Timbuk2 Commute/Command Is The Most Popular Laptop Bag

If you’re looking for a better laptop bag to carry your gear to class or the office, you could use any old padded bag, or you could use something weatherproof, stylish, and functional. Last week we asked you for your favorites, then looked at the five best laptop bags. Now we’re back to crown the community favorite.

It was difficult to whittle down your just shy of a hundred laptop bags to five we could highlight, but of those five, the Timbuk2 Commute and Command took the top spot with close to 40% of the overall vote. It’s spacious, flexible, well made, TSA-friendly, and totally portable. It earned high praise in both the call for contenders and the voting round.

Second place went to the Mission Workshop Sanction, a weatherproof 20-liter rucksack that’s comfortable to wear for long periods and will keep your gear completely dry on the inside. It looks great on the back, too! It took the second spot with over 21% of the vote. Third place went to the ThinkGeek Bag of Holding, a D&D reference made real, that has more than enough space for all of your gear and then some. It picked up over 17% of the votes cast. The Waterfield Designs Staad Laptop Bag picked up fourth place with over 11% of the vote, and the Strellson “Hunter” Messenger Bags brought up the rear with just shy of 10% of the vote.

For more on these, and the honorable mentions not listed here, make sure to head back to the full Hive Five feature to read more.

It is not an easy task to find the perfect laptop bag. Some of us use whatever we got with the laptop, others spend hundreds on the perfect bag. This week, we asked you for the best, and out of dozens of great options, we’re looking at the top five based on your nominations.

Whether it’s a backpack or a messenger, a diagonal strap or a briefcase, we asked you for your favorite laptop bags earlier this week and you responded with tons. To be seriously, you nominated close to a hundred different, great bags, and they were all great. Even so, we could only pick five to highlight here, and there were some nominees that rose to the top. Here they are, in no particular order.

Timbuk2 Commute/Command

The Command and Commute by Timbuk2 both could have had their own entries in the top five, but we put them together since they’re from the same folks, and they’re very similar in build and design. Both bags are designed to take whatever you throw at them, whether it’s airline travel (the current iteration of both the Commute and Command are TSA-compliant), bike rides to work, commutes in the car, or walking around town. They’re both available in three sizes to accommodate any size laptop (or person), feature easy-clean TPU liners, and soft padded sleeves to protect your laptop. Both can be worn as messengers or briefcases, and include a number of extras to give you easy access to water bottles, keys, and other accessories without digging through your bag. The Commute is a classic, featuring a waterproof flap, heavy velcro closures, and hard-snap buckles that keep your bag closed tight, without sacrificing internal pockets and sleeves for pens, phones, power bricks, cables, and other accessories. The Command on the other hand is a little lighter and features Timbuk2’s silent open and close system so you can get in and out quickly. You also have easy side access if you need something, a front organizer, metal fasteners on the front, separate sleeves for laptops and tablets, and even a pass-through for easy carry on rolling luggage.
Both models earned a ton of praise in the call for contenders thread. Full disclosure, I nominated the Commute because I have one, and like many of you, it’s lasted me so long that while I’d love to buy another or try a Command, I can’t justify the purchase because the bag is so well built. Almost every testimonial in the thread as positive, and you all praised both bags’ build quality, and sturdiness, especially at the price. The Command will set you back between $129-$149 (before accessories and customizations), and the Commute will set you back between $109-$129. You can read more about the Commute in its nomination thread here, and more about the Command in its nomination thread here.

The ThinkGeek Bag of Holding

ThinkGeek’s carried the Bag of Holding for ages, and sure enough, it’s a messenger that you might actually think is bigger on the inside. What started as an old D&D pun has turned into a well-regarded and well-recognized messenger that has space for a laptop up to 17″, can be purchased as a messenger or a backpack (the backpack is relatively new), and is built of solid weather-resistant canvas that’s soft enough to not be a pain to open, but rugged enough to take a beating. All of the zippers are brass and close tightly without slipping open, and the riveted fixtures both look great and keep the flap shut. The laptop compartment itself is padded to keep your laptop safe, but in addition to the laptop compartment there are also two more compartments next to it, a velcro pocket in front of that, and a zippered compartment right on the flap for essentials you need quick access to. You can grab measurements for each of the compartments over at ThinkGeek’s site, but speaking as someone who’s been hands-on with one of these before, you won’t have trouble fitting all of your stuff into it.

In the nominations thread, you also shared the enthusiasm for both the Bag of Holding’s name and its incredible storage—the size is great, but even though it has a lot of space, it doesn’t have a ton of discrete sleeves and pockets for accessories (We’d suggest you pick up a Grid-It organizer. These bags are perfect for them.) Some of you pointed out that the Bag of Holding is sturdy, long-lasting, and one of your noted you’ve had yours for well over five years and it’s still going strong. If you’d like one, you can pick it direct from ThinkGeek for $50. Read more in its nomination thread here.

The Sanction rucksack from Mission Workshop is a 20-liter carry-all that’s waterproof, long across your back and comfortable to wear for long periods, stylish, and doesn’t skimp on the space and organizational tricks inside to to keep all of your gear safe and neatly arranged. We mentioned that it’s waterproof, but even some of the internal sleeves and pockets are also waterproof or weatherproof, and sport urethane coated zippers so nothing gets in. It features a large internal frame sheet to help it keep its shape as you wear it on your back, and if you’re worried that such a large backpack won’t have a sleeve for your laptop, you’d be wrong. There’s a large internal zippered pocket that supports just about any size laptop nicely. The double clasp on the back makes sure your bag is secure whether you’re on the train or on a bike, and the pocket on the back gives you quick access to essentials.

The Sanction earned your praise in the nominations thread for being an incredibly weatherproof bag—in fact, reader cjammet, who nominated it, noted he’d been in monsoons with the thing and carried sensitive equipment like a DSLR inside. Sure enough, everything stayed dry. If you’re interested in one, you can snag one for $189 direct from Mission Workshop, complete with a lifetime warranty. Read more about it in its nomination thread here.

Swiss company Strellson’s bags are definitely high fashion, but they’re also built to last. The link above goes directly to their site (and is in German), but you can buy their bags direct, from eBay, from a store if there’s one near you, or from a third party like Wardow’s collection. That said, the Hunter series of leather briefcase/messenger bags from Strellow are made entirely of high-quality, water-resistant vintage-styled leather. The bags come in multiple sizes to accommodate different body types (and laptops or tablets inside), and features double closures with one loop closure at the front and Velcro strips to keep the flap secured. Polished metal clasps keep everything closed, and Each Hunter also packs tons of pockets inside for files, organizers, pens and notebooks, keys, phones, and other accessories. There’s a padded laptop sleeve as well that can accommodate between a 13″ and 17″ laptop, depending on the size you buy.

Finding a Hunter may be tricky, but those of you who praised the nomination liked a bag that functions just as well as a briefcase as it does a messenger, and doesn’t look amateurish in either case. The Hunter can be worn over or across the shoulder or carried by hand via the hand-strap. In the nominations thread, you praised its all-leather build, and the fact that as the leather weathers over time, the bag still looks great. If you don’t like the all-brown leather, there are black options available too. They’ll set you back between €169.00 (~ $227 USD) to €189.00 (~$254 USD) depending on the model you get and where you can find them. Read more in its nomination thread here.

Waterfield Designs Staad Laptop Backpack

The Staad Laptop Backpack from Waterfield Designs (aka SFBags.com) comes in both “slim” and “stout” models depending on how much you need to carry, but both feature plenty of space to carry a notebook up to 15″ with room to spare for accessories and peripherals. You can choose tan waxed-canvas or black ballistic for the body of the bag, and black, chocolate or “grizzly” leather for the flap. If you’re looking for a backpack that you can wear in an office environment that doesn’t look like you just got out of the classroom, this is one worth a look. it’s weather-resistant, and the center zipper pulls down a bit to give you access to both the laptop and discrete tablet sleeves, along with the main enclosure and twin diagonal pockets for smaller items like power bricks, phones, cameras, and other items.

In the nominations thread, you highlighted the fact that the Staad was a good-looking backpack, perhaps even moreso in person than in pictures, well designed, and made of premium materials. If you’re interested in one, you’ll drop $319 for the slim model, and $329 for the stout model. Read more in its nomination thread here.

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