When Sarah and I traveled to Amsterdam, I was trying to travel with the lightest gear possible, so I brought along my HP TX1327 which easily fit into a sleeve inside my carry on. But when I went to CES, I wanted to bring the laptop I most enjoy writing on – the Toshiba X205. Now here’s the thing: the X205 is a 17″ beast, and I knew that it wasn’t a laptop I would be toting on the floor or bringing to meetings; I just wanted my laptop in the hotel room, waiting for me at night when I was ready to write daily recaps. So what I needed to make the trip was a carry-on bag large enough to accommodate my laptop and hopefully carry other items, too.
I soon found out that there really aren’t that many bags which can handle such a tall order, as it would seem most bags cap out at the 15.4″ screen size, but I did find one – the Targus 17″ Trademark II Overnight Roller. It wasn’t only a laptop carrier, it was also made to carry a couple changes of clothing!
The Overnight Roller is probably the largest it could possibly be to still be considered carry-on. It’s exterior measures approximately 22″ tall x 14.25″ wide x 11″ deep, and empty it weighs about 12 pounds. The suitcase is available in black, and it is composed of 840D Denier Nylon, which is both moisture and dirt resistant. The Overnight Roller looks like a regular black carry-on, and Targus touts this as a possible theft deterrent; I would have to agree.
There are two neoprene wrapped handles on the top and left side of the bag, and there are protective feet on the bottom and right sides. The front of the suitcase has two main organizational sections, let’s start at the top…
Measuring approximately 13″ wide x 6″ tall, the first zippered compartment features three built-in open pockets, perfect for holding mobile phones, PDAs, digital music players and the like. From left to right, the pockets measure 2.5″ wide x 4.5″ tall x 1 deep (due to gussets); 4″ wide x 4.5″ tall x 1″ deep; and 3.5″ wide x 4.5″ tall x 1″ deep. The beauty of this compartment is that even when the zipper is fully opened on three of its sides, there is still a 1″ well in front of these pockets so that anything contained in the front – such as tickets or other short documents – will not come tumbling out. Built into the front flap is a mesh covered business card holder.
Directly under that top compartment on the front of the suitcase are two zippered pockets. The first is highly organized and features an 11″ wide x 7″ tall mesh pocket on the flap which is secured with a single elasticized nylon and Velcro tab. Against the wall there are a series of open slash pockets measuring 11″ wide x 7″ deep; 12″ wide x 6″ deep; and two side-by-side pockets measuring 6.5″ wide x 4.5″ tall. A metal clip is in the top right of the pocket for attaching a keyring.
Behind the just mentioned zippered pocket is an accordion pocket with two sections, measuring approximately 10″ tall x 14″ wide, which can easily hold work papers or even a hardback book. All three pockets on the front of the bag have 1.25″ long x 0.5″ wide metal Targus-branded zipper pulls; these pockets unzip deeply on three sides so that there is very easy access to the pockets’ contents.
The main compartment of the suitcase is accessed by unzipping the remaining dual zippers on the top of the bag, which reveals the highly padded notebook section sized to fit laptops up to 17 inches large. This laptop pocket measures approximately 14″ long x 13″ wide x 2.5″ deep, but it easily has another 2.5″ clearance for longer laptops; My X205 fits perfectly. A 2″ wide nylon elastic and Velcro strap keeps the laptop securely in the pocket. The laptop section is placed so that when going through TSA check-in, it is easily accessible and the laptop can be removed without the contents in the rest of this main compartment being disturbed.
You’ll notice that there are two smaller interior zippers leading to the clothing section of the main compartment, and we will come back to them in a moment…
…but first I want to show you the 8″ tall x 13″ wide zippered pocket built into the laptop sleeve. This is a perfect place to carry slim items even more securely than in one of the suitcase’s exterior pockets.
Here you can see the 6″ long woven nylon straps on either side, which when attached keep the laptop sleeve from flopping down, possibly damaging the computer within. When these straps are released, you have full access to the clothing compartment behind the zippered nylon wall. A very cool thing about the laptop and clothing compartments being so sectioned is that those who are stuck bringing this entire case with them to meetings or presentations will not have to worry about their dirty laundry spilling out when they reach in to grab their laptop. Pretty clever, right?
This traditional suitcase area measures approximately 17″ tall x 14″ wide (nearer the base) x 6.5″ deep; it is easily large enough to hold several days worth of clothing – or a convention’s worth of swag, as I found out. Built into the bottom of the compartment is a 12″ wide x 5″ deep elasticized pocket. Listing the pocket up reveals a zipper which allows access to the inner lining of the suitcase – where the rails are stored. This might be a good place to hide smaller things if you are staying in hotel without a safe. Two elasticized straps criss-cross each other to keep packed clothing secure.
Here’s a shot of the neoprene handle on the top, as well as the retractable rolling luggage handle. The only thing missing is a ring for attaching a smaller carry-on bag. This may be a deal breaker for some, but thankfully many smaller carry-ons these days are coming with sections which can slip over suitcase handles such as this.
The retractable handle extends 20″ from the top of the case; the handle itself is made of heavy plastic while the rails are made of metal.
The suitcase’s wheels look similar to the heavy-duty rubber roller-blade wheels which are found on better luggage; I have found this style wheel to hold up exceptionally well on other luggage I own.
You’ll notice on the bag of this bag there is a 14″ wide x 8.5″ tall open pocket – just waiting for you to stash a newspaper or magazine. There are also heavy plastic skid-pads to help protect the bag when going up and down steps or curbs.
There are a couple things that really impressed me about this bag when I traveled with it, beyond its obvious organization and function. The first was that it felt extremely stable – it didn’t twist on me like some single handled bags will, and the other was that getting access to my laptop was a breeze when checking in. While I did have to gate check the bag when riding on our regional carrier (as is typical for anything larger than a backpack), the bag easily fit in the overhead bin on the jet from Dallas to Las Vegas.
Overall, I have been extremely pleased with this two-in-one overnight and laptop bag; for those traveling with larger laptops, I highly recommend it. The amazing thing is that it doesn’t cost any more than the typical carry-on of this size, and yet it can do so much more!
The Targus 17″ Trademark II Overnight Roller is available directly from the manufacturer and from other retailers.
What I Like: Extremely well built and sectioned; makes traveling with a large laptop a breeze; easy access at check-in; room to store all your gear and several days of clothing; great price
What Needs Improvement: Some people might miss the D-ring on top of the bag for attaching smaller carry-ons