Why did i buy this huge laptop?
April 16, 2012 7:42 AM   Subscribe

Laptop bag filter: What's a good sturdy bag for a giant laptop plus a few more electronic devices?

Okay so I made the mistake of buying a huge screen laptop and I am having trouble finding a good bag. The screen is a little bigger than 17". Also the bag needs to hold two old school dell axim x51 PDA's, a handheld Socket Mobile 7 barcode scanner, maybe a couple of smallish books, all the cords and accessories. In other words it needs to be kinda big with lots of padded pockets. Either backpack or shoulder strap is fine. I want something that's functional, looks good, and good quality. I don't want to have to replace it in 6 months, but I don't want to spend Tumi money either. $150 or less would be good. Thanks.
posted by Subterranean Homesick Pygmalion to Shopping (14 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I have had lots of luck with the two Timbuk2 bags that I have owned.
posted by ndfine at 7:47 AM on April 16, 2012 [1 favorite]

I have a large laptop - 17" screen - and this is my bag for that machine. Other than the fact that with all that stuff in it, it would weigh as much as I do, I think you could use this bag if you were neat and organized about it.
posted by Medieval Maven at 7:55 AM on April 16, 2012

I've had a Crumpler bag for years. Their largest bag is called the Dreadful Embarrassment Basically a pocket for your laptop and additional large pocket with smaller pockets for other things. $175 is outside your price range but you can find it for $120.

If you're in or near SF there's a Crumpler store in the Westfield Mall in downtown SF if you want to check one out.
posted by bitdamaged at 8:24 AM on April 16, 2012 [1 favorite]

If you are having trouble finding a bag big enough to hold your laptop (since many of the bags do seem to max out at 17" and you say yours is a bit larger than 17"), you may consider getting a sleeve custom made, which would then expand your options for a bag to some non-padded varieties. Waterfield Designs makes incredibly sturdy laptop sleeves, custom to your dimensions, and they are around $50, leaving you with $100 to find a nice bag. Or you could add-ons of a shoulder strap and "piggyback" to the laptop sleeve, which might turn it into a bag with enough room for your needs, and it would be around $100 total.
posted by ReBoMa at 9:09 AM on April 16, 2012

I've had this "Critical Mass" Patagonia laptop bag in black since October and I love it. It usually holds my 15-inch laptop and cord, a graphing calculator, two thick textbooks, and a very full 1.5" binder. Totally waterproof so nothing gets wet if I'm stuck walking in the rain, and I find that the padded laptop sleeve is very helpful.

There are a couple pockets inside the bag, but they're side pockets rather than divider pockets if you know what I mean. The website says that it will fit a 17-inch computer screen, but I'm looking at the bag right now and I think it would probably fit an 18-inch screen. You could always ship the bag back if it doesn't work.

$99, so it's within your price range. I highly recommend it!
posted by hypotheticole at 9:20 AM on April 16, 2012

Seriously think about a backpack, with a waist belt. You can get shoulder damage from having a lot of weight on one shoulder.

You might look like a dork, but that's a lot of weight you're intending to carry.
posted by leahwrenn at 9:20 AM on April 16, 2012

Response by poster: Do you have a certain backpack in mind leahwrenn? I already look like a dork, so no problems there.
posted by Subterranean Homesick Pygmalion at 9:28 AM on April 16, 2012

I have a giant laptop, and I just use a rucksack. It works fine for me.
posted by richb at 9:55 AM on April 16, 2012

I cannot recommend highly enough the 5.11 Tactical-made Rush Delivery Messenger Bag and the All Hazards Prime Backpack.

The videos are all military GET ER DONE style but that's what you get when you look at products made by a military supplier.
posted by Jairus at 11:11 AM on April 16, 2012 [2 favorites]

I have an LLBean messenger bag. Have used it with 15" and 17" laptops, and still room for files, and power adapters.
posted by theora55 at 11:37 AM on April 16, 2012

on sale, too.
posted by theora55 at 11:43 AM on April 16, 2012

Seconding Timbuk2 bags. They're excellent, and scale up well enough.
posted by CrystalDave at 1:07 PM on April 16, 2012

On the real budget side and always overlooked, Tool Bags.

Sears has this two pack of 18 and 13 inch bags for $14.99 this week and many times during the year.

This set does not have shoulder straps or inside pockets, but some other "models" do. There are other brands at other stores. There's not much padding and it's not slim and svelte, but it's tough and sturdy. Throw in some bubble wrap for padding, and it'll hold everything and be a conversation piece. Or, it'll look like a dirty ol' tool bag when thieves are looking for laptop bags.

I also use these for various cameras and photo accessories.
posted by caclwmr4 at 3:04 PM on April 16, 2012

My husband's go to bag for all of his needs, including his laptop, comes from Chrome. They are a bit pricey but they are very durable. He's just fine with using a messenger bag as a laptop bag, but they also sell laptop bags.
posted by delicate_dahlias at 7:26 PM on April 16, 2012

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