Any suggestions for a laptop backpack?

Back in January there was a thread about laptop bags, but unfortunately the OP in that thread wasn’t interested in the backpack sort. I, on the other hand, am *very *interested in getting the laptop sort. I am going on holiday and do not have *any *interest in carrying around a laptop on a single shoulder strap. Nuh-uh. No way, no how, never, nope. I have very good reasons for this:

I have a Dell Inspiron 1720. This is an evil laptop (although I love it so). See, it looks fairly light - but it apparently has some kind of gravity-enhancing technology built in because if you have to lug it around for more than a couple of minutes it goes from weighing about as much as my cat … to about as much as a toddler … to about as much as a compact car.

It’s also got a 17" screen, which seems to be having a major impact on my options. So far, no store I’ve visited is possessed of laptop backpacks, and the cases they *do *have are only for 15" screens anyway. Admittedly, I’ve only checked the stores within about 15 minutes of home, because there was no way in hell I was going to travel to the city during School Holiday period, being as I am not yet certifiably insane.


All links, feedback, recommendations etc relating to backpacks - preferably strong, secure, well-padded and otherwise geared towards protecting my machine from my klutziness - will be much appreciated.

I don’t really envisage spending more than AU$200, and would prefer to get out of it cheaper. But on the other hand, 'twas a damned expensive piece of machinery (for us, anyway) and not looking after it properly would be really, really stupid. So uh, consider me open to reasonable suggestions, but bear in mind I’m a part-time secretary married to a factory worker, and therefore the 24k gold-plated luxury case might be just a leetle bit out of our budget. :wink: Not that I won’t like looking at it and all, but I can guarantee it won’t make the final cut.

  • BWP

I have a friend who lugs his 17" Alienware in one of these, which is at the top end of your price range.

Thanks, Tapioca Dextrin. :slight_smile:

From what you’ve seen of the case, does it seem to offer excellent safety/padding for the laptop, and is the general build quality high? In short, does it justify the price? (Also, would you mind asking your friend, please, if you get the chance? Feedback from the owner would be handy in terms of finding out how it’s holding up under use.)

From what I’ve heard, Alienware make very good laptops (though IMO you’re paying a premium for the ‘name’) but I’ve never heard anything - good or bad - about their peripheral stuff like laptop bags and the like.

Certainly from the picture it *looks *very nice…

I won’t be seeing him for a while, but he was happy sticking his $5000 laptop in it, jumping in a plane, flying half way round the world and stick it in a helicopter bound for an oil rig in the Caspian Sea. It think that counts as sturdy.

I’m planning on putting my $3100 laptop in it, flying half way round the world, braving a series of internal flights and public transport and walking it around Seattle, Chicago, NY & Boston.

Obviously it’s not as expensive as your friend’s machine, but even so I can’t afford to replace it if it gets broken. Please understand that I wasn’t doubting your suggestion (on the contrary, it’s very much appreciated), I’m just **extremely **nervous about the trip and trying to make sure that I don’t screw up massively before I even leave. :frowning:

It seems that laptop backpacks aren’t all that common - I’ve never even seen one except online. Presumably Alienware wouldn’t go messing with their own reputation by building low-quality backpacks, so I’ll probably end up going with this one for safety’s sake.

Thanks, Tapioca Dextrin. :slight_smile:

I had (well, have still) a laptop backpack from Swiss Gear. I think I paid about $50-60 for it, might be off though as it’s been awhile since I bought it. My laptop had a wider screen, so the strap that was supposed to go over the laptop in the ‘pouch’ didn’t quite meet, but I used that bag for 2 years straight, every day, carrying the laptop as well as notebooks, textbooks and whatever else I needed for class. The bag was fairly heavy after fitting all that in, but once it was on my back it was fine.

The only reason I don’t use it now is because I’m not in school and don’t need to carry a laptop with me. The bag is still in good condition too. The average backpack I beat up pretty well and is trashed after a couple years, but the SwissGear bags are really sturdy. (Recently bought just a regular backpack of the same brand, which is holding up really well.)

Here’s a link to some of their laptop bags.

IBEX and Pegasus , both made by SwissGear (the same company that makes Swiss Army Knives), fit 17" laptops. I have the MAXXUM, for 15.4", and I just love it! It’s got lots of padding, and lots of neat little compartments. Even a hole specificially for earphones, and an MP3 holder, and shock absorbers on the straps


I bought an older version of this one awhile back, and I love it. I use it daily, and have used it on several flights (though not as long as yours). It is still practically new, and I love the “accessory organizer” pockets in the front. I don’t use them for the accessories suggested, but it’s great to know exactly where my painkiller, my hand lotion, etc are. Those pouches also make it easier to get stuff out when on a plane, I find, because I do know exactly where each item is.

The padding is insanely good, and it has an airflow piece in the back. It has chest and waist straps to also take the weight off your shoulders, but I’ve never used those. My Dell Latitude D600 (also 3 years old) has those same gravity enhancing powers you speak of, and this helps a lot. Through daily use, my laptop still looks nearly new, and has never had an issue with damage, even when being abused on public transit, etc. The pockets are deep enough that a little rain doesn’t even dampen it.

I love this bag. I can’t tell from the specs if it’ll hold your monitor, but I’d see if I could find it if I were you and check it out. It’s inexpensive and works like a dream.

Oh, and I got it at REI (don’t know if those are in AU), so if you haven’t checked your local camping type store, look there. You might be surprised.

I bought an earlier version of this:
and have been really happy with it. REI also has some other laptop bags, so you might check around their site as long as you’re there.
Having all the different sections really helps to keep stuff organized. And the bag seems to expand to fit whatever extras you need to throw in (AC converters, mice, etc.)
REI has a good reputation for making high quality, well thought-out bags. And this bag is no exception.

This jobbie comes from Canada, converts from backpack to over the shoulder, padded laptop pocket and MEC stuff is usually damn good. Also it allows you to impersonate a Canadian while travelling :smiley:

I have an older inexpensive Swiss Gear laptop bag for my 17’ widescreen laptop. (sorry, couldn’t find it online.) I think I paid $60-70, and I use it daily walking around campus to class and work. It has held up amazingly to the abuse walking around in the elements brings. Even in the Houston sun and rain it hasn’t faded. The way its designed allows for airflow on my back, plus theres some padding along the back to make it more comfortable. I swear, my laptop weighs less in the backpack than it ever did in my messenger bag!

You are making a big mistake if you don’t get a Tom Bihn:

Thank you HEAPS, everyone! I got ambushed by my family immediately after work today so I haven’t had a chance to fully investigate everything, but I will certainly try to tomorrow after work.

Thank you very, very much for all your help. :smiley:

Timbuk2 bags are awesome. Really sturdy and built to last.

I had to return one a few months ago because I intended it for a bike commuting bag, but it was a laptop backpack and I found the padding to be too rigid for me. It would have been fine for wearing any other time, I just wanted something with a little more flex while riding my bike.

I felt terrible for returning it though, it was a great bag.

I got one for my son at and we like it.