Seeking a new work and travel bag, when the one I really want I cannot afford!
November 30, 2010 8:04 AM   Subscribe

Seeking a new work and travel bag, when the one I really want I cannot afford! I'm looking for a bag to use for the next 10+ years as a work bag and when I travel.

I'm looking for a bag that: will fit my 13" macbook, space for a few other things like small water bottle Kindle large purse camera etc, solid leather (or very professional looking cordura), high quality construction, a pocket that is not too tricky to access for my public transport card, don't need lots of other fancy pockets. Over shoulder strap optional. It can't be too flashy though, I am a fairly understated kind of woman.

I've been using a Timbuk2 tote (older version of cargo tote) for years and years and it has served me well. However, it's getting slightly tatty, and its blue/beige colour combination isn't as professional as I'd like to be. I do still like the style though.

I am ridiculously in love with the Mulberry Bayswater, but there is no way I could justify spending that amount of money. I've also seen some coach totes that are quite nice but I don't seem to see one that is in leather and that will carry all this stuff.

Other bags I have used: I have a backpack as part of my Eagle Creek carryon set but that doesn't quite scream professional in the office though it's a great set otherwise as it fits all my stuff. I've had a Crumpler bag for years but I rarely use it because it is overly filled with pockets and velcro. I have a nice leather satchel, but it does not fit my laptop.

I would be willing to pay up to about $400 USD - and would be happy to shop in a store or online. I'm in the UK but will be visiting the US in the next few months.
posted by wingless_angel to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (14 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
I've found Patagonia bags to be indestructible and highly functional. I traveled 90% for work with laptop and possessions for about 5 years using one of their backpacks. It's still in great shape and I'm sure their totes would stand the test of time. Maybe one off their "mass" line?
posted by patrad at 8:13 AM on November 30, 2010

You should check out the stuff here. I don't own any of it, but their stuff is just gorgeous.
posted by deadmessenger at 8:13 AM on November 30, 2010

The first brands that come to mind are Billykirk and Filson.
posted by mikesch at 8:18 AM on November 30, 2010 [1 favorite]

Have you checked ebay? I ask because a friend of mine got a mulberry bag (in this case it wasn't a bayswater, but I'm sure they are available) and it was within your price limit. By the way, she's in the US but got the bag from the ebay uk site.
posted by kaybdc at 8:22 AM on November 30, 2010

Seconding Filson and Saddleback, and if you want to read way too much about them, check out the dedicated threads for each on Styleforum.

Filson thread

Saddleback thread
posted by brozek at 8:23 AM on November 30, 2010 [1 favorite]

Since you're UK based - have you seen Liberty's new collection of bags/covers for Apple? I like the red one in particular, but they have more neutral tones too...
posted by oneaday at 8:42 AM on November 30, 2010

Check out Tom Bihn products. I don't own any, but this line keeps popping up on travel blogs for ideal travel bags. The look is a bit techy, but you can get them in subdued colors.

The Co-pilot looks cool and has a separate water bottle compartment, though it looks too small for a lappy.
The Tri-star or Western Flyer has enough space for a laptop and more. They're also convertible so you can use it as a messenger, tote, or backpack.

Another bonus is that they are produced in the US and generally have positive reviews.
posted by mlo at 8:53 AM on November 30, 2010 [1 favorite]

Saddleback and Filson are definitely looking on a winner at this early stage. Keep the ideas coming!
posted by wingless_angel at 8:58 AM on November 30, 2010

Jack Spade might be worth a look too.
posted by mikesch at 9:07 AM on November 30, 2010 [1 favorite]

Jack Spade might be worth a look too.

Too masculine for me. I might be an understated lady, but still a lady :)
posted by wingless_angel at 9:12 AM on November 30, 2010

Seconding Tom Bihn's Tri-Star. Their stuff is unbelievably nice, and they have a hilariously devoted cult (for good reason).
posted by theredpen at 9:31 AM on November 30, 2010

What about Penelope & Parker bags? They're UK-based, so you'd be able to check them out in person.
posted by evoque at 12:39 PM on November 30, 2010

Levenger has some nice leather laptop bags, and more specifically, women's laptop bags. I haven't bought any laptop bags from Levenger, but I have bought a couple nice pens, a leather messenger bag, and a Moleskine sleeve, and everything was of good quality.
posted by xedrik at 6:10 PM on November 30, 2010

Thank you all for your advice, I ended up buying the Knomo Helena with thanks to a birthday voucher that covered some of the cost. Hurrah!
posted by wingless_angel at 6:54 AM on January 8, 2011

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