My daughter needed a laptop bag that would carry her Dell 14” Inspiron 1420 laptop and a few essentials. She doesn’t take her computer to school, so she had no need for a huge bag with room for books, notebooks, and the like. She just needed the laptop, power brick, and a few other basics for when we travel. She didn’t want a leather bag, because she’s 13 and didn’t want a bag that required a lot of care. She’s only 5’1”, and she is overwhelmed by big laptop bags designed for business use. The compact 15” LapTrap bag from Levenger seemed ideal for her.
The LapTrap is a nylon bag with a waterproof coating. Levenger states the bag is 18W x 4D x 11.5H closed; 30.5W x 2.5D x 11.5H opened. It weighs 3.5 pounds, and it will hold most 15” laptops. It comes with a carry strap and a shoulder pad with a non-slip backing. The strap extends to a maximum drop of about 22 inches. Levenger offers the LapTrap in black, blue, gray, lime green, and pink. Rachel chose the lime green. The bag is mostly black with color on the back, the strap pad, and as accents on the front pouches. The LapTrap has two large pouches on the front and a laptop compartment in the back. The bag is used as a work surface as well as a carry bag. You can use it on your lap, on a desk top or any flat surface.
The two front pouches each span the height and half the width of the bag. One pouch also has a mesh zippered pocket on the front. The pouches close together with a very sturdy plastic clip. When the clip is released, the pouches swing open to reveal a non-slip surface. With the pouches open, you can place the bag over your lap with the pouches hanging like saddlebags down by your legs. The pouches hang with the openings at the top to make the contents easily available. The non-skid surface helps secure the bag and its contents on your lap. You can now open the laptop compartment.
This compartment allows the computer to be used without being removed. The laptop sits on 4 foam feet to allow air flow underneath to keep your device cool. The feet are held in place by Velcro, and their position can be adjusted to best fit your laptop. There is a sturdy security strap that wraps around the laptop and closes with Velcro to keep the computer from shifting while being carried. The top of this compartment opens to a 90 degree angle and is held there by a strap on each side. Simply loosen the security strap, open your laptop, and you are ready to work.
The laptop compartment is padded with a dense foam and has a rigid frame around the edges to protect the computer from impact while being carried. The front and the outside edges of the pouches are also padded with the same dense foam.
The back of the laptop compartment has a zippered slip-in pouch for papers or magazines. Inside, the top of the laptop compartment has slots to hold 12 cds or dvds. The bottom of this compartment is stiff enough to support the laptop but is a bit flexible for comfort while sitting on your lap. There is padding under the stiffener to provide comfort and some heat blocking to protect your legs.
Rachel reports that the bag is stable on her lap, but she usually doesn’t use it that way. Her normal position when using her laptop is lying on her bed with the laptop sitting on the bedding. One big positive for this case is that it keeps me from nagging at her to get the laptop off the bed so it won’t overheat.
The shoulder strap is 1.5” wide and has metal clips to attach it to the bag. There are four metal rings on the bag. They are riveted to reinforce the attachment points. These rings allow the strap to be attached so you can carry the bag either horizontally or vertically. There is a grab handle on one end of the bag. The grab handle is a rounded, hard, rubbery plastic guard over a thin nylon strap. It is reinforced at the attachment points. Levenger also offers an optional mesh strap to convert your LapTrap to a backpack. The mesh strap is $10.
The storage pouches offer quite a bit of room. As I said, Rachel only wants to carry a power brick, her iPod and earbuds, and perhaps a small notebook and some pens. I carry quite a bit more in my bag, so I decided to see how much I could fit in there. In one pouch I fit a junior-sized notebook; I put some pens in the mesh pocket. In the other pouch, I stuffed in the laptop power brick, an iPod usb cable, the usb cable for my Sony PRS-505 reader, a power brick for the Sony reader, a charger for my cell phone, a travel mouse, and a usb flash drive. That was most everything from my bigger laptop bag, but there wasn’t really room for anything else. This pouch was very full, and I had to take everything out to find the correct cable.
I also tried my Dell Studio 15 laptop in the bag. It fit well and the strap held it securely in the laptop compartment. The Dells have a wedge shape so they are thicker back at the hinge. That shape makes it a tight fit in some bags and sleeves, but it was no problem in the LapTrap.
Now for the negatives. There is no room to use a mouse when the laptop is in this bag. That’s no problem for Rachel, who always uses the touchpad. I don’t like touchpads, so I’d need to find some place to use the mouse. If you are sitting in a chair with arms, the “saddlebags” get in the way. You can use the laptop with those pouches closed, but it will sit unevenly if the pouches aren’t packed the same. Rachel also says one end of the security strap gets in the way while using the laptop. Luckily that end of the strap has the soft, loopy Velcro, so you can tuck it into your lap without worry of damaging your clothes. And since the security strap is open, the computer isn’t secured in the case while it is being used.
All in all, the LapTrap is a good solution for Rachel’s needs. It is a good place to store her laptop when she’s not using it. It helps her laptop stay cool while she uses it everywhere but on her desk, and it provides enough room for the things she wants to take along with her. For $58, the LapTrap is a nice bag at a good price.