The Quest for the Perfect Laptop Bag

bbp hampton hybrid
bbp hampton hybrid

You can tell I’ve just gotten back from traveling because I seem to find myself on laptop bag websites trying to figure out what is going to work best for my next flight (in two weeks!). When I switched up from my little 12″ iBook to my current 15.4″ Macbook Pro I really started noticing the shoulder strain dragging my gear about in various backpack and messenger-style bags. Of course I’m one of those idiots who insists on carrying every bit of gear not only in-transit but also when cruising the convention floor. At Macworld expo two years ago I saw these funky hybrid messenger/backback bags that were designed to sit low on one’s “bum” to reduce shoulder strain from a New York design company called BBP (which stands for “Bum Back Pack”). I’ve loved my Hampton ever since. Alas, I’ve recently purchased a digital SLR camera and I now need to add the 35-mm style camera and lens to the carrying equation. Damn.

For this last trip I went minimalist and just used a sleeve with a strap from Tom Bihn for the computer and a very small generic Case Logic camera bag when on the Expo floor. That worked okay, but I didn’t have room for water or my 55-250mm lens. Damn. Thank god I was wearing my Internet cargo pants, so I had the pockets, but I wasn’t happy having my camera lens bouncing around in the thigh pockets (nor the bruises I was sure to get afterwards). Fortunately at one camera bag vendor I saw a reference to a camera/laptop hybrid bag from Tenba. Alas, by the expo’s first full day they’d sold out of this mysterious bag so I will have to see if this bag fits the bill when I get a chance to run down to my local “photography” store. Then in the course of my post-expo research I found out that one of my prior bag vendors, Tom Bihn, had produced an interesting TSA friendly computer bag. Camera/laptop bag… right. I need to stay on track. Thus the quest for the perfect laptop (/camera) bag continues.


  1. Anag

    Thanks Jbb!!

    One issue I continue to struggle with so I guess this can go international too? I am getting one right at this moment.


  2. J. Spencer

    At just $80, and it comes with a few extras, might I suggest the Slappa Bulkhead Pro 4:1 Laptop Bag:

    As a mobile DJ, I use this bag because I can carry two laptops in it’s abundance of chambers. Plus, it separates into four individual bags, should you need that for anything.

    Perhaps the biggest pitfall is the shoulder strap, instead of a backpack approach. I suppose I don’t notice it as much since most of my travel is done on a cart, stacked with 100+ lbs of other stuff.

    Alternatively, (and just $20 more) I’ve seen the M-Audio Studio Backpack at conventions. It looks good too, but the extra compartments didn’t seem to have enough room for me. Check it out here:

    Lastly, there are a variety of rolling bags that I’ve been considering as of late. Many of them I saw last year in Vegas, but still haven’t broken down to buy one yet. One is the Odyssey BProducer ( and the other is the UDG Producer (

    Good luck!


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