Searching for a Laptop Bag

I was in San Jose recently for the Silicon Valley Code Camp and when I picked up my backpack in the morning at the hotel, an edge caught on the desk and my zipper pulled loose. Not what you want to have happen when you’re transporting a laptop that you use for work.

This has been a good backpack for me during the last couple of years, but as you can see below, it’s wearing out.

Photo Oct 20, 5 27 30 PM

The zipper pulls are fraying, the Velcro doesn’t stick as well, and now the zipper has issues. For a free bag, I can’t complain ,but I think it’s time to move on.

Past Choices

I’ve had more than a few bags in my life. Early bags came from vendors, and I’ve had no shortage of conference bags over the years. This was a good one, but I found the flap to be annoying to me, and I’ve sworn off messenger bags.

Photo Oct 20, 4 07 22 PM

I had a stage with my bad knee (and aching back), where I used roller bags. I had this great Targus for a lot of trips, and really enjoyed it. I could put in some clothes and plenty of gadget, and make this a single bag on short trips.

Photo Oct 20, 4 07 38 PM

However. I’ve also found that airlines have moved to smaller jets where possible, I often do have another carryon, and this doesn’t fit under a seat (often) or overhead (in smaller planes). As a result, I went searching for a smaller roller.

My wife used to use this nice leather one, and I tried it for awhile. However it had a few issues.

Photo Oct 20, 4 07 08 PM

It also doesn’t fit under seats well (too wide), and it’s got a frame, so the size doesn’t change much. However the other issue is that it’s hard to maneuver with a second bag. It doesn’t stand up by itself, and the handle doesn’t easily fit over a luggage handle, so it’s a pain.

The Search

I started on Twitter, and got a lot of recommendations. Far too many were for messenger, shoulder style bags, which people seem to like, but I don’t. I also didn’t want a bare bones, super small backpack.

My son has a nice, military style Maxpedition bag, but I don’t love the single sling. It’s a bit of a pain to get on/off without unclipping and don’t want to be doing that. However it is durable as can be.

When I look at reviews, I see all kinds of different bags and features. There’s an amazing selection. That’s good and bad, but it certainly makes me think about what matters to me.

One of the first companies that popped up for me was Everki. I’d never heard of them, but for some reason I clicked through and started browsing their backpack bags. At first I dismissed a few models that claimed they could store an 18” laptop as I’m never getting one of those. I’ve had a 17” model before and didn’t love it. As of now, I’m always searching for the smallest machine I can find that takes 16GB. Soon it will be 32GB, but I’m not ready for one of the W540-sized machines yet.

As I looked, I watched a few of their videos, and I have to say that while I hadn’t considered the fold flat to be a feature (TSA doesn’t care in many places), I did like the fact that I often get stuff stuck down in the bottom of my bag now and have to search around. I also liked the hi contrast orange inside, because surprisingly often I can’t see inside my bag.

versa_1

I settled on the Versa for one main reason: the sunglass case. It’s also in the Concept, but I didn’t want to spend $300 (though for some reason $200 didn’t seem too bad). However I usually want sunglasses with me when I drive, and I’ve even found them on my head as I get to the TSA line and have to slip them into my bag, where they’re not well protected. Yes, I know I can take a glasses case, but I’d need 2 and I find those to be a pain. It’s not rational, but I’d rather have it built into the bag, a place I can drop stuff.

versa_2

I think this bag will be similar to lots of other bags that are in the price range and ta

I’ve found with luggage that I get better bags (usually) for more money, and I’m hoping this will last me a few years. I spent $150 for a roller that I really like and think it was worth every penny. It’s lasted 4 years and still is going strong.

I won’t get this before my trip this week because I waited too long to order it. However I’ll have time to pack it next Monday and see what I think, with the chance to order a different bag before I leave for PASS.

I’ll update a review next week with first impressions.

About way0utwest

Editor, SQLServerCentral
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5 Responses to Searching for a Laptop Bag

  1. I love the Swiss Army backpacks (I think Victorinox is the manufacturer for those), did you look there? My current one is going on 7-8 years of heavy use with no real issues except one of the foam inserts is bent beyond recognition.

    • way0utwest says:

      I didn’t. I didn’t think of them, but I have heard good things. The one thing I don’t see on them is an easy way to attach to my roller handle.

      There are a couple I’ll look at if I don’t like the one I ordered.

  2. Keith Meurer says:

    I really like this one, it’s got a lot of space/pouches, and the front three pouches are removable. Lots of padding too. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004DI3B92/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o08_s01?ie=UTF8&psc=1

  3. SQLAndy says:

    Can’t go wrong with Maxpedition. I bought an Everki http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004I6MAXW/ in Sep 2012. Good bag. Agree the bright orange inside is great, as is the misc/sunglass pocket. Maybe the only thing I dont like is the side pockets, they sorta work for a water bottle, but not as good as one made just for that. The shoulder straps are starting to fray a tiny bit, but otherwise is solid. I like two straps. I rarely use both at once, but I like to switch shoulders if I’m walking a lot during the day.

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