It’s got a little window on the front for you to insert Solgaard’s solar-powered battery pack, and built-in cables that bring a USB-A input to the outside zipped side pocket for easy charging (but it also comes with a removable cover if you don’t get the power bank with it). The lining is made out of recycled ocean plastic, and it even comes with a reusable metal straw and cleaning brush for extra environmental brownie points.
On the security side it has a built-in combination lock on a steel cable, so you can lock the zips or chain it to a table if you’re at a cafe. There are four hidden pockets between the handles and the back of the bag that are a good size for credit cards, ID, a small wallet and a passport (but not large enough for a passport wallet, which is frustrating). And the bottom of the bag is very thick and padded, with a cutting resistant material to thwart thieves who slice the bottom of bags to steal the contents.
The only negative of the bag is that the side pockets won’t really hold a reusable drink bottle, so you need to use a bottle with a carabiner clip at attach it to one of the rings on the shoulder straps or the front. It also looks like a standard backpack, so can be difficult to make look elegant or professional. Other than that, this is the perfect bag.
Carries A Lot: STM Myth ($169)
This 28L bag was designed by someone who loves to have things organised, so it’s filled with helpful pockets and sections.
There’s a separate zipped section just for your laptop and tablet, with cable passthrough holes on each pocket to charge what you need. The middle section has two small zipped pockets and one sliding pocket, but is mostly dedicated to open space for large books or a bulky lunch. The front pocket is set up for lots of beautiful cable organisation.
The side pockets will hold an umbrella and a water bottle, and the whole bag is waterproof, so it’s prepared for Melbourne/Sydney weather.
The bag I have is grey with black vinyl accents, which makes it look a bit more sophisticated, and doesn’t clash completely with a suit. It also just feels really comfortable on your back.
Unfortunately you can’t really attach a lock to the zips, and there aren’t any secret passport pockets, making this really good for taking back and forth to uni but not ideal for travel, despite the luggage handle passthrough.
Aesthetically Pleasing: Code Republic Savannah (from $479.95)
Most laptop bags are designed by people who assume you don’t mind looking like a teenager. This is a bag for adults who want to look good and be the boss.
The bag I have is black leather with rose gold accents and grey lining, and also comes with a matching passport and phone wallet, purse, business card holder, and cashmere pashmina.
It comfortably holds a 14-inch laptop, associated cables, the included accessories, a decent-sized lunch, sunglasses, pens, water bottle, work papers, and anything else you need for a day at the office before a business dinner. It has plenty of pockets and zippered sections to keep all that stuff organised.
You have the option of using the handles or a shoulder strap, and the RFID protection in the pockets stops you from getting your credit card skimmed on the street. It also just looks like a regular handbag, so someone is less likely to try to steal your laptop out of it.
The trade-off is that this thing is heavy. Even without stuff in it, it is not a light bag, so you don’t want to carry it around for longer than you need to.
Alice is a freelance journalist, producer and presenter.