Yet another search for the perfect bag
July 31, 2018 1:50 PM   Subscribe

Due to shoulder/back problems, I’m no longer supposed to be carrying a messenger bag with a shoulder or cross-body strap. Thus, I am in search of a briefcase—that is, something with handles that opens at the top, rather than a flap-over—meeting a range of specific criteria within.

I'm looking for the following qualities; not all are essential but the weight is pretty much non-negotiable.
  • Lightweight, ideally, no more than 2 lbs.
  • Fabric rather than leather. Canvas would be preferred, but nylon/ballistic is OK.
  • As noted, top-opening rather than flap-over, but not a tote bag.
  • On the small side: it needs to minimally fit a 13” laptop and a 9”x11” sketchbook. Bigger is OK up to around 15”.
  • Able to stand on its own rather than having to lean against something.
  • Some muted color other than black (grey, deep green, brown). No pink or other bright colors.
  • Below $200 (more or less).
  • No velcro.
  • Individual pen-holder pockets, rather than big side pockets with everything sloshing around in them. Ample small storage for individual items in general (glasses, keys, pills, mouse, adapters, etc.)
  • Water bottle holder, or wide enough to fit a narrow water bottle inside.
To give you an idea, this is actually not bad but misses on the stand-up-ability (which seems actually to be hardest target to hit without going over the weight limit). Something like this but maybe an inch wider and with a squared-off bottom would be good.

Any recommendations gratefully accepted!
posted by Kat Allison to Shopping (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I got a Tom Bihn Daylight Briefcase after searching for a small, light thing to carry my laptop and a book or two. It doesn't hit all your criteria, but it's small, cheap-ish, functional, and light. I don't use the strap with it.
posted by gyusan at 1:59 PM on July 31, 2018

The TB Cadet is under two lbs (1 lb 11 oz) and available in navy and a fairly deep green called Verde. Its longest dimension is 16" and I'm not sure about stand-up-a-bility, though.
posted by praemunire at 2:09 PM on July 31, 2018

Really, to add to the first two posts, I'd look at Tom Bihn and decide which briefcase fits your needs best.
posted by JMOZ at 4:07 AM on August 1, 2018

What about a rolling bag? Get a used Briggs and Riley.
posted by oceanjesse at 4:55 AM on August 1, 2018 [1 favorite]

I've got a bag from Dagne Dover that I love. They have many styles, some canvas. All with great interior organizers, and most of them have feet on the bottom for standing-up purposes. (Mine also has an insulated water bottle holder big enough for a nalgene, and a little pouch for an extra pair of shoes. It's perfect. )
posted by Green Eyed Monster at 6:00 AM on August 1, 2018

In a bit of a rush so didn't check all criteria exactly, but it almost sounds like you want exactly my mom's favorite laptop bag!
My family got her it as a gift, my dad knew the general criteria. She also has back problems and wanted pen holders, top-closing etc. Good luck on your search.
posted by sockbladder at 11:44 AM on August 2, 2018

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