The British designers of those rather dinky power-assisted luggage and kit bags over at Live Luggage plan to introduce new ranges later in 2009 specially designed to carry snowboards, skis, surfboards and other sporting kit.
Great news indeed for anybody that has ever had to suffer the indignity of dragging a snowboard or surfboard through Heathrow or Gatwick, avoiding the hate-filled stares of the families of holiday-makers waiting patiently in the check-in queue behind you.
"We will be launching a range specifically for snowboarders and skiers at the The Metro Ski and Snowboard Show later this year, following the successful launch of the Hybrid PA bag at the gadget show last month," said Live Luggage's Business Development Manager, Zachary Johnson.
"Customers will be able to buy additional bags for their snowboards to fit to the base unit on the Hybrid PA bag, in addition to new ranges launching in new colours," Johnson added.
A sound investment for boarders
So while the initial investment of £295 for the Hybrid PA bag might seem like a lot to splash out on a piece of luggage – the fact that it is going to be fully upgradeable for when you want to take your sporting kit away, or for when you fancy a chance of colour, makes the initial outlay considerably more appealing.
TechRadar recently brought you the news that Live Luggage's new power-assisted luggage and gadget back, the Hybrid PA Bag, will be available in the UK next month.
We finally managed to get a quick hands on demo with the Live Luggage Hybrid PA today and we can confirm that this really is a beautifully designed, highly functional bit of kit that is bound to appeal to frequent business travellers and fashion-conscious (gadget and laptop laden) holiday-makers alike.
"We've had approaches from some of the bigger specialist luggage brands," admits Johnson, "but right now we are not looking to sell the patented technology, though we might consider licensing deals."
There really is two things that need to be said about the Hybrid PA Bag. It works well and it turns heads. What else do you (really) need to know!
We took one for a quick wiz around a hotel lobby and up and down a small flight of stairs – to test out the flat motor tech built into the wheels – and we could hardly feel the weight of the bag and its contents. What we could feel were the jealous stares of some of the hotel's residents as they clapped eyes on what looks can only be described as the Ferrari of the luggage world.
"Fully charged, the power-assisted functions will last around an hour and a half of continuous use," claims Johnson, "and the battery can be easily recharged, just as you would recharge a mobile or a laptop."
A rather fetching kit bag
Hybrid-assisted snowboard bags: on the way from Live Luggage soon
The Hybrid PA bag will of course work as a normal style wheely-bag when the charge runs out, plus it has a three-bag zip system, so you can take off one or both of the front two compartments, if you wish to keep your laptop and hand luggage with you on your travels. Both of those compartments also zip easily together to form a rather fetching kit bag and one which is easily on par with some of the higher end laptop and kit bags already on the market.
Live Luggage's patented "anti-gravity" handle works very well indeed and will ensure that when you are carrying a large snowboard or surfboard, the bulky item is kept at a good distance from the user's arm and body – cleverly avoiding the traditional clumsiness associated with transporting such kit with nicely designed flair.
The patented handle and motorised wheel tech and the new hybrid bags' lightweight, super-strong frame's tough and long-lasting PC ABS body is really what you are paying for here.
Add to this a bunch of additional 'nice touch' features such as the Live Locator on each bag (a unique, laser-etched serial number to help track lost bags), the Bond-like built-in umbrella in the anti-gravity handle and the overall funky design from London-based Aussie designer Jacqui Ma and you gradually begin to understand why you are seriously considering throwing down nearly three hundred smackers on the ultimate kit bag.
After all, as I explained to my baffled colleagues back in the office, referring to the Hybrid PA as 'just a bag' is like referring to a new Tesla as 'just an electric car'…