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A new bag.

I’m standing in a hotel room a few thousand miles from home, and grinning like an idiot.

A bit of background: when I’m traveling, I usually toss my clothing into a small carry-on suitcase, and keep my laptop in a small briefcase-satchel-thing. And all things told, that works fine. But for trips that only last two or three nights, so I’m often lugging around a suitcase that’s not quite full.

Well, a few months back my friend Ryan posted a review of a new backpack he’d purchased, the Tom Bihn Synapse 25. Ryan’s review is great—he’s an excellent presenter, and really, really good at this whole video thing—but it also got me wondering: could I consolidate my two bags down to one, and just use a backpack for these shorter trips?

A week or so later, I had a new backpack sitting on my living room table—specifically, this version. I spent a few days wearing it as my everyday laptop bag, and was pretty impressed. The backpack feels well-made and sturdy, and is just lousy with pockets, pouches, and small compartments. It sounds weird, but it feels incredibly satisfying to slide a sunglasses case into one of the side pockets, and have it fit just so.

I managed to fit in about a month of using the bag around Boston, before my last speaking gig of the year. And as it was a work trip, I’d need to bring dress clothes along, which are always a bit bulkier.

It took a bit of doing, but here’s what I managed to pack for my inaugural Business Backpack Trip™:

I’ll be honest: I wasn’t expecting to fit this all in the backpack. I don’t consider myself an expert at packing, and it did take a few tries to get everything arranged just so. But once I did, the backpack managed the load beautifully. I could definitely see this being a fantastic travel bag for trips short and long, and for everyday use.

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