Holiday Gift Week: DataKeeper Bag Integrates 3-Ring Binder

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Date: Monday, December 9th, 2002, 07:30
Category: Archive

We’re still living in a paper world. If only our paper lives were as organized and portable as the data on our Macs: how many of you have Macs with pristine, meticulously arranged data in contrast to more chaotic paper trails? Most laptop bags aggravate the situation with document pockets that eventually leave papers wrinkled and torn (at least if, like me, you stuff too many papers in them!). Our friends at Shaun Jackson Design have introduced the DataKeeper bag, the best bag I’ve seen for those who want to tote a laptop and lots of loose papers. It easily makes our gift guide as a great gift for mobile warriors, students, and, hey, yourself.

The DataKeeper’s innovation is combining an integrated 3-ring binder with a laptop case. Like other Shaun Jackson bags, you can use the bag as a portable desk, comfortably using the laptop without removing it from the bag. The materials, color, and design is similar to the LapTrap bag I reviewed in August. This bag adds an important improvement: two foam rubber pads, attached via velcro enabling them to be repositioned, elevate the laptop to ventilate the machine and control heat.

The draw, of course, is the 3-ring binder. I expected a low-capacity binder, but the bag actually comes with D-rings that could accommodate a reasonable volume of papers. It’s not hard to imagine the DataKeeper used by someone in sales to keep glossy color sheets and specs, or a student, or to store notes for a presentation and folders with handouts, or any number of other examples. Office supplies offer other useful inserts for binders like presentation covers and CD storage, so having a binder is ideal. (A CD-based DJ could take an entire music collection.) I’m an unusual case: I’m actually using it to tote the full score of my opera I’m revising over the next two months. If you want to use the case without the 3-ring binder, leaving this generous compartment for something else, you can actually remove the rings, which are inserted as an attachment. Note: the DataKeeper is letter-sized only, nott legal. (Foreign readers: I had no problem fitting some A4 printouts I had from a trip to France.)

The whole case remains quite slim, just about the size of an oversized binder. You definitely won’t want to leave out the optional shoulder strap, though. (US$9.95) The computer compartment features the handy CD/DVD organizer from the LapTrap. There’s also a front pocket big enough to fit a magazine or two, and the binder compartment has two cool mesh pockets for Zip disks, iPods, or cables, plus a less-useful pocket behind the binder. The case has the same quality workmanship, and details I’ve raved about in other Shaun Jackson design, and yet the price is still reasonable enough to give as a gift — US$59.95. I’ll probably be criticized again in feedback for getting excited by a product again, but longtime readers know how the PowerPagers are about luggage! If you’re carrying more than about 150 pages around at a time, you’re likely to need something else, but otherwise this is a great bag and makes me wonder what other possibilities bag designers could think up to organize our paper lives!

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