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Posts Tagged travel bag

Brenthaven Collins Slim Brief Messenger Laptop Bag

Brenthaven laptop briefcaseLet’s face it. We are what we wear sometimes, and this sleek and comfortable messenger bag sends a contemporary and modern impression. My charcoal Brenthaven Collins Slim briefcase looks as hip and cool as ever as I stroll through airports with it slung over my shoulder using the adjustable strap or dangling over my rollaboard suitcase.

It can easily fit a MacBook Air 13″ or MacBook Pro 13″-15″. I admit that I am not cool enough to have a MacBook (and I am proud of it), but my Lenovo ThinkPad 15″ fits easily into the same supportive, foam-protecting slot.

The same padded pocket can hold a tablet device or even smart phone without concern for it to shift around. A front storage pocket is also great for storing smaller items such as keys, boarding passes, passports, or pens and notepads.

For a slim carrying case, I was quite surprised at the quantity of magazines and paperwork that I could stuff into the pocket without it feeling too bulky or looking stretched.

While this case would not work for some of my longer trips that see me gone for two weeks at a time, it is perfectly convenient for short trips where my load is light.

I think that we can all agree that our laptops are our most valuable commodity since they store so much of our information and work documents. At least for me, I could not survive happily without it, which is why seeking out the most protective, yet stylish, carrying equipment is paramount for my travels.

It comes in a variety of colors, and the metal strap provides a fine design accent no matter what hue you select. Brenthaven has always provided solid value for my money, and this briefcase will not disappoint.

It retails for only $79.95 on the Brenthaven website, on Zappos, and on Amazon, which is surprisingly affordable for this well-known brand name.

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Kelty Ascender 22 Trunk Luggage System

Kelty expanding luggage

Ascender 22 with chassis

It takes all kinds of luggage to please a variety of travelers. For me, business travel necessitates functionality and flexibility in what and how I pack. The Kelty Ascender Trunk Luggage System seemed like a good idea worth trying especially when I have long two or three week trips to varying climates.

Kelty Ascender Trunk- Chestnut

Kelty Trunk without chassis

Now, I will be the first to tell you that I do not carry backpacks on business trips so the option to wear this on my back was never one that I considered. But, it was nice to know that if I ever revert to the days of university student backpacker that I have the correct gear to get around. The shoulder straps can be tucked away easily converting the bag from professional to backpack in an instant.

What I found most useful about this bag is that it fits with a chassis that allows the bag to roll like a traditional suitcase. It is a modular system allowing you to add to the trunk if needed with additional pieces, but also giving you the capability to travel only with the Ascender Trunk for shorter trips.

In the bag, there are dividers to keep things separated and a hidden bag for wet or dirty items. I hate the musty smell that can come from carrying dirty laundry or wet clothing around for days so this feature is especially helpful.

The top and sides of the bag have durable padding keeping the contents safe, which is something that I was initially concerned about since I tend to prefer a hard-shell bag when traveling. Another benefit of a soft-shell bag is that it can expand easily if I over pack. Having that extra “give” is a plus on long trips.

With internal pockets, it is easy to keep things organized, and the outer zip pocket was convenient for storing items that I may need in a hurry such as a boarding pass or keys. Initially, I was worried that the bag would attract attention of nosy gate agents thinking it is too big to fit in an overhead, but when carrying the trunk alone, I rarely had a problem. Expanding it in size, however, shifts it from being a carry-on bag to a larger bag, which is a nice option if checking a bag.

The Ascender Trunk sells for $199.95 at Kelty’s website, but does not come with the chassis. For the complete system including the chassis and waterproof duffel bag, which can be easily zipped on to the trunk, the retail price jumps to $349.95, but provides excellent versatility. It is also available on Amazon,eBags, and Zappos.

I added the chassis to my bag since I prefer not to wear my luggage, and I was surprised at how easy it rolled due to the rather large wheels. Bags with small wheels can be tough to drag on carpeting or bumpy streets. This bag is designed for adventure travelers, but I found it to be quite useful for my business trips as well.

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Mountainsmith Descent Camera Bag

The Mountainsmith Descent is a solid camera bag option for anyone who travels with their DSLR and extra camera gear. It’s not massive, so you won’t feel dwarfed by your camera equipment everywhere you go, and it’s affordable while still delivering on the features you need. The Descent is designed with a cross-chest carry (more on that in a minute) and features a handy clamshell access to the main compartment. You get a media pocket under the lid, and an external front pocket with key clip. A large front section offers plenty of organizational space for documents, a tablet or Kindle, and a wallet. The bag could definitely double as your carry-on if you travel light.

mountainsmith descentInside, the main compartment is divided into four sections with sturdy Atilon foam with a 14 L volume. You can fit two camera bodies and two lenses, no problem. The outside is nylon with waterproof coating, and there’s a rain hood as well.

The mobility for this bag is quite good. due to a secure hip belt in addition to the shoulder strap. I know some photographers prefer backpacks to sling bags, and I do too…when hiking good distances. When I have my DSLR with me, however, I tend to want to stop often and take lots of shots. If you’re like me, and want to access your camera at any moment, the Descent’s sling shoulder strap will really work for you. I like the ability to slide the bag forward as I walk or when I stop at a sight. I don’t want to  have to take the entire bag off my body to access the camera. Is the Descent going to be as comfortable to move with as a backpack style? No, but it’s darn close. If you’ll be hiking or traveling good distances between shots, a backpack might be for you, but if you’re a stop and shoot all day long kind of photographer, opt for the sling carry.

The Descent is versatile, fitting most users, but if you have a long torso, you’ll want to try it out in a brick and mortar store before ordering. The adults in our family had no problem exchanging the bag back and forth to wear, with easy adjustments to the sling strap and optional chest strap. Pick up the Descent for an exclusive $99 price at REI this December or find it on at other retailers and Mountainsmith in January.

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Magellan’s Four-Wheeled Getaway Under-Seat Tote Travel Bag

4-wheel under seat luggageThis innovative, four-wheeled Getaway Under-Seat Tote carryon bag from Magellan’s quickly caught my eye. Not that I have thrown caution to the wind and decided to slum it aboard Spirit (which charges for overhead baggage), but that thought crossed my mind when I saw this item. Both Spirit and Allegiant charge for baggage in the overhead bin adding to the need for suitcases to maximize that underseat storage space. This would be great for those that travel aboard ultra low-fare airlines.

That kind of bargain hunting is perfect for those looking to save money and willing to fly those ultra low-cost airlines making this bag ideal for them. However, it could also be of interest to Southwest or Delta passengers concerned about passing the nosy gate agent scruff test.

I decided to try it myself and had no problems on any of the ten flights I traveled on with this bag. To be fair, I did not stuff another large bag on top of it (although my narrow briefcase was always present). And the bag may appear to tall to fit under the seat at first, but it does with ease.

The four-wheel rotation of this bag made it simple to maneuver within the airport although it was smaller in storage size meaning it is best left for short trips.

The main compartment has ample space for a small stash of clothes and a pair of tennis shoes plus some handy pockets, including a padded iPad sleeve, zippered water bottle pouch, and 3-1-1 pocket. It weighs less than seven pounds overall and is just about 15 inches tall.

The lightweight nature of the bag and lack of a bulky appearance make this an ideal travel gift for frequent flyers and is available on Magellan’s website for $149.

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Lowepro Passport Sling II

Lowepro Passport Sling IIWhen you’re hauling around a big DSLR, your choice for carrying it usually amounts to an obvious-looking camera bag or a camera backpack. While both do the job (and some, quite nicely, like the Lowepro Photo Sport 200 AW), sometimes you just want something different. That’s when you need to take a look at the Lowepro Passport Sling II.

The sling bag is a convenient way to carry your camera and gear together, without looking like a typical photo bag. Adjust the shoulder strap to carry it on one shoulder or diagonally across your body for a more secure fit (plus, the shoulder pad is detachable). The adjustable strap has a cam lock, so it’ll stay however you set it.

The removable padded camera box is also customizable, allowing you to shift the Velcro interior walls to fit your camera and lenses. Leaving your camera behind? All you have to do is pull the box out, and the sling becomes a full day bag.

Even if you’re carrying your DSLR and a couple of lenses, the bag is roomy enough to fit some gear, such as: wallet, keys, pens, notebook, sunglasses, smart phone, water bottle, and a light jacket. At least, that’s what I got into mine while traveling in New Zealand. Need a little extra room? Unzip the front compartment, and get 30 percent more space.

The Lowepro Passport Sling II lists for $79.99 on the Lowepro website and comes in black/red and gray/green color combinations. It’s also available on Amazon for $64.95.

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