In the post What we want but can’t yet have, I bemoaned how I had yet to find a decent laptop bag for business travel:
The perfect laptop bag has a pocket for everything you need to carry with you, has a comfortable shoulder strap, is made to last, is professional in appearance, and doesn’t scream I’M CARRYING A LAPTOP FOR YOU TO STEAL. This bag is so perfect that you want to name your pets after it. We have found many bags that come close to meeting these requirements, but none that is perfect.
The day after this post ran, I got an e-mail from a lovely woman at Tom Bihn bags explaining that the reason I hadn’t found the perfect laptop bag was because I hadn’t tried her company’s top-of-the-line product. Fair enough, I hadn’t tried the exact bag she was referencing in her e-mail. I told her I would take it out with me on a few trips and see how it handled. My expectations were low; I’d been let down so many times in the past that I assumed I would be let down again.
I’m not one to eagerly admit when I’m wrong, but I was. This bag is amazing. It meets my qualifications for a perfect laptop bag for business travel — and more. I’ve since taken it out four times (three of those involved air travel), and feel comfortable singing its praises.
The Checkpoint Flyer:
The best part of the bag is that you don’t have to take the laptop out of it to go through security checkpoints at the airport. You flip the pouch that holds the laptop out when you lay it on the conveyor belt, and then flip it back in after it has gone through the x-ray machine. I didn’t time the event, but Tom Bihn’s website says it should only take three seconds. The laptop pouch sits on little hinges that move it far enough away from the contents in the rest of the bag so that it meets TSA requirements:
Closeup of hinge:
There are different pouch sizes you can order based on the size of your laptop. It also has pockets for all of my cords, cables and wireless peripherals, enough space to hold two days’ worth of business casual clothing and work papers (I put these in what they call the Horizontal Freudian Slip), and has the best shoulder strap I’ve ever had on a shoulder bag (it’s springy, like a wet suit):
My only complaint is that it is obviously a laptop bag to anyone who sees it. However, it’s attractive and professional, and I can walk into any meeting with it. And, it doesn’t really scream its laptop-bag status, it says it casually, as if having a conversation with friends over a couple beers. The fabric on the bag is very sturdy and the stitching is impeccable. My bag showed zero signs of wear after my trips. Yes, it’s pricey. But, I sincerely believe you’re getting what you pay for. On trips longer than three days, I’ve put my clothes in my Zuca bag and wheeled it around with this bag resting on top.
The bag is made in Seattle and Tom Bihn, the guy with his name on the company, actually designs the bags. I was sincerely surprised to be so impressed by it. My search for a perfect laptop bag is complete. (Could I gush more? Probably.)
First two images snagged from the Tom Bihn website, the other two are mine. I drastically need a nice photo setup in my house.