Need a Good Laptop Bag
Can anyone recommend a good laptop bag? I live my life off my laptop and it goes everywhere with me--commuter train, around the office, to every meeting, etc. Want to protect the machine, carry a book and a box of cables & small tools, and still have a bit of room left over. And it needs to be comfortable to carry. Any help would be appreciated.0
How important is it to look professional? How important is theft resistance?
Theft resistance is not important as the thing is never out of my sight. Looking professional is kinda important, that is I don't want to look like a 21-year-old college student.
Can't beat a small hard-shell briefcase for professionalism or impact resistance.
I have an STM Scout bag for my Thinkpad x120e. I got it in the Small size, designed for 13-inch laptops, but in comes in a variety of sizes.
It's the best-designed mag I've ever used. The laptop pouch is well-padded and secure, the document pocket can carry a large textbook if necessary, and the two front pockets are perfect for a paperback, either mass-market size or larger, though not a trade paperback or a hardcover. The strap is wide and has swivels on either side, so it's never twisted.
The bag looks very classy-- their stated intent is that it's both casual and professional, and they do a good job. It's no leather briefcase, but it's certainly professional enough for an office. It's $65-- http://www.stmbags.com/catalog/laptop-shoulder-bags/scout-small-laptop-shoulder-bag/ The manufacturer site has links to retailers.
The best laptop bag I have ever ever owned is a discrete black Timbuk2 Hacker bag that I found out about through Scott Beale at Laughing Squid. It's a small-ish convertible backpack/messenger bag, that holds my 15" laptop vertical (which I find helps minimizes bumps), has great access through a well designed flip top that serves a waterproof barrier while biking (or, you know, going anywhere in the rain), and has thick enough foam that I've never had a problem in terms of protecting my Macbook Pro. It holds JUST enough to prevent me from overloading my bag with stuff. What that means is charger, notebook, Olympus LS-10 recorder, Canon 5D+24-105 lens, and a book or two for good measure. It sits well on my back in both backpack and messenger bag mode, and it doesn't scream steal me when I bike or walk through some of the tougher parts of Baltimore.
As someone who edits a website and works as a journalist for a living, I always have my computer, my camera, and this bag with me and I have never regretted the purchase.
The only downside I can think of is that I think Timbuk2 makes a near identical bag now, but they call it something different. As far as Timbuk2 I have had 2 bags over the past 7 years, and they are both in like-new condition despite years of abuse.
I have two laptop bags - a Crumpler (large, nylon, robust, waterproof) and a Kenneth Cole expandable (smaller, leather, black, slick). They both fit a Thinkpad T410s with ease, and take a book, a pad (A4), some papers and hard drive/mouse/presenter/ mains adaptor essentials. The Crumpler holds more, is better protected, but unless you can find a black/dark one, not very professional looking. The KC bag looks a lot like a briefcase/satchel, but is less padded than the Crumpler and padding is solely around the laptop compartment (Crumpler used to do two lines, one with a padded front compartment and one with solely laptop padding, I have the more padded version). In general the more padded/rigid, the less stuff you will fit in the same size bag. So if you are reasonably careful, I think getting a bag with just some padding around the laptop is best, the other stuff you cram in may also add to the protection/rigidity.
I did not see mention of the laptop size?
For my ThinkPad W510 (large 15.6" laptop) I use a Tumi T-Pass Business Class Brief backpack. It is quite roomy, and holds both the notebook, its large power adapter, external drives, a couple of bag of cables, USB adapters, flash drives and still has plenty of room left over.
For my ThinkPad X120e, I used a Briggs & Riley Verb VB401 Travel Brief bag. It think it would be large enough for maybe a trade paperback-sized book and will hold a few small tools, cables and the like, but probably not have as much room as something larger. Generally speaking, I prefer a backpack since it evenly distributes weight across my back instead of on one of my shoulders, but it is light enough to not be a problem.
I love my Timbuk2 messenger bag. I used the custom build option. Mine is about 8 years old now, still in great shape. Very easy to get the laptop out in airport security, but still keeps rain off it.
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