Over dinner last night, my friend revealed a tragic development: She had slipped and fallen on the ice in our very hilly, badly-plowed neighborhood, suffering a few scratches and bruises. But the worst casualty by far, she told me, was her Not a Laptop Bag bag. It was now ripped and mud-covered. Not a fan of actual laptop bags – which we’ve both found stiff and skinny and appearing to be designed to carry a computer and a computer alone – she didn’t know where to turn for a replacement.
Since these elusive Not Laptop Laptop bags are more difficult to search for (the operative word being the enemy here), we’ve decided to do the work for you. Below, three of our favorite sturdy but versatile totes – all are at least 14 1/2” by 11 1/2'” and have flat (not rounded) straps that will let you lug some extra weight with relative comfort.
I discovered a wonderful secret when searching for a Not Laptop Laptop bag three years ago: diaper bags. I do not have a baby. I do, however, have a water bottle and a cell phone, and very much appreciate bottle pockets that accommodate my water, cell phone pockets that assume I do not have time to dig around before missing a call (isn’t this a universal?), and metal feet that allow my bag’s bottom to remain pristine on city floors. This Reese Li model ($150) also has adjustable straps that allow you to ward off back aches by finding just the right length to comfortably shoulder your load.
An extremely luxe option that we’d covet even if it wasn’t perfect for computer carrying, the Furla Giselle Grande Shopper ($525) has a chic minimalist design and an interior strap to reign in the width when you’re lugging around less stuff.
Urban Outfitters’ very large Slouchy Duffel Tote (was $48, now $24.99) is the kind of amorphous bag that invites you to be indulgent and just throw in anything you think you might need in the next 24 hours. The patchwork-like stitching evokes a bohemian feel, which will trick passersby and acquaintances into thinking you’re actually really laid-back and not carrying around your laptop so as to allow working from Starbucks on Sunday afternoon.