January 10, 2011
I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with computer bags. Well, perhaps like/dislike is a more accurate phrase. I like which ever new bag I've just heard about, until I acquire one and then I start to dislike it.
My most recent bag is a BBP Hybrid Hampton, and while it's a fine piece of computer luggage I'm afraid it just isn't for me.
The BBP is convertible though a unique strap arrangement that allows you to wear it as either a backpack or as a messenger style bag. I tend to keep mine in backpack mode even though the conversion process is relative quick and easy. In backpack mode the straps aren't long enough to fit comfortably - I find that they bind a bit under my arms. And, with reduced mobility in my right arm, I find it difficult to get the bag off, especially when I'm wearing a winter coat.
The strap isn't the biggest issue for me however, getting to any compartment that isn't the laptop is. The laptop sleeve is the only compartment that is accessible without undoing two large snap buckles and then flipping up the cover/flap. The cover/flap has three smallish pockets, one of which is open to the top allowing it to conveniently empty itself whenever you flip the cover over to access any of the interior pockets.
The sleeve itself is only just big enough for my laptop. I have the medium size bag and a 15" MacBook Pro. If the zipper is even one tooth from being fully open I can't get the laptop into or out of the sleeve. With the recent acquisition of an iPad through work I now have two devices to carry each day, and this bag just isn't right for the job. I can fit the iPad in it's Apple sleeve in the same pocket as my laptop, but I fear both are squeezed a bit as a result.
The bag I had previous to the BBP was a Targus backpack that worked well enough, but as it aged it tended to sag and fall over when set down. The BBP also can't stand on its own, always falling toward its front necessitating that I lean it against a wall or desk when I put it on the floor.
In lieu of getting yet another bag, I've decided to resurrect and older messenger style bag I've got, a Contour one from Kensington. The original shoulder strap on it separated, but I've got a "spare" strap from a still older messenger style bag that will suffice. My walking commute is only a few dozen paces so carrying the bag at my side isn't a burden. The Kensington has more, large, externally accessible pockets than the BBP, and plenty of room inside for both the MacBook Pro and the iPad.
If I were to spend some money on yet another computer bag, I think it would be one of the newer, sleek backpack style ones - something as small as possible that could still carry both devices. Time to do some research.