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These bags don't lug a load; they carry cargo in style

September 14, 2004|Judi Dash | Special to the Times; Judi Dash is based in Beachwood, Ohio. Her Travel Gear & Gadgets column runs monthly in the Sunday Travel section.

If you thought your electronic gadgets were high-tech, check out their stylish new travel cases.

Office Envoy: JanSport provides an impressive amount of bang for the bag with its new nylon briefcase, measuring 10-by-15 3/4 inches and 3 inches thick. It has an accordion-file divider built into a 2-inch, expandable, zippered back compartment. The main compartment has a quilted, foam-padded laptop sleeve and an external side mesh pocket for a water bottle (an increasingly popular component), as well as several concealed slash pockets. A back panel, zippered at both ends, slides over rolling luggage handles. The Airlift padded detachable shoulder strap that is included is the most comfortable I've tried. Weight: 3 1/4 pounds.

Interface: This JanSport backpack computer carrier seems roomier than its 800-cubic-inch capacity suggests -- most of the compartments are large open spaces. The padded computer compartment doubles as padding against the back. The built-in padded backstops can be stashed in their own zippered pocket. Weight: 2 3/4 pounds.

Jansport Office Envoy (T166) is $100; Interface backpack (TM78) is $80; (800) 558-3600, www.jansport.com.

Eagle Creek Convertabrief: Stash-away, ergonomic S-curved backpack straps transform this from a shoulder bag for laptops to a backpack. A suspended padded computer nest provides plenty of cushioning, and the main compartment expands 2 1/2 inches, enlarging the capacity to 1,375 cubic inches. A Zip Slip back pocket, open at both ends, secures the bag onto the handle of wheeled luggage. The computer compartment is large enough to hold a wider-screen (up to 15 1/2 inches) laptop. Weight: 2 1/2 pounds.

Workspace: The 1,900-cubic-inch Eagle Creek Workspace has a built-in file divider, vast amounts of space in large and small compartments and very supportive padded backpack straps and waist belt, for which you'll be grateful with heftier loads. Weight: 3 1/4 pounds.

Convertabrief (60103) is $85; Workspace backpack brief (60137) is $100; (800) 874-1048, www.eaglecreek.com.

Prescott Legal Tote: For the woman who favors a formal, feminine computer carrier, the tote is a pricey but sophisticated choice. It's made of butter-soft polished Italian black leather, with a silky claret polyester lining. The roomy case, which measures 16 3/4 -by-12 1/4 inches and is 6 inches thick, has a zippered, padded laptop compartment nestled between two open compartments. Three external slash pockets provide quick access to documents or other flat items. Sleek double shoulder straps and brushed stainless steel hardware complete the look. Weight: 3 1/2 pounds.

Women's Prescott Legal Tote (044302) is $475; (800) 322-8864, www.tumi.com.

TravelPower Case: American Power Conversion, makers of surge protectors and computer power systems, has introduced a sturdy 1,500-cubic-inch nylon case designed to protect and power a notebook computer and up to two other devices -- such as a mobile phone, hand-held device or digital camera. The case comes with a travel power adapter charging unit -- which measures 6 1/2 -by-3 inches and is 1 1/2 inches thick -- with a selection of power adapter tips to work with major notebook computer models. The integrated power system eliminates the need to bring power cords for each device. (Before you buy, check that your gear is compatible with the charging unit.)

An optional International Notebook Power Adapter Kit allows charging abroad using 230-volt power outlets. The case, which measures 15 1/2 -by-12 1/2 inches and 8 inches thick, has loads of pockets, good shock-absorbing padding and a padded removable shoulder strap. Weight: 7 pounds. The TravelPower Case also is available in a backpack model. Weight: 5 pounds.

The 500-cubic-inch TravelPower Case (TPC1500B) is $149.99; TravelPower backpack (TPC1900P) is $119.99; International Notebook Power Adapter Kit (INPA2) is $19.99; USB charging cables start at $14.99; (800) 890-4272, www.apc.com.

WebVelocity: Victorinox has come a long way from its Swiss Army knife origins. The company's WebSeries II wheeled business cases are the Swiss Army knives of computer bags -- multifunctional systems. The new WebVelocity, which measures 17 by 14 by 9 inches, has a large main compartment with a removable, heavily padded computer sleeve for a laptop of up to 15 inches. A legal-size fan-file compartment keeps documents organized and can be expanded 2 1/2 inches. A zippered external section has internal zippered and slash pockets for accessories. An exterior mesh water-bottle holder and detachable cellphone holder keep those essentials handy, and the telescoping handle provides sturdy support for piggybacking bags. The bag can piggyback onto another wheeled bag. Weight: 10 pounds.

The WebVelocity wheeled computer bag (35131N) is $345. For Victorinox Swiss Army Brands, contact TRG Accessories; (888) 658-0717, www.swissarmytravelgear.com.

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