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You can consider this post a followup to The Quest For The Perfect Man-Bag that I made almost exactly three years ago. I’ve had a lot go on in my life since then, but one of the end results is that I have more of a budget and leeway in being able to buy what I want.

When we last checked in on the status of my bag and portage fetish, I was carrying a Maxpedition Typhoon single-strap bag. When my wife passed away in ’09, I used the Typhoon as my carry-on bag when I flew to Chattanooga, TN for her funeral. It worked okay for that purpose, but I ended up wishing for double straps of a normal width, as I’m a big guy and the Typhoon’s single strap was uncomfortable at times. In the fall of ’09, I ordered a Maxpedition Falcon II backpack (Royal Blue with “Foliage” straps and MOLLE web) as soon as they became available.

I sort of have a habit of buying a new backpack/bag when I get a new portable computer, so when I finally broke down and bought an iPad in the fall of 2010, I ordered a custom Timbuk2 “Swig” backpack to go along with it. This served as my pack for the iPad and gear until a few months ago when I was finally able to buy a semi-recent (2010) MacBook Pro. Continuing the tradition, I picked up a Timbuk2 “Shotwell” backpack in black, partly due to an amazing price through Amazon Warehouse Deals. Sold as “Used”, it was still sealed in its plastic bag.

While the Timbuk2 gear is plenty tough, I wanted something a little more rugged with slightly more padding. By this time I was a little tired of the tacti-cool miliary look of the Maxpedition gear, and started looking at other brands. I settled on Crumpler after days of review, and a couple of weeks later had both a Crumpler “Salary Sacrifice” backpack and a Crumpler “Sheep Scarer” backpack, having paid less than half of retail price for both of them.

In addition, through another Amazon Warehouse Deals sale, I picked up two Crumpler “Skivvy” large laptop messenger bags for $25 each! I didn’t have a use for them at the time, but was impressed with the quality of the other Crumpler products I’d seen and at that price they were a really good deal. Since then I’ve used one of them for a ThinkPad laptop I loaned out to a friend, and the other to carry my HP TouchPad tablet around in.

Anyway, the “Salary Sacrifice” is perfect for most things. It carries my 11″ MacBook Air just fine (in a Hard Candy EVA case). However, it’s advertised as being able to carry a 13″ MacBook Pro – and it can, if the MBP isn’t already in any sort of case or sleeve. I prefer to put all of my portables in some sort of case or sleeve before putting them in a bag or pack, and that makes the MBP just a tad too big to fit in the Salary Sacrifice bag properly. It will fit in the “Sheep Scarer”, but is still a bit too tight for my preferences.

So, tonight I finally bit the bullet and ordered the Crumpler “Beer Back” backpack in black. They advertise it as being able to fit a 17″ laptop, so it should hold everything I need with room to spare.

Now the question is – do I try to sell off some of my unused bags, or keep them around “just in case”?

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