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Backpacks and Business Meetings

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    Backpacks and Business Meetings

    Hi everyone,

    I can't seem to find an answer to this question through my searches, so here we go:

    I've been looking to purchase a backpack for 3-5 day business trips. I would like the backpack to qualify as a carry-on in the US so that I don't have to check luggage in. The bag would carry clothing, toiletries, shoes, the usual stuff, alongside my laptop, work folders and business related things.

    When it's time for me to go to a business meeting, I need to bring my laptop to the meeting along with the necessary work folders, etc. But I don't want to bring the whole bag which contains clothing, shoes, socks, etc. I also don't want to walk into a business meeting carrying my laptop and folders in my hands.

    So, here's the question: how do you savvy business travelers do it? How do you travel with one backpack yet avoid bringing that very backpack to your business meetings?

    Any advice is greatly appreciated! Thanks for reading.

    What size of laptop do you have? If one bagging it for business meetings, the following come to mind:

    TriStar - has backpack mode and you can carrry another thin laptop bag (e.g Cadet, Pilot or Ristretto) in the centre section (or Brain Cell)
    Western Flyer - can double as a laptop briefcase as it really is quite small - looking but can hold a lot. There is a version that can be a backpack. May be your best bet if you minimize your packing needs. Can even pass as a personal carry-on based on other TB forum members.
    Brain Bag - more volume than a TriStar and can use the Vertical Brain Cell as a briefcase (I use it together with a Packing Cube Shoulder Bag hooked on via gatekeeper clips to give more space for electronics accessories. You can also use a Smart Alec Lower Module Pocket with it)

    Edit: I just recently went on a 4 day business trip with my TriStar as carry-on and Synapse 25 as personal item with 2 laptops (work and personal) in it - worked great if you want a comfortable 2 bag approach. I was the only one able/allowed to carry BOTH bags into the cabin of the small CRJ-100 commuter jet!!! The TriStar fit perfectly in the small overhead compartment. It was medium level packed.
    It was so convenient to leave the plane. Due to it raining, everyone had to wait in the plane for their gate-checked baggage to be ready to be picked up outside on the wet tarmac - I however was allowed to leave straight away because I did not have to wait in the rain for anything! - to my limo taxi within 10 minutes of leaving the plane (customs was quick too).

    Hope this helps

    Last edited by tpnl; 09-17-2014, 07:27 PM.
    TB Ballistic Black/Iberian Dyneema backpacks and briefcases for every occasion together with my cherished Nordic and Solar Dyneema!


      I would second the Tri-Star with backpack straps as your best bet - for a business trip of 3-5 days, you might struggle to get all your clothes, shoes and toiletries plus your laptop and paperwork into a Western Flyer. The TS should count as carry-on on most airlines - it's only on small commuter planes and European budget airlines that you'd need to downsize to a smaller bag.
      Work EDC: SE + S19
      Leisure: SCBs, FJN, Swift, lots of YSSs
      Travel: WF + Pilot or SA, with SE/SCB
      General organisation: More pouches, stuff sacks and cubes than you can shake a keystrap at!
      Favourite TB colours: aubergine, forest (sniff!), linen, wasabi, UV
      Hoping for: A new dyneema colour for YSSs; a Linen Side Effect; the return of Portable Culture!


        Super helpful guys, thank you!

        My laptop is a beast (not by choice, it's a work laptop). The Lenovo T530. Dimension: 14.7" Wide x 9.6" Deep x 1.4" Thick

        Since my post yesterday, I've looked heavily at the TriStar as well as the Aeronaut. I'm thinking about either (a) using a Horizontal Brain Cell with the Absolute Shoulder Strap, in one of those 2 bags, or (b) using an Eagle Packable Daypack (link: Packable Daypack - Travel Essentials | Official Eagle Creek Website) in one of those 2 bags.

        I'm not sure yet option (a) above will accommodate my giant laptop, power brick, folder, pens, etc., but I'm thinking it won't. The Pilot is not available in a color I want (and the price is pretty steep), The Cadet is sold out, the Ristretto doesn't fit.

        I'm trying to avoid carrying 2 bags as tpnl did above. Maybe it's not that big of a deal, carrying 2 bags, but it sounds cumbersome. I'm also concerned that if I carried just the Tri-Star, that it would be overkill at business meetings and would force me to pull out clothes, toiletries, underwear so that I don't show up at business meetings with them.

        Hmmmmm. Tricky situation!


          +1 on the TriStar (TS)

          I travel extensively on business in the US and my TS is my got to bag.
          Depending on the weather and season I can get away with just the TS for a 3-4 day business trip.
          One thing to think about is how "heavy" of a packer you are.
          I tend to pack on the lighter side of the spectrum so my TS works well for me.

          I pack my business clothes in the back compartment.
          My computer and associated electronic accouterments go into the middle compartment and my travel tray.
          I divide the front compartment w/ the integrated separator, the smaller half has my 3-1-1 and other toiletries.
          The larger half of the front compartment is where I stuff my shoes.

          The tallest front zipper compartment holds magazines or files.
          The middle one front zipper compartment is where I stash my itinerary.
          The smallest zipper compartment holds pens and spare change.
          Mostly my water bottle pocket is where I stuff anything else.

          If I have to, my Synapse 19 (S19) is on standby to carry my work computer and extra files.

          Once I get to my hotel, the TS is emptied and repacked for business.
          In my travels I have never encountered any strange looks walking into a work environment carrying the TS by the handles.
          One thing to keep in mind, the TS will be rather slim with just your work computer & files.
          The bag looks fine when slimmed down and is easy to carry using the cushioned handles.

          TB ~ enabling my need to have a place for everything and everything in it's place.