Gadling Gear Review: Gregory Border Laptop Day Pack

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.

Product review – Solo CheckFast Netbook instant messenger bag

In this product review, I’m going to give you a quick look at a new laptop bag. Of course, new laptop bags are introduced by the boatload every week, so you’ll understand that this bag is something special.

The Solo CheckFast Netbook Instant messenger bag does 2 things most other bags can’t do; it is TSA friendly, and it is designed specifically for Netbook computers.

The Solo Netbook instant messenger is the first true Netbook friendly bag I have come across. I’ve previously reviewed a different Netbook protective cover, but it did not offer the same features as the Solo.

As I mentioned earlier, the CheckFast Netbook instant messenger bag is TSA friendly. Being “TSA friendly” means that the bag can be folded open, allowing the airport X-Ray equipment to see the laptop, without having to remove your laptop from its bag.

The bag itself is quite impressive. The laptop portion of the bag is designed for Netbook computers up to 11 inches. In addition to this compartment, you’ll also find 2 other portions, one of which is designed to hold small items like USB flash drives or a portable hard drive.

Opening the bag for inspection at the airport is quite easy, and only takes about 10 seconds. When you arrive at the security checkpoint, you simply unclip the buckle at the front, loosen a piece of Velcro, and fold the entire bag flat on the conveyor.

Other features of the bag include a nicely padded handle and a non-slip shoulder strap.

The best part of this bag? It only costs $35 (when purchased from Amazon). I’ve been carrying the bag around for a few days now, and I absolutely love it. It suddenly dawned on me that it does not make sense to carry a small computer in a large bag, but until now, I did not want to say goodbye to my regular TSA friendly laptop bag.

Of course, with a smaller bag, you’ll have less room to carry stuff, but being forced to travel lighter is something you’ll learn to appreciate. Even if you don’t plan to travel with your Netbook, having a stylish bag to protect it is a wise investment.

The Solo CheckFast Nebook Instant messenger bag is available from Amazon, Ebags or one of the other retailers listed on the product page.