Like many people, I’ve received a Kanchenchunga-sized pile of nylon conference give-away bags over the years. All very ho-hum. But after a recent conference I came home with a BBP bag. I was using an old Tumi bag, which I liked, but it was falling apart. This BBP bag turned up in the nick of time.
BBP makes a range of messenger-style briefcases. Their initials stand for “bum back packs” — bags for people with bad backs, and they hang near your bum. They’re thoughtfully designed, rugged, waterproof (ballistic nylon with rubberized interior), can be carried in a variety of ways (single shoulder, double shoulder like a backpack, slipped over the roll-aboard handle). Your laptop fits into a top-loading, well-padded, velour-lined outer pouch with a waterproof zipper, so the thing is super-accessible at airports and very well protected.
It’s a better bag. And at $85 it costs about a third of the price of most of the Tumi bags (the Tumi nylon brief cases list for about $400 now, and $500-600 in leather). Actually, I kept the old shoulder strap from the Tumi, which has a leather ergonomic pad that has morphed to fit my shoulder. It works fine on the BBP. It is even better and cheaper than the popular Timbuk2 bags. To get your laptop out of the Timbuk2, you have to open the bag (two clips), then open the inner pouch (velcro). To get your laptop out of the BBP, you just unzip the shiny black waterproof zipper on the top of the outer padded compartment. And the Timbuk2 costs $115 (and more if you get little optional thingies, which you don’t need on the $85 BBP as it has several extra pouches).
The medium size BBP holds my Apple 15″ PowerBook G4 perfectly in the outside padded sleeve. In the rest of the bag I slide two batteries (there’s a pouch just for those), power supply, dongle, a bit of USB stuff (like an indispensable 6″ Treo HotSync/Charging cable, and my pen-sized radio remote controller), a power adapter, some paperwork, three books (quaint, but they’re not available electronically), an iPod, cell phone, camera, wallet, keys, and bits and sundry pieces (my moleskine notebook, a couple pens, business cards, the usual). It’s actually hard to make the pile much smaller. It all fits into the medium BBP.