Been hunting around for the perfect pack to hold your laptop, lunch, water bottle, jacket and spaghetti plate of chords? Yeah, you’re not the only one. Good news! I’ve found one that I really like – and trust me, I’ve tried a dozen of these things and I’m keen to their flaws. The Gregory Border, a new TSA friendly laptop bag, has got it all figured out – really.
This pack is airport ready. The bag unzips into a flat configuration so you don’t have to unpack your laptop at the TSA checkpoint. That’s a time saver and makes clearing security a little faster. There’s a fat Velcro tab to hold your computer in place, too, so even though the pack is open, your machine won’t fly out. There’s one more airport friendly feature – a pass through on the back of the bag so you can slide it over the handle of your roller bag. (It’s also a good place for your lightweight coat or sweater.)In addition to the airport happy design, the pack has pockets aplenty. There’s a front pocket for the stuff you want to keep accessible – your boarding pass, phone and lip balm. There’s a zippered security pocket inside for your wallet and other valuables. There’s also a mesh organizer pocket, not secure but accessible; maybe that’s where you keep your bus pass. There’s a business card-sized pocket for an ID or, hey, a stack of your business cards – why not? There are two side pockets, one zippered, one not; I used one for a water bottle and the other for snacks or my pocket camera. There are two flat pockets – one inside opposite the laptop sleeve and one on the front for stuff you’ll need to get to more easily.
The fit is nice too. The adjustable straps are a nice shape and there’s a chest clip to use when you’re running to catch the bus and you don’t want the pack swinging around. The tie-ons on the outside are great for your wet swimsuit or for clipping your flip-flops on.
I didn’t decide I liked this pack overnight. I used it for a long-haul trip, a conference and carried it as to my office for about a month. I used it in bad weather, on rainy days and to carry my lunch around. Right now, it’s holding a headlamp, a pashmina, a netbook, a spork, an espresso tumbler, a lot of charger cables, my wallet and, huh, a business card from a French vintner. And there’s still plenty of room for more stuff. But it’s not bulky, and it actually has a nice profile, too. The only thing I didn’t like – at first – was that I could not find a secure place for my keys, but I just hadn’t looked; there’s a clip for that, too.
Big win. It’s hard to find a pack that has everything sussed. The Border from Gregory nails it. The bag comes in three colors – light blue, dark blue and black. The smallest size – the Border 18 – retails for $99.