 700 g
Capacity: Hold A4 documents and up to 14in laptops
The Trabasack is a versatile innovative product highly recommended to anyone who travels frequently, don’t have a desk at home or requires a specialist surface due to a disability that reduces motor function or causes fatigue. It is easy to pack up your kit when retiring from the lounge to the bedroom and only have one bag to carry up and down the stairs. If you are gaming anywhere but a desk, it provides a stable surface on your lap for either a controller, switches or mouse and keypad set-up.
The trabasack is a bag without frills and extras and that’s part of its charm. It is well-designed, well-made, excellent value for money and despite its small flaws, like the lack of interior compartments and hard-to-adjust straps, it remains a great addition to any bag-lovers collection.
The product review is based on the mini “connect” Trabasack.