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Laptop backpack suggestions

laptop backpack

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#1 Ed



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Posted 23 April 2018 - 10:37 AM

I am looking for a backpack for daily to/from work commuting and some traveling.

1.  Padded 15"+ laptop area - padding under the laptop as well as the sides preferred.

2.  Bottle holder that holds a 32oz wide mouth Nalgene bottle.

3.  Good admin pocket organization for all the pens, pencils, and small tools.  I also have cables, flashlights, batteries, etc.

4.  Strong material, the usual Targus and similar laptop bags only last a few years with my use.

5.  Molle is a plus, but I don't want a full-on camouflage military bag.

6.  Approx 30-35L in size seems right, but I am not afraid of a little larger.

7.  Cost $150 or less.


I'm using a Targus Demolition 17.3" backpack right now, but it is ready for its 3rd warranty replacement and is discontinued.  I have not been happy with its durability.  The straps come apart in a year or two.


Direct Action Dragon Egg MkII in black looks perfect if it wasn't a little small.  Other suggestions?  Most of the usual suspects fail the 32oz bottle test.  I don't really want to molle connect an external bottle carrier if I can avoid it. 





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#2 Tara



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Posted 23 April 2018 - 09:03 PM

Ed (nice to meet you, by the way),


Is the 32-oz bottle an absolute requirement? I can think of a few options you can check out, but I don't know if they have room for a bottle like that unless you can tell me exactly how big the bottle is. and the molle might not be there either. I've heard awesome things on travel-related sites for the "Air Boss" from Red Oxx. It's designed by someone who does tons of traveling, with places for a laptop, clothes, and assorted pens, cables, and other stuff like that. it comes in several colors including a plain black, but ti's made specifically to avoid having stuff sticking out on the sides. the designer had seen WAY too many luggage locks and other stuff getting ripped off luggage by conveyor belts in airport-baggage areas and other situations, so there is no molle on the outside. it does have tons of pockets all over it and a very-well padded laptop slot in the middle, with clothes going into two more slots so they serve as a secondary layer of padding. the interior compartments also have mesh pockets and stuff to organize small things too. however, this bag was designed to look more like a soft-sided briefcase than a backpack, but I think there's a way to change the straps to wear it like a backpack. they are quite durable, and usually for a good price, but I don't know the exact price at this moment. I'll look into them more for you, to see any recent sales or new design options or such.


another option I thought you might consider is some sort of "gym bag" as either a duffel bag with straps you can wear as a backpack or there might be a backpack designed to use as a gym-bag. the ones I've seen (admittedly, not recently) usually have a mesh pocket somewhere big enough to fit a pair of sneakers in, so you don't have smelly or mud-covered shoes all your clothes and stuff inside the bag. all you might need to do is get some foam padding and add it inside for the laptop to sit, and I'll try to help you look for a good but cheap type that would protect your laptop.


there's also a few bags I've seen for new dads, hold tons of weirdly-shaped things without looking exceedingly adorable so guys don't feel as silly walking around with it. the interior space might be good for your laptop, but I don't know exactly how well it would be padded. Maybe you could get a separate padded sleeve or cover that fits your laptop from amazon or similar, then slide the laptop in its sleeve into the backpack? and there might be space for your water bottle too. I think the one I saw was all black, but there might be other clothes I don't know about. and I'm not sure if any of them have molle inside or out. They might, or might not. I'll check that out too in a couple of days.


if you're really picky, have you thought about searching locally for a seamstress that might be able to just make what you want? I would offer to sew it, but I don't have any experience at sewing the types of materials used in backpacks, duffels, etc so I wouldn't feel right about letting you put your laptop into something I might have messed up without knowing it.


I know these might not be what you're looking for, but I thought that you might run across something that would work for you.


let me know if this helps or if I didn't guess something right. tara

#3 Ed



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Posted 29 April 2018 - 07:55 AM

The 32oz Nalgene bottle is specified as 3.5" diameter.  It's the usual large diameter, wide mouth sport bottle seen all over the U.S.  I could live without the bottle requirement but it would be nice to have it.


My use for the bag will seldom have clothes inside, but it is possible for occasional trips.  I am specifically looking for backpack style for ease of carry as it sometimes gets carried around the manufacturing facility.  Right now my bag has a few tools and lots of pens/pencils/flashlights/batteries/cables - all the usual tech worker stuff.  Safety glasses are in a Condor #217 sunglasses case clipped to the bag.  Add in some papers, books, a small first aid kit, and a lunch every morning and that's the usual load.  Sometimes I carry parts, a jacket, or other larger things so I do prefer a larger bag.


I've seen some OGIO bags that look interesting, as well as the Samsonite Tectonic series.  From the "tactical" bag side I've found a few from 5.11, Cannae Pro,  Hazard 4, Tactical Tailor, First Tactical, and Camelbak.


The search continues. . .

#4 The Narrow Gent

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Posted 29 April 2018 - 09:26 PM

Ton Bihn will have everything you are looking for, minus the "tactical" look. You would have to up your budget though.

#5 Mikey Bautista

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Posted 30 April 2018 - 10:38 AM

I'm currently in love with my Aer Tech Pack. Fits all your requirements, except it's a little smaller capacity-wise (16.2L, the padding takes up a lot of space) and costs $200. However, it does seem to fit your water bottle requirement quite well, as seen in this video review (12:52 if the timestamp doesn't work):


#6 big Easy

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Posted 24 May 2018 - 03:31 PM

Oakley Enduro 25L. 2.0 backpack. perfect for my 15" and plenty space for other admin and misc items just for the office and back. ($65.00)

Camelbak Urban Assult. also my "go to" if I need more space for longer trips. (caught a sale and snagged for under $100) I've seen it for up to $175-$200 range.... 



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