In search of a perfect bag


[Photo: Booqbags]webworker bag

Having the perfect bag that can handle your unique load is essential. Get something without adequate padding and you might be saying hello to a cracked laptop. Having a bag that knocks your leg the wrong way when walking, or makes you tilt to one side and strains your back isn’t good either.

That’s why choosing a bag that’s the right fit for you, and your devices is extremely important. Ok, it’s not all that important in the scheme of things, but if you’re a bag addict like me than it might be. In my never-ending hunt for the perfect bag, I thought it would be fun to jot my notes down on what goes through my mind when I consider a bag to carry my goodies.

How do you start? Take a record of all the tools that you must carry throughout the day. Maybe you have a laptop, pens, notebook, iPod, and a USB storage drive that you always carry. Now write up a list of occasional tools, devices and material like magazines, books, and files. These do play a part in the selection. Ok, so I’m going to assume that for the most part, all webworkers tend to have a laptop that they truck around to their second office (Starbucks as an example), client meetings, business partners, associates, and investor’s offices.

For this, we need a secure snug location. If your laptop is a 15″, get a bag that accommodates that. Any bigger and its going to be swimming around in that sucker, bouncing off of your leg, picking up momentum and Charlie horsing that guy in front of you in line. Shoulder bag, backpack, or messenger bag, you decide what style works best for you. Or what the heck, get one of each! Shoulder attaché’s are great for meetings, backpacks and messenger bags are for nice casual trips to cafes and restaurants to work, or impromptu casual meetings. Keeping your tools list at top of mind, its time to start the selection process.

There are a number of great online locations where you could purchase bags. Of course it’s always great to actually try bags on to see how they fit, so hunt out physical locations that carry your bag of choice. You never know, they might be having a sale! Which could mean that getting two is now viable! Here are my next bag choices, based on my specific criteria. Main criteria set, a comfortable bag for my cat to sleep on. He’s going to sleep on it anyways, so I guess I might as well make it comfortable.

I have the usual goodies in there like a laptop, pens, notebooks, and maybe a book, magazine and iPod. Booq bags, Brenthaven, Burton, and Mobile Edge. They all make strong, durable bags, with plenty of useful storage areas, which all fit in to what I need. What do you look for in the perfect bag? Can you recommend any bags that have done right by you?



baghacks: I have a favourie courier/messenger bag but it has no laptop compartment; when I started needing to carry my laptop about I spent ages searching for a bag as good as the one I have that would accodate my laptop too. Then I realised I had one already and sewed two strips of broad elastic into my courier bag, to restrain my laptop’s neoprene case. Works for me

Dana Vanden Heuvel

Seems this conversation has come up before, though perhaps not on WWD.

Personally, I’ve had Tumi laptop bags & backpacks for the last 7 years or so, and I cant’ ever see switching. They have a few models that carry a 15″ MacBook, and their computer protection compartments are well constructed.

Futher, the warranty is stellar. Send the bag back, they’ll fix it or give you a new one. I’ve sent both of my 7 year old bags back in the last year, and one came back “new” and one came back repaired.

I don’t believe that there is a ‘one size fits all’ or ‘one for all needs’ laptop bag out there. If I’m travelling for a day trip or working around town, it’s always the backpack. However, client meetings and longer trips where I actually need paper has me pulling out the full briefcase style bag.


Great suggestions! I was looking for the right bag that would fit my laptop and all the accessories and everything else. I found the Targus Groove. It fits everything I need with room to spare! It’s always sold at a reasonable price. I also like the limited lifetime warranty.

Daryl Cognito

wow, glad I book marked this page I am checking out the Tom Bihn bags as we speak. I am a bit of a “man purse” junkie. I have bags from macnally and blurr gathering dust since finding timbuk2. It also causes poor creative judgement like this

Bill Day

I’ve used a Dakine Terminal backpack as my main laptop and carryon bag for the last couple of years. It nicely fits my 15 inch Toshiba laptop (though any bigger screen wouldn’t fit). With an Eagle Creek packing sleeve, the main compartment holds several days of clothes. And it has plenty of little pockets for keys, music players, pens, tickets, business cards, water bottle, etc.

Highly recommended if going to backpack route.


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Trager makes some great bags too. I used to have the Intercontinental and loved it. Very light, but provided good protection. Had lots of well thought out pockets and compartments. It can be carried as a brief case, over the shoulder or as a backpack. Very nice design.

I just started a new job and have the default Dell brief case. I may need to spring for another Trager…

Chris Gilmer

Thanks for adding to my bag list Jana, Daryl, Zemote, Justelise and Fime! All of you just made my selection oh so much easier! : )

Nicole Simon

While it makes the bag heavier I am in the market for a good rucksack / bag version with wheels like a roller case. Because when you wander around conferences you need all kind of gear and if you schlep it around, your shoulder will hurt. Rolling it around on the other hand … may not as nice looking and perfect and I would always accompany it by a sub bag for carrying rather than transporting my laptop in such a thing due to vibrations when running around on the streep, but in essence, that strikes me as a clever move.


Forgot to say, I have the Empire Builder from Tom Bihn but they have a huge selection of other models for every occasion.


I would heartily recommend Tom Bihn – superbly made, (in the US), great straps (made by OpTech neoprene and super comfy), inegrated “Brain Cell” inner for greater protection and all the pockets and dividers you could ever need.

I tried a Booq and although they looked nice, the quality was very poor.


I have a Targus Urban messenger and I love it, but it’s too small, it’ll fit my macbook pro and some wires, my phone, diary and a small folder, but that’s about it…


Im surprised no one has mentioned the australian Crumpler Bags. They definitely rock. coming in all sizes and believe me they are ultradurable. Even though the site is a little too whacky for my taste.


I am also a big fan of the Timbuk2 line of bags. Quite frankly I think you could find one for almost anything you need to haul. I have the Commute XL. Even though I have a Toshiba with a 15.4″ screen, I bought the Commute XL because it can accommodate a 17″ PowerBook/MacBook Pro with plenty-o-space to spare. I also did a day trip for an interview and between the Commute XL and a moderate sized Jansport backpack I was able to pack my laptop and all of my mobile geekery (iPod, Blackberry, accessories for both and small peripherals for the laptop, pens), along with a few toiletries, a novel, and a leather portfolio into the Commute XL. Please don’t assume this was light to carry through two airports, but it worked and was an efficient way for me to travel. Timbuk2 now has a better offering of backpacks which might suit you if you have a larger laptop or tend to carry more weight. Remember you can usually find Timbuk2 bags at for a discount.

Dave Conrey

I just got my very first Macbook in the mail this morning, so this is a very poignant and timely article for me, as if I hadn’t spent enough money already.

Logical Extremes

Traveling light is one of my highest priorities (to illustrate the point, I have my wallet contents down to just 2 charge cards, 1 ATM card, 2 IDs, cash, and sometimes one card with some to-dos/reminders on it), so I prefer a laptop sleeve that I can pack into the smallest bag necessary for my immediate purpose. All other accoutrements (writing utensils, paper, gadgets, etc.) are handy and self-contained and I can throw them in as needed.

Daryl Cognito

I am a big fan of the timbuk2 “blogger”. Bought it last year just before the portable media expo. I hauled an ibook plus recording equipment and swag for two days. Now it hauls my Macbook and a host of other items I need for my “real job”. (a social worker) It looks good, comfortable and holds everything I need. Only thing I would add is an external pocket and a couple more internal pockets.

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