July 21, 2012

THE OTHER DAY I POSTED A BLEG FOR LAPTOP BACKPACK RECOMMENDATIONS, and then got distracted and never compiled them. Sorry! Here they are:

Reader Patrick Carroll writes:

I’m a backpack consumer they way most women are shoe consumers. I currently use a Lowepro backpack for (simultaneously) hauling a Dell 17″ XPS, Apple 15″ Macbook Pro, camera, chargers, and misc other supplies. I have a convertible REI backpack-to-suitcase for overseas travel while hauling a computer or two, but a lot of my friends are in love with the “Mother Lode Weekender.”

Reader Rob Chilton emails: “Our son uses this one, after we got it for him, I had to have one myself! Great for laptop transport.” I think that’s the one I have in my car as a go-bag. Several other readers recommended this one too.

Reader Stephen Gorisch likes this one:

I got a Swiss Gear notebook backpack.

from a BestBuy about 7 years ago when I was still in school after using one of those hideous over the shoulder bags for several years, and right away was impressed with it. It’s built for a 15.4″, but housed my 17″ laptop quite snugly, and has plenty of padding in the pocket for the laptop AND for your back. While carrying a laptop, I don’t think I’ve ever once been poked by it because of all the padding. There’s also plenty of room for real notebooks, school books, reading books, etc. And the best part is that it has all these little pockets, including pockets within pockets, and not 1, but TWO pockets for beverages, be it your morning coffee, coke, or VitaminWater. Have I mentioned I love pockets?

The one I have has lasted me since I bought it, and it has been used almost every day in one fashion or another. Now that I’m gainfully employed and lucky enough to be able to walk to work, I still use it every day for my computer and programming books and notes, and it’s only just now starting to show a little bit of wear. The straps are still very well attached despite being slightly frayed at the edges, and one of the plastic rings that served no purpose for me other than to keep my hands occupied while I was walking has split (I think it’s a keyring). It’s still attached, but the plastic there did finally wear out and break it. I fully expect the bag to make it another 3-4 years, after which I will be replacing it with exactly the same thing if I can.

I’m not really sure if mine started the trend, as I don’t really remember ever pushing them, but since I started working here, 4 of the 9 employees where I work have bought them for their laptops.

Seriously. It’s well built, roomy, and very comfortable to wear with or without the laptop.

Reader Robert Reynolds (no relation) writes: “Hey Glenn.. here’s a backpack recommendation: The 5.11 COVRT 18. I’ve been abusing it for a couple of years now, and it is super-rugged. The interior laptop pouch easy holds my rather large laptop, and there are tons of other pockets. It also serves as my daily-carry bug out bag.”

Capt. John Votaw writes:

In answer to your readers request for laptop backpack reviews. I am a mooring master which requires me to board and disembark from ships on a regular basis. I need protection for my laptop, as well as room for rain gear, a book or two, and “office supplies.”

I have been using the “Surge” by North Face for two years and have been quite satisfied. Sturdy, lots of room, great balance between small and large compartments.

There’s a women’s model, too.

Reader Marilee Goodwin writes:

My brand recommendation for a laptop backpack is FUL. The quality is fantastic. I bought one at Costco 2 years ago for my middle school son. He hated going to his locker so the backpack was full everyday. In spite of a full year of abuse, he asked me not to get him a new backpack for 2011-2012. After two years, except for a bit of fraying at the edges, the FUL backpack is still in good shape.

I am a stay at home mom and don’t have to move my laptop often. When I have needed to, I have ‘borrowed’ my son’s backpack. It has a nicely padded space for laptops that I could trust it when I was traveling. I have since purchased a FUL backpack for myself and will buy one for each of my four kids for the next school year.

Reader Sarah Powell emails:

I walked all over Austin with the Jansport “Merit”. It had a padded enclosure for the laptop in the first large compartment; a second, equally large compartment; two smaller pouches on the front perfect for power cord and mouse and for wallet/keys/ID/etc. I could also reach around and dig into those pockets without taking the backpack off.

What she’ll probably need most is volume — she’ll need at least a folder or two, a spiral with tear-away notebook paper, a pencil bag, and any books/textbooks to fit into the backpack in with the laptop.

If the Caroline will be doing lots of walking, get shaped/contoured shoulder straps. Water bottle pockets are handy so you can stay hydrated.

Meanwhile, minimalist advice from reader Dan Scherk: “Buy any cheap backpack. Wrap laptop in a spare sweater to protect from bumps, and so you’ll always have one handy. Study hard.”

That last is probably the most important.

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