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New laptop bag (and cheap!)
kernel panic, geeky
mendel

I have a small confession to make: even though I go on about fashion at times, I've been carrying around my laptop in a default laptop case for the last little while. That just wouldn't do, so I started shopping around for another. I needed something that had a handle on top, and I didn't want messenger-style, and I needed to carry a 15" laptop plus a bunch of other stuff (but not quite as much as back then), and I narrowed it down to the RoadWired Skooba Satchel and the Timbuk2 Zip Briefcase. I eventually decided on the Timbuk2 because I've seen Timbuk2 bags before and know they're great, and because there's at Timbuk2 dealer in my neighbourhood that I could order it from.

Or that was the plan, at least. I checked Timbuk2's site the day I was going to order it and it was on sale for $60 US instead of $100. Yay, cheap bag! Except shipping was $30. On a lark I searched Froogle to see if I could find it just as cheap elsewhere, and found it at Sierra Trading Post for $40 (plus $20 shipping), and in the color I wanted. I figured I wasn't going to beat that, so I ordered it, and it arrived today. It looks like so:

    
Lots of zippered pockets inside, and lots of empty space between the pockets and the padded laptop part in the middle, heavy cordura all around, rubber bottom and just generally solidly put together. Putting the laptop in the middle means that it stands up on its own when you set it down. If you're looking for a decent laptop bag, I don't think you'll find a better deal than that one. (It's a closeout, so I'm not sure how long they'll have them available.)

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Ooo... I like that. I'm not thrilled about the colour though. The grey is nicer, IMHO.

The silver (and it's bright, closer to white than to a 50% grey) would be nicer for about the first week, and then it'd be dingy. There's a reason that laptop bags, briefcases, guitar cases, etc. are usually black!

Nice! My current laptop bag that carries my Dell C840 is an old Targus bag from the early 1990's -- I originally bought it for my TI TravelMate 4000, back in the day. I'm surprised the thing has held together so well for so long with constant use, but it's been great. But, I've always wanted to replace it, and the newer Targus cases are so damn bulky and seem to have a lot less crap-carrying capability.

The Timbuk2 Zip Briefcase looks nice, but a lot fatter than I'd like ... and the two-handled design and shoulder strap with lack of padding -- yeouch! But, it sure is nicer than the Targus monsters, and the silver and navy choices are sexy.

Thanks for the pointer. Useful, as always.


The shoulder strap wasn't a big deal -- I needed handles because my upper back doesn't let me carry a bag on my shoulders. The handles are great, though -- they're soft but solid tubes in the centre. You can't really do a centre-loading bag without two handles, though.

It is fat -- but that was what I was after! Click on my "other stuff" link there to see why. When I'm not carrying my laptop, I've got a satchel that goes with me everywhere to carry all my crap around. I didn't shop for thin cases because I didn't need one, so I dunno if there are nicer ones out there, but there's a thin version of the Zip. Bill has a big pile o'links for bags with lots of great slim bags, too.

You got me curious, though, and I looked around t2's website -- the unpadded shoulder strap is the same one they use on their messenger bags, so they must be onto something there.

Eek. $10 accessory? Guess it helps keep the cost down of the products for folks who don't want one, so that's good.

Exactly what is "Cordura"? Is it fabric? I'd probably go with the "gold" "strap pad" (ha) ... navy and gold are pretty close to AOL's colors.

It's a kind of fine-weave nylon canvas, the kind you'd expect to find a messenger bag made of. :-) Ballistic nylon canvas is a looser weave, and ends up smoother and shiny. They make bags out of both, so you can get a shoulder pad in the same fabric as your bag.

Wow, thanks -- great answer. What's more durable? What I'd really like is colored nylon on one side (ooh, shiny) ... and like neoprene rubber on the other side (the shoulder side) to make it softer, and "stickier."

I guess I'll have to search around ...

The thin "sleeve" bag is definitely too small. I'll check out Bill's links, but I think the Timbuk2 Zip Briefcase will be my next bag. Thanks!

sierra trading post rules!!! i've gotten great deals on shoes and sunglasses there. nice bag. i like the colour.

I bet it won't fit my MS Natural.

I looked at Timbuktu bags at the local Apple store, but none of them would fit my 17" Powerbook.

Does it make sense to you that the Apple store doesn't stock laptop bags to fit one of their own laptops?

I got the... uh, I think it was the T2 Detour from Sierra. Unfortunately, the top ripped open. Fortunately, Sierra has a very liberal return policy.

At this price, I may get one of these anyway, just for fun. But I'm still more inclined to a knapsack type thing.

Wow, that's an awesome return policy.

I've also got a laptop backpack, but I hate carrying around a backpack. I only use the laptop backpack on the bike (motorized or otherwise).

Which one do you have? I'm currently using a crumpler, but I'm annoyed that it's so difficult to find a backpack model that's waterproof.

Your timbuk2 mention, however, got me looking at the Outtawhack".

It's a pretty generic one from Eagle Creek. I didn't need waterproofness -- if it's raining or going to rain, either the bike or the laptop is going to stay where it is, or it's all going to go underneath my rainsuit if neither of those are an option.

Perusing Ottawa LJs...

Hope you don't mind if I read along.


:) N

I was nosing around your journal. . .I read your FAQ and it is SO cute how you and your fiancée met!!

Just thought I would say that, cause it's cute!

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