How do you BAG it?


Decentralized working has its upsides, as we’ve all been writing about on WWD, but one thing definitely suffers: my shoulders. It seems like everywhere I go – cafes, hotspot-enabled parks, office space – I’m lugging my laptop around, ready to work at a glimmer of a broadband connection. After a few blocks even the lightest laptop bag strap starts tugging on my shoulder like it’s holding the 9-lbs Dell, I spent a grand on for my first reporting job.

Now that my newer laptop is pretty light, and I’m still smarting, I’m starting to think it’s the bag. Maybe I should actually invest some time and energy checking out the ergonomics and design rather than opting for the free hand-me down from coworkers or friends. (No more thrift store buys.) I guess I should also pick one that looks decent enough, given its going to get worn more than my favorite sweatshirt.

A friend sent me a link to a company called Everquest Design which sells laptop bags with authentic pieces of the landing parachute from the Soyuz International Space Station, or cloth from Mount Everest expeditions. They’re probably pretty sturdy, but then I remembered that I’m not an aging business man trying to relive my extreme-sports youth. The idea is a little too Richard Branson for me.

Does anyone have a favorite laptop bag brand that has been their stalwart through endless telecommuting?



After looking at lots of cases I suddenly realised that if I wanted to minimise the weight I carried (and I had spent a lot of money to buy a light PC) then I shoud get a SMALL case – so I must carry less – otherwise all those small pockets just fill up with the ‘ I just might need that’ stuff.

The Incase nylon case from Apple made me do just that & I’ve never regretted it. It looks good as well :)

Patrick Smith

I have to recommend the bags at Tom Bihn too. My daily-use bag is their laptop sling bag, The Buzz. If you want to carry a bunch of stuff, it’s not the bag to go with, but it’s very comfortable if all you have is the laptop, a book or two and a couple of odds and ends.

Scott W

Before joining the “sockless lifestyle” movement, I spent a few years dragging a laptop through airports 3 weeks a month. My shoulders hated the brick of a computer I was lugging around until I found a case with elastic in the shoulder strap. I never imagined that it would make that much difference, but it really does act like a shock absorber on every step.

Drew Loika

While it was already mentioned, I too have had great luck with and their “Monolith” laptop sleeve. Unlike most sleeves it’s rigid so it protects your laptop beautifully while you through it into whatever bag/backpack fits the situation. I’ve carried a 15″ laptop and half-dozen textbooks in a backpack every day to campus for the last three years with never any problems.

Jacob Bohall

I prefer the samsonite computer bags. You can get them for a great price at an outlet store, or online. Plenty of pockets, over the shoulder strap has a big cushion, so it works well with time. Can also be carried like a briefcase, which comes in handy at times.


if you want to see some great purpose built laptop bags, take a peek at great bags with some excellent accessories as well – like the snake bag for all those power plugs, a couple of extra mice (wireless and wired), ipod cable and half a dozen other things.

Kate Trgovac

I agree w/ David Brunelle .. I have 2: one for day to day and one for client meetings. My day to day is a Timbuk2 back back (I think its an older version of their Pro series) which I love (the bottle holder pouches on the side are a little shallow) but other than that I love it, My bag for show is a “Steve” from a design firm called “Case Closed”. It’s a great bag, but it really only holds the essentials (laptop, a few folders and cell phone), but it looks great.

For readers who are interested, I have a lens over at Squidoo dedicated to “Funky, Chic and Cool Laptop Bags”. You can check it out at


It makes me feel a bit conspicuous but it absolutely saves my back. It’s the Franklin Covey wheeled case. It’s got a boxy shape, lots of pockets and pouches for various things, came with a smaller nylon bag for cosmetics or what-have-you, and a padded compartment for the laptop. The handle comes up in stages so shorties can have it lower and amazon freaks like myself can breeze through unhunched-over.


i’d say it’s all about the backpack. i’m a laptop musician, so it’s a laptop, a small mixer and other gear. get it off of one shoulder and onto both. much better for your back.

Dean Johnson

I use a standard Lands End canvas briefcase with a padded slip cover for my 12″ powerbook. The reason for using such a traditional bag is that it looks, well, “traditional”. It isn’t a stylish expensive looking computer bag that screams “STEAL ME”. I can pack a ton of crap in it and it barely shows any wear after >15 years of use, including trips all over the world.

Tim Stephens

I’m a big Targus fan. I have a Port 3.1 15″ commuter “briefcase” and a CityGear 15.4″ Chicago Notebook backpack. The first is great for to/from local meetings and the second is better for plane flights and hiking long city distances without back strain. I’ve found that I get good info if I ask others I see wandering around about their bags – after the inital wierd looks, that is. Good luck.

Dave Newman

If you have a habit of carrying around camera gear as well as your laptop, I haven’t found one better than a Tamrac. They make one that holds the 17″ Macs and a digital SLR with lenses and everything. That’s what I have and I couldn’t be happier. Lots of padding and watertight.


I gave up on looking cool and trotted an old North Face pack out of retirement. It distributes my too-big Toshiba evenly across my back, and there’s plenty of room for power, gadgets, books, notebooks, etc.

Two big vertical pockets on the front are great for pens, phone, keys, and the like. Giant chunky zippers never get caught.

Not that it goes with my suit. For those occassions when style trumps function, I bring out a plain black messenger bag.


I’m pretty happy with my current Crumpler bag but it isn’t entirely perfect, but it does have a great shoulder strap, the right number of pockets and sections, and a good place to hold my laptop (might not fit a 17″ one however).

My only complaints, and they are relatively minor – it doesn’t have a good place to hold a water bottle, and like most messenger style bags, things can tend to fall to the bottom – and it can be somewhat tricky to carry books, power adapter and files while keeping everything presentable.

Pascal Finette

I bought one of the Everquest Design Soyuz bags a while ago (yeah, I was lured into thinking that something which brings Soyuz down safely might also be good for me) – unfortunately I have to say that the quality of the bag was absolute crap. It’s basically a very cheap bag with a little piece of space history sewn onto it… Do yourself a favor – buy it if you want to have a piece of history but not if you need a bag which you actually use daily.

I recently bought a Vaude messenger bag and absolutely love it – durable, waterproof and easy to wear.


I like BumBakPaks for my powerbook…

Has lots of pockets and space for other things too. The straps are ergonomic and backpack-like carrying when I’m running through airports.


I find that Ogio makes some real quality bags that are very comfortable to wear throughout the day. Coming from a sales background, I am always walking with a bag on my shoulder and feel your shoulder pain.

I have a 17″ notebook that weighs just over 10 lbs. and my shoulder doing very well thanks to Ogio’s messenger bag.

Hope this helps.


I use the Targus Rogue backpack. I picked it up from for $15, and it’s been great. I can carry a ton of stuff in it Backpack style, and it’s not a strain, it has room for all kinds of goodies, but still works well on lite mode, with only my laptop and a notebook in there. A special spot for the iPod is great as well.

David Brunelle

Unfortunately, it seems like it’s almost necessary to have two laptop bags. One for pure functionality, and one that’s slightly more presentable. In my case, I need a rugged bag for cycling to work that can fit my laptop (sometimes) my clothes, a book, my lunch, etc, etc. For this purpose, I use the Osprey Torque. Osprey makes great bags, and this one works well for my general laptop/ gear lugging needs.

When I need to go to a meeting, or look presentable – I’d rather not have a big ol’ messenger bag with me. For these situations, I have a Tumi bag. All Tumi’s are guaranteed for life, and look very professional. There’s something for everyone.


One of the best computer bag is made by the bike messenger bag company Chrome. It’s turning into the next “Timbuk 2” in the bay area, they have a store on Folsom and 7th, it might be worth checking out.

My favorite feature is the huge shoulder padding and strap and the no nonsense ergonomic strap design.

Shaun Andrews

I’ve been using a messenger bag that I bought from Old Navy about 4 years ago. Its a very simple cotton bag with one main section and two smaller pouches all covered by one flap. Its an army green and, even though its meant for school books, fits the Blackbook and cables, cell phone, and portfolio perfectly. I was looking for a new bag a few months back but gave up. I really like messenger bags, but I can’t seem to find one thats not ugly as sin. As far as ergonomics are concerned the over the shoulder messenger-type bags are probably not good for the back as the weight falls on one point of the shoulder. I think a backpack style bag, though not stylish, is the best for the back as it spreads the weight of the bag out evenly.

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