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Hi All

I'm having a luggage problem. I have a huge pile of stuff I carry from office to office as I don't have a permanent base. Can anyone give me a recommendation on a new laptop bag?

I have:
Laptop
Power cable
baby keyboard and joystick mouse for my rsi
A4 sized filofax organiser thingy about 2-3 inches deep
A4 book which I use for interview notes and a couple of sets of questions
pencil case x2
2 mobile telephones
and sometimes their chargers

Wendii

steven_martin's picture

How about something like this:

http://www.rubbermaid.com/rubbermaid/product/product.jhtml?prodId=HPProd...

It should tuck under a desk and it has enough room for files.

I used one of these when I worked out of two locations.

s

wendii's picture

Hi Steve,

thanks for the suggestion. I don't think I was clear, I need to have all the stuff with me, where-ever I am. I was thinking more along the lines of 'what can I carry it in' rather than 'what can I store it in?'. Or did your box follow you around?

Wendii

steven_martin's picture

I took it with me between offices, but I only moved every couple of days.

s

Mark's picture

YOu have a decision to make.

Do you want to be seen as a leader, or as a techie?

(Sorry techies, but your bags are noticed by the leaders. And, tech leaders of tech companies don't qualify). :wink:

Mark

juliahhavener's picture

I don't know if this will carry *all* of your accessories, but mine carries my laptop, chargers, full size mouse, and a handful of files with some room to spare. It also gets tons of compliments and 'I love that bag! Where did you get it' comments (most folks think it's a handbag or briefcase avoiding that 'here comes the geek' thing).

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16834999875

sholden's picture

If you want to look like a 'techie' then I suggest examining the high quality stuff at Tom Bihn (www.tombihn.com).

I have reviewed two of their bags on TechNewsRadio.com:

http://www.technewsradio.com/2005/12/tech_tidbits_da_5.html

http://www.technewsradio.com/2007/03/tech_news_radio_1.html

Given all the stuff you listed I'd suggest the first product - "Brain Bag."

Good luck!

Steve

P.S. Full disclosure: I was never paid for my reviews of the Tom Bihn bags. Nor have they advertised on any of my podcasts. They did let me keep the units after the review even though I tried to return them. I still use both bags regularly.

kklogic's picture

Can you make that filofax and book go away - i.e. create an electronic version.

I SWEAR I'm not trying to suck up, but I exclusively use my MT conference bag to lug all of this stuff.

Mark's picture

If you want to be thought a leader, I'm sorry, but there isn't a backpack in the world that's a smart choice.

Tumi bags are very nice...but Hartmann are the best... and executives agree.

Mark

pmoriarty's picture

I swear by Briggs and Riley, but I travel a lot and their guarantee (essentially, if it gets broken, we'll fix it free regardless) can't be beat. Frequent flyers over at Flyertalk [url]http://www.flyertalk.com[/url] most often recommend Tumi and B&R.

mptully's picture

[quote="wendii"]Hi All

I'm having a luggage problem. I have a huge pile of stuff I carry from office to office as I don't have a permanent base. Can anyone give me a recommendation on a new laptop bag?

I have:
Laptop
Power cable
baby keyboard and joystick mouse for my rsi
A4 sized filofax organiser thingy about 2-3 inches deep
A4 book which I use for interview notes and a couple of sets of questions
pencil case x2
2 mobile telephones
and sometimes their chargers

Wendii[/quote]

I use the Palermo Leather Flight Bag Ref: LEA33 from Maze Direct

[url]http://www.mazedirect.com/acatalog/leather_travel_bags.html[/url]

It should be able to cope with most of what you mention, except perhaps the phone chargers (could you get a USB charger that runs from the laptop?). I particularly like this bag (I have both the pink and the blue one!) because you can remove and tuck away the backpack straps, after walking in of a morning, and attach an overshoulder strap to look professional.

Maze also do other laptop bags, in a variety of colours, and are UK based, so should be easy to order from.

Mary

asteriskrntt1's picture

Hi Wendii

Ask and it shall appear. I just saw this review. Maybe it meets your needs.

http://www.cnn.com/2007/TECH/ptech/06/07/kensington.notebook.roller/inde...

*RNTT

jael's picture

Whatever you get, make sure it's ergonomically sound. I used to travel on business full-time and wrecked one of my shoulders carrying heavy loads through airports and in and out of our offices. I use a roller bag now and try to minimize what I absolutely must take with me.

wendii's picture

Thanks for all the suggestions!

Mark - you're right, that's half my problem, what I'd really like is a backpack (loads of stuff, not so good back) but then my 'promote me, I'm great' look is shot to pieces. And.. Hartmann oooooooooooooo. I know what I'm aspiring too now!

Julia.. nice colour! I have a lovely Radley bag which is similar in pink.

Steve.. I try to avoid being the techie in the office.. but that Superego.. I could go away for a week with that!

KK.. I could, but once I'm in meetings I tend not to have my laptop with me, and then of course I need the info!

P.. How cool is it that B&R's work range is called @work.. in true gtd style? Again, I'm tempted with the Ultimate.. but I'd need a sherpa!

Mary... that backpack/convertible is really cute.. I love the blue.. and usb charger for the phones? Duh! (Sadly, I even already had one, just hadn't put 2 + 2 together!)

*rntt .. there was something similar in a shop I went into today.. I'm going to stick with the plan for now.. but I may have to go that way if my back gets worse.

Jael.. I don't have to carry my stuff too far.. but my oestopath is getting rich, so I may have to go to a roller bag soon :-(

So.. what did I choose from this lovely list?

Well nothing, but you did all get me thinking! I do have, as I said, an adorable radley bag which will take my laptop and a couple of A4 books. So, the 3-4 inch filofax thing that wasn't really working anyway is now a skinny book a bit like a bigger moleskine (what's with those only being for people with small handwriting anyway?).. and then I bought a bigger handbag with 3 pockets rather than the indiscriminate cavern I have at the moment, and a couple more bigger pencil cases for the corrolling of random electronic cables. The handbag has electronic stuff in the middle, pencil case containing pencils, and pencil case containing random girl stuff one side and phones, keys and money in the other.

Savings account for spending on lovely lushiness you'all suggested or roller bag if back gives out first contains 2p which I picked up in the car park!

ashdenver's picture

To throw something in at the very last minute ...

I tend to use a rolling scrapbooking case to hold my mobile office stuff - it's got a huge open center area for my laptop, files, notebooks, etc. The front zip area holds mouse, swap drives, etc. Side pockets hold pens, stapler, rubber stamp, etc.

I got mine a few years ago for $35 USD at Lakeside.com but I didn't see them available there anymore.

[url=http://www.sears.com/sr/javasr/product.do?BV_SessionID=@@@@[email protected]@@@&BV_EngineID=cclgaddlejgehemcefecemldffidfni.0&vertical=SEARS&sid=I0004501460004500085&pid=01454195000]Here[/url] is a similar concept for about $50.

[url=http://www.officemax.com/max/solutions/product/prodBlock.jsp?prodBlockOI... is something much closer to what I have/use but it's $160.

Mind you, this is ONLY for transportation between offices. If I'm headed to a client site or for a job interview, I break out the Tumi and Hartmann stuff and leave the bulk of my crud in the car in its big black case.

I guess it's a matter of being able to do your job or just look like you can do your job. As long as I don't stumble in looking like a combination of Calamity Jane and The Absent-Minded Professor (read: papers falling out everywhere, things jammed in randomly, etc.), I look professional and I'm competent, organized and "have it together." Good 'nuff for me.

I suppose it's also a matter of who's going to be seeing this stuff, how often and what your role is (and what you want it to be.)

jclishe's picture

[quote="mahorstman"]If you want to be thought a leader, I'm sorry, but there isn't a backpack in the world that's a smart choice.

Mark[/quote]

I don't necessarily agree with this. I work for a prominent IT consulting shop in the midwest, and even some of our own executives have backpacks. I have been to customer meetings with very high ranking managers from Microsoft that carry backpacks; I'm talking about people that are in charge of a $50M book of business.

In my industry, backpacks work. A Tumi backpack is worlds more professional than a $50 Targus shoulder bag bought at Office Depot, IMO.

Jason

jclishe's picture

I have 2 bags.

My primary bag is the Tumi backpack below. I work in IT and have been a road warrior for the better part of the last 10 years. In typical techie fashion, I carry a lot of toys: iPod, Zune (yes, both - the Nano w/ Nike+ kit for jogging, and the Zune as my primary device), digital camera, external hard drive, etc. I used to get bored of bags every 6 months. However, I've had this Tumi bag for 2 years now, and the very thought of getting rid of it makes me cringe. This bag has been shoved under airplane seats, in overhead compartments, constantly opened and closed in customer meetings, Starbucks, bounced around in the trunk of taxi's, you name it. I kid you not when I say that there is not a single mark on this bag. Hands down the best bag I've ever had.

The Booq bag below is my secondary bag. If I know that I'm just going to run into a quick customer meeting, this is the bag I take. I rarely travel with this bag; for the most part I keep it in my office and use it when I'm going to go out to a customer and back. I'll warn you, you're not going to fit much in it. It will hold your laptop, a portfolio, pens, business cards and not much else. Even the power adapter for my laptop makes it bulge. But if that's all you need, it's great. I haven't stress tested it as hard as my Tumi bag, but it seems to be very well made.

http://www.tumi.com/products/index.cfm?modelid=90093

http://booqbags.com/s.nl/it.A/id.103/.f

Jason

bflynn's picture

[quote="mahorstman"]If you want to be thought a leader, I'm sorry, but there isn't a backpack in the world that's a smart choice.

Tumi bags are very nice...but Hartmann are the best... and executives agree.

Mark[/quote]

I don't quite travel every week, but close to it. I've had a Hartmann bag for about eight years now and it is just reaching the point that the bearings in the wheels are giving out. Hartmann is expensive, but well worth it.

For a computer system and files, I'd recommend a wheeled case. Think of a half height suitcase, a combination briefcase and overnight bag. Here's two examples (Hartmann and Tumi) just to demonstrate what I'm suggesting.

Tumi: [url]http://www.tumi.com/business_laptop_cases/laptop_cases_wheeled/category_...
Hartmann: [url]http://www.hartmann.com/shop/productDetail.asp?sku=5010[/url]

I know several people (Ok, they're all men) who can travel an entire week with one bag like this.

Brian

pmoriarty's picture

[quote="jclishe"][quote="mahorstman"]If you want to be thought a leader, I'm sorry, but there isn't a backpack in the world that's a smart choice.

Mark[/quote]

I don't necessarily agree with this. I work for a prominent IT consulting shop in the midwest, and even some of our own executives have backpacks. I have been to customer meetings with very high ranking managers from Microsoft that carry backpacks; I'm talking about people that are in charge of a $50M book of business.

In my industry, backpacks work. A Tumi backpack is worlds more professional than a $50 Targus shoulder bag bought at Office Depot, IMO.

Jason[/quote]

There are exceptions to every rule and perhaps in IT consulting or in high-tech, using a backpack won't get you noticed the wrong way. I think the point here is if you want to ensure you don't get noticed the wrong way, using a high quality case is the way to go.

In today's competitive environment, many of us look for little things that can help us succeed, or conversely, we try to avoid things that may be a perceived negatively. It all come downs to how much value you place on doing the "little" things right.

RichRuh's picture

As a techie (and leader at a tech company), I've been pondering this post since it first came out.

I came to the conclusion that a laptop bag was fine. I have a backpack, but the the straps tuck away whenever I'm not using them- and the only time I use them is when I physically in the airport. It's a shoulder bag for day-to-day use and when I am interacting with customers.

And... I work in a casual area of a casual industry. For example, I've worn a tie exactly twice in the last 7.5 years (in Europe), and I've seen my company president wear one exactly once.

Frankly, if I came to work with a leather briefcase, I'd get some *real* funny looks.

I [i]think[/i] the point that Mark was making is that you should be looking at the bags of your company's leaders- and not the leaders of your IT department. (Mark, if you are still reading this thread, please correct me if I have it wrong.)

--Rich

jclishe's picture

[quote="RichRuh"]

I [i]think[/i] the point that Mark was making is that you should be looking at the bags of your company's leaders- and not the leaders of your IT department. (Mark, if you are still reading this thread, please correct me if I have it wrong.)

--Rich[/quote]

I certainly agree with that. Even though I don't feel as if backpacks are viewed in a negative way in my field, I absolutely pay attention to what type of bag those above me (both internal and external) are carrying. One of my peers carries one of those "sling" style backpacks that looks very much like a sports bag, and I really want to go up to him and tell him to spend some money on a nicer bag!

Mark's picture

I know I'm a voice in the wilderness here, and I'm older, I think, and I respect that some of my recommendations may not seem cool.

Keep in mind that I like my gadgets as much as the next person, and I love new technologies that help me be more productive. And, I travel in jeans and flip flops and black Gap T-shirts, with Oakley sunglasses and an Ipod Nano under my shirt. So, I'm not a fogy or a Luddite or narrow-minded... AT ALL.

With all that, pardon me, but listen carefully:

All the ergonomics or senior tech people carrying them will NOT, for the foreseeable future, overcome the significant techie/non-business leader/even geek impression you will make with:

a. Backpack.

b. Wheeled device. An executive would only have a wheeled bag for his or her overnight suitcase. (And for the record, I have been on the road for 23 straight days once, and used one carry-on wheeled case, so I HAVE one...but only for clothes and toiletries). ONLY. And an executive would look at someone using a wheeled case for non-overnights and think, "not an executive."

Get what you want*, but be clear about the impression it makes.

And impressions make a difference, folks.

Mark

* PS: Ladies, your choices are broader and better. Color, and style - even at some slight expense of function - is widely regarded as a big plus of your gender. Male executives won't make as "fashionable" a choice as you, and envy you your choices. Flair is NOT a bad thing at all.

jclishe's picture

Hmmm...I see a podcast topic being born. :)

sklosky's picture

This thread reminds me of a story . . .

When I was in college, I dreamed of being a rock and roll roadie. (It sounded fun at the time). So, I spent some time in local arenas and theaters and nightclubs providing entry level labor for various acts.

Along that career ladder, you start at the lowest rung pushing boxes around and lifting fairly heavy equipment (or at least I did . . .). Amoung the crew, there is a vision of moving up the ladder to being a "briefcase guy". The basic thought is that instead of pushing around boxes and lifting weights and such, the briefcase guy shows up with a briefcase. You stroll over to the sound or lighting control board, open you briefcase, take out your notes, perform during the show, then put your notes back into your briefcase, pickup your briefcase and go back to the hotel / lounge / resting place. Of course, the other team members have spent many hours setting up the all the speakers and lighting instruments, the stage, etc. In this case the briefcase not only serves a functional purpose, but a symbolic purpose as well. Part of this symbol is the representation that this is the "top dog" who has climbed the ladder to reach this rung in the organization. And, even the entry level roadies take note.

I definitely agree with Mark. A briefcase does make a difference.

Regards,
Steve

garyslinger's picture

[quote="mahorstman"]
Get what you want*, but be clear about the impression it makes.

And impressions make a difference, folks.

Mark

[/quote]

So... I should stop carrying my Booq Cobra ([url]http://www.atpm.com/11.03/cobra.shtml[/url]) and go back to my lawyer's brief? ([url]http://snipr.com/1ndgh[/url] is close enough)?

G.

Mark's picture

The Cobra is a sharp bag, Gary, no question. I would say yes, go back...but you make the disticntion MUCH finer with that choice. If the Cobra were a backpack - even a Tumi - or a wheeled thing from hell, I would say ABSOLUTELY. But the Cobra has the classic attache style, and I gather doesn't scream techie, despite its material.

If the lawyer bag - can we call it a classic attache? - works, it does send a sharper message.

Mark

garyslinger's picture

Thanks Mark. The attache (I'm OK with that) is actually my favorite case, and it's great for "about town", it just isn't loadable with the "stuff" that we seem to carry when we travel these days (hmm... Maybe there's a lesson there, too!). It served me well at an interview this week however, and that was for a position that doesn't really involve travel, so you never know!

No wheels here other than on my clothing related gear, I promise!

Have a good one,

Gary

GlennR's picture

There's an old saying, "Clothes make the man," which is similar to the point I think Mark is making.

I think Mark's point should be the default setting here unless you work in an organization where the culture is more permissive. For example, if you work for a start-up and the founders are all using back packs, then you could use one with no negative consequences.

I have also seen a slight trend of Millennials using back packs more often, but I don't know if they're on an executive track or if times are changing.

GlennR's picture

Any recommendations for a slim line computer case designed to hold only a 14-in laptop, cord, and moleskine?

 

BTW, I just noticed I replied to this thread and the prior post was five years ago. Not sure why it popped up in my RSS.

altadel's picture

I would have guessed Mark as carrying a Saddleback Leather briefcase (although I'm not sure the D-rings help: I wouldn't want the four D-rings on the bottom of a bag, in case they scratch furniture or floors you're visiting).

Scott Delinger

DiSC: 5137

JonathanGiglio's picture

Why is everything fabric and softwalled leather nowadays? Even Hartmann doesn't seem to sell attaches.

I'd love to reduce my "techie" bag and get to something more professional.

Mark - what do you carry? Anyone with other suggestions?

 

Thanks!

PS - When is MT going to offer logo'ed merchandise? How can we identify fellow disciplines in the workplace without asking directly. Thanks!!

tlhausmann's picture

] Mark - what do you carry? Anyone with other suggestions?

I do not know what Mark carries now (the original video was posted in 2008), nor do I speak for MT in any official capacity...there is, however, the MT Video on Business Travel and Packing:

http://www.manager-tools.com/business-travel-packing-video

At the 12:45 point in the video (near the end), Mark describes his briefcase. It is a Hartmann leather briefcase (appears soft sided) with a sleeve allowing the briefcase to slide easily over the handle of the roll-aboard luggage.