I thought they might be sold out by now, but Ableton says they have a few more of their custom Ableton-branded Nerdbags for your laptop. They’re the perfect gift for your digital musician friends and family — or yourself, for that matter. I love mine, and would happily have two. It’s one of my favorite luggage choices for the fashion- and practicality-conscious laptop-toting musician.
Laptop bags are too often clumsily made and clunky to carry, but the Nerdbag could quickly become your favorite day-to-day laptop case. The 15″ version fits my PowerBook 15″ snugly; versions are also available in 16″ and 17″ dimensions. (The 15″ is a bit too snug for my 15″ Toshiba PC, so check the dimensions on Ableton’s site and measure your machine.)
The men of Ableton here in NYC both bought Airbags for themselves, and love them, but don’t worry that you’ll look like you got the bag free as an ad gimmick from a trade show. The Ableton logo is understated, in an individually-numbered tag and patch on the shoulder strap; the primary feature of the limited-edition Ableton bag is a sexy green interior and jet-black exterior color scheme.
Using a custom-crafted bag like the airbag is an entirely different experience if you’re used to mass-produced bags. Everything on the airbag is beautifully made, from perfectly-executed stitching to velcro attachments. That’s not just an aesthetic issue: I put a lot of stress on my bags, like many mobile musicians, and most cheap bags simply fall apart. My airbag shows virtually no signs of wear after months of hard use.
Materials are fantastic, too: the strap is made of the same high-grade material as seatbelts, and the bag itself is made of luxurious recycled materials. Airbag uses fabrics from repurposed air mattresses, rubber dinghies, and other unlikely sources. The result is exceptional padding for your laptop, and a bag everyone you meet will want to stroke inside and out. (Whether that’s a good thing or not, I suppose, is up to you.)
As a Manhattanite, I subscribe to the “one bag is never enough” philosophy, so I still have other bags for carrying additional gear. The Airbag itself is best for fitting just a laptop plus an accessory or two, like the power adapter, headphones, a paper notebook, and a Dell Axim PDA, in my case. I have other bags that work better for heavier loads. As a light bag you won’t be embarrassed to wear out, though, the airbag is perfect.
The bags are available for EUR 129 / US$149 (slightly more for 16″ / 17″); that may sound pricey, but in four years this bag will still be going while a lesser bag has fallen apart. It’s a great buy for a beautifully-crafted piece of luggage.
Nerdbag Ableton Limited-Edition [Ableton.com]
Airbag Craftworks Site including other bag designs
The airbag craftworks folks themselves are fascinating people and electronic music lovers, and they have an extensive line beyond the Ableton bag. I’ll be talking to them about their products in a coming story. In the meantime, snag those Ableton bags while you can — or check out the other airbag offerings.