Used: Crumpler Light Delight Backpack review

More like light dismay

THIS seemed like the ideal rucksack when I got it. It’s big enough to take a 17-inch laptop and lots besides but only weighs a claimed 460g, so I don’t have to carry any more load than strictly necessary.

When I’m not carrying a laptop, it will easily squash into a smaller bag. I can carry it inside a tank bag if I’m riding a bike that has one or on my back if I’m not.

Inside there’s a zip pocket for documents, two smaller pockets for a phone or compact camera, a pen holder and a large compartment for the laptop. There’s also quite a large and handy pocket on the outside, with the zip hidden.

It’s made of claimed waterproof fabric, although some rain finds its way through the zip in persistent downpours.

Best of all, Crumpler bags are guaranteed for 30 years.

The website says: ‘CRUMPLER GUARANTEE - we give you 30 years. 30 years Guarantee? Serious? Yes, serious!’

‘All bags are handmade and are subject to rigorous tests throughout the whole production process. We love our bags (would we name them otherwise?) and we want you to feel that love, too. Every day, as long as possible but at least 30 years. Guaranteed.’

The irony of a long guarantee is that it inspires such confidence that you don’t think about things like keeping the receipt. But I should have because, after about eight months’ use, the stitching of this handmade bag started to come apart at a seam. I hadn’t been hauling bricks around in it, or stuffing it till the stitches stretched. I’d been carrying my laptop, some cameras, waterproofs and occasionally some spare underwear and a toothbrush on brief overseas trips. Normal use. And I’d been using it every day, as Crumpler suggested.

Within a few weeks the faulty stitching became a hole. Then I remembered that guarantee, and emailed Crumpler a photo, asking what I should do.

‘Thank you very much for your email,’ came the reply.  ‘We are sorry to hear that you are having problems with your bag. Could you please attach the receipt for us? We then can direct you to the person that will be able to help you.’

I had no idea where it was. I replied suggesting a bank statement as proof of purchase (assuming I’d be able to find one) and asking what difference a receipt made since the bag obviously wasn’t more than 30 years old.

Crumpler replied: ‘Unfortunately we cannot help you without a receipt. All warranty claims can only be made with the receipt of purchase. You can find this information here under § 9 Maybe you can have a look again for the receipt? We will be more than happy to help you once it is presented. We regret we have not a more positive answer for you.’

Who keeps a bag receipt for 30 years?

Growing irritated, I replied: ‘Why won't a bank statement suffice as proof of purchase? Why do you need the receipt anyway? "Maybe you could have a look again?" Maybe you could look again at your garbage policy.’

Then I remembered an important detail I'd completely forgotten: the bag had been bought for me as a birthday present. So the buyer might still have the receipt.

They did, a receipt from Amazon where it had cost £41.79, compared to £59.90 from Crumpler’s own site. I sent the receipt to Crumpler and again got a reply with a polite beginning and end but rejection in the middle. A sort of rejection sandwich.

It said: ‘Thank you for your email, we are sorry to hear that there is a problem with your bag. Please contact the dealer you have bought the bag from as they are responsible for all warranty and complain issues in the first two years after purchase. Here at the online shop we can only help you with problems related to products bought directly from our website. After the 2 years please contact our colleagues at and they will be able to help you if a receipt is presented.

‘Best regards and have a nice start into your weekend.’

So I could go to Amazon or wait until the bag was two years old and go back to Crumpler.

I found the Amazon returns page and entered a reference number for the purchase, to be told it was no longer eligible for return.

It’s not easy to find a customer service email address for Amazon – you’re supposed to fill out a ‘contact us’ form – but a bit of forum Googling revealed one that looked promising:

Now I sent an email to both Crumpler and Amazon asking which of them was responsible for the faulty bag. Crumpler didn’t reply but Amazon did - with another dish of rejection sandwich. I was getting a taste for them.

It said: ‘I'm sorry but I couldn't find an account under [your] e-mail address... For security reasons, we can only take action on an account when the request comes from the e-mail address related to that account. This is the only way to be certain that the request is coming from the account holder and that all personal information is protected. We're sorry for any inconvenience this causes.'

‘Don't you understand?’ I replied. ‘This item was a gift to me. Therefore this complaint is not from the account holder who ordered the item. I'm not asking for any information about the account holder who ordered the item. I'm asking you to repair or replace the faulty item.’

I CCd my response to the person who did buy them item. They forwarded it to Amazon again with the simple message ‘See below.’ Amazon replied to them offering a refund, as the bag was no longer in stock. I heard nothing more from the online retailer.

I’m told the bag must be returned within 30 days or Amazon will take back the money that has been refunded. So I’m down on postage for someone else's refund for a faulty bag I've got to give back. 

Based on the bag’s performance and my experience in attempting to return it, I can’t recommend it. 

Tested: Crumpler Light Delight Backpack

Price: £59.90


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