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  1. #1
    Forum Member awurrlu's Avatar
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    Review of the Luminary 12

    First, a huge thank you to all of you who have provided a ton of inspiration when it's come to bags, packing, and bag hacking! I am a long time lurker on the forums and am thrilled to be able to share a review of the renewed Luminary 12 so that you can figure out if it's the bag for you.

    Some background: I have had a Steel Dyneema/Wasabi S19 for about 5 years; it's my all around travel bag and it's what I take to work when I have a lot to carry. It's overkill for most of my work days, however, so I have been waiting for the changes to the Luminary for quite a while. My main EDC is a Black Side Effect, which contains my phone, the Nik's Minimalist Wallet #4, keys, and earbuds, pen, etc. Essentially all those things that one would otherwise carry in one's pockets, if women's pockets were at all reliable! When traveling, I may instead use my Side Kick (also black) with my Synapse, because some places frown on backpacks. I purchased but didn't keep an original Luminary because it didn't fit my phone and it had no internal pockets. My need for a smaller yet padded and substantial backpack has had to be filled by backpacks from other companies, none of which has really hit the sweet spot for design and functionality.

    I am 5'1" and my commute consists of a 3 mile walk plus a long commute via public transportation, and I've used the L12 in these conditions to give it the full spectrum of testing!

    First, the exterior design: My original Luminary purchase was black because I wasn't a fan of the otherwise contrasting black piping on the front. This new version has piping that matches the color of the body, making it more uniform in color, which I personally like. I have been coveting something in Nebulous Grey since it came out (to the point of possibly replacing my S19 with one in Nebulous Grey), and opted for the Cloud lining because I like to be able to see what I've consigned to the bottomless pits of my bags. That said, the Dawn lining was really alluring!

    The all-around zipper now has a small strip of ballistic fabric separating the zipper for the main compartment from the side pockets. While I liked the nearly invisible stitching that did the job on the original, this looks fine, and makes the zippers seem less fragile to me.

    Those side pockets are bigger than they were on the original Luminary. The left side pocket is slightly smaller than the right. While I can fit my Moto G6 (in a bulky case) in the left pocket if I maneuver it carefully, my phone fits seamlessly in the right side pocket.

    The straps are very comfortable, as they were on the original Luminary. They are padded and lined, and the smooth Ballistic back of the bag is gentle on my clothes and coat.

    I love the padded back pocket. I wish the S19 had something similar, as it's far more secure than side pockets when I'm waiting for public transportation. It securely fits the portable keyboard I use to write documents on my phone, plus my Kindle Paperwhite in its case.

    The interior: I LOVE the interior pocket at the top! Aesthetically, it hides the back side of the logo stitching, and it provides a more secure place for small items, such as my earbuds, a snack bar, and/or pouch of tissues. Maybe a little more depth would be great, but it's nice the way it is, as it doesn't become a hole where things accumulate.

    The zippered divider is very handy. I like that it's easy to use (just slide the zipper over the tongue and zip downward) and easy to ignore. I didn't use it because the weight in my bag was well balanced, but I could see it being very handy.

    Two other things I like: It's really a nice looking bag, and It stands up on its own when nearly empty!

    On the road: How did it feel when walking with the bag fully loaded for several miles and commuting? It was compact, comfortable, and easy to get on and off when necessary due to the smooth back. The S19's mesh back creates a little friction.

    We had some drizzly weather on a couple of the days, and the lining at the top gave me more water-resistance confidence than I have with my S19 due to the lining and that little pocket at the top.

    What did I carry: Roughly, each day included a small umbrella, buff, beanie, bag with breakfast and lunch, 12 oz. travel mug, tissue, small shopping bag, and emergency nut butter. One day I had my 11" MacBook Air as well. Not shown (I forgot to take it out!) is my portable keyboard for my phone.

    I've attached pictures of the bag in action, and this week I've been overstuffing it, because I needed to take some odd things to work. One day I had some print books (instead of my Kindle), another day I had a hard drive in a bulky enclosure.


    I hope this helps! I owe a ton to all of you for inspiration and great photos!
    Attached Images Attached Images Review of the Luminary 12-photo1-jpg  Review of the Luminary 12-photo2-jpg  Review of the Luminary 12-photo3-jpg  Review of the Luminary 12-photo4-jpg  Review of the Luminary 12-photo5-jpg 

  2. #2
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    I love my old Luminary for the small form factor. With the interior zipper in place, I place my Side Effect on top - a perfect bag-in-bag solution. For more security, I key strap it in.

    I really want the newer Luminary 12 as it addresses my 2 of my 3 issues. The larger side pockets and the new inside flap pocket. The one very minor wish is an O-ring in the back/tablet pocket as I sometimes like to put stuff I need but don’t access often in there when not traveling with a tablet (which is most days).

    The Luminary is my favorite bag to carry when it’s just my stuff on a daily basis. Often I carry kids stuff and find the DLBP and Synapse 19 work better for that due to size.

  3. #3
    Forum Member b1gsky's Avatar
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    Thanks for your review! We've seen a lot about the L15, not so much about the L12, so that was really helpful. Especially the last picture, with the Travel Cubelet next to the Luminary. My bare essentials all fit into my TC, so I think the L12 would be big enough to use for work. I've been wondering whether I should get the 15 or the 12, but now I think that I'll pick the L12. I can use my DLBP for days when I need to carry more...

  4. #4
    Forum Member awurrlu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by b1gsky View Post
    Thanks for your review! We've seen a lot about the L15, not so much about the L12, so that was really helpful. Especially the last picture, with the Travel Cubelet next to the Luminary. My bare essentials all fit into my TC, so I think the L12 would be big enough to use for work. I've been wondering whether I should get the 15 or the 12, but now I think that I'll pick the L12. I can use my DLBP for days when I need to carry more...
    I'm so glad! I do go back and forth between the TC and the SE. What I'm doing next is getting a Clear Organizing Pouch to facilitate switching and to clip in the L12 when I don't want to carry two items. Which reminds me, I would like higher placement of the interior o rings, but it's not a deal breaker.

    Sent from my moto g(6) using Tapatalk

  5. #5
    Forum Member bchaplin's Avatar
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    Thanks! I really appreciated this review. Your situation was the closest to mine, although I don't walk three miles!
    ----
    All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.
    Edmund Burke

  6. #6
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    Does the Sidekick fit in the Luminary 12?

    Long time lurker, but finally had to sign up for this. ;)

    Do you happen to have a SideKick? Does it fit in the Luminary 12, preferably zipper-side-up? I was wondering whether I could drop that in, use the water-bottle-bit without having it zipped to the back, and then drop odds and ends on top (e.g. knitting project, light layer) My Synapse 19 is fantastic for when I need to carry a laptop, but is such overkill otherwise that I don't carry it on a regular basis.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by chialea View Post
    My Synapse 19 is fantastic for when I need to carry a laptop, but is such overkill otherwise that I don't carry it on a regular basis.
    This is my situation as well, although I've been leaning towards a Co-Pilot. Decisions!

  8. #8
    Forum Member awurrlu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chialea View Post
    Long time lurker, but finally had to sign up for this. ;)

    Do you happen to have a SideKick? Does it fit in the Luminary 12, preferably zipper-side-up? I was wondering whether I could drop that in, use the water-bottle-bit without having it zipped to the back, and then drop odds and ends on top (e.g. knitting project, light layer) My Synapse 19 is fantastic for when I need to carry a laptop, but is such overkill otherwise that I don't carry it on a regular basis.
    I do! I will post photos later today.

    Sent from my moto g(6) using Tapatalk

  9. #9
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    I'm curious about the side pockets. Are the pockets in the new L12 bigger than in the original or is just the zipper entrance bigger?

  10. #10
    Forum Member awurrlu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Quiltmama View Post
    I'm curious about the side pockets. Are the pockets in the new L12 bigger than in the original or is just the zipper entrance bigger?
    That's a good question - one I can't answer since I returned my original Luminary. Perhaps someone else can chime in?

  11. #11
    Forum Member awurrlu's Avatar
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    These aren't the best exposures, but here are two pictures of the Side Kick on its side in the L12. Both also show an 18 oz water bottle. One has a very compact umbrella, the other has a light sweater. There's still room in each for another vertical item (for example, another water bottle) and some room at the top, although not a ton.

    I hope this helps!

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Quiltmama View Post
    I'm curious about the side pockets. Are the pockets in the new L12 bigger than in the original or is just the zipper entrance bigger?
    Yes, the pockets of the new L12 are bigger than the original. They moved the curved seam edges further in from the sides, and they also made the label in the center panel smaller. Because the piping color matches, the narrower center section is not as noticeable. But, for instance, the Ghost Whale Pouch that I hang from the side pocket o-rings of the new L12 would have been too wide to fit into the original L12.

    HTH

    moriond

  13. #13
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    I measured the very bottom of the side pocket of my original Luminary from the inside seam to the edge of one half of the zipper and it measured 3.75". Would someone be willing to measure and post what that measurement is in the new design? I'm trying to envision how much that pocket has grown.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by awurrlu View Post
    These aren't the best exposures, but here are two pictures of the Side Kick on its side in the L12. Both also show an 18 oz water bottle. One has a very compact umbrella, the other has a light sweater. There's still room in each for another vertical item (for example, another water bottle) and some room at the top, although not a ton.
    Thank you! Looking at the dimensions, it seems like the SideKick should be able to fit horizontally, but only barely. Do you think it would fit that way? (I have the Halcyon version, so it's pretty squishy.)

  15. #15
    Forum Member awurrlu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Quiltmama View Post
    I measured the very bottom of the side pocket of my original Luminary from the inside seam to the edge of one half of the zipper and it measured 3.75". Would someone be willing to measure and post what that measurement is in the new design? I'm trying to envision how much that pocket has grown.
    I took some pictures with a ruler and have posted them below. The ruler, when folded, is just under 7"long. My phone, which measures 6-1/4" x 3" in its bulky case slides in the larger pocket easily. It's harder to fit it in the smaller pocket, but if I rotate it just right, it fits.

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