When I joined this magazine in March, our publisher—who is affable and played college football, and so in personality and stature is the sort of person whom marketers and ad-men would have us believe the world is designed for—made a nice gesture of offering me a brand new briefcase/laptop bag that he didn’t have use for. He stood in my office doorway, lightly swinging the bag on his fingers from its thick plastic handles, and when I reached to accept it, my first thought was of the way a cartoon character might pick up an anvil and crash immediately through the floor, à la “Tom & Jerry.”
The bag weighs five pounds empty. Add four press kits and a laptop and we’re up to 13 (trust me; I’m also in possession of a utility scale). The contents of the bag I’d actually travel with would also include the adapter, a book, a snack, a notepad and pens and—if I decided not to schlep it, too—the contents of my purse. Too easily, that triple-zipper monster, typical in size at roughly 16 x 13 x 6, is exceeding 20 pounds. To anyone who was once part of an offensive line, that may not sound (or feel) considerable; but for many women—especially shorter women—that can mean lugging around practically a fifth of their body weight. (And the fun only continues if they’re also wearing heels and/or have a carry-on in tow.)
Two companies in particular are designing laptop bags with women in mind, offering not only a variety of materials and colors, but bags that are slimmer, lighter and far easier to manage.
HP offers four Women in Business notebook carrying cases—well, two designs, four options. There’s a rectangular leather bag with a clean design and interior pockets that is currently available in black, though come January 2005 will also be available in red. Both retail for $119 and include a removable “mini bag” suitable for change or makeup. Unfortunately, the exact measurements aren’t available on the HP site, but the cases look about as wide as an index finger is long.
A top-loading black nylon case is a bit wider, with two exterior pockets, which the designers imagine one might use for cable storage, a Pocket PC and airline tickets. This style will also be available in a leopard print, in January 2005. Both bags retail for $69 and come with detachable mini bags.
All four cases also feature double straps. Straps are preferable to a hand-held bag for the practical reason that one can easily bear more weight on a shoulder than with a hand. The additional bonus here, though, is that the straps are narrow purse-style straps, which many may find preferable to a single thick nylon strap. The cases were designed for HP by Targus/Fabrique and are available on the HP web site, as well as at www.smb.compaq.com.
Casauri (www.casauri.com) offers four lines of carrying cases specifically for women: The Octopus Collection features clamshell-style laptop cases made of smooth PVC, which is offered in five colors: slate, red, kiwi, grape and black. The medium case (11.5 x 9 x 2) retails for $49.99 and the large case (13 x 10.5 x 2) for $59.99.
The Odyssey Collection is similar in design to Octopus, but the material is quilted PVC available in black, platinum, red and gunmetal. Odyssey offers the same size options, but for $64.99 and $74.99, respectively.
The Omni Collection includes a variety of refined-polyester envelope-style (top-loading) bags, which include a 14 x 12 computer pouch ($44) a small envelope designed for 12” laptops ($54) and a compact case designed for 15”, 16” and 17” laptops ($88), among others, in pink, kiwi, red or navy.
The aesthetically distinct Citra Collection is “a sunburst of pulsating colors and cool stripes,” explains Casauri’s Web site, designed “to transport you to thoughts of balmy breezes and sunny sands.” This collection of water-resistant nylon pieces includes small and medium envelopes ($70 and $80, respectively) and a portfolio valise for 14” and 15” laptops ($98).
If your holiday shopping isn’t yet in the bag, you may want to consider a case.