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Old 09-28-07, 04:21 PM   #1
djkenny
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That all around messenger bag for everything including the lap top?

Right now I am seeking a good computer lap top bag for a Mac, that would do well for biking as well as just toting to school on the bus or in the car.

Some ideas are the Inertia Designs Pro Messenger (I like having places for pens and keys, they look attractive enough...although the Urban model looks a little cooler in blk and wht and might be big enough), Patagonia Critical Mass (some people seem to be fans, and it seems to hold up straight with good padding for the computer, lacks little pockets and places to put keys and cell phone like I would ideally like to have), or a Chrome Metropolis (sounds like a sweet bag, obviously the chic bag, but not so sure how it will work, laptop sleeve or not as "lap top" bag, maybe an additional sleeve from Chrome will do the job OK?).

Likely I am looking for a 13-15" monitor. I need to re-look at the options. This will be my 1st Macintosh. Hoping it will not be too painful to learn to use.

For when I am biking and have it loaded with good...groceries, laptop, etc...it would sure be nice to have a bag that held tight with a waste or T strap.

Am I asking too much out of any of these bags?

I want to use it on the plane when I visit friends in the bay area loading it up with clthes for 4 days and DJ headphones, bath needs, etc. Later when my fiance and I are ready to make the move...a diaper bag for all I know. I like to buy stuff that is awesome quality and good for many uses.

Thanks!

Kenny
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Old 09-28-07, 04:32 PM   #2
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I have a Timbuk2, and I think it's great. They're well made, come in a variety of sizes, and they have many accessories, including a padded laptop sleeve. You can also custom order one with colors and a design you want. Check 'em out, you won't be dissapointed.
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Old 09-28-07, 04:35 PM   #3
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- the operative word is 'accessories'... i resented having to spend an extra US$10 for a pad to slide onto my strap of my Timbuk2...

- OTOH, i have an HP Messenger Bag for my L2000 notebook that includes shoulder pad, laptop padded case, and multiple other accessories...

- perhaps one would be better off purchasing the $19 Nashbar mess bag and a padded laptop sleeve?
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Old 09-28-07, 05:02 PM   #4
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Needs

Also forgot to mention:

Waterproof (I live in Portland afterall!) and comfortable to wear. Whether I need to buy a great strap or it is standard.

Cheers,

Kenny
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Old 09-28-07, 05:05 PM   #5
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I have a Powerbook G4 15" and use it for graphics in A Level mostly and other stuff. Although I have used Macs all my life the operating system is far more intuitive than Windoze and generally faster regarding specs required. I got mine off a private ad site for £600 (they are very desirable) basically brand new boxed with all cables and that. Make sure if you're doing that visit it first or have extensive photos from the seller and ask lots of questions.

In terms of travelling with it I have made a sleeve out of an old camping mat using duct tape to join it. Its still going strong after a year of abuse from school and going other places. When I cycle to school I put it in my Arkel Bug bag which is essentially a pannier rucksack. Its around £90 but has had no wear on it yet after lots of use and is just a brilliant design!

PM me if you need any other advice regarding Macs and stuff if need be,

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Old 09-28-07, 05:12 PM   #6
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Dude, nice move on the Mac. I think you'll like it. Most (all?) of the new Macs come with Garageband, damn fine piece of software for audio use, as is iTunes.

I'd check out Tom Bihn. A good number of their bags may fit your bill to a T. They are a little pricier than Chrome. BUT, there is a laptop sleeve that they make that is compatible with most computers (just tell em what size computer you have when you order it) AND the sleeve integrates with some of their bags. Check 'em out.
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Old 09-28-07, 05:16 PM   #7
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Guys and Gals...I got the Patagonia Critical Mass. I know I need to get crackin on buying the Mac very soon and didnt wan to delay on ordering up a means of getting it around. Used, the Critcal Mass was selling about $70 on line. Half Mass models for about $40-50, used, and over $70 new. I found the bigger Critical Mass brand new with shipping for under $90 and will come to my door in about 3-6 days. If it doesnt work out so well...I guess it will become a nice means to travel with or use for more non lap top uses.
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Old 09-28-07, 05:20 PM   #8
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Quote:
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Dude, nice move on the Mac. I think you'll like it. Most (all?) of the new Macs come with Garageband, damn fine piece of software for audio use, as is iTunes.

I'd check out Tom Bihn. A good number of their bags may fit your bill to a T. They are a little pricier than Chrome. BUT, there is a laptop sleeve that they make that is compatible with most computers (just tell em what size computer you have when you order it) AND the sleeve integrates with some of their bags. Check 'em out.
Lots of choices to! Dam. Well, I guess the one I got cannot be too bad? The price point was what I was looking for. Granted, I will invest more money for something worth the while.

I am choosing the Mac partially due ot Garage Band. I also know VERY LITTLE about computers in general, so I figured I might as well start with something that would likely fit my needs best, and learn learn learn. Taking broadcasting classes and they use Macs in every classroom.
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Old 09-28-07, 07:17 PM   #9
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The I.D.

The Tom Bihn I.D. model looked about perfect from reading the specs on the site. I would have paid the $130 likely.

It has all the pockets I would likely need with plenty of room to spare. However, by the time I added the sleeve for the computer (which sounds awesome) I would have been adding another $30, then if I wanted a better strap for the shoulder harness...another $10+...etc.

When I can better afford such a masterpiece of design, I will look into it.

Well, at least the bag I bought should be sturdy enough. At under $90 the Patogonia seems like a solid choice. Enough padding standard to protect the lap top well enough as well.
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Old 09-28-07, 07:35 PM   #10
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I've got a Chrome Metropolis that has served me well for the last three years...I'm no messenger, but I'm a bike-addicted freelance designer so I need to carry a 17" laptop, all support cables and mouse, sketchbooks, clothes, a bajillion client access keys and fobs, et multiple cetera. The Metrop has ruled my world ... until I got clipless pedals and now also have to pack shoes. That JUST pushes the capacity of the bag too far for comfort against my back. Even packing clothes between my back and the laptop (encased, by the way, in the always-overlooked but rather incredible Skooba laptop sleeve), it all fits...but not comfortably (or aerodynamically) for a 1-hour ride to a San Francisco Bay ferry terminal. When it starts raining this winter, securing my shoes outside the main flap (as I do now) ain't gonna fly.

Tomorrow I'm heading to Chrome HQ in SF to check out their backpack selection (naturally bringing the Metropolis with everything jammed in it to test the fit of the backpacks). A fixie friend swears by his. If they fit well, I'll sell ya my all-black Metropolis for Ye Cheape. ;-p
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Old 09-28-07, 08:43 PM   #11
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Metro Chrome Bag

Almost looked into an all black Metropolis. Great site BTW.

Thanks for the offer. Good luck finding your next proper bag. Yes, please... let me know if you are looking to place the Metro.

Cheers,

Kenny


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I've got a Chrome Metropolis that has served me well for the last three years...I'm no messenger, but I'm a bike-addicted freelance designer so I need to carry a 17" laptop, all support cables and mouse, sketchbooks, clothes, a bajillion client access keys and fobs, et multiple cetera. The Metrop has ruled my world ... until I got clipless pedals and now also have to pack shoes. That JUST pushes the capacity of the bag too far for comfort against my back. Even packing clothes between my back and the laptop (encased, by the way, in the always-overlooked but rather incredible Skooba laptop sleeve), it all fits...but not comfortably (or aerodynamically) for a 1-hour ride to a San Francisco Bay ferry terminal. When it starts raining this winter, securing my shoes outside the main flap (as I do now) ain't gonna fly.

Tomorrow I'm heading to Chrome HQ in SF to check out their backpack selection (naturally bringing the Metropolis with everything jammed in it to test the fit of the backpacks). A fixie friend swears by his. If they fit well, I'll sell ya my all-black Metropolis for Ye Cheape. ;-p
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Old 09-28-07, 09:15 PM   #12
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I would have looked into Axiom Legacy and Arkel commuter-series bags. Plus they double as panniers!
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Old 09-28-07, 09:20 PM   #13
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I use a metro for my 12" ibook with a walmart laptop sleeve. It works well for school and commuting.
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Old 09-29-07, 05:27 AM   #14
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Gotta be a messenger bag, huh? That's too bad, Swiss Gear makes a series of great laptop backpacks.
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Old 09-29-07, 10:13 AM   #15
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Target?

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Gotta be a messenger bag, huh? That's too bad, Swiss Gear makes a series of great laptop backpacks.
I could have sworn I saw one, in all places, but "Target"?
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Old 09-29-07, 04:46 PM   #16
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I could have sworn I saw one, in all places, but "Target"?
Dunno about that, I got mine at a Staples. They make a few different models. I've been using mine daily for over a year and it's standing up very well, no apparent wear on zippers or anything that could be problematic (the fabric on the lumbar pad is pilled, that's about all I can see in terms of wear).
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Old 09-29-07, 06:28 PM   #17
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There is only the Chrome Metro...its waterproof enough to be used as a bucket. I know people how have accidentally used it as a bucket (they popped a water bottle inside and never noticed). Its wicked comfy, and if I had to move a lap top around I wouldn't stick it in any other bag.


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Old 09-30-07, 09:23 AM   #18
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Before my sophomore year of college, I was in the market for a laptop bag for a recently acquired 12" powerbook. I ended up getting a backpack with a laptop slot in it, so that I could carry around the laptop without worrying about being a target for theft. I ended up getting a "Mountainsmith Explore" off ebags for $80 at the time (looks like they've gone down a lot in price since then! $48 at the time of writing).

Since then, I've used it around campus, and on several flights (typically 8 per year, often fully loaded with several lbs of stuff I didn't want to include with checked baggage), and after owning it for 4 years now I haven't had a single problem with it. It's gotten rained on, thrown around, and overloaded, and it's still pretty much the same as it was when I got it. I now use it to carry misc things on my commute (~20 mi each way), and the only complaint I have right now is that it keeps my back pretty warm in those conditions. Does a messenger bag help much with this, or is lack of ventilation just something that you get no matter what you use?
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Old 09-30-07, 09:46 AM   #19
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Back from Chrome HQ...

DJ Kenny, I just nabbed a Chrome Backbone backpack and so my Metropolis may indeed be in need of a new home. I need to commute with the new bag for a week to make sure it's the right fit & feel, but if you'd like to PM me next weekend, we can discuss more.

Kinda feel bad about giving up the Metrop, it's been a trooper and isn't showing much sign of wear, but my back'll be way happier carrying everything (including lock & cable) in the Backbone.

[Bag-hack hint: The Backbone has a zipper in the top flap that gives access to the area between the back padding and the inner bag itself - you could easily slip a sheet of foam in there for further padding. If you un-Velcro the inner liner of any Chrome bag, you can easily do something similar, even on the messengers. Closed-cell foam against your back = happiness!]

Last edited by Atomick; 09-30-07 at 10:24 AM.
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Old 10-01-07, 04:02 PM   #20
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Hey Kenny,

I have almost the exact same requirements for my bag and have been looking for the ideal bag to fit all those needs for over a year now. I have tried the backpack route but found that I mostly wore the backpack using only one strap anyways in order to access stuff quickly (really important when dealing with a kid).

The Chrome bags are great if you are on your bike all the time but if you traveling or urban exploring then they are not ideal. You can't wear it off one shoulder like a normal shoulder bag because of the curve of the bag makes it sit awkwardly against your side. You have to wear it across your chest. I have the Metropolis and it is just big enough to hold enough stuff for 4-day trips including a laptop but it will be pretty packed out and that is just not comfortable with that bag. The Kremlin would work but is so big it is overkill.

I currently am using a Deluxe RELoad bag and just got back from a one week trip with it acting as my diaper bag/carry-on. It worked out okay but it is a little big for just walking around the city. I has compression straps so I could make it a little smaller but even fully compressed it's very wide. I used a laptop sleeve from Waterfield for my small 15" IBM. Carried that, my toddler's stuff, a few books, my hoodie, and various on-plane necessities with it. I am sure I can use it as my sole luggage for a week.

If I had to do it over again (and I probably will), I would try a more customized setup in a slightly smaller bag in the 2500cu. in. range. Something bigger than the Metro but smaller than my current Deluxe with compression straps. Add in more organizer pockets so I could keep everything organized. Definitely a padded back (I just use a diaper changing pad but it would nice to have it built-in) and usable external pockets (the Chrome's pockets are too flat, you need '3D' bellows type pockets to be usable)

You could try the customized options through folks like RELoad, Bagaboo, Chicago Wig, Freight, Zugster, etc. (check out the singlespeed forum for a whole list). Pricey though. I might check out a Baileyworks at some point. Fixedgeargallery.com has a nice review of bags too.

Good luck on your search. I feel your pain. It's hard to find that perfect bag.
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