Until recently, my ideal bag was big enough for my laptop, iPad, iPhone, chargers and cables, plus a sweatshirt, a sandwich--anything I could shove inside. And the more space I had, the more I shoved.
So what changed? I had a kid. Now when I leave the house I’ve got not only my laptop bag, but also a baby strapped into a bulky car seat, plus his giant diaper bag. When I got desperate to shave some of that weight, my own oversized bag had to go.
I kinda have a thing for bags. I know exactly what I want from them, but it’s so hard to find one that does everything a gadget-hauling nerd like me could wish for. But if I ever get to design my own backpack someday, it’s going to look an awful lot like the Powerbag.
Your DSLR shoots luscious pictures…so why do you dread taking it with you? Blame your camera bag. Chances are, it’s bulky, boxy, and not all that comfortable to carry. That explains why the Domke F-3X won me over so completely when I recently used it to schlep my gear while shooting in the misty hills of Iceland and the rainy streets of Sweden. The bag’s waterproof coating quickly emerged as a priceless feature, but over time, what I dug most is how comfortable it is to wear for prolonged periods, even when loaded to the gills. Its stylish, super-cool looks also just smoke the boxy chunkiness of most other DSLR bags out there.
A perfect laptop messenger only needs a few features. It needs to fit your laptop and accessories, it needs to be comfortable, and it needs to not be so brain-numbingly ugly that you don’t want to wear it for fear of humiliation. So it’s with great delight, and a small dose of irony, that we present to you the “Moderate Embarrassment” messenger, a bag that fills all three criterions.
Finally, a Folio that isn’t just for well tailored business types. The Boa folio iPad case is made of durable denier fabric and it can be propped up in three positions: flat on a desk or lap, elevated for typing and vertical. The iPad locks into place inside the folio and it’s a very sturdy fit. There’s also a pocket on the inside flap that can hold folded up pieces of paper or notes, and one on the outside that seats your iPhone or iPod touch. Frankly, we're just glad that it doesn't match a stuffy old business suit.
This is not so much a case as it is a gimmick. When we first put it on the iPad, it made our device look like the iBook of old, with their candy-shelled tops and their handlebars. But of course, we can't see any real world application for this contraption. First of all, with the fear of theft in a public place, why would you carry your iPad on you as if it's a handbag? Secondly, it's not like the frame actually protects the device from nicks and scratches on either side of the iPad's chassis. While it is a sturdily built product--complete with screws that you must unscrew and re-screw with the included screw driver (screw that!)--we cannot recommend this device for protecting your iPad from the dangers of this world. Well, that is, unless you really need a handlebar for the device, then by all means.
If you're looking for an iPad messenger bag that's a bit smaller and a bit more pleasing to look at, the Targus Spruce EcoMart Mini Messenger Bag is small enough to fit into a ginormous bag, while still maintaining a ton of pockets for your iPad’s other bits and pieces. The main compartment has a padded sleeve made especially for your iPad, so it's not flopping around in there while you're running to catch the bus. There's also room for folded up pieces of paper, a small notebook, a couple of pens, and the iPad’s connector cables and USB wall plug, plus a compartment on the front flap made especially for your mobile phone. But hey, don't expect to fit your lunch in this thing--you'll need a separate lunch box for that.
Skooba Design’s Netbook and iPad Messenger Bag might be designed specifically for those devices, but it’s actually big enough to swallow a 13-inch MacBook--as well as an iPad and accessories. The flexibility and extra room is nice, but if what you’re looking for is something to schlep your iPad around in, the Skooba might be bigger and more complicated than what you need.
Cocoon’s Gramercy bag tries to make carrying your iPad into a fashion statement of its own. And hey, why not? The iPad is sleek, sexy, and undeniably cool--shouldn’t it have a case to match? As if in answer to that question, this bag nicks its name from the crazy-fashionable Gramercy neighborhood of Manhattan, but its overall stylishness is more plain and pedestrian. It’s available in black, grey, or red, and provides just enough space to schlep an iPad and the included Grid-It accessory organizer.
Finding a laptop bag that does it all is not a simple task, and we
often have to make compromises between style, utility, and comfort.
Speck’s CorePack Fly nails two out of those three, faltering a bit in
the comfort department. The CorePack’s black-and-white pinstripe design
(also available in a blue-gray check pattern) makes it a fashionable
laptop bag that pairs well with our favorite--and only--pair of
designer shoes. This lightweight bag also offers good protection and
storage for our stuff without adding much extra heft when we’re hauling
around our MacBook.