the troubadour tote makes the grade at ProfHacker

the troubadour tote makes the grade at ProfHacker

My  Troubadour has been featured again as a versatile school & laptop bag!  Heather – a writer at  Prof Hacker's Chronicle of Higher education and an assistant professor of Physics at Wheaton College – had a very specific list of requirements for a new laptop bag.  I was delighted to read that the Troubadour tote passed with flying colors.   The article is behind a paywall so here's the scoop:


best laptop tote bag troubadour prof hacker

"Here at ProfHacker, we’ve previously polled you about what’s in your bag.

Let’s make the question even more basic: what type of bag do you carry for your academia needs?

After having two successive bags begin to show wear and tear within a month of purchase, I decided it was time to invest in something of better quality.

To help with the decision-making process, I made a list of criteria that were important to me.

Here’s my list:

  • Size: not too large, not too small. I wanted the bag to be able to carry a laptop, a legal pad, a Moleskin notebook, maybe a book or two, pens and pencils, cell phone and iPod Touch, a wallet, and a pouch that I use to store a Flash drive and some other miscellaneous small items. Clearly, carrying this number of items would necessitate the bag being somewhat large. However, I also wanted it to be small enough to look reasonably like a regular purse in a pinch.
  • Appearance: It’s been hard enough for me to get out of the jeans-and-long-sleeved-tshirt routine from my graduate school lab days. I wanted the bag to look nice and professional. Also, I didn’t want anything black or brown.
  • Interior: So many bags are lined with a fairly rough nylon lining and in the past I’ve actually scraped up my knuckles reaching in the bag for items. I wanted a soft lining to avoid that. I also wanted some kind of storage area to corral miscellaneous items.
  • Base: My experience with a rounded-bottom bag convinced me that my new one needed to have a flat bottom, to enable it to stand up without falling over so easily.
  • Top: I’m paranoid about items falling out of my bags, such as will often happen if a bag is tipped over when being stored in a car or in an airplane overhead bin. An unfortunate event with a friend getting pickpocketed on our way to Europe while we were still stateside has also made me paranoid. Her bag had a foldover flap and someone still pilfered her wallet out of the bag while we were on a tram in O’Hare airport. So I wanted mine to have a zipper top.
  • Production: I wanted the bag to be made in the U.S.; this is just a personal preference.
  • Cleanability: I wanted the bag to be washable in some way.
  • Preview: I wanted to be able to handle the bag in person before purchasing. Of course, I could have purchased a bag online and then returned it, but to save myself from that hassle, bonus points went to bags that I could look at in a local store. Even more bonus points went to bags that I could purchase from a locally-owned store and not a chain. Again, that’s just a personal preference.

I made an informal call for suggestions on Twitter, and immediately responses came rolling in, including ones for bags from Timbuk2, Crumpler, and tom bihn (and specifically, the cafe, buzz, and imago bags). I started looking through the websites for these bags and comparing the difference choices. But then this post from the blog Academichic caught my eye, in which they wrote about the Troubadour tote from Crystalyn Kae. A quick search showed that the bag was available at a nearby locally-owned store, and I went to check it out.

my new Troubadour

And in the end, it’s the Troubadour bag (in orange) that I’m now carrying (photo above). I purchased it at a local store and was happy to find it discounted a bit. The Troubadour meets all my criteria and I love it. My Troubadour bag traveled really well on a recent conference trip, and I like that there is a little stretch in the handles so that they give a bit in the course of being pushed and pulled. A great bonus to this purchase process is that through it I discovered a fantastic locally-owned store that I’ll return to for work clothes in the future."


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