I'm looking for a great laptop bag.
August 27, 2013 1:15 PM   Subscribe

I've been lugging my laptop around in a red backpack for the last twelve years. Its been on nearly every continent, survived several career 180s and a divorce. But all things must come to an end- My everyday carry is much different than it was twelve years ago- My PC laptop, an iPad, a yellow legal notepad and maybe a paperback.

So, I started shopping around for new bags. Here's my problem: Anything that's vaguely grown up or stylish seems tailormade for a MacBook. This InCase Pathway bag is my platonic ideal, except that its way too small for my 15" Lenovo IdeaPad.

HiveMind: Where does a PC using fella find a reasonably nice everday bag for +/- $150? I'm willing to consider backpacks, messenger bags and whatever else.

Restrictions: A little leather as accent is fine, but an all-leather bag isn't going to do it. Think hip, not DadCorporate.
posted by GilloD to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (15 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: If I wanted to narrow this down- Slim, vertical backpack feels like the sweet spot. I'm seeing a lot of fat, horizontal bags.
posted by GilloD at 1:23 PM on August 27, 2013

I recommend browsing around eBags.com for some ideas (I've bought from them many times), and it's possible to search/filter by laptop dimensions. There are lots of "generic fitting" bags out there. And I'd always favor a backpack if you end up trekking for any amount of time since they're easier on the back, and some can convert to a shoulder bag for business purposes.

By the way. If you ignore backpacks because they're harder to construct, custom shoulder bags made to specific dimensions with specific aesthetics/materials are all over the place on Etsy.com, if you're willing to go that route (check individual reviews).
posted by Ky at 1:26 PM on August 27, 2013

Have you looked at bags from Built NY? This one says it will fit a 15" laptop. They used to have another that I bought last year for my 17" laptop but I can't find it on their site anymore.

Great quality, minimalist style, and spacious.
posted by joan_holloway at 1:35 PM on August 27, 2013

Tom Bihn.
posted by bearwife at 1:37 PM on August 27, 2013 [1 favorite]

The ThinkGeek Bag of Holding is my go-to. It's spacious with a number of pockets to hold things. The huge plus is that is on a great sale right now! It's worth what they usually charge.
posted by inturnaround at 1:43 PM on August 27, 2013 [1 favorite]

I asked a question on here at the start of 2012. Lots of results therein. The one I went with is quoted here. I still use it and can highly recommend:

They also do a pretty sweet messenger bag.
posted by 0bvious at 1:48 PM on August 27, 2013

I also really like the Jack Spade bag selection, although they are a little pricey.
posted by 0bvious at 1:52 PM on August 27, 2013

Manhattan Portage
posted by mattbucher at 1:55 PM on August 27, 2013

Mountain Equipment Co-op has some really nice daypacks, although they may be more outdoorsy than you're looking for. I've got the bookbag, and my MacBook Pro fits in very nicely, and it's got a good amount of room for papers and books and stuff in the rest of the main pocket, and decent storage in the second pocket.

I think I looked at this Noire messenger bag in the store, and it looked pretty nice. They've got a bunch of nice looking messenger bags, if that's what you want.

Mind you, the shipping from Canada is kind of spendy, assuming your location is still up to date, and you have to pay $5 to become a member of the co-op.
posted by leahwrenn at 1:58 PM on August 27, 2013

Came here to suggest the Manhattan Portage and see it's already been. So, seconding.
posted by General Malaise at 2:04 PM on August 27, 2013

Coach makes gorgeous bags, suitcases, and totes for men. But they are completely unaffordable.
posted by oceanjesse at 2:18 PM on August 27, 2013

I love the Briggs and Riley "At Work" series (link is to Bergman luggage, 20% off!).
It's very hard to see in the pictures, but their backpacks are very slim, yet hold a lot. I have one similar to the 15.4 Clamshell backpack in the link, and it's six inches deep at the most.
They are guaranteed for life, get fabulous reviews, and appear to be bombproof.
They are also lined with bright fabric, so the inside of the bag isn't a black hole.
posted by dbmcd at 2:25 PM on August 27, 2013

I just picked up a Patagonia Fuego last week (in a no-longer-going-on-sale) and I like it quite a bit. The laptop compartment is big enough for your laptop and doubles as a bladder holder if you also want to take it hiking. I'm a biggish dude (6'0", about 210lb) and its comfy on me.
posted by gauche at 2:28 PM on August 27, 2013

Tom Bihn is fantastic, but pricey.

Also check out Timbuk2 bags - I have owned for for over 8 years now (!! really??) and they are hard wearing, solid things. (Or at least they used to be.)
posted by RedOrGreen at 2:29 PM on August 27, 2013

I'm a huge fan of chrome bags, especially the really minimal newer ones like this. If you want something smaller, maybe this one which seems more similar in concept to the incase you liked? Just surf through that "laptop bags" section in general.

It's also worth noting that i think all of their bags fit at least a 15in machine, and most fit a 17(my current one once fit a 17in thick as a DVD player gaming laptop without complaint)

They're built like a brick shithouse, and the one time i've ever had one cock up they went "well shit, throw it in the mail and we'll get it right back to you!" pretty much no questions asked. I've had my main one, which has fit any laptop i've ever owned, for like 5-6 years now. and i got it used from someone who had it for another 3 or so before that. I ended up buying my partner one too as a present.

I also think the prices are quite reasonable when this is a market in which almost everything costs about that much, but a lot of bags aren't all that sturdy.

I've also, for what it's worth, had a timbuk2 bag. I still have it and i've had it since 04 or 05. But it's not as comfortable, just kind of a dorkier design that looks clunky when you're wearing it, and doesn't feel as well made as my chrome bag or some others i've tried. And the new timbuk2 bags really aren't that well made.
posted by emptythought at 2:56 PM on August 27, 2013

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