In a closet in my house there’s a fine set of computer bags which my husband and I, who both work in technology, have collected over the past 15 years. Even though I’m about as far from a fashionista as it’s possible to be, I made a decision a few years ago: to cease wearing freebie t-shirts bearing the logos of the various tech companies I’ve worked for and to weight style a little more than function when selecting a bag. And so began my search for the perfect bag for a mom of two school-aged children who always carries a computer and who likes to travel, usually with kids in tow.
My bag-search criteria are pretty straight-forward. The bag itself should be light because my bag is usually the de facto place to park the things that we pick up during a travel day and the weight of those water bottles, newspapers and snacks, adds up pretty quickly. External pockets for stashing boarding cards, for example, are also required. One or more small interior pocket to keep valuables secure is a necessity as is a larger pocket to keep my Kindle safe from the explosion of crumbs which always happens over the course of the day. I’d rather not use a backpack because well, I’m almost 40. My kids carry backpacks.
I’m currently using the Sling Bag from Waterfield Designs and although it’s not 100% perfect, I think I’ll stick with this one for a while.
1. I like the durable, metallic-toned grey fabric from which the bag is made. It has a slight sheen which is a big step up from the drab, industrial black of your usual computer bag. I had previously experimented with a much more colorful tote bag but the bright color did not hold up well to two weeks backpacking in Italy. In fact, the bag was fit for nothing but the garbage by the time we got home.
2. The Sling has a well padded shoulder pad, a computer-bag feature which is rarely found on either women’s fashion bags or tote bags, but is a requirement for me. I honestly don’t mind being she-who-carries-most when we truck through airports but I object to the shoulder and neck pain I get from carrying a heavy load with no support.
3. It’s capacious, much bigger than it looks, but it doesn’t sag when lightly loaded.
4. There are five interior pockets, three of which are zippered, providing plenty of options for organizing – my favorite activity.
1. There are no zippers on the exterior pockets. This is concerning since open external pockets are an invitation for pick-pockets the world over. So far though, this hasn’t been a problem. They meet the boarding pass test easily and I just don’t use them for any valuables.
2. The shoulder pad is not adjustable. The strap is adjustable at each end, but the pad itself is fixed. I find this an annoyance more than anything else.
3. There’s no padding so if you’re carrying a computer, there’s no protection from knocks and falls. I get around this pretty easily by keeping my netbook in a neoprene sleeve. So far, that’s worked well.
4. The interior is a uniform dark color including the zippers. If the zipper or even just the zipper pull were a lighter color, I might see the zipper more clearly and so actually manage to get my phone out of my bag in time to answer it
This bag was provided complimentary of Waterfield Designs to test. I hope they don’t want it back.