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Recommendations For A Good Laptop Bag? 824

YOU LIKEWISE FAIL IT writes "So, I was jogging to the bus stop this morning when suddenly - snap, the weight of the laptop on my shoulder vanished, and I heard the dull thud of my powerbook bag hitting the pavement at a wince-inducing speed. The laptop seems to be alright, but the bag (a WWDC giveaway) is completely knackered. Does anyone have any recommendations for a good, impact resistant laptop bag that won't come flying apart under stress? Perhaps it's not too late to guilt work into buying me one for a late Christmas present."
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Recommendations For A Good Laptop Bag?

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  • A backpack! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by JThundley ( 631154 ) on Tuesday December 23, 2003 @09:24PM (#7799856) Homepage
    Get yourself a good backpack. I got a great one for $40 at staples made by Samsonite.
  • Crumpler Bags Rule (Score:5, Insightful)

    by grantdh ( 72401 ) on Tuesday December 23, 2003 @09:30PM (#7799891) Homepage Journal
    Check out the bags from Crumpler [] - they're from Australia but they have stores all around the world. Simply the best bags you can get.

    They started off doing bags for bicycle couriers and developed from there. Very strong, very well designed, pockets for everything and no dirty great "Hey, I've got a laptop in here so steal me!" logos and designs.

    I have been using their "Crisp Suit" bag (look in the computer bags section) for over a year, including four weeks using it to carry two (yes, TWO) laptops around Asia while working in Korea, Thailand and Japan. The bag goes with me whenever I carry my laptop (read: almost every day) and I'm still in love with it.

    Definitely worth finding the nearest Crumpler store / distributor and picking one up.
  • Re:A backpack! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by srchestnut ( 717652 ) on Tuesday December 23, 2003 @09:32PM (#7799916)
    A backpack is a good idea because it doesn't look like a laptop bag. Theives that operate at bus stations and air ports often look for laptop bags. Try a Froogle ( search for laptop backpack and you'll turn up a bunch of hits.
  • Duh (Score:3, Insightful)

    by pclinger ( 114364 ) on Tuesday December 23, 2003 @09:37PM (#7799953) Homepage Journal
    If your laptop survived, get another one of the same bag. $20 bag saves $1,500 laptop, I'd stock up on 10 of those instead of hoping your next bag does as good a job.
  • by NilObject ( 522433 ) on Tuesday December 23, 2003 @10:37PM (#7800331)
    Speaking from my years and years of experience with *several* bags, the best way to go it to get a sleeve thing for your computer (any sort of neoprene is good, as are reinforced sides) then buy a luggage bag. I don't mean those pseudo-laptop bags, I mean those heavy-duty bags meant for luggage etc. If you're really paranoid like me, you can roll up a towel and put it in the bottom.

    Otherwise, it depends on the laptop you have. My iBook is sturdier than hell (800MHz white etc) and it goes with me to all my classes (being a comp. sci. major and all). From what I've seen, the cheaper laptops such as low-end Dells are as fragile as Middle-East peace.

    So, what bag do I use if I have so much experience? Well, I bought a $10 neoprene sleeve made by Sony for their Vaio laptops and I throw it in my backpack (which is made to carry 40-50 punds of stuff). That bag will never freaking break. The other nice thing about school bags is that they never seem to fail all at once, they tend to rip and give a little, givinng you plenty of warning to replace it. Just make sure not to put your laptop right in the back near your back and below all your books or whatnot.

    I've jogged to many a class and that set-up refuses to show any signs of giving up.

  • Re:Timbuk2 (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Jordy ( 440 ) <jordan&snocap,com> on Tuesday December 23, 2003 @10:40PM (#7800348) Homepage
    I'd recommend another SF company WaterField [] over Timbuk2. Maybe that's because I see Timbuk2 bags all over SF and they just aren't special.

    Both companies custom make their bags in San Francisco and the build quality is excellent. I mean strong, durable with no shortcuts. I think the fabric of the WaterField bags is a bit nicer than the Timbuk2's. Plus, they have a really nifty airline buckle thing that always gets commented on by the security screeners at the airport.

    They both have a multitude of colors. Timbuk2 is a bit more configurable since they allow you to have 3 colors on your bag. I have the taxi colored WaterField and it is very neat.

    The WaterField bag has a neat little sleeve for your laptop to slip into that perfectly fits my iBook (they come in different sizes). So instead of putting your laptop directly into your case, you can put it into a sleeve first that protects it against other objects in your bag. Very handy. Plus it can double as a bag itself.

    I have to say that both bags are very roomy for their size. I have the smallest one and it still can fit my iBook, an IBM ThinkPad T30, my umbrella, my wallet, my iPod, my earphones, a cell phone, far too much change, my notepad and whatever other garbage drifts into my bag. Of course, with all this stuff in there, the bag is entirely too heavy (ThinkPad's aren't light!), but that's another problem. :)

    With either company you get the satisfaction that you're getting a good quality product made in the US. Of course they are made in San Francisco where the price of labor isn't cheap, but you get what you pay for.

    And no, I don't work for either company. I just happen to live within walking distance to them and have gotten sick of the poor build quality of textiles (explain to me why a $80 kenneth cole shirt should have lose threading?)

    But then again, I want to be an elitist bastard, so maybe you shouldn't buy stuff from them. :)
  • Re:Jansport (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Stalus ( 646102 ) on Tuesday December 23, 2003 @10:48PM (#7800387)
    And less likely to be identified as containing a laptop by thieves.
  • by jhines0042 ( 184217 ) on Tuesday December 23, 2003 @11:01PM (#7800450) Journal
    But go for a laptop backpack. Seriously.

    They may not look as professional, but your shoulder and your computer will thank you and you will never go back. Just make sure it is big enough for your computer, your periferals, and some other stuff.

    Plus it doesn't look like it contains a computer. Security though obscurity does sometimes work. And while I wouldn't leave my computer lying around, it is also less likely to be stolen by a mugger etc...

  • Re:Timbuk2 (Score:2, Insightful)

    by kirt ( 630601 ) on Wednesday December 24, 2003 @12:37AM (#7800872) Homepage
    i completely and totally agree. I have a Timbuk2 bag as well, the El Ocho (medium size) messenger bag with one of the laptop sleeves also produced by timbuk2. I'm an onsite network technician/all-around computer repair guy for my company, and i can carry...

    - my laptop (Fujitsu P5020D.. somewhat small)
    - my billing binder
    - two medium size CD cases full of CDs
    - my GameBoy Advance SP and 5 games
    - my iPod (on the nifty strap carrier)
    - my Nextel i90c (also in a nifty strap carrier)
    - all my cables, pens, and loose little bits
    - a decent selection of tools

    and, it's comfortable (get the strap pad)!!!

    in addition, you don't look like a moron carrying a filing cabinet on your back. the bags are handsomely made, and even with all that crap in them, they lay pretty flat and sleek against my back.

    i can't say enough good things about this bag.
  • by firewood ( 41230 ) on Wednesday December 24, 2003 @03:44AM (#7801473)
    Theft is also a major risk with laptops.

    A book bag or soft briefcase made by a company that make rugged outdoor gear is less likely to come apart under typical use/abuse, and doesn't attract as much attention as a Logo'd laptop case. Put your laptop inside a neoprene sleve inside the soft briefcase or small backpack, add a thick magazine (Wired, etc.) on the display side, and you will have a rugged case that doesn't yell "steal me!" in crowded public spaces.

    And if you need an expensive briefcase to be seen along with your Armani business suit at some client meeting, carry your laptop in the backpack and your clean shirt/underwear in the expensive case on the trip thru the airport (but this is Slashdot, so never mind...)

  • Re:Jansport (Score:3, Insightful)

    by rpmdp ( 175709 ) on Wednesday December 24, 2003 @05:32AM (#7801695) Homepage
    Personally I got tired of the normal laptop bags and bought a backpack from L.L. Bean. It holds a laptop with 17" wide screen with no problem. It's very comfortable to wear and if you have to run, your laptop is very secure in a padded pocket inside against your back so it doesn't move.

    Plus there is loads of room inside for other things. On one outing I had the following in the bag:

    1 x HP Notebook
    1 x 802.11g Access Point (Netgear, in the box)
    2 x Wireless PCMCIA cards (In boxes)
    1 x wifi card for my notebook
    2 x network cables (25' each)
    1 x Palmpilot
    1 x Mobile phone
    1 x Notebook and other assorted mobile office goodies

    And, there were misc other things in there. Yes, it was a near spine breaking adventure, but it just goes to show how much they can hold. I love it so much I wish I bought 2, this one will wear out and having to wait for a replacement will really suck.
  • Re:Hemp! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by PCM2 ( 4486 ) on Wednesday December 24, 2003 @06:24AM (#7801802) Homepage
    Maybe it would be taken more seriously if its most vocal supporters were also for the legalization of marijuana.
    Are you kidding? The number one reason most people discount hemp "activism" automatically is because it's plain that most of the people in favor of it really just want to smoke weed.
  • by j-pimp ( 177072 ) <> on Wednesday December 24, 2003 @07:22AM (#7801884) Homepage Journal
    Force = mass * acceleration
    impulse = mass * velocity.
    Gravity is 9.8m/s^2
    (mass of you + powerbook) > mass powerbook

    The lesson here is you falling on you laptop causes more force and impulse than your laptop falling by itself. This is why your laptop broke.
  • by Tikaro ( 726048 ) on Wednesday December 24, 2003 @11:18AM (#7802635) Homepage
    After using a Timbuk2 laptop sleeve [] for years, I had to abandon it when I started using a Dell Inspiron 8600. Sadly, nobody I saw made a good bag, so I decided to make my own. I did it with some 1/2" neoprene puchased from Canal Rubber in NYC []. I cut pieces of neoprene to make a box, super-glued it together, then (ahem) sewed up a canvas sleeve to keep it from falling apart -- the neoprene isn't very abrasion-resistant. I use a separate small cordura bag to carry the charger, mouse, and whisker antenna for wireless. Works great. I ride a motorcycle to work when the weather's nice, and the whole shebang fits neatly into an Ortlieb Cross-Air pack []. Um, this solution probably isn't for everybody, though.

The intelligence of any discussion diminishes with the square of the number of participants. -- Adam Walinsky