I like backpacks, but I usually travel light. I had been using a bulky North Face number (the Recon), which was a great bag despite it’s habit of getting snagged on things, until I saw this minimalist bag from Built NY. Fashioned from neoprene, it’s nicely cushioned and stretches to accomodate more stuff. While a lone laptop fits in it quite snugly, the fabric will stretch to accomodate a large pile of stuff if you want – and it’ll shrink back down afterwards. There’s actually two main compartments: a top-loading slot for laptops and books, and a side loading slot for the accessories; the two are separated keep things organized but otherwise the same size. There’s also a little pocket in the left strap for phones, keys, etc. I’ve got one, and I love it – the thing is comfortable as hell, and it gets great reactions – mostly people ask if it’s body armor! If that’s the look you’re going for, you can flip it around to the front and people will stare. Actually, the last time I did that someone told me I looked like Jack Bauer.
The Built Laptop Bag runs about $80 from their website, but Amazon is selling them for $60 right now. Be aware that they are not adjustable, and thus there exists a large version for the titans among us. Color options are black, olive, and a wood-grain type pattern in black and grey. Go grab one before Amazon bumps up the price!