Lightweight, durable, laptop bag

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Bacchus01
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Lightweight, durable, laptop bag

Post by Bacchus01 » Wed Jul 17, 2019 8:48 am

I'm looking for a recommendation on a light-weight, durable laptop bag. I have a very nice Tumi full-size laptop bag. It looks brand new after 9 years and has taken a beating, flying with me probably more than 1M miles and thrown all over my car, and the office.

The problem is that it's too big. It's great for a full-size laptop and lots of storage for books, papers, etc. However, I no longer really travel that way. I now carry a Surface Pro and an iPad. I carry very little paper.

I need a durable laptop bag that is lightweight and just enough storage for my two "notebook" computers, a charger, passport, business cards, and some miscellaneous items. I do not want a backpack. I would like something that is actually small enough to fit inside a backpack if I wanted to use a larger backpack as a carry-on piece of luggage for larger trips.

Super lightweight. Durable. Strong enough to protect my electronics. Limited extra pockets and wasted space.

I don't want leather either.

Anyone have a recommendation?

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Sandtrap
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Re: Lightweight, durable, laptop bag

Post by Sandtrap » Wed Jul 17, 2019 9:00 am

I use either a soft lined slip case for a Ipad, fits my MacBook Pro, or the smaller EVA shell laptop case, and then slip that into a Pacsafe Vibe anti-theft compact backpack. I went through a lot of test fits and returns to get this compact (carry-on) travel setup.

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Re: Lightweight, durable, laptop bag

Post by bloom2708 » Wed Jul 17, 2019 9:11 am

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Bacchus01
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Re: Lightweight, durable, laptop bag

Post by Bacchus01 » Wed Jul 17, 2019 10:11 am

Looking for thenin-between. More than a sleeve, less than a full expander briefcase with a dozen pockets. Tumi makes some nice slim cases, but before dropping the $$$ I wanted to see other suggestions.

gtd98765
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Re: Lightweight, durable, laptop bag

Post by gtd98765 » Wed Jul 17, 2019 12:27 pm

Here are some reviews that I considered when I was shopping: https://thewirecutter.com/reviews/our-f ... backpacks/

However, I ended up getting this from Amazon, which is not covered in the review: eBags Professional Slim Laptop Backpack for Travel, School & Business, which I like; I carry an ultrabook, which is only slightly larger than a Surface. I like it, and it can hold books and accessories as well as my computer and ipad.

core4portfolio
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Re: Lightweight, durable, laptop bag

Post by core4portfolio » Wed Jul 17, 2019 12:37 pm

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Bacchus01
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Re: Lightweight, durable, laptop bag

Post by Bacchus01 » Wed Jul 17, 2019 12:54 pm

gtd98765 wrote:
Wed Jul 17, 2019 12:27 pm
Here are some reviews that I considered when I was shopping: https://thewirecutter.com/reviews/our-f ... backpacks/

However, I ended up getting this from Amazon, which is not covered in the review: eBags Professional Slim Laptop Backpack for Travel, School & Business, which I like; I carry an ultrabook, which is only slightly larger than a Surface. I like it, and it can hold books and accessories as well as my computer and ipad.
Thank you, but I specifically don't want a backpack.

autolycus
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Re: Lightweight, durable, laptop bag

Post by autolycus » Wed Jul 17, 2019 5:57 pm

I will always recommend Tom Bihn bags for anyone looking for well-made, durable bags. They have a couple designs that might meet your needs. On a slow mobile connection or I would link the specific bags, but www.tombihn.com is easy enough to browse through.

SuzBanyan
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Re: Lightweight, durable, laptop bag

Post by SuzBanyan » Wed Jul 17, 2019 6:14 pm

I don’t know if a crossbody bag would work for you, but I have been using the Kipling Machida for years for up to 2 ipads and an ereader. According to the website, it is: “Dimensions:10.5"L x 11.75"H x 2"D”. Very minimal and light. https://www.kipling-usa.com/machida-cro ... daBFb3XvcP

Capricorn51
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Re: Lightweight, durable, laptop bag

Post by Capricorn51 » Wed Jul 17, 2019 6:25 pm

autolycus wrote:
Wed Jul 17, 2019 5:57 pm
I will always recommend Tom Bihn bags for anyone looking for well-made, durable bags. They have a couple designs that might meet your needs. On a slow mobile connection or I would link the specific bags, but www.tombihn.com is easy enough to browse through.
Second the rec for Tom Bihn - I have one of his briefcases, a cafe bag, and a couple of backpacks.

HawkeyePierce
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Re: Lightweight, durable, laptop bag

Post by HawkeyePierce » Wed Jul 17, 2019 6:31 pm

Third for Tom Binh. I'd look at either the Daylight Briefcase or the Cadet.

I have the Co-Pilot and like it quite a bit.

autolycus
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Re: Lightweight, durable, laptop bag

Post by autolycus » Wed Jul 17, 2019 6:31 pm

Capricorn51 wrote:
Wed Jul 17, 2019 6:25 pm
autolycus wrote:
Wed Jul 17, 2019 5:57 pm
I will always recommend Tom Bihn bags for anyone looking for well-made, durable bags. They have a couple designs that might meet your needs. On a slow mobile connection or I would link the specific bags, but www.tombihn.com is easy enough to browse through.
Second the rec for Tom Bihn - I have one of his briefcases, a cafe bag, and a couple of backpacks.
I don’t want to list all of their bags that my wife and I have... I did use a Founder’s Briefcase today. I’ll leave it there. 🤣

Cadet, Daylight Briefcase, and Pilot are probably the current models that fit the OPs request best. Empire Builder is probably more like the one the OP already has.

02nz
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Re: Lightweight, durable, laptop bag

Post by 02nz » Wed Jul 17, 2019 6:36 pm

Since Tumi has worked well for you, I'd take a look at the Alpha Slim Portfolio. I have the original version of this, and it's held up very well. The current version (Alpha 3) is rather pricey though, at $350, more than twice what I paid. Tumi does put most of its stuff on sale about twice a year.

I second the recommendation for Tom Bihn. Their bags are incredibly well-built, probably better quality than Tumi, but the looks won't be to everyone's taste. And some features that you might take for granted (e.g., slipping through carryon handles) aren't available with Tom Bihn. Briggs and Riley also makes excellent bags.

NJ_Bogler
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Re: Lightweight, durable, laptop bag

Post by NJ_Bogler » Wed Jul 17, 2019 7:13 pm

HawkeyePierce wrote:
Wed Jul 17, 2019 6:31 pm
Third for Tom Binh. I'd look at either the Daylight Briefcase or the Cadet.

I have the Co-Pilot and like it quite a bit.
Fourth. Tom Bihn is like a cult. And I’ve drunk the kool aid. I have a Daylight briefcase for work (amongst other bags of theirs).

CheCha54
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Re: Lightweight, durable, laptop bag

Post by CheCha54 » Wed Jul 17, 2019 7:27 pm

I used on of these for a couple of years with good results. I did have a seam come loose toward the middle of the third year. I did make me be more disciplined about not carrying junk..

https://www.amazon.com/AmazonBasics-15- ... 149&sr=8-3

scout80
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Re: Lightweight, durable, laptop bag

Post by scout80 » Thu Jul 18, 2019 8:08 am

I switched to a lightweight Patagonia backpack with a built-in padded compartment a long time ago (which has held up phenomenally) because I found even smaller laptop bags were weighing more than my ultra books and what's the use of having a thin/light laptop if your bag is weighing you down, literally....since you mentioned you want a laptop bag and not a backpack I will recommend what I used to use - Brenthaven makes some wonderful, durable laptop bags https://brenthaven.com/laptop/ - I used to buy them at eBags but I have not shopped for a new one in so long I don't know if they still carry Brenthaven.

bluebolt
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Re: Lightweight, durable, laptop bag

Post by bluebolt » Thu Jul 18, 2019 10:38 am

I have a Timbuk2 messenger laptop bag that I've had for about 7 years. Still looks great. It's really small when I only have my laptop in it, but the main pocket still has a decent amount of room to expand if I need to put other stuff in there. It would technically fit in another bag, but it's not super small.

I use a laptop sleeve when I want to throw my laptop in a separate bag. The one I have has a pocket and fits my charger and has room for other items.

Timbuk2 has a sale going on now:
https://www.timbuk2.com

Here's a link to a sleeve similar to the one I have:
https://www.amazon.com/MOSISO-Polyester ... 01LY0B7BV/

Capricorn51
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Re: Lightweight, durable, laptop bag

Post by Capricorn51 » Thu Jul 18, 2019 12:57 pm

02nz wrote:
Wed Jul 17, 2019 6:36 pm


I second the recommendation for Tom Bihn. Their bags are incredibly well-built, probably better quality than Tumi, but the looks won't be to everyone's taste. And some features that you might take for granted (e.g., slipping through carryon handles) aren't available with Tom Bihn. Briggs and Riley also makes excellent bags.
Tom Bihn's briefcases do slip thru roller board handles. See:

https://www.tombihn.com/collections/lap ... 9662961415
https://www.tombihn.com/collections/lap ... 8086835207
https://www.tombihn.com/collections/lap ... 6396826503

I have the Empire Builder.

02nz
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Re: Lightweight, durable, laptop bag

Post by 02nz » Thu Jul 18, 2019 1:23 pm

Capricorn51 wrote:
Thu Jul 18, 2019 12:57 pm
02nz wrote:
Wed Jul 17, 2019 6:36 pm


I second the recommendation for Tom Bihn. Their bags are incredibly well-built, probably better quality than Tumi, but the looks won't be to everyone's taste. And some features that you might take for granted (e.g., slipping through carryon handles) aren't available with Tom Bihn. Briggs and Riley also makes excellent bags.
Tom Bihn's briefcases do slip thru roller board handles. See:

https://www.tombihn.com/collections/lap ... 9662961415
https://www.tombihn.com/collections/lap ... 8086835207
https://www.tombihn.com/collections/lap ... 6396826503

I have the Empire Builder.
Thanks, wasn't aware of that. I loved my Tom Bihn Tri-Star (a bigger bag) except for its lack of a passthrough.

On the other end of the price spectrum, I've bought a few sleeve-type cases from ProCase (check Amazon) and been impressed with design and quality. If OP is looking for a sleeve plus a strap and a couple of pockets, something like this might be a good choice: https://www.amazon.com/ProCase-Shoulder ... 06XK28J81/

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Sandi_k
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Re: Lightweight, durable, laptop bag

Post by Sandi_k » Thu Jul 18, 2019 2:03 pm

I bought a Booq bag several years ago, made out of ripstop nylon. It's got felt on the inside, is very slim, and very lightweight - which I love, since my cervical spine fusion in 2008 means heavy laptops are a drag...literally.

They don't seem to make the same bag today, but the Slim bag is similar:

https://www.booqbags.com/collections/la ... acbook-pro

Topic Author
Bacchus01
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Re: Lightweight, durable, laptop bag

Post by Bacchus01 » Thu Jul 18, 2019 8:07 pm

Thanks all. Checking out Tom Binh now.

rk6
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Re: Lightweight, durable, laptop bag

Post by rk6 » Thu Jul 18, 2019 8:18 pm

I know you said no backpacks? but I have been buying one of these every few years for the last 20 years. Bought my first one on a whim in Hong Kong.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004AM624C

CascadiaSoonish
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Re: Lightweight, durable, laptop bag

Post by CascadiaSoonish » Thu Jul 18, 2019 8:55 pm

I think I'm fifth or sixth here for Tom Bihn. Amazing bags. Mine is a decade old and looks great. When the strap finally wore out they sent me a replacement for free, so they stand behind their products.

lazydavid
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Re: Lightweight, durable, laptop bag

Post by lazydavid » Fri Jul 19, 2019 8:04 am

I would probably go with a sling or messenger bag. This one looks like the XS size would be just barely big enough for a Surface Pro and an iPad, along with a few knicknacks:

https://www.timbuk2.com/collections/sli ... 2820259882

Only weighs one pound. If you wanted a touch more leeway, the S isn't that much bigger, but would easily carry your stuff. I would probably go that way anyway, since it adds a cross-body strap and a side access pocket that the XS size doesn't have, along with space for a water bottle. still only 1.5 lbs.

Also since you like your current Tumi, could check out the new Alpha 3 Organizer Travel tote. From the dimensions, the Surface Pro would be a pretty tight fit, but I think it would work. Very small, and expandable in the event you need a tiny bit more space.

ubermax
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Re: Lightweight, durable, laptop bag

Post by ubermax » Mon Jul 22, 2019 12:45 pm

I have a Lenovo ThinkPad and had a leather bag , too heavy and too few dividers/pockets - got a Lenovo nylon case along with a zippered neoprene sleeve that provides some extra cushion - the bag has 4 divided sections , the first is a sling hold for the laptop , the next is a little more padded and includes an additional inside Velcro flap pocket , then a section to hold and organize smaller items like a phone , etc. along with a fully zippered pocket that runs the width of the case and finally the last section which is just a plain section for maybe a newspaper and/or a few magazines - there are two outside packets with magnetic flaps - I think it cost $100 which I'm sure is partly due to having the ThinkPad logo on it but I'm very happy with it and most importantly it's light .

I would recommend looking online at their current lineup of nylon bags - my model would hold the Surface and an iPad but the package starts getting heavy fast when you throw in the charger and wires and a phone , etc. - and if you then want to shove it inside a backpack I think things get real heavy and quick accessibility to things on a plane or in the airport is compromised .

Good luck !!!!
Last edited by ubermax on Mon Jul 22, 2019 12:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.

DaftInvestor
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Re: Lightweight, durable, laptop bag

Post by DaftInvestor » Mon Jul 22, 2019 12:56 pm

My old Tumi was with me for over a decade so when I, like you, wanted a new bag I simply went out and bought a new Tumi (Smaller/lighter-weight).

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hsmith
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Re: Lightweight, durable, laptop bag

Post by hsmith » Mon Jul 22, 2019 2:23 pm

Bacchus01 wrote:
Wed Jul 17, 2019 8:48 am
I'm looking for a recommendation on a light-weight, durable laptop bag. I have a very nice Tumi full-size laptop bag. It looks brand new after 9 years and has taken a beating, flying with me probably more than 1M miles and thrown all over my car, and the office.

The problem is that it's too big. It's great for a full-size laptop and lots of storage for books, papers, etc. However, I no longer really travel that way. I now carry a Surface Pro and an iPad. I carry very little paper.

I need a durable laptop bag that is lightweight and just enough storage for my two "notebook" computers, a charger, passport, business cards, and some miscellaneous items. I do not want a backpack. I would like something that is actually small enough to fit inside a backpack if I wanted to use a larger backpack as a carry-on piece of luggage for larger trips.

Super lightweight. Durable. Strong enough to protect my electronics. Limited extra pockets and wasted space.

I don't want leather either.

Anyone have a recommendation?
I use a slightly smaller version of this Tumi sleeve for my 12.9” iPad Pro, and have been very happy with its durability and side storage space for cords, chargers, dongles, pens and even thin, letter-sized files:

https://www.tumi.com/p/extra-large-lapt ... 0FEALw_wcB

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c.coyle
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Re: Lightweight, durable, laptop bag

Post by c.coyle » Mon Jul 22, 2019 5:58 pm

Check out Waterfield: https://www.sfbags.com/
VTSAX - 50%, VBTLX - 50%

drk
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Re: Lightweight, durable, laptop bag

Post by drk » Mon Jul 22, 2019 6:20 pm

bluebolt wrote:
Thu Jul 18, 2019 10:38 am
I have a Timbuk2 messenger laptop bag that I've had for about 7 years. Still looks great. It's really small when I only have my laptop in it, but the main pocket still has a decent amount of room to expand if I need to put other stuff in there. It would technically fit in another bag, but it's not super small.
I would second the recommendation of a Timbuk2 classic messenger. For daily use, it's small enough that I can sit in a bus seat without taking it off, but the space is flexible enough that I've used it as a travel bag for shorter trips. As a bonus, it's water resistant (between Seattle, Tokyo, and New York rain, I've never had anything inside get wet).

CppCoder
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Re: Lightweight, durable, laptop bag

Post by CppCoder » Mon Jul 22, 2019 6:58 pm

I've gone through a lot of laptop bags. Personally, I really like the one I bought about a year or so ago by Samsonite. I think I have the xenon 2.0, but I don't remember. I bought it at Office Depot or Office Max, so you can check it out brick and mortar before purchasing something online. Here's the direct link at Samsonite's webpage. You have to click on briefcases (these are laptop bags):

https://shop.samsonite.com/bags/briefcases/

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