Help me find a laptop bag!
September 12, 2010 7:13 PM   Subscribe

Thanks to the excellent advice of the hivemind, I ended up buying a Macbook Pro (13 inch). Now I need help figuring out how to transport it between home and school.

Ideally this would be a SMALL backpack - I'm a very petite female (short and thin) who's had back problems. The laptop is the biggest and heaviest thing I'll be carrying (textbooks are cut, etc.). I won't be walking around too much; classes are all in the same building, and the commute's pretty easy. As a broke student, I'm willing to budget up to $100, but I'd really prefer sub-$50. I'd also prefer for it to be a more fashionable/professional bag - I don't need any help in the looking childish department.

Alternatively, if there's a really good (and cheap!) padded sleeve anyone would suggest, I'd be happy to consider that too. Thanks for your help everyone!
posted by Sakura3210 to Shopping (12 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
For a sleeve, eBags' own brand is good - very durable. Unfortunately, their laptop bags aren't very small.
posted by IndigoRain at 7:18 PM on September 12, 2010

Anything Incase.
posted by Mr. Anthropomorphism at 7:25 PM on September 12, 2010

I love my Isis Dei laptop sleeve. It's memory foam, so it really protects the laptop. You can also use the corner elastic straps to keep the laptop sleeve on during use (it unzips all the way around). The little hole for plugging in the charger even when the sleeve is zipped is on the wrong side for the new MacBooks (although maybe they changed it since I bought mine last year), but that's a minor gripe. The design is also pretty eye-catching, so the aesthetics are nice, too.

For a bag, I use this Fossil bag. They don't appear to have the pattern I have online anymore, but I consider it to be fairly professional/fashionable, and it has a lot of pockets on the the outside to stick little things in, like cell phones, sunglasses, keys, wallet, etc. It also has an internal zippered pouch. I'm also petite, and I have no discomfort carrying it across my body or even on the shoulder when I just have my laptop and a few small things (I have noticed some discomfort with books in it, but even my nice backpack wore my back out when I carried a heavy load).
posted by elpea at 7:45 PM on September 12, 2010

I travel for work 6 or so months of the year, my 15 inch mbp is with me every time I leave the house. I go with two systems:

1) Speck hard plastic shell for the computer itself. Protects against scratches and things that would be likely to permanently deflect the aluminum casing.

2) Tom Bihn Brain Cell, which protects the sucker when it's in my work bag(s) or if I just want to transport it outside of the work bag and all it entails, you can pretty much put brain cell in any bag your might have already or acquire down the road and it will keep the laptop safe.

For you, if you're looking for primarily a laptop bag that doesn't look like one and that will fit a 13inch mbp, for a bit of an extension beyond your high end the Ristretto from Tom Bihn would work, but that might not work with your back problems.
posted by iamabot at 8:01 PM on September 12, 2010

Tom Bihn sells some very nice laptop bags; if you just want to carry the computer and a few other small things, the Ristretto bag is nice. They're not cheap, but they are handmade in the USA by a well paid workforce, which counts for a lot.
posted by brianogilvie at 8:04 PM on September 12, 2010

If you're concerned about weight, I would consider a backpack. A bag that puts a lot of weight on one shoulder can lead to a surprising amount of discomfort. My wife has a shoulder-bag made by Booq as her briefcase, the S90 Slim. Black on the outside, with a red lining, it looks very slick. Booq's Boa Squeeze is a similarly-styled backpack. I'd buy one myself, but I'm hanging on to an old Marmot daypack. Not high on style, but with a hard case for the laptop itself, I can be less paranoid about it getting bumped around.

It's not a great fit on price, but it's worth looking on eBay (now, for example, if you don't mind buying slightly used).
posted by fishpatrol at 8:04 PM on September 12, 2010

I was also coming to recommend simply getting an Incase sleeve and slide in your favorite bag or backpack. I have the same MB Pro and it is small and light enough not to deserve its own bag.
posted by ddaavviidd at 8:36 PM on September 12, 2010

One of Timbuk2's laptop backpacks has served me well through three years of university and two MacBooks. Their bags are made in San Francisco, and can apparently protect a laptop from a train wreck. They no longer have my model listed on the site, but this one on eBay closely resembles it. I'm a petite girl as well, and my Timbuk2 backpack provides me with better support/weight distribution than any of its predecessors. If you don't mind purchasing a gently used bag, here's a slightly different model that can alternate between a shoulder bag and a backpack - the owner sounds sad to see it go.
posted by Devika at 8:49 PM on September 12, 2010

Go the sleeve + backpack route. Much easier to find them separately. Also you can usually pick up a decent backpack on sale at sporting goods stores, discount stores, etc.

I love anything Waterfield. I highly recommend the sleevecase. Not cheap but very worth it.
posted by radioamy at 9:00 PM on September 12, 2010

As an aside, Timbuk2 used to be manufactured solely in SF, but are now made in several factories across the globe.

Try out several styles, sounds like a sleeve may be the best idea and then putting that in something that will offer you some flexibility.
posted by iamabot at 9:40 PM on September 12, 2010

I agree with IndigoRain that most of eBag's laptop selection trend toward the large size, but their laptop backpack Downloader might be small enough. It looks bulky on the webpage, but if you don't fill it with a lot of stuff, it's actually quite small.
posted by audi alteram partem at 8:42 AM on September 13, 2010

Like radioamy, I recommend anything Waterfield. Very high quality stuff. I use the Cozmo bag and it's great on my back. They told me that the strap is "offset" and has "give" in it for ergonomic reasons. It does feel really nice, I have to say.

Good luck.
posted by flyawaygal at 9:21 AM on September 16, 2010

« Older The Best Birthday gift for a busy young mom   |   How long is it going to take me to build a web app... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.