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Advice On Notebook Backpacks?

timothy posted more than 9 years ago | from the stick-it-on-you dept.

Portables 642

UnknowingFool writes "I'm about to go on a whirlwind trip with my laptop. Currently I'm using a generic laptop bag, but it's not really made for trips like this. I want to see if I can get a good notebook backpack and wanted to know what experiences traveling geeks here have had with notebook backpacks. My criteria: 1) Around $50 2) Functional enough to be used after my trip as a generic backpack 3) Tough enough to survive hauling through airport, yet comfortable enough to endure wearing for hours 4) Enough pockets for my chargers, cables , etc." I've been impressed with some bags from Targus; any good suggestions out there?

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yea (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10489135)

use a prada purse instead, it will make you sex

Arcteryx Blade 21 (5, Informative)

penguinstorm (575341) | more than 9 years ago | (#10489196)

Arcteryx makes the Blade 21: cks&p rod=1026

and it's the best laptop backpack I've ever owned. I've owned 7.

I like the Arcteryx because:
1) It's a great backpack; the straps are conmfortable and nothing digs into your bag. Why bother wearing a backpack that's not comfortable?
2) It will generally fit any computer; there are limits, but my 15" PowerBook wasn't a problem, even if I choose to carry it (unnecessarily so) in a Neoprene sleeve
3) It has a separate pocket for carrying files etc, which is fairly cavernous. There are two additional pockets for pens/cards/cables etc.
4) It is clean looking, and doesn't look like a dorky Targus notebook bag. The pack itself doesn't really have anything hanging off of it, so it never gets caught on things.
5) It includes a handle that lets you carry the bag briefcase style; very convenient when moving short distances, or arriving at corporate offices.
6) I can use it to carry my avalanche shovel on winter expeditions, although I have another pack that does that as well.

What I don't like about it:
1) Zippers can be bad for shiny white plastic iBooks; if you're carrying one of these, you'd better get a neoprene sleeve or something to avoid scratches (or buy a PowerBook, which was my solution to the problem; the Aluminum doesn't scratch easily.) I like Marware's Neoprene sleeve
2) There is no padding on the top of the bag (the side with the handle.) This is not uncommon - in fact this bag has padding on every other side, which is rare. I blame my golf clubs for it, but I have a minor dent in a corner a of PB which might have been prevented with padding on the top of the bag.

All in all a great bag; I considered some of the Swiss Army products, but they sort of look a bit too back-packy for me in a work environment.

Re:Arcteryx Blade 21 (2, Interesting)

mirko (198274) | more than 9 years ago | (#10489275)

When I had an AlBook, I used thisSamsonite Avior Laptop Backpack [] which was both classy and functional.
I since traded it for a Powermac otherwise I'd have kept it.
But I admit it's a bit other the 50 bucks the story submitter mentioned.

EBags (5, Informative)

NitsujTPU (19263) | more than 9 years ago | (#10489136)

I've been browsing around, which seems to be a good source of data on bags (though I'm interested in messenger style bags).

Re:EBags (1)

civman2 (773494) | more than 9 years ago | (#10489198)


Re:EBags (4, Informative)

iocat (572367) | more than 9 years ago | (#10489253)

eBags is really nice site to deal with. I bought my JanSport [] bag there and I like it, although it's kind of big (great for trips, because it can hold an extra change of clothes, kind of overkill for day to day because I keep losing things in all the pockets).

If you're looking for something that doesn't look, feel, and act like every other bag on the market, you should definitely check out groundwear [] . That link goes to a good laptop bag, but they have some backpacks that would also fit the bill. My friend at work has one of their bags and I am jealous enough of it that I may shelve the JanSport except for over night trips.

Re:EBags (5, Informative)

erwin (8773) | more than 9 years ago | (#10489285)

I had a Timbuk2 [] bike messenger bag that I use to carry a Vaio and a change of clothes to and from work. It's a great bag, and I see that they now have a laptop model. The cool thing, they're bags have a rubberized skin thatm makes them largly water proof (though not water-tight). I crashed my bike once and landed flat on my back on top of the Vaio and the bag/clothes combo saved the laptop from even a dent. I think if you want a messenger bag, get it from the folks who make professional messenager bags.

Targus backpack.. (1)

MoOsEb0y (2177) | more than 9 years ago | (#10489139)

I got one a couple years ago.. It's fairly well padded and comfortable. I used it for a year for everyday school use with no problems at all. I only stopped using it to give to a friend. I'd recommend it as it seems to fit your needs as described.

repeat (0, Troll)

kayen_telva (676872) | more than 9 years ago | (#10489142)

over and over []

Re:repeat (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10489167)

A dupe from 4 years ago on a subject like this really isn't much of a dupe...

Re:repeat (-1, Redundant)

kayen_telva (676872) | more than 9 years ago | (#10489193)

4 years ? hah. check your data. oh yeah, and heres another..this one may be older though over and over []

Re:repeat (-1, Redundant)

kayen_telva (676872) | more than 9 years ago | (#10489235)

crap im the idiot

Re:repeat (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10489282)

crap im the idiot

It's ok, you don't have to tell us. Everyone already knows this.

Re:repeat (-1, Redundant)

dracvl (541254) | more than 9 years ago | (#10489261)

...and another one [] .

Most importantly (2, Insightful)

powerpuffgirls (758362) | more than 9 years ago | (#10489143)

I thought the most important feature is to prevent theft? Well, a notebook bag isn't going to prevent theft, but a normal-looking back will prevent thieves from realising you're carrying a notebook.

Big and Little Easy Pack's from L.L. Bean. (4, Informative)

Cadre (11051) | more than 9 years ago | (#10489293)

Two laptap backpacks that don't look like laptop bags are the Big [] and Little Easy Pack [] 's from LL Bean.

They are inexpensive (around $49/$59 for little/big) and have the standard backpack straps, messenger bag (sling strap) and briefcase handle.

Spire (3, Informative)

cartzworth (709639) | more than 9 years ago | (#10489146)

SpireUSA makes great bags []

Re:Spire (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10489192)

I second that, my Spire bag has lasted me for over 3 years of weekly travel and still looks brand new. Great design, heavy stitching, excellent laptop padding and doesn't look very "laptop bag" from a theft risk standpoint.

Great stuff - probably 1.5-2x more expensive up front, but well worth it.

Forger the PC (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10489147)

and enjoy the trip, douche

A little pricy, but excellent (5, Informative)

scapermoya (769847) | more than 9 years ago | (#10489149)

I use the Jinx backpack: Jinx Laptop backpack [] its $80 but i feel like it was well worth it. it has all the room for the extra stuff, its really comfy, and I feel like it is keeping my dell lappy nice and secure. It sounds like we do similar things, airports, etc. If you are willing to spend it, go for this one. Scapermoya.

Re:A little pricy, but excellent (-1, Troll)

kevcol (3467) | more than 9 years ago | (#10489233)

Yeah, and it's so stylin' if you are in the 7th grade.

Re:A little pricy, but excellent (1)

scapermoya (769847) | more than 9 years ago | (#10489281)

dont be a tool its made by ogio, which is a great company.

Re:A little pricy, but excellent (1)

NeepyNoo (619951) | more than 9 years ago | (#10489238)

Another expensive but EXCELLENT option is a bag from Timbuk2 ( Very, very nice.

Crumpler (4, Informative)

awful (227543) | more than 9 years ago | (#10489153)

These guys make great sturdy bags, with nice designs and pockets.
Crumpler computer bags []

Re:Crumpler (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10489174)

How about their USA site:

Re:Crumpler (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10489267)

How about you linkify your URLs, jackass?

Re:Crumpler (2, Informative)

scattol (577179) | more than 9 years ago | (#10489277)

I've got the shrinkle [] . It's a camera bag and a laptop bag at the same time. When you travel you need room for the digital camera and the laptop. That bag is ideal. Since you can take the camera part completely out, you can also convert it into a regular back pack.

Important (1)

earthstar (748263) | more than 9 years ago | (#10489154)

Tough enough to survive hauling through airport, yet comfortable enough to endure wearing for hours

Whatever bag you use,Just dont forget the laptop at the airport or anywhere else.

Just use a regular backpack (5, Insightful)

Rick and Roll (672077) | more than 9 years ago | (#10489160)

The targus bags look nice, but they have "EXPENSIVE LAPTOP" written all over them.

My suggestion: get a regular JanSport (or whatever) backup, so theives can't tell you have a laptop.

Not too long ago, a /.'er told the story of leaving his empty laptop bag in the back seat of his car, only to return to a car with smashed windows.

Besides, I think a regular backpack is perfectly functional, unless you have a 17" laptop. Used one all the time for my old 12 incher (which was about the same time as today's 15 incher, because of widescreen and having the screen stretched very close to the edge).

Regular backpack with water bladder sleeve (4, Informative)

fpga_guy (753888) | more than 9 years ago | (#10489216)

Even better, get something like a Lowe Alpine bag (I have a Contour Mountain) that has an inner sleeve for those CamelBack water bladders - any sensible-sized laptop fits perfectly in there.

When I travel with my laptop I buy a bubble-wrap envelope from the post office , put the laptop in there and put the whole thing in the water bladder sleeve - takes 10 seconds to pull it out through airport security checks, and provides enough padding to keep it happy and healthy.

Re:Just use a regular backpack (2, Insightful)

KhanAFur (693723) | more than 9 years ago | (#10489259)

I use a regular backpack with a laptop sleeve. It protects my laptop and doesn't screem "TAKE ME."

I would recommend a laptop sleeve along with the rebular backpack becuase regular backpack don't offer much in terms of protection.


Stoutlimb (143245) | more than 9 years ago | (#10489280)

My wife bought a cheap briefcase with a zipper, to carry some of her paperwork from work. It looked very similar to one of the expensive laptop bags. She left it in our vehicle overnight, and the next day our vehical was broken into, and only that bad was missing.

OGIO (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10489161)

I've been using an OGIO for many months now and I have to say it's the best backpack I've ever had. Lots of pockets and it has padding for the back which makes it not only comfortable but cushions the laptop nicely. The straps have padding too so they dont cut into your shoulders harshly when caring a heavy load. nd ex.cfm?modelid=15431

Yes...a backpack is the best (1)

Zebbers (134389) | more than 9 years ago | (#10489163)

I got one, an "Icon" brand one from CC awhile ago. Since sold the laptop, kept the bag and use it daily for school.

The backpadding supports work well when carrying textbooks for 4 classes.....

As someone else mentioned...carrying a backpack is a good way to prevent theft, as its less liable just to be "set down" for a second and less visible as a bag containing a laptop.

swiss army (1)

NewOrder (103784) | more than 9 years ago | (#10489164)

I got a new swiss army one from bestbuy. very comfortable. I do alot of air travel. Best thing to to have

Dell (1)

queenofthe1ring (768698) | more than 9 years ago | (#10489166)

has a variety of nice bags. [] They aren't too pricey either.

RE: (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10489168)

The targus bag I have is great, I even broke a buckle on it by slamming it in my car door and they sent me out a new bag in like a week.

Your main concern when picking one of their bags is your laptop fitting into it.
I have an Inspirion 9100 so I had to get the biggest backpack they had and it ran me $90.

You should also check out best buy, they sell quite a few targus bags there.

Brenthaven (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10489169)


My Bag of choice for the powerbooks i've had so far. The current 12" PB has both a briefcase Brenthaven and a Backpack brenthaven. The other cool backpack is the Tom Bihn Brain Bag; got one of those for the TiBook.

Trivial Warning (2, Informative)

Bryan Gividen (739949) | more than 9 years ago | (#10489171)

I bought a Targus bag and I am absoloutely in love with it. However, I do use a slightly larger laptop (around 6 lbs, 16" screen, Vaio) and my laptop fits almost too snugly into my the laptop protection slide that is in most Targus bags. If you have a larger laptop, make sure you try it before you buy it. That aside, I've been using my Targus bag for over a year now, bought it for $35 and I love it. Carries all the books I ever need, place for my mouse and all my cables... great bag.

Targus Laptop bag (2, Informative)

DeDmeTe (678464) | more than 9 years ago | (#10489173) asp I have an older model back pack which is no longer available.. but I'd live and die by it. I've had it for 2 years, and there still isn't a single tear in it. I can't belive how much crap I can fit in it. It gets used every day.. been dropped many times and has travelled with me on every flight for the past couple of years. I love it!

Recommendations (1)

Radius9 (588130) | more than 9 years ago | (#10489178)

I recently purchased one of the Targus bags (the TXL617), and I have been really happy with it. After years of owning a laptop, I tend to Targus because I have always been extremely satisfied with their bags, and recently started taking the train to work. The old laptop case I had became somewhat unwieldy, as I often needed to carry other things so I had a laptop bag AND a regular backpack. Then I found the Targus backpack, and its like a godsend. Plenty of pockets to store all my stuff without getting it mixed up, and I have used it for travel without my laptop with great results.

I use this bag (1)

DoorFrame (22108) | more than 9 years ago | (#10489180)

Here [] 's the bag that I use. I've had no problems with it. It's really really comfortable, fits a bigger than average laptop and seems to keep it safe. It's got a good number of extra pockets. My only complaint is that it doesn't hold much else besides the laptop. It's not as big as my old Land's End backpack.

Bags (1)

Vash_066 (816757) | more than 9 years ago | (#10489181)

I got a Targus, man that thing has more room than anyother bag i've ever had. And the laptop is nice and secure in the bag. Best of part is that it looks just like a bookbag, and you can't tell that there is a notebook in there.

Laptop Sleeve and Regular Backpack (1)

KhanAFur (693723) | more than 9 years ago | (#10489182)

I looked around for a long time when I got my laptop and never found just the right backpack that was confortable, fasionable, and functional. I ended up getting an inexpensive laptop sleeve from ebags here [] .

This sleeve works great with my backpack and is handy to use by itself. It opens on the shorter side so it can be opened while in my backpack.

This sleeve in a backpack protect a laptop better than any laptop backpack I've seen.

Re:Laptop Sleeve and Regular Backpack (1)

connorbd (151811) | more than 9 years ago | (#10489273)

I would suggest that too. My backpack is a Coleman camping backpack (Exponent Weekender) with a concealed frame -- it's more than big enough for a laptop. Just throw the laptop in a padded sleeve and keep your attachments in the water bottle pocket inside. It's designed to strap on around the waist so it carries most of the weight on your hips anyway -- I bought it as much for luggage use as anything else.

Brenthaven (2, Informative)

atlauren (213357) | more than 9 years ago | (#10489184)

Brenthaven sells the best backpacks I've ever seen. Definitely well above the $50 threshhold - more like $150-$200. But the contstruction is impeccable, lots of pockets, very comfortable, sternum straps, and expandable enough to be used as an overnight/weekend bag.

Apple-cobranded versions are available at Apple retail stores; standard product line is available at fine luggage stores near you.

This space for rent.

Travelpro (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10489185)

flight crews tend to use Travelpro [] , because they are designed for air travel (ie, fit properly into bins, have enough space & pockets for serious travelers & don't fall apart.)

They make a backpack for laptops that can hold a fair amount of stuff -- and its tough as nails.

Samsonite (2, Informative)

the_quark (101253) | more than 9 years ago | (#10489189)

I have a Samsonite Rafter [] backpack and I love it. It has a ton of pockets, it's very sturdy, and doesn't scream "laptop bag" the way many of them do. It also has a lot of handy features like a special pocket for a music player with a headphone pass through. Froogle says $40-$60.

Alienware (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10489191)

Alienware sells a very nice one for about $90. Check out the Alienware Gear Shop for more info. aspx []

Eagle Creek (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 9 years ago | (#10489197)

back in the 70's and 80's, I used nothing but Jan Sport equipment. Then they got cheap. I found that a bag that was useable for 5 years suddenly went to 1 year lif time. I moved on and looked around. I replaced the briefcase with an Eagle creek [] backpack 5 years ago. Still holding up. Looking through there stuff, I see a few that should do you.

Eddie Bauer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10489199)

Padded bag notebook sleeve, room for everything else... Here []

Re:Eddie Bauer (1)

penguinstorm (575341) | more than 9 years ago | (#10489231)

ummmm...that's not a backpack...

nor does it convert to one.

Recommendation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10489200)

Would be the Targus XL backpack, if you need spaaaace :)

Love the Patagonia's (1)

sog11 (101143) | more than 9 years ago | (#10489202)

They're pricy - the "One" bag I use is a 128 (got it for 70 at the outlet), but I'm a big fan. Sealed seams, big enough for a change of clothes along with a laptop, and a small little external pocket for an iPod.

Check em out here jsp?cgrfnbr=366059&merchant_rn=7385 []

I'm willing to pay a bit extra b/c they give money back to environmental causes and design responsibly (non-toxic dyes etc.), but that may not be your gig.

Average bookbag laptop bag. (1)

Penguinoflight (517245) | more than 9 years ago | (#10489204)

I'm going with the crowd here, but there's a lot of reasons behind it. Getting a generic bookbag college student style backpack is good for a few reasons.

1. People won't guess you're carrying a notebook.
2. More research goes into these backpacks, and they're cheap because of high supply.
3. Generic backpacks have a lot of space. Most have good padding, and these packs condense when not full.

Re:Average bookbag laptop bag. (2, Informative)

Peyna (14792) | more than 9 years ago | (#10489226)

The one thing I don't like about backpacks is that almost always if you set it down on it's back (as is common), then all the weight of all your books is on top of the laptop. If you have to carry a lot of books around all the time, it's not very useful.

Eastpak (1)

ewithrow (409712) | more than 9 years ago | (#10489205)

Eastpak makes normal backpacks with padded laptop sleeves. I bought one my freshman year and highschool and have used it almost every day for the past 7 years and it is still just as good as the day I bought it. The only potential problem is not being able to fit one of those huge 8 pound notebooks inside the laptop sleeve, but it should work for everything else.

Booqbags (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10489206)

Some are out of your price range, but Booq bags makes great stuff. Its geared towards apple laptops, but it will work just fine. They give good measurements etc.

Want one that lasts? (1)

SlashdotOgre (739181) | more than 9 years ago | (#10489207)

I highly recommend Jansport brand backpacks, they are comfortable and more importantly have a lifetime guarantee. In fact, I was in this situation a month ago; I wanted a laptop backpack but was happy with my current pack. Rather than buy a second backback designed for laptops, I dropped less mone (~$30) for a protective laptop sleeve that slips into my current (Jansport) backpack.

Check out Swiss Army (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10489208)

I have been using their bag for a year and will never use another. Works like a normal bag when you don't have a laptop. Helps with my back too as it distributes the weight pretty good. Lots of pockets, etc to store stuff.
I tried several kinds and was never satisfied (Targus, etc).
Check them out.

eastpak (1)

Wakkow (52585) | more than 9 years ago | (#10489210)

My Eastpak backpack has a laptop sleeve in it and it has worked fine for the last four years.

Pelican cases (1)

Anonymous Writer (746272) | more than 9 years ago | (#10489212)

I don't think they have a backpack version, but I hear Pelican cases [] are the best thing for carrying equipment around. A friend of mine told me she dropped a laptop down a flight of stairs in one of these things and it was fine. She also told me that during some news report video shoot, they had to throw all their recording equipment off of a boat and swim to shore because the boat was sinking, and all the equipment came out just fine because these cases are watertight and float.

Booq (1)

konfoo (677366) | more than 9 years ago | (#10489213)

I've been through a lot of backpacks, and the Booq line finally fits the bill. When they say the interior measures x.y.z, it measures it spot on. Fits my S150 like a glove, and doesn't let it slide around inside the pack. The mp3 pouch is a neat trick too. If you can afford the extra $ and you need to be mobile, this is the one to get.

Tom Bihn (2, Informative)

brjndr (313083) | more than 9 years ago | (#10489214)

These bags [] are more expensive than you specified in your criteria, but they are great bags. I have the Brain bag [] , and it the best backpack I've had. It is really comfortable on your back, and the shoulder straps are padded so you can wear the backpack for a long time.

Another Criteria... (1)

JohnA (131062) | more than 9 years ago | (#10489215)

Does anyone know of a backpack that can hold a 17" Powerbook? I don't want to spend $179 on the "Professional" backpack Apple sells... how can a backpack be professional?

Anyway, any suggestions?

ebags (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10489217)

I have an ebag and it's much better than the usual laptop bags. It provides a good level of protection for the laptop and the straps are nice and wide. that makes carrying heavy and light laptops easy on the shoulders.

Get the pizza box type (1)

not-quite-rite (232445) | more than 9 years ago | (#10489218)

One of the best ways is to get a pizza box enclosure. This allows you to protect the notebook as closely as possible, but also allows you to place the pizzabox bag into a proper back pack.

This means that the bag you use won't be as easily recognisable as a laptop backpack(ie anything that says targus), and it allows you to use a bag that is both properly ergonomic for travel. If you want to use it later on as just a normal backpack then just remove the pizza box enclosure.

This is what i do with my 12 inch ibook. I use a STM bag. I bought it from here at Then I can shift it into my backpack for riding, or a travel pack for when i travel around the country, or even throw it into a carry pack when just walking to work.

And if I was ever to get a proper laptop bag then i will buy the next size up, so that it can carry the pizza box enclosure. Gotta protect those assets.....

my big problem with laptop bags.... (1)

Steve_Jobs_HNIC (513769) | more than 9 years ago | (#10489220)

everything falls to the bottom of the bag. I've got cd cases, 2 power bricks, a portable harddrive, cables, mouse, etc, and everything gravitates toward the bottom of bag (and this is a "laptop bag" mind you). A better design would be to have a lot of little pockets, preferable located somewhere other than the bottom of the bag.

But best of all, it's ugly as hell. It looks like a cheap $10 Walmart bag. Just make sure get extra padding on the inside(for the laptop) AND extra padding on the outside(for your back). If you're unfortunate enough to have one of those heavy ass 10 pounder with a 17" screen, then you'll need the extra padding.

If it's not already waterproof, you can buy that stuff in a spray can at most shoe stores.

Your best bet... (1)

Draconix (653959) | more than 9 years ago | (#10489222)

...would be a regular backpack--cheap as possible without being too shoddy--with a good amount of stains/scuffing, in conjunction with a solid, padded, but small laptop case. If you wish, use a pack with multiple compartments, or attach straps (backpack modding! Ha!) to the inside of the pack so you can stabilize the laptop.

Whatever you do, do _not_ travel with a laptop bag/backpack. The less it looks like you have a laptop, the better. (I know from experience. I've accidentally left my beaten-up backpack lying around with an iBook in it in college, and no one stole the laptop, in a college infamous for laptops being jacked in. Inconspicuous = good.)

Though be careful with the inconspicuous look. Dress causually in slightly worn clothing too when carrying the laptop. As long as people don't think you have anything worth stealing, they tend to leave you (and your stuff) alone.

back pack (1)

jester02k (820788) | more than 9 years ago | (#10489224)

Im afiled service tech in the boston area and my backpacks take a beating the one that has lasted the best is from swiss Army it has a laptop sleave built in and really comfortable straps and the part that goes aginst your back is the vent style check it out you can get it at best buy for 50 bucks

Think what's in the bag (1)

SEWilco (27983) | more than 9 years ago | (#10489227)

Spend $100 on eBay for an old slow laptop. Put Linux on it. Be carefree during your vacation with your throwaway laptop.

Life with the Targus XL (1)

erwin (8773) | more than 9 years ago | (#10489230)

I've had and XL for about 2 monthes now, and I like it a lot metter than my last Targus laptop back pack.

I got it because I needed a bag for the 17" laptop I had then from work. It's got a lot of smart features like the flip-down desk-ish thing that covers two mesh pockets (which are big enough for two half-liter bottles of water and a collapsable umbrella). There are a lot of other little side pockets for storing gatdets (iPod accessories, cell phone, USB key drive, etc).

The straps, howerver, aren't quite right. Wiating in long security lines, I notice that they put all of the weight on your shoulders and kinda squeeze in. For as long as the bag is, I would think that it should distribute more of the weight to your hips and lower back. It's not unberable, but it's not a serious hike-across-Europa pack, either. The waist strap helps, though.

That said, I still love it. It's great for daily commuting (including by bike). It's also got a nifty snap-off pocket on the front of the straps for a cell phone or MP3 player.

Also, it's frickin' huge. Like I said, 1 liter of water, a 17" laptop/cables/charger, an external 5.25" hard drive, files folder, conference notes, snacks - and it wasn't even looking full. You can live out of this thing for a week with no problem.

Standard TM bags (1)

coldcup (15234) | more than 9 years ago | (#10489240)

I have one of these [] . My 15" PowerBook lives in it. It gets used for everything, motorcycling, walking, carry on luggage.

They're an Australian company, so I'm not sure if you'll be able to get them anywhere else.

Timbuk 2 messenger bags (1)

veranikon (202025) | more than 9 years ago | (#10489242)

The padded notebook messenger bags from Timbuk 2 I've found to be great. Mine has outlasted *ANY* backpack or messenger bag I've owned in past, including ones not intended for laptops. Drawback: they're $100, tho you can specify the colors.

Timbuk 2 page []

Plus, they hold about nine 16oz beer bottles just as comfortably. ;)

Re:Timbuk 2 messenger bags (1)

Roofus (15591) | more than 9 years ago | (#10489274)

I second the Timbuk2 bags. I've got one, and it fits anything from my 12" PB to my Thinkpad quite nicely. They've got a seperate padded section in the bag for the laptop, which keeps it secure. They are roomy, and high quality. Plus they're stylish.

Without a doubt the best laptop bag I've ever owned.

Tom Bihn (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10489243)

I've been tempted by Tom Bihn's [] laptop bags. Has anyone used them?

ObTangent - Tom Binh's bags got some press because of their French instructions. []

Re:Tom Bihn (2, Informative)

rbrunner (519607) | more than 9 years ago | (#10489299)

I've used a Brain Cell for the last 4 years, and I now have a Monolith bag for my new PowerBook. They both have held up very well.

I carry them inside my JanSport backpack. I much prefer backpacks to shoulder bags, and the JanSport is more anonymous than a laptop-specific bag, which hopefully reduces the temptation for theives.

Zippers (1)

onyxruby (118189) | more than 9 years ago | (#10489245)

Look at the zippers. I've been through a number of laptop bags over the years and hands down the ones that last the longest have the heaviest zippers. Also look at the clasps, the last thing you want is to be out and about and have the clasp break on if your weighted down. I had that happen once with a work supply laptop bag, and had to get the LCD replaced on the laptop.

I would also up your price point at least a $100 additional and spend the money for a really good bag. You can spend a lot of money of cheap bags over the years, or relatively little by buying it right in the first place. Avoid anything that advertised for tourists, and avoid anything from a department store like a target. Targus has some worth considering, but you probably want to check out the likes of Gander Mountain instead.

Small external pockets for things like cell phones on the outside ave very convenient - for pickpockets, avoid them. Remember as well that any locks you buy will routinely be cut if you bag is searched in an airport or the like, so make sure you get cheap locks. Also, if you have a seperate partition for 8.5 by 11 or A4 paper, that would be nice for things like map printouts. If the document pouch is sealable against moisture, all the better.

Whatever you do though, don't do anything to it that would say "steal me". Avoid stickers for ostentatious toys you might have like an Ipod, for they will surely attract theives. If your concerned about theft recovery, dont buy black. Most airports wont even look for a stolen black laptop bag, their are too many to make such a search practical. Also, dont forget to have whatever bag you buy waterproofed on the outside AND inside.

Tough Traveler (1)

kfg (145172) | more than 9 years ago | (#10489246)


Scroll down until you hit the GOMBAC. Looks like a normal backpack. Works like a normal backpack. Made to carry a laptop.

This bag is way over your projected price, but don't be put off by this. A Tough Traveler bag will last you for decades. You might even hand it down to your kids. Their stuff is absolutely "bulletproof" and since they actually manufacture their own bags, in their own American factory, by hand, anything that does go wrong can be repaired by the same people that made it.

Not only do I have Tough Traveler bags, but a Tough Traveler soft guitar case. I've put this case through hell for 20 years. I've never had a guitar damaged in one and not so much as a snap has ever failed. I know people who trust pre WWII Martins worth tens of thousands of dollars to these bags.

Your laptop cost you a lot of money. Spend another hundred or so to keep it safe, and probably never have to buy another bag again.


Have a real vacation (2, Funny)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 9 years ago | (#10489248)


Jansport (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10489249)

I have a good jansport backpack which has the advantage of not looking like a notebook backpack. It is a notebook specific bag with a discreet yet well padded notebook pocket.

I use it as a regular backpack everyday, even though I only take my notebook with me every other day.

Highly recommended.

Vertical Brief From Lands End (1)

Remillard (67835) | more than 9 years ago | (#10489250)

I would recommend whole heartedly the Lands' End Vertical Brief. It's about $60 or so. It's got a laptop segregation section in the main body. Plus, it's got a huge amount of pockets all over the place for cables etc. The main compartment is also nicely big enough to put paper documentation in with the laptop (on the other side of the partition. It has either a shoulder strap, or backpack straps (and of course, a normal handle.

Go hardpack! (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10489252)

It's defintely beyond your price, but I swear by the Axio pack from harodesign: it's a hard pack, and since I drive a motorcycle to work every day, it's the only thing I trust. I'm somewhat of a laptop bag snob (I've tried brenthavens, targus, etc) and this is the best one I've had yet. I actually carry two laptops in it! Of course, I warn you that people will call you boba fett if you wear it. ;) Axio by harodesign [] (btw, not a shill, just a satisfied customer!)

Hard-shell? (2, Interesting)

AEton (654737) | more than 9 years ago | (#10489254)

At Defcon last year they had these really neat laptop backpacks with hard outer shells. It looked like they'd protect well against a nasty fall. I can't find the product now; anyone know what I'm talking about, and where to get one cheap?


Obusforme (2, Interesting)

Bucky_the_AV_Guy (806881) | more than 9 years ago | (#10489256)

About a year ago I purchased an ObusForme backpack for my computer (the Axis Model). It is excellent. If you are not familiar with them, ObusForme is a company that got its start designing those back-pads for putting in your chair to get better support. The bags are designed using something they call the Comfort Support system. It really works. I had a Lowepro bag for about a year. It was excellent - really rugged, but I've got a bad back so switched to the ObusForme and I'll never go back. It was around $70 Canadian - so it was a good deal. Sure there are some excellent bags out there (Tumi, Brenthaven, Booq) but they are all 2-4 times the price. Check out ObusForme at [] .

chrome (1)

piagetblix (768160) | more than 9 years ago | (#10489257)

check Chrome for messenger style bags They some laptop specific ones also.

Tom Bihn (2, Informative)

energylad (53932) | more than 9 years ago | (#10489262)

The best laptop I've ever owned was by Tom Bihn. Get the Brain Bag with the padded laptop sleeve -- no one's ever suspected I've had a laptop in there, it looks just like a big travelling pack with a belt to distribute the weight, lots of pockets, tightening straps on the sides, and you can beat the hell out of it. en=PROD&Product_Code=TB0104&Category_Code=TBP&Prod uct_Count=5 []

Additionally, the Snake Charmer is great for keeping your cables together and fits neatly in the space above the laptop in the rear zipper pocket.

(I don't work for these people, but I bought a bag at their Santa Cruz store before they moved up north -- I've had it for five years, taken it trans-Atlantic more than that number of times, and never had a problem with it.)

Try Samsonite. (2, Informative)

jtdennis (77869) | more than 9 years ago | (#10489263)

Samsonite has a lot of nice backpacks for laptops. I have had one for around a year that's cushoned, has an internal frame, and holds my laptop and all my other crap comfortably.

Make your own... (2, Interesting)

Render_Man (181666) | more than 9 years ago | (#10489266)

$20 of PVC pipe, an old hiking pack frame and you can build a pack [] to do whatever you want.

What about weatherproof? (1)

madgeorge (632496) | more than 9 years ago | (#10489279)

Since we're on the topic... what about water-resistant? I'd like to be more at ease walking around London in fickle weather conditions. Any suggestions?

Targus all the way (1)

william_w_bush (817571) | more than 9 years ago | (#10489283)

Bought a Dell 8200 lugbook for work and home few years back. 15" UXGA screen made it too big for most of the $100+ leather bags i tried, and too heavy to be comfortable anyway. Bought a $40 targus and couldnt be happier. Padded with room for extra gear, best solution I've found yet. If you really plan to carry something around vs. just have it look good go targus, rest is a waste of money.

For my trip in Beijing and China (1)

g_braad (105535) | more than 9 years ago | (#10489284)

I used a normal Samsonite Atom III bag... it is comfortable to take with you, a lot of space and light. a backpack is still very vulnerable and i wouldn't advice to use it on a busy airport!

i used it for a period of at least two months. most of the time i had my laptop in there: a sony tr1 (slimline), with a dv camera, a camerastand, dsc camera, some batteries and a lot of memorysticks. and still could put the chargers in there with a coat. and if really needed, you coudl also put it in a case as protection if you take the plane (which i did on my way back [in an airporter]). or else, fold it to put it into your luggage if you really dont need to carry it around all the time.

samsonite is a brand which you could also easily buy overseas and... beware, in some countries it is even more expensive as it is considered a luxury item.

Targus Deluxe Sports (1)

gimpranger (781311) | more than 9 years ago | (#10489287)

I've been travelling around Australia and the World for the last 18months with work. Planes, trains and automobiles etc etc. The Targus Deluxe Sport backpack has never failed to take whacks etc with NO damage to the gear inside. Have a good trip :)

Dude how about this one (1)

warpSpeed (67927) | more than 9 years ago | (#10489290)

Try this back pack [] . I know my daughter would love it...

You might be impressed with the selection @ ... (1)

adzoox (615327) | more than 9 years ago | (#10489295)

Your local Goodwill or Salvation Army.

I often find VERY high quality bags at the local thrift store. Sometimes, I even find new ones.

I found a brenthaven not too long ago and snagged it for $3.00

One NOT to buy.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10489296)

The Jansport Air Habitat (courier-style shoulder bag). I just bought one for a trip to Taiwan, carrying laptop, 4 batteries, 2 disk drives (CD/floppy), headphones, power supply, notepad (dead-tree variety). The bag started out good but got pretty noodly.

Rakgear backpacks (1)

LizzyDragon (740435) | more than 9 years ago | (#10489298)

I have been using a Rakgear ( [] ) for over two years at college and it's held up well. It's large and roomy and has some places for power cords and such. The main disadvantage is that it's expensive (around $80-90).

Hey Joe Get This Guy Some BiubbleWrap (1)

coyotedata (644211) | more than 9 years ago | (#10489300)

The X Dimension
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