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  1. #1
    Forum Member bouncing's Avatar
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    Recommendations please: Laptop/day bag that doesn't look touristy, flashy, or dorky.

    Hi Tom Bihn fans. Here's my current bag configuration:

    • Aeronaut 30 -- travel bag
    • Waterfield Designs Bolt Briefcase in Waxed Canvas
    • Small messenger bag from Etsy
    • Random stuff: I have like an Osprey backpack and an LL Bean one packs into a small square.


    AWESOME WORLD PROBLEM: I'm traveling in Central America next year.

    NEED: A bag to go to the coworking space one day and out onto a boat or something the next. Features must include:

    • Must have shoulder bag functionality. If backpack straps are there, they must tuck away and there must be a place for a shoulder strap.
    • It must fit a 15" rMBP 2014, various chargers, and a light jacket.
    • Must fit in both at the cafe and at, I don't know, fly fishing lessons in the Andes or something. It shouldn't look like only a briefcase.
    • Must be at least somewhat water resistant. My sources tell me that on Earth, which is my primary travel destination, it rains sometimes. Non-aquaguard zippers need not apply.


    Really, if the Tom Bihn Pilot fit a 15 inch laptop, it would probably be a perfect solution. I like the Pilot's organization, I think its aesthetics are passable, and it has aquaguard zippers. The only problem is, it doesn't fit my laptop.

    I'm also interested in the Topo Mountain Briefcase, from Topo, but I don't think it's very water resistant. The Filson Briefcase is exactly the look I like (less businessy than the Waterfield one) but alas, it too is not water resistant. (Who are you trying to fool, Filson? Your bags look like Hemmingway would have one, but Hemmingway was definitely caught in the rain at least once, so what gives?)

    The Founders Briefcase is a good option, but IMO, it's a bit too briefcasey. My Waterfield Designs bag is also way too briefcasey to use as an urban/rural adventure day bag.

    So I'm looking for suggestions. Anyone? Thoughts?

    UNRELATED: I need an excuse to give my wife about why I definitely need another bag. I would also appreciate thoughts on that. Can I tell her that I was kidnapped in Colombia and the ransom was that I had to buy another bag?

  2. #2
    Forum Member bermudajes's Avatar
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    My boyfriend uses the Pilot to carry his 15 inch Dell laptop. He doesn't use a sleeve or cache; it's still snug but not annoyingly so. FWIW...
    kindness is contagious.

  3. #3
    Forum Member bouncing's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bermudajes View Post
    My boyfriend uses the Pilot to carry his 15 inch Dell laptop. He doesn't use a sleeve or cache; it's still snug but not annoyingly so. FWIW...
    Yeah, that's what I've heard. My concern is that it'll stretch the ends of the fabric a bit too much, wearing the bag prematurely and also depriving 3D space inside the bag for that sweater and/or light jacket.

    Also, I want at least some protection for my laptop.

  4. #4
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    Personally, I wouldn't worry much about how it looks. Meeting your functional needs would be 90% of the goal. I suspect there is nothing that "looks" both ok at work and in the boonies.

  5. #5
    Forum Member bouncing's Avatar
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    From a friend's recommendation, the Wee Lug Mk2 is interesting, but I'm a bit concerned the waxed canvas is a bit heavy and there aren't any quick-access pockets.

  6. #6
    Forum Member nimikor's Avatar
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    Sounds like you need a Steel ballistic Western Flyer.
    DLBC, WF, S19, Pilot, DLBP, PCSB, A30, SA plus other misc goodies.
    “Not all those who wander are lost.” - Bilbo Baggins (J.R.R. Tolkien 1892-1973)

  7. #7
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    Any reason you ruled out the Cadet? Or do you want to go the pure backpack route, instead?

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by bouncing View Post
    Yeah, that's what I've heard. My concern is that it'll stretch the ends of the fabric a bit too much, wearing the bag prematurely and also depriving 3D space inside the bag for that sweater and/or light jacket.

    Also, I want at least some protection for my laptop.
    If you can find a Pilot to try fitting it in, I'd at least try it out. The Pilot is actually pretty roomy, I've been using it as my only travel bag since May, without any wear and tear showing, and that's fitting a 14" work PC, plus my clothes for the week, and all the other stuff. Your 15" rMBP is about 1/2" wider than the client T460 I've been lugging, but I also assume you're not looking to stuff the pilot as much as I have been so it might be possible. To keep the MBP protected, you might need a simpler sleeve instead of a cache, I use an Amazon Basics on mine. Not as protected, but still better than naked. I just try to be conscious of the fact and set the bag down instead of throwing it across the room.

  9. #9
    Forum Member bouncing's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nimikor View Post
    Sounds like you need a Steel ballistic Western Flyer.
    A bit too big for a day bag, but thanks for the s

    Quote Originally Posted by BWeaves View Post
    Any reason you ruled out the Cadet? Or do you want to go the pure backpack route, instead?
    No, I want shoulder bag.

    The main thing about the cadet is that since it's really designed just for the laptop and essentials, it's not really going to fit much else, like a water bottle, a sweater or jacket, snacks, etc. Actually the main reason I didn't use the Cadet as my main daily carry is that it didn't fit my Bose headphones plus my laptop very well.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by bouncing View Post
    From a friend's recommendation, the Wee Lug Mk2 is interesting, but I'm a bit concerned the waxed canvas is a bit heavy and there aren't any quick-access pockets.
    You're correct. Waxed canvas looks cool, but it is heavy, not functional.

  11. #11
    Forum Member bouncing's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kaadk View Post
    If you can find a Pilot to try fitting it in, I'd at least try it out. The Pilot is actually pretty roomy, I've been using it as my only travel bag since May, without any wear and tear showing, and that's fitting a 14" work PC, plus my clothes for the week, and all the other stuff. Your 15" rMBP is about 1/2" wider than the client T460 I've been lugging, but I also assume you're not looking to stuff the pilot as much as I have been so it might be possible. To keep the MBP protected, you might need a simpler sleeve instead of a cache, I use an Amazon Basics on mine. Not as protected, but still better than naked. I just try to be conscious of the fact and set the bag down instead of throwing it across the room.
    Yeah, I'd like to find a way of trying one out. Unfortunately, since I'm in Mexico for the time being, it's hard to do if I might return it. (Customs is a hassle!)

    Truth be told, a Copilot looks also very functional for just exploration without a laptop too.

  12. #12
    Forum Member terayon's Avatar
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    If you can find one on eBay or elsewhere, you might consider an Ego or SuperEgo, which to my eye is not very briefcase-y and is definitely water resistant.

  13. #13
    Volunteer Moderator tpnl's Avatar
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    +1 for @terayon's suggestion for an Ego. It will hold a lot and has a less briefcase / more messenger bag vibe.

    Out in left field - what about a Parental Unit? I have been trying this out for work and it seems to blend in well for both work and casual shopping. I think its style does not scream out laptop bag (or look too flashy - more the TB sharp looking bag- or dorky) and has room for quite a few things in both the front and back pockets as well are the main compartment. Bonus - everything zips up with YKK zippers and there are 2 convenient front pockets that fit a big phone easily. It does fit a MBP. I do not have one but I have a hard case for one (15"x10") and it fits just between the zippers.

    On the Pilot option, I would suggest a Halycon version as other members have found the it stretches more to accommodate sizes or th 15" MBP. Also, FWIW, the same 15"x10" MBP case I have does just fit into my Ballistic Pilot and there is still room to fit a light jacket in the main compartment. I would say your slightly smaller rMBP would fit even better (in a cache or other similar case) - but YMMV.


    Hope this helps
    Cheers!
    Last edited by tpnl; 12-02-2017 at 09:00 AM.
    TB Ballistic Black/Iberian Dyneema backpacks and briefcases for every occasion together with my cherished Nordic and Solar Dyneema!

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by terayon View Post
    If you can find one on eBay or elsewhere, you might consider an Ego or SuperEgo, which to my eye is not very briefcase-y and is definitely water resistant.
    Quote Originally Posted by tpnl View Post
    +1 for @terayon's suggestion for an Ego. It will hold a lot and has a less briefcase / more messenger bag vibe.

    Out in left field - what about a Parental Unit? I have been trying this out for work and it seems to blend in well for both work and casual shopping. I think its style does not scream out laptop bag (or look too flashy - more the TB sharp looking bag- or dorky) and has room for quite a few things in both the front and back pockets as well are the main compartment. Bonus - everything zips up with YKK zippers and there are 2 convenient front pockets that fit a big phone easily. It does fit a MBP. I do not have one but I have a hard case for one (15"x10") and it fits just between the zippers.

    On the Pilot option, I would suggest a Halycon version as other members have found the it stretches more to accommodate sizes or th 15" MBP. Also, FWIW, the same 15"x10" MBP case I have does just fit into my Ballistic Pilot and there is still room to fit a light jacket in the main compartment. I would say your slightly smaller rMBP would fit even better (in a cache or other similar case) - but YMMV.


    Hope this helps
    Cheers!
    Another vote for the Ego/Super Ego. Probably one of the best bags out there. Why?

    Cross between a briefcase and a messenger - you can get to the main compartment without lifting the flap.
    Has outside water bottle holders
    Lots of externally accessible pockets
    Looks fine in an office setting as well in casual settings - mine has gone from the boardroom to the White House to a hunting lodge
    Can be used as a 2 overnight bag using some sort of packing cube in the main compartment.
    They can't be killed

    They are readily available on eBay
    When in trouble, obfuscate.

  15. #15
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    While I concur with the suggestion of the Ego for your 15" laptop, please be aware that the suggested bags are roughly twice the volume of the Pilot, whose volume is: 13 liters (800 cu. in.)

    Looking through the list of recently retired TB Messenger Bags capable of carrying your 15" laptop, there are (in order of volume):

    Volume: 20.9 liters (1275 cu. in.) ID ID - Midsized laptop messenger bag

    Volume: 23 liters (1400 cu. in.) Ego

    Volume: 27 liters (1680 cu. in.) Super Egp

    Any of these would be fine, though the Super Ego is really pretty large to carry.

    They are readily available on eBay
    There are many more Super Egos showing up on eBay than the Ego, which would probably be a better bet for you.

    HTH

    moriond

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