Gift Guide: Bags and backpacks

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gg bags

What do you buy for a Gadgeteer who loves gear, but you’re not sure what new gear to get them?  Easy, you buy them a stylish but functional bag or backpack to carry their gear. We’ve created a gift guide of unique, useful, bags and related accessories. Enjoy!


Price range $100+

timbuk2 muttmover guide

Timbuk2 Muttmover and Muttmover Light backpacks

Inspired by an employee’s commute with their dog, the folks at Timbuk2 designed a backpack to give your dog a safe place to ride while you walk, bike, or hike.  The Muttmover bags have a clip inside to keep your dog from jumping out, and there are pockets and pouches on the outside to hold the gear you and your dog need for a day out.  The Muttmover seen in the photo above is designed for dogs up to 20 pounds.  The Muttmover Light is available in two sizes for dogs up to 35 pounds.

Price: $118; $159-$179 for Muttmover Light
Read our post
: He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother – er, dog – Part Deux
Where you can buy one: Timbuk2

padandquill rolltop leather backpack guide

Pad & Quill Roll Top Leather Backpack

This Pad & Quill backpack is made to last, with full-grain, tumbled American bridle leather; parachute-grade, UV-resistant nylon stitching; hand-pounded copper rivets; and solid nickel hardware.  Inside is a dedicated pocket for an iPad Pro 12.9 or up to a 15″ laptop.  The roll-top closure is weatherproof, and a side zipper makes it easy to quickly grab something from the interior.  The Roll Top Leather Backpack has a 25-year warranty and a 30-day money back promise.

Price: $319.00
Read our review
: Pad & Quill Roll Top Leather Backpack review
Where you can buy one: Pad & Quill

Price range $50 – $100

alpinedivision mckenziebackpack2017 1

Alpine Division 2017 McKenzie Backpack

The Alpine Division 2017 McKenzie Backpack is a simple & well-constructed rucksack. While its roots are in outdoor adventures, its streamlined profile and sophisticated styling make it an excellent (and durable) business commuter as well. Its size is ideal as a daypack or a travel companion when you need some of that extra flexible space.

Price: $54.00
Read our review
Alpine Division 2017 McKenzie Backpack review
Where you can buy one: Amazon

North St Bags Pioneer 12 Hip Pack 006

North St. Bags Pioneer 12 Hip Pack

If you’re not a fan of backpacks or shoulder bags, consider a hip pack. Nope, they are not called fanny packs anymore and they are actually…wait for it… HIP!

Price: $65.00 – $77.00
Read our review
: North St. Bags Pioneer 12 Hip Pack review
Where you can buy one: North St. Bags

Price range $10 – $50

star wars r2d2 knapsack

Star Wars R2D2 Knapsack Backpack

This Star Wars backpack is probably better suited to children or the young-at-heart who doesn’t need to carry a laptop or a lot of heavy textbooks.  It’s made of 100% polyester and has snaps and a drawstring closure.  This officially licensed backpack is 14″ X 17″ and has adjustable straps that some reviewers say will even fit adults.

Price: $23.45
Where you can buy one: Amazon

Shoulder Bags

Price range $100+

timbuk2 sunset messenger

Timbuk2 Sunset Messenger Bag

The Timbuk2 Sunset Messenger bag is available in acid-washed cotton denim exterior and has a casual air that works in most environments.  It has premium trims and hardware; snaps and magnetized closures keep everything securely inside.  The interior is lined with soft fabric to protect all your gear.  A padded interior sleeve holds up to a 13″ laptop, and there’s plenty of room for your phone and other gear.

Price: $109
Where you can buy one: Timbuk2

sena heritage leather commuter bag

Sena Cases Heritage Leather Commuter Bag

The Timbuk2 Sunset Messenger is more casual, but the Heritage Leather Commuter Bag from Sena Cases will be right at home in the most formal situations.  The commuter is handmade from Heritage leather, which is vegetable-tanned and tumbled to develop a natural texture.  It will darken with age and develop a natural patina.  The bag has a shoulder strap and double grip handles.  Inside, you’ll find a laptop compartment that accommodates up to a 15″ laptop, plus pockets for phones, notebooks, and other items.  On the exterior, a zippered front pocket and a magnetically-closed rear pocket provide even more storage.  The corners of the bag are reinforced, and the bottom is protected by metal feet.  The bag is available in a light and a dark (shown) brown; both bags have gunmetal hardware.

Price: $369.95
Where you can buy one: Sena Cases

waterfield maverick laptop messenger

Waterfield Designs Maverick Laptop Messenger Bag

You can always expect compact, sleek designs from WaterField, and the Maverick Laptop Messenger Bag is no exception.  It’s made of distressed, full-grain leather that will develop a richer patina with use, and has a 1.5″ webbing strap.  The hardware is black metal screw studs and industrial-grade rivets.  The interior is left unlined to show the beauty of the rawhide.  There are two padded interior pockets for a laptop and a tablet.  It’s available in black, chocolate, or grizzly leather and in a compact or full size to best fit your gear.

Price: $289 for compact; $319 for full
Read our review
: Waterfield Designs Maverick Laptop Messenger Bag review
Where you can buy one: WaterField Designs

Price range $50 – $100

tom bihn swift

Tom Bihn Swift Bag

Several years ago, we reviewed the Tom Bihn Little Swift bag, which was a smaller size of the Swift bag designed by Tom for knitters.  Turns out, the Little Swift was a great everyday bag, with room to hold everything needed for the day, including ebook readers for even an iPad in a Cache sleeve.  The new iPad Pro 12.9″ needs more room, which is amply provided by the full-sized Swift.  The Pro fits inside the Horizontal iPad Pro 12.9 with Smart Keyboard Cache ($40.00), which in turn fits inside the Swift.  The internal clear, zippered pockets and the included Yarn Stuff Sack organize and secure all your daily gear inside.  It may be designed to hold knitting gear, but it works great as a daily gear bag.  We haven’t reviewed the Swift, but check out our review of the Little Swift to learn more about these bags.

Price: $90.00
Read our review
: Tom Bihn Little Swift Review
Where you can buy one: Tom Bihn

Rolling bags

Price range $100+

ecbc SparrowII 16

ec-bc Sparrow II Wheeled Garment Bag

This wheeled carry-on bag holds all your gear and can charge it too!

Price: $299.99
Read our review
: ec-bc Sparrow II Wheeled Garment Bag review
Where you can buy one: Amazon

biaggi 9

Biaggi Contempo 28″ Expandable 4 Wheel Spinner Upright folding luggage

This is a well made rolling case that has all the right features that you want in a piece of luggage. It expands to hold all your clothes and gear, and can then completely collapse for easy storage when you’re not traveling.

Price: $199.99
Read our review
: Biaggi Contempo 28″ Expandable 4 Wheel Spinner Upright folding luggage review
Where you can buy one: Amazon

Price range $10 – $50

amazonbasics rolling laptop case

AmazonBasics Rolling Laptop Case

My husband recently pinched a nerve in his back, resulting in a lot of pain and a weakened right arm.  His physical therapist told him to stop carrying heavy bags, so I went in search of a rolling laptop bag for him.  I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on it because I was afraid he would abandon it when his back was better.  I found that Amazon offered a rolling laptop bag in their AmazonBasics line.  I’ve loved every AmazonBasics product I’ve bought, so I decided I’d get this Rolling Laptop Case for Butch.  He’s used it for a couple of weeks now, and he has found it carries his 15″ laptop, binder, and other stuff with room to spare.  It rolls easily and quietly, and best of all, the handle extends to 39 or so inches, so my 6’2″-tall husband can pull it without it banging into his heels.

Price: $35.99
Where you can buy one: Amazon

Bag accessories

Price range $10 – $50

optech sos strap

OP/TECH S.O.S. Curve Strap

This OP/Tech S.O.S. Curve Strap has been around for a long time, as witnessed by the 2004 Gadgeteer review (look at the bottom for this strap).  This strap has a neoprene panel acts as a “shock absorber” to make even the heaviest bag feel up to 50% lighter. The back of the neoprene panel has a non-slip surface to help keep the bag in place.  Heavy-duty 1.5″ webbing and sturdy metal hardware complete the S.O.S. (Saves on Shoulders) strap.  The length is adjustable, and it will work on a variety of bags, including briefcases, laptop bags, and luggage.

Price: $23.95
Read our review
: Bag Strap Review
Where you can buy one: Amazon

packing cubes

Packing Cubes and pouches

I know this might not seem like a very exciting gift idea, but once you start using packing cubes in your luggage, you’ll wonder how you ever got along without them. These zippered cubes with see-through tops and zippered pouches will keep everything in your luggage organized, neat, and tidy.

Price: $13.49
Where you can buy one: Amazon

4 thoughts on “Gift Guide: Bags and backpacks”

  1. Gadgeteer Comment Policy - Please read before commenting
  2. Really?
    The bag in the picture is no where in the reviews?
    I only came here because I saw that picture in my feed reader.
    I am so disappointed.

      1. No problem.
        I am looking for the perfect marriage between travel bag and laptop carrier. Enough space for two or three books (300 page spiral bound notebooks), my 5 or 6 gel pens, all my gadget accessories and five changes of underwear (boxers and socks), three changes of shirt, tennis shorts(and gym socks) incase of decent hotel gym and two changes of trousers. Enough for a five day trip around Uganda.
        I hate travelling with more than one bag and I like quick access to my gadgets (three kindles, one phone, power bank, torch and wireless speaker.)

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