Kensington Contour Traveler Notebook Case Review

by Reads (9,553)

The Kensington Contour Traveler notebook case easily lives up to its name. The case is designed for the comfort and convenience of people on the go and has a streamlined, stylish look. With the Purpose-Built pockets and Organizer Grid , it’s easy to keep all of your accoutrements tucked safely away while keeping them within reach. It doesn’t hurt that the bag is priced reasonably as well.


Features and Specifications

Kensington describes the bag as follows:

  • DropShield padding for notebook protection
  • Exclusively endorsed by the American Chiropractic Association (ACA)
  • Fits most notebooks up to 15.4″
  • Material: water resistant nylon
  • Weight 3.9 lbs.
  • Exterior dimensions 17.0″L X 14.5″H X 7.0″W
  • Notebook compartment dimensions 14.4″L X 11.4″H X 2.0″W


(view large image)  (The bag at rest)

Other points of interest include:

  • The bag is backed by a limited lifetime warranty
  • It retails for around $70

Construction and Styling

Exterior

The bag is made of thick, water resistant nylon (it’s not ballistic, but it is a tight weave that appears to stand up well to abuse) with stylish black and brushed silver hardware. The strap is thick with a contoured pad for stability and comfort even when supporting heavy loads. The carry handle lays flat to minimize bulk. Overall, the bag is lightweight but it feels sturdy.

There are four main pockets to keep your supplies organized. These include a large zipper pocket containing the Organizer Grid (more about that later), a slim pocket for airline tickets or passports, the main computer and file compartment, and a pocket for accessories and peripherals.

Kensington has included some thoughtful features on the exterior of the bag. For example, one side is contoured to sit comfortably against your body as you carry it. The American Chiropractic Association has even recognized this design for its ability to reduce muscle strain and fatigue by placing heavier items closer to the body where they are supported by major muscle groups. But, the handy, dandy luggage strap will keep you moving when you would prefer that your suitcase do the work. Just slip it over your suitcase handle and roll.


(view large image) (Concave back with suitcase strap)

Personally, I found the pop-out water bottle holder (pictured below) to be very useful. It is a mesh sleeve that stows away with a long strip of Velcro when it’s not in use. Kensington even labels it with a cute little water droplet so that you don’t accidentally put your umbrella in there or something . . . more on the labeling later.


(view large image) (Water bottle sleeve just waiting to hold your drink)

One other feature that Kensington has included is an easy access business card holder (shown below). The holder (labeled again, though the picture below does not do the business card icon justice) holds several cards and snaps securely into its own sleeve when you don’t need it while allowing for easy retrieval when you do — very handy.


(view large image) (Dandy business card sleeve)

Before we move inside, it’s worth noting the functionality of the ticket/passport pocket. Located on the front above the Organizer Grid , this pocket is wide but shallow and perfectly positioned for easy access to important documents while you’re traveling. It’s also a great spot for your keys.

Interior

Let’s take this party inside, shall we?

The interior is as thoughtfully organized as the exterior. However, it lacks some of the finishing features that more expensive bags incorporate. The most obvious example is how the ticket/passport pocket actually hangs down into the laptop compartment instead of being stitched into the lining of the bag (see the picture below). This is more of an aesthetic criticism than functional, but it’s worth mentioning.


(view large image) (The ticket/passport pocket hangs loose in the main compartment)

As for the main compartment, it is designed to be accessed from the top. The zipper opens three quarters of the way down the sides of the bag, providing easy access to the notebook pocket while corralling lose items and files, keeping them from falling out. Two half-height file dividers will keep your paperwork organized. The laptop sleeve itself is made of stiff, shock absorbing foam for protection and has an elasticized Velcro closure to keep your laptop secure (pictured below with a Dell Inspiron 8600). The sleeve is roomy and adjustable and can accommodate just about any laptop.


(view large image) (Main pocket with laptop sleeve and file dividers)

Moving on to accessory storage, the pocket on the contoured back of the bag easily tames the army of peripherals that accompany most laptops (see picture below). Two padded zipper pouches are roomy enough for a mouse, power supply, and adaptors. The pouches can be secured with the attached elastic bands to keep them secure. An additional pocket sporting an elastic/Velcro closure is ideal for cables.


(view large image) (Accessory pocket with peripheral escape pods)

While the accessory pocket is well laid out and easy to access, the space is limited by the hard contoured panel. There’s still plenty of room for gear, but it’s virtually impossible to overstuff — not so ideal for packrats, but fine for people who love order and travel more streamlined.

Perhaps my favorite part of the bag is the Organizer Grid . This pocket has dividers made out of neoprene designed to fit and hold in place an MP3 player, cell phone, flash drive, pens, and keys. Below the neoprene (not very visible in the following picture), is a long mesh pocket for disks, post-it notes and any other supplies you might need. And, to be sure you know which pocket is for which item, there is a stamped icon on each pocket to guide you in your quest for organization. Personally, I think this is a bit cheesy, but it may help some people. A nice removable sticker would have served just as well.


(view large image) (Cool Organizer Grid with icons)

Functionality

Ok, so it’s a nice looking bag that caters to those of us who just love our organization, but does it really work well? Absolutely. My only caveat is that you really can’t overstuff any of the pockets in the bag. While it has a designated place for everything, it may not accommodate your favorite hard cover book trilogy in addition to all of your work paraphernalia.

Conclusion

Overall, the Kensington Contour Traveler is a very attractive, highly functional, and well-designed bag. It’s a good value for the money, and could easily make anyone’s short-list.


Pros

  • Has a slim, streamlined, lightweight design ideal for travel and commutes to the office or client site
  • Has the stylish look of a high-end executive bag without the cost
  • Sports well laid out pockets for key supplies (labeled for your convenience)
  • Incorporates a contoured panel that hugs the body and distributes weight well

Cons

  • Cannot be overstuffed or expanded
  • Has cheesy icons printed on the pockets
  • Lacks the polish and finishing of some more expensive bags


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