For over ten years I’ve used a great shoulder-bag that A. bought me for my birthday from LL Bean. Here’s the latest version of their Campus Bag. When I got the bag it was quite unusual in the UK, but they’re pretty common now, and seem to almost replaced briefcases. I suspect this is because they’re much more useful and cheaper. I’ve used mine for lugging a laptop, groceries, clothes or just a packed lunch, every day.
Sadly, the poor thing is about to collapse, and looks rather tatty, so it was time for a new bag. I wanted something sturdy, general purpose but good for laptops. With my old campus bag I had to pad laptops using rolled up t-shirts.
The UK is not an easy place to buy a good bag. The USA, mainland Europe, Australia, Japan all seem to have lots of ‘urban’ bags readily available. Not here. I didn’t want a traditional laptop bag. In the end I had to choose between a Timbuk2 bag, probably ordered from the USA, or a Crumpler bag. I went for the Crumpler ‘Very Busy Man’. Crumplers seem to be only sold in the UK by computer dealers (they have laptop compartments, but don’t look like traditional laptop bags, and are trendy enough to appeal to Mac laptop owners too) and camera dealers (as they have an optional camera compartment).
I’m happy with it. Big, sturdy, looks good, vegan, comfortable, and can carry a laptop without needing rolled up t-shirts. The only things I miss are a carry handle and an outside magazine pocket, both of which would have been useful, but I can live without them. It’s huge - I can easily travel with my full set of food, gadgets, books and clothes now. Offsite DLTs have their own travelling compartment ;-) It has a lifetime warranty too. The Crumpler website has monkey noises. (TImbuk2 has a much better site, but it isn’t as funny as Crumpler’s.)