I don’t really travel a lot. At least, I haven’t until recently. But in the last month, I attended The Next HOPE hacker conference in New York City, and PyOhio 2010 in Columbus, OH.
Because of this, I’ve come to hold a deep appreciation for my Targus laptop bag.
I don’t intend to turn this blog into a product review site, but I’m not averse to speaking well of products that I use when they deserve it. Having used the case as an all-day carry-all for not just my laptop, but all my “stuff” that I need to survive at a tech conference, I couldn’t be happier with this thing.
After realizing just how much I liked what I’d previously thought of as “just my laptop bag” I felt compelled to find out what model it is, so I could properly credit it. I couldn’t find anything identifying the model on the bag itself, so I browsed google image search results until I found it. It took me a while, because Targus has probably produced hundreds of different bags over the years, but I finally managed to ID it as a Targus Brilliance TBB001US.
Anyhow, I bought this bag back in 2007 when I bought my current laptop, a Lenovo Thinkpad T61p (which also deserves a plug as it has been a very reliable everyday computer for me over the years, and still feels like it has plenty of life left in it). I needed a new bag because my previous bag for my previous laptop wasn’t big enough to hold the new one.
At the time, I didn’t really care too much about what I got, I just wanted something cheap. A few weeks after I bought this bag. It was a super deal, I think I paid like $15 for what is normally an $80 bag. And while I’ve never been disappointed with the purchase, I never fully appreciated it until I basically lived out of it for a weekend, carrying it with me all day long, and constantly opening it and looking through it for something I needed.
I don’t believe that I’ve ever owned a more thoroughly thought out product. This thing has more pockets than I can count, it seems like every surface has a zipper or a flap on it, and each pocket seems to have another pocket in it. Despite this, the pockets are well-placed, sized appropriately for their intended purpose, and are quite easy to get into, even with only one hand free in most cases. It’s a little bulky compared to a lot of notebook bags — with just the laptop in it it feels almost empty — but if you need the space it’s probably the most efficient way to carry everything you need. It even has a mesh bottle holder that zips away when you don’t need it.
It is very easy to carry, with a suitcase-style handle, a messenger bag style shoulder strap, and backpack straps. However is most convenient at the moment, I can carry it that way. It’s comfortable, too. All carrying methods are well padded and don’t dig in even after standing around with it for hours.
I’ve actually walked around with it all day, carrying TWO laptop computers, chargers, a 25′ ethernet patch cable, various papers, tickets, my cell phone, and a digital camera, a paper notepad, and various pens and pencils, a couple of t-shirts, and some other schwag, and a 350-page book, and it never felt like a burden. Most impressively of all, I could get at everything in the bag without everything else feeling like it was in the way.
It really helps out when you’re traveling to have the ability to carry everything you need, comfortably, and have all be readily available and convenient to access.
I’d love to have some insight into Targus’s product design process, to learn how they came up with such a great solution. I have to imagine that they must have done their homework, figuring out all the different things that most people typically carry with them, and prioritize based on how often they need to access each thing, and then design a bag that can carry everything in a compact, organized, ergonomic fashion, and protect any delicate items, and on top of everything else, be comfortable.