A tidy and useful tech bag

A messy tech bag is a nasty thing indeed. You’ve got expensive gadgets bumping around and cables getting tangled, knocked about, and covered in who-knows-what. But there’s no need to fret — you have several options for keeping your tech bags nice and tidy, as well as a few setups for various purposes.

Before I delve into what to put inside a tech bag and how, let’s consider the bag itself. Of course, there are limitless options to make the decision-making process confusing. To limit the field, I prefer something simple with no more little pockets and compartments than I’m going to need. (Less temptation to fill them with clutter.) Where pockets are concerned, it boils down to:

  1. A place for my laptop
  2. Two pockets — one for my laptop’s power cable and a charger for my phone
  3. A spot for headphones
  4. A pocket for a mouse

Envision your bag like a small home: where there is a place for everything and everything has a place.

Comfort is your next consideration, and I love a good shoulder strap. That way I can keep both hands free while I’m moving about.

A quick note! Before I look at individual bags, I’ve got to mention an item that deserves a spot in every setup: cable wraps. Cables love to get tangled up, and for some reason they see the inside of a bag as the prime opportunity to do so. It’s as if they say, “We’re in a bag! Quick, form an impossible rat’s nest!” These simple Velcro models are inexpensive and reusable. I know Erin is also a fan of the Grid-It Organizer, which is different but provides the same results.

The student bag

Students have more to carry around then tech goodies, but the gadgets are often essential. To manage the weight of a laptop and books, I recommend a large and well-made backpack-style laptop bag. Look for one with a padded laptop sleeve.

The traveler

Again, a backpack-style laptop bag is a good choice for travelers, but often you won’t need something as big or bulky as what a college student might use. Ogio’s Covert Shoulder Bag for 13-Inch Tablet/Netbook fits the bill, as it’s tidy, small, and easily carried from bus to plane to train. Add a laptop, charger, map and tickets and you’re all set.

The conference attendee

I love this post from iMore’s Serenity Caldwell, which details exactly what, how, and why she packs for an extended stay at a tech conference. Not only is it an interesting look at how a tech journalist preps for work, it’s a useful description of why.

The remote worker

I occasionally get to work remotely, and it’s great. In my laptop bag I include the usual stuff, but also: some money for the coffee shop, a power strip for sharing an outlet, water for hydration, and a “trash pocket,” usually big zip-to-close plastic bag, for wrappers, etc. should I not find a bin.

There you have a few options for a tidy and useful tech bag. Keep your expensive gadgets safe and organized, folks. And don’t forget one of the most important step in all of this: clean out your bag immediately, every day, upon returning home.

5 Comments for “A tidy and useful tech bag”

  1. posted by Andy Chow on

    I’ve use the “Tucano shoulder bag for MacBook Air” bag that looks remarkably like the Ogio Covert Shoulder Bag. A vertical bag is awesome. It has a divider in the main compartment, a pocket in the front compartment, and a headphone port that goes along the shoulder strap.

    I keep a notebook and a ebook reader in the main compartment, in the front I have my cellphone, a notepad, pen, and my cards (id, credit cards, etc) in the pocket. It looks very sleek and sharp, and has everything I need.

    Being a man, it’s often hard to carry what you require, unless carrying a huge briefcase, or a weird looking “man-purse”. This type of model has completely filled the gap, while allowing us to remain masculine.

  2. posted by Leslie on

    I have a similar bag to the Ogio that is my go to bag and I’ve had it for almost 20 years. It was a freebie from a travel agent and I’ve never found another like it. The amount of organizational pockets is astounding and I’ve been able to pack everything from my tablet (w/ external keyboard) to my regular every day stuff to a few items of clothing to get me through the night. All because of the pockets. I’ve gotten so used to putting all my stuff in the exact same spot each time that I can reach for anything I need without looking and nothing gets left behind.

  3. posted by SueB on

    I use the Ogio Hamptons Tote with the Bobino Cord wraps. The tote is stylish and different from everything out there, yet has a place for everything you might possibly need. It’s larger than it looks yet small enough to only pack the essentials. It’s also machine washable – a key criteria for sticking a bag on the floor in an airplane or airport.

  4. posted by Rebecca on

    I’ve been lusting after this TLS Professional Slim Laptop Backpack (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obi.....tterer-20/. It’s meant to be a neat and tidy business appropriate backpack, and it is, but it’s a bit big and the only nit anyone is picking is that the water bottle holder is too small for a decent bottle of water. I take my water bottle everywhere I take a back pack, so I’m hesitating, but this bag looks truly amazing. there is a little hard removable box at the bottom for cords.

    In the meantime, I’m using a Pacsafe backpack. I love the style of so many of their bags and the security features give me so much peace of mind when I’m traveling…as long as I don’t just leave them somewhere. They also have a couple of nice neat styles and there is a specific section for bags that hold laptops and tablets. http://www.pacsafe.com/travel-.....-bags.html

    I actually travel with a larger one and a smaller one. The large one is when I take my laptop out to a library or café to work for a few hours or more. (http://www.pacsafe.com/citysafe-cs350.html) I can stuff a coat and my lunch in the main compartment and all the stuff I’d put in a purse fits in the front compartment. Both have zipper locks. And there are two nice pockets on the sides. I use one for my re-usable water bottle and the other for an umbrella.

    They make me check that one if I take it to a museum, though, so I generally use the smaller one when I go sightseeing. It still has a padded compartment for my tablet and I can fit my lunch and water bottle inside. A smaller zipper compartment holds my purse items. Pacsafe doesn’t have it anymore, but does have a similar one which has the main compartment opening up against your back, which I wish more backpacks had. And it has side pockets, which my small one doesn’t. (http://www.pacsafe.com/citysafe-cs300.html)

    I can recommend both of these, I’ve had mine for years and they have held up beautifully. The black is not as deep as I’d like, but I do love that the insides are of a light fabric. They may feel too feminine for the guys, but it makes it so much easier to find stuff inside. They’re really reasonable priced, too, considering there is some kind of knife proof mesh between the interior and exterior fabrics to protect the contents from thieves.

    I’m always on the lookout for better options to what I’ve got in bags, but though I’ve changed my suitcases twice in the last year or so, I haven’t seen anything to make me give up these in years.

  5. posted by Mohan Desai on

    Even I also like a small bag, don’t require too many pockets, I think 3 pockets are enough for laptop, charger and other extra for other stuff.

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