So I’m a bit of a bag fanatic. Constantly in search of the ‘perfect’ bag, suitable for both work and casual use at the weekend. It’s a never ending quest, as I’ve yet to find the right one and in all honesty it might not actually exist, but in the mean time I keep searching.

The most recent bag I’m trying out is the Vaude Mantis 17+7 Laptop bag. Vaude are known for the mountain sports and outdoor sector, making tents and backpacks, but also produce a wide range of laptop bags.

The Mantis is a messenger style bag, but the fold down flap is smaller than most, it only folds down abut halfway down the bag, not to the bottom like normal messenger style bags. The flap,is secured with a single Velcro patch in the middle and then two straps with sliding style clips that attach to material loops at the base of the bag. These are adjustable and can be tightened or loosened depending upon how much you have inside.

vaude mantis 17-7 laptop bag - closed front

Read on for the full review…

Inside the bag there is a padded laptop padded section that will hold up to a 17″ laptop vertically. On the front of this padded section are two pen holders loops and two soft mesh pockets with elasticated tops.

vaude mantis 17-7 laptop bag - inside pockets and laptop area

On the inside of the front of the bag is a large zipped pocket running the width of the bag, and then two more top accesses pockets with elasticated tops. One of these perfectly fits my iPad Mini and holds it secure and separate from anything else in the bag.

The rest of the inside is a free space which naturally expands as needed showing Vaude’s background in rucksacks and backpacks. I like this style over the more rigid laptop bags, as if you want to put something slightly bulkier inside you can easily do it. My over-the-ear headphones from V-Moda (see my review here) fit in perfectly, something I couldn’t do with a traditional laptop bag.

Externally the bag has two more pockets, one on the front of the bag just below where the flap secures closed, and a second on the very top of the bag. This top compartment is great for things you need to access quickly, its closest to hand when the bag is on your shoulder, and it has a small headphones opening if you want to keep your MP3 player or phone inside it. Both these pockets are secured with zips which is good as it means they are completely secure when closed, essential for external pockets.

vaude mantis 17-7 laptop bag - top pocket

The 17+7 is a measurement of the bags volume. It is expandable, so with the top folded down it can contain 17litres, but with the expandable section ‘open’ the bag can hold an additional 7litres making a total of 24litres – an impressive volume!

Closed in expanded mode from the side.

vaude mantis 17-7 laptop bag - closed expanded side on

Closed in expanded mode from the front.

vaude mantis 17-7 laptop bag - closed expanded front on

When zipped closed in the expanded position the closing straps have al alternate point to be secured to (the red loop visible in the pictures above) which keeps them from hanging loose.

The Mantis is available in a range of colours, black (pictured), sand, red, blue and lemon. It has an adjustable shoulder strap with a padded section where it would sit on your shoulder, but no carry handle which would be nice addition.

vaude mantis 17-7 laptop bag - closed rear with shoulder strap

Summary

Overall I really like the Vaude Mantis, its just about smart enough to use for work, and casual enough to use as a day or weekend bag.

It’s good value too, its available now online from anywhere between £45 to £25 which is a good price for a quality bag.

Written By: Rob Gordon

This post was written by Rob Gordon, an IT geek, gadget lover and blogger. Rob has been using the internets since 1994 when the only streaming video was that coffee pot in Cambridge (rip).... Follow Rob on Twitter - @robgordon - about.me/robgordonuk