I’ve gotten along fine for years with “cheap” nylon laptop bags. They’re relatively inexpensive, reasonably durable, and spacious enough to carry the mass of tools I travel with in my mobile office. The only problem is their shelf-life.
Every nylon laptop bag I’ve ever had begins to fray after a few years. Holes begin to form in the corners as the rigid frame pokes through the bag due to repeated stress. Plastic zippers begin to fail as the teeth get rubbed smooth. And the shoulder strap begins to stretch to the point where I become afraid of it breaking. After several iterations of this cycle, I started getting worn out myself. So, when my current bag began to show signs of it’s imminent demise, I determined to hop on a different track.
There were two alternatives out there to the nylon bags I’ve been using – Canvas and genuine leather. Both have their strengths and trade-offs. Canvas is lighter but is not nearly as durable or naturally water resistant. Canvas also lacks any natural rigidity, without anything inside to help it hold it’s shape it flops over. Leather is naturally water resistant and durable, but is a a bit heavier and more expensive than a canvas bag. Leather bags also possess some natural rigidity. Leather bags aren’t nearly as a rigid as their reinforced nylon counterparts, but they hold their shape pretty well.
After researching for a a month or so I determined that a leather bag is the one I wanted to go with. The decision wasn’t a foregone conclusion. There were some really nice canvas bags I checked out at L.L. Bean, but I just didn’t feel they’d offer my equipment the protection I needed, and canvas’ floppy nature failed to impress – I foresaw how loading and unloading my various gizmos and gadgets could become tedious. Thus, after much wrangling, I finally found a bag which met my base criteria:
- Protected laptop compartment
- Distinct spaces for accessories like video adapters and portable drives
- Secondary pocket for documents and/or power supplies
- Outer pocket for keys and other whatnots.
The final choice? A Samsonite Bag sold through B&H Photo. It covers all my basic needs, and fits all but one pice of my equipment with no troubles 1. This bag is lighter than my former nylon carriers, and I looks pretty good as well. I The lack of reinforced rigidity did cause me to pick up a reinforced hard drive case for my SSD, “just in case,” but other than that I’m quite comfortable with the protection it provides.
- My TV tuner, which I typically only use in the house anyway. ↩