I don't have a car, and while I don't miss the costs connected to owning one, I do miss the convenience and additional storage while commuting in one. When you commute via public transit, bike, or walking, you're limited to what you can carry which makes the right bag choice all that much more essential...
Here are three bags (all of which fit a laptop) with three different carrying mechanisms, that I've hands-on tested during my commute, all with a bonus: none of them look like something a kid would bring to primary school.
This lightweight bag fits my 15" laptop comfortably (although there's no built-in compartment) as well as for my other daily commute essentials, like a water bottle and a sack lunch. Accessing contents from the Cortina is simple thanks to the wide opening and easy zipper pull. I also love the way it looks and how easy it is to slip off my shoulder and carry when getting on and off public transit.
One of the features I like most about this bag is it isn't messy and detracting from a polished outfit despite its workhorse features. I love the bag looks and works just as well as a briefcase, but also lets me fit quite a bit more. I've used the Cortina almost every single day since I purchased it 6 or so months ago. Bonus, since it's made by Tumi, the bag also features a compartment made for sliding into the handle of rolled luggage making it a nice pick as a carry-on as well.
Best Features: wide opening, fits 15" laptop, fashion-friendly design.
Across the Body - Lo & Sons OG ($295.00):
While this bag also has carry handles which work for carrying over the shoulder, I prefer to wear the bag across the body with the detachable messenger strap. This bag accommodates for my 15" laptop, and since it has a laptop compartment, I'm able to slide it in there sans a sleeve. One of my favourite features about this bag for commuting is the shoe compartment which, I'm not going to lie, I've used most often for a water bottle. The bag is spacious without looking gigantic, and I can fit everything I need for my workday in it as well as workout clothes for the gym. I have had this bag now for over a year and a half and it's one that I have recommended to several friends and continues to be my favourite bag for overnight trips. Like the aforementioned Cortina, this bag also has a compartment for sliding into the handle of a rolling bag.
Best Features: spacious, safely fits 15" laptop, extra shoe compartment.
On the Back - Evernote Côte&Ciel Isar Rucksack ($242.00):
Confession: I kind of dislike backpacks. I'm not sure if it's just how uncomfortable they can be for women ergonomically or because they remind me of that time I fell backwards in the library after filling one with too many books. I still keep my eyes peeled for one that might win me over, specifically to wear while commuting on a bike.
The clean lines and the helmet compartment of the Isar Rucksack caught my eye, spotted over at the newly launched Evernote Market. After trying the bag, the thing I noted I liked the most about the rucksack has to be the unique compartment design. Instead of opening up to a cavernous space without defined spaces, the bag is divided into two main sections. The back section is a well padded laptop compartment (fits up to 15" laptops) as well as space for a tablet and books. The front "shark fin" section is designed to flexible, accommodating large round objects like a helmet or smaller items like a water bottle or lunch.
The bag also has several straps that you can tighten to keep your items from wobbling about and to slim down the overall size of the bag. There are a few features which do need improvement: the "shark fin" could easily have been designed to fold towards the right or left to accommodate for both left-handed and right-handed wearers. The strap across the top also tends to hit some wearers (every woman who tried this bag save for one) at an odd place in back of the neck and can be a bit uncomfortable. While this bag has not quite convinced me to use a backpack for my daily commute, the Evernote Rucksack has come the closest and looks a lot more sophisticated than other options out there.
Best Features: Parisian style meets dot.com features, all-metal hardware, large enough to fit commuter items like bike helmets.
(Images: Joelle Alcaidinho)
Apartment Therapy Media makes every effort to test and review products fairly and transparently. The views expressed in this review are the personal views of the reviewer and this particular product review was not sponsored or paid for in any way by the manufacturer or an agent working on their behalf. Some of the products listed were provided by the manufacturer for testing and review purposes, others purchased by reviewer.