Design Your Own Laptop Bag

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Design Your Own Laptop Bag

Oakley Custom Laptop Bags
Oakley Custom Laptop Bags - before customization. Screengrab by Melanie Pinola

For the ultimate personalized accessory, consider designing your own custom laptop bag. Most of the laptop bag manufacturers in this article offer easy-to-use online tools to select, visualize, and order your custom laptop's fabric, colors (even down to the zipper tape in some cases), and other options.

Keep in mind that these built-to-order laptop bags -- handcrafted, in a few cases -- may be truly one-of-a-kind and therefore can take several days to make and deliver. They also may not be returnable, so it's important to double-check your laptop's dimensions and match them to the manufacturer's stated bag dimensions.

After flexing your creative muscles, you'll end up with a unique, high quality laptop bag that is not only functional but also may reflect your personal tastes better than any other laptop bag can. In addition to strengthening your personal brand, a custom bag may also be designed to incorporate your company's logo colors. (Note: you can also make some really funky-looking laptop bags with odd color combinations in some of these tools -- good for spotting your laptop bag from across the room, bad for fitting in in a "black laptop bag" world.)

Check out these laptop backpacks, messenger bags, and sleeves from Timbuk2, Oakley, Rickshaw Bagworks, and Renaissance Art.

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Timbuk2 Build Your Own Laptop Messenger

Timbuk2 Custom Messenger Laptop Bag
Timbuk2 Custom Messenger Laptop Bag. Screengrab by Melanie Pinola

San Francisco-based Timbuk2 has been hand-making bags for over two decades, and their attention to detail and love of creating street-smart bags are reflected in their Bag Builder online tool. The Bag Builder shows you, for each step of the bag customization, what the final product will look like from different angles. There are a myriad of customization options, including choosing from over 50 different fabrics/colors for the individual bag panels, selecting colors for details like the logo and binding, and adding accessories.

Shown here is the Laptop Messenger, which comes in small, medium, and large -- fitting laptops from 13" to 17". It offers side entry access to your laptop, cam buckles that click on/off, and a molded foam Loveglove laptop enclosure. Photos also show multiple interior pockets for accessories.

Price starts at $140. Create a custom laptop messenger bag at Timbuk2.com

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Timbuk2 Swig - Build Your Own Laptop Sleeve/Backpack

Timbuk2 Swig Custom Laptop Sleeve/Backpack
Timbuk2 Swig Custom Laptop Sleeve/Backpack. Screengrab by Melanie Pinola

The Swig is described by Timbuk2 as a low-pro, lightweight laptop sleeve. This messenger-inspired pack swings around to offer easy exterior access to the laptop and features ergonomically-designed straps. Swig is offered in small and medium sizes to fit most 15" to 17" laptops. Photos show a pocket in the front of the pack and decent interior space for carrying files along with your laptop. (Unfortunately, detailed descriptions for the custom Timbuk2 bags are not available within the Bag Builder.)

You can customize the fabrics for the laptop bag's main panel (front flap and back center panel) and back left and right panels, as well as the Timbuk2 logo color. Gadget bag accessories and even a beer cozy are other options you can add to complement your Swig.

Price starts at $100. Create a custom Swig bag at Timbuk2.com

Note: Timbuk2 also offers a few other customizable bag options, without built-in laptop padding; you could put your laptop in a sleeve to use with those bags. You can also find pre-designed versions of the customizable bags at their site.

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Oakley Alpha Charlie Messenger Bag

Oakley Alpha Charlie - Custom Messenger Laptop Bag
Oakley Alpha Charlie - Custom Messenger Laptop Bag. Screengrab by Melanie Pinola

Oakley's products are designed for active lifestyles, and their laptop bags also sport that tough, urban, and innovative style that Oakley is known for. Oakley custom laptop bags, available in messenger and backpack styles, are tailor-made for each customer. Using their straightforward online tool, you can select colors for different parts of your laptop bag, and view your creation from three different angles.

The Alpha Charlie messenger bag, which fits laptops up to 15", is made of 100% nylon and has a weatherproof lined interior. The reversible shoulder strap includes a removable stabilizer strap to steady the bag when riding a bike, and there are other thoughtful details like a media player pocket with headphone wire port, side holster for your (Oakley) eyewear, and inside zip mesh pocket. The boxy, tech-inspired Alpha Charlie looks pretty modern with some of the bright colors (in addition to grays, brown, and black) you can select for this messenger bag.

Price starts at $100. Create a custom Alpha Charlie Messenger at Oakley.com

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Oakley Echo Charlie Laptop Backpack

Oakley Echo Charlie - Custom Backpack Laptop Bag
Oakley Echo Charlie - Custom Backpack Laptop Bag. Screengrab by Melanie Pinola

The Oakley Echo Charlie Pack is a sporty backpack with more of an urban look than an outdoorsy one. It offers many modern conveniences like a cell phone holster on the shoulder strap, media player pocket with headphone wire port, (Oakley) eyewear storage, and, naturally, a dedicated panel for your laptop (up to 17" widescreen).

You can customize the Echo Charlie backpack's main color (interesting grungy patterns available), contrast color, webbing, trim, and logo color to truly make this durable laptop backpack your own.

Price starts at $110. Create a custom Echo Charlie Pack at Oakley.com

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Oakley Hardshell Pack Laptop Backpack

Oakley Hardshell Pack - Custom Laptop Backpack
Oakley Hardshell Pack - Custom Laptop Backpack. Screengrab by Melanie Pinola

The Oakley Hardshell Pack is made with durable nylon and a hardened casing of high-impact ABS for a balance between light weight and serious protection for your mobile gear. The backpack offers side entry access to the padded storage enclosure for your laptop (up to 15"), as well as holders for your cell phone and eyewear or media player. A padded waist strap adds better comfort and fit when carrying a heavily-loaded pack.

The base only comes in two design options (black and khaki), but there are a generous eight designs for the backpack's hardshell plates, which can be removed and further customized with your own decals.

Price starts at $175. Create a custom Hardshell Pack at Oakley.com

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Oakley Rework Pack Laptop Backpack

Oakley Rework Pack - Custom Laptop Backpack
Oakley Rework Pack - Custom Laptop Backpack. Screengrab by Melanie Pinola

The Oakley Rework Pack is a more streamlined yet still highly customizable backpack. In addition to the padded panel for laptops up to 15", the backpack comes with an internal organizer pack, lashing straps to hold a jacket or skateboard on the outside, D-ring for attaching accessories, and pockets for your media player and eyewear.

The sleek look of this laptop backpack means it can blend in well in some business environments if you stick to the standard neutral colors when you design the pack ... or you can mix up the nice array of patterns and vivid colors for the backpack's main color, contrast, trim, webbing, logo, and zipper tape to create a truly unique and nonconformist backpack.

Price starts at $90. Create a custom Rework Pack at Oakley.com

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Commuter Laptop Messenger Bag from Rickshaw Bags

Rickshaw Commuter Bag - Custom Laptop Messenger Bag
Rickshaw Commuter Bag - Custom Laptop Messenger Bag. Screengrab by Melanie Pinola

Rickshaw Bagworks is another San Francisco-based bag company. Every bag created by Rickshaw is built to order and designed specifically for "people who thrive on the urban experience and celebrate the creative spirit." Their online bag customizer allows you to select your bag's fabric and binding color, depending on the type of bag you select (in addition to messenger bags and iPad sleeves, you can customize folios for your beloved Moleskin notebooks). One of the nice features of Rickshaw's online bag customizer is their inclusion of detailed descriptions, specs, and FAQs for the bags, making your purchase decision a bit easier.

The Commuter messenger bag comes in two sizes, for 13" and 15" laptops, and includes a removable laptop sleeve. Other features include side panel mesh water bottle pockets, a waterproof PVC-free liner, exclusive quick-adjust shoulder straps, a stand-up design (very handy!) and multiple organizational pockets. You can select from over 30 fabrics (described in great detail) as well as binding colors for this messenger bag.

Price starts at $150. Create a custom laptop bag at RickshawBags.com

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Renaissance Art Custom Leather Laptop Bag

Renaissance Art Custom Leather Laptop Bags
Renaissance Art Custom Leather Laptop Bags. Screengrab by Melanie Pinola

Renaissance Art produces handcrafted leather books and bags, including ones specially designed to hold laptops. Their meticulous process of creating a custom laptop bag involves taking your provided laptop dimensions and other specs/requested details and translating that into a glorious leather case just for your laptop.

There are 4 bag styles for general laptops and Mac laptops: a simple slip case, tote sleeve, fold-over flap case, and messenger bag. Rather than using a visual bag customizer like the other laptop bag manufacturers, Renaissance Art simply has a custom laptop case order form where you fill in the dimensions of your laptop, adjust the fit (how snug the laptop will be in the case), add extra laptop compartment depth, and configure additional details like adding extra compartments and outside pockets. Because this is a truly customized leather laptop case, be sure to measure carefully before ordering and feel free to call the company before you do so (they have been responsive to customer inquiries in the past).

Price starts at $55. Create a custom laptop or Mac laptop bag at Renaissance-Art.com