It’s easy to find structured, businesslike leather laptop bags, but when you want something a bit more casual and feminine — yet still made of leather and stylish — options become limited. That’s why it was love at first site when I found TravelTeq Mirjam Leather Shopper, a handmade brown leather laptop bag that can double as an everyday tote.
Each leather shopper bag is handmade to order in Italy of lightly-grained soft vegetable-tanned Florentine Vachetta. TravelTeq says that there is no need to apply any type of water protective spray, as the bag is already waterproof; through use, I have found that to be true. The bag measures approximately 20.5″ wide x 15″ tall (not including handles) x 6″ deep, and it weights about 1.2 pounds empty; it is truly generously sized.
The brown leather is supple, it smells wonderful, and it is nearly golden in its gorgeousness; the pictures from the TravelTeq site are a very good representation of what you can expect. I like how the thick white stitching contrasts with the brown leather, giving it an even more casual, yet handmade, vibe.
I have to admit that although the light brown leather is lovely, and even though it would have probably been my first color choice anyway, I do wish that TravelTeq offered other leather color choices, even — dare I say it — black. Simply put, this is a bag that I would eventually like to own in several colors.
The rolled leather handles have an 11″ drop, so the Mirjam should fit comfortably on almost every shoulder.
The Travelteq Mirjam has two large open compartments which can easily hold books, magazines, tablets, a bottle of water, a camera … just about anything you might want to cram inside. The tote’s interior is lined in bright orange nylon, which is great because it’s a light enough color so that the items inside are easily seen, and the nylon is easy to keep clean, too.
On one interior wall there are two pockets, one measuring approximately 4″ wide x 3.5″ tall, and one measuring approximately 4″ wide x 6″ tall. These pockets are perfect for your mobile phone, sunglasses, coiled cables, or what have you. The other wall has a 8″ wide x 6″ deep zippered pocket, which is great for loose things like pens, sync/charge cables, or (in my case) an epi pen. The center compartment is lightly padded, and it will fit a 15″ MacBook Pro — and any computer smaller than that, of course — with room to spare. It’s not advertised as being able to do so, but I can verify that it will also hold a 17″ MacBook Pro with a little bit of wiggle room.
I bought the TravelTeq Mirjam before Kev’s and my trip to Paris and Dubrovnik last year, because I thought it would be a bag that could safely transport my laptop while traveling without screaming “laptop bag inside, come steal me!”. My hope was that it could also function as a tote or purse when I wasn’t carrying my laptop, since I like to carry a larger bag while traveling. I liked that the orange and brown combination made me think of Hermes, and even though the bag’s price was steep, it wasn’t anywhere near Hermes territory.
So here I am about to board our flight to Paris. The TravelTeq Mirjam is loaded down with my 11″ MacBook Air, my iPad mini, my wallet, a small makeup bag, a couple of mobile phones, miscellaneous cables, a pair of headphones, travel snacks, a pair of socks, sunglasses, and everything else I thought I might need on our inter-continental flight. As you can see in this picture, the bag is jam-packed.
Once we got to Paris, I emptied out a lot of the bag’s contents, and left them in our hotel room. That’s when I realized that the zippered center compartment would be really good place to keep my wallet and other things I didn’t want to leave accessible in the open side compartments of the bag. I had heard that certain areas of Paris have a lot of pickpockets, and I didn’t see any reason to make it easier for them.
The bag’s rolled leather handles kept my shoulder comfortable while walking around, and because the tote was so large I had plenty of room for the beer glasses and mugs I accumulated each day. Oh, I should probably mention that those are the types of souvenirs I tend to bring home; we have a pretty decent collection from our travels at home now.
The TravelTeq Mirjam is not an inexpensive bag; it is a purchase that should be weighed against how many years the bag will last (in my estimation — many), how often you’ll be able to carry it (since it can double as a tote or purse — I’d say pretty often), and how many laptops it will carry for you throughout the years (the inner laptop compartment is so accommodating, I think it will work through many laptops of varying sizes for many years).
Purchasing the Mirjam wasn’t a decision I made lightly, but it is a decision I am glad I made. When I need a more businesslike laptop bag, I carry my black on black Waterfield Staad, but when I want something a bit more causal — at home or when traveling — the Mirjam is the bag I reach for every time.
The Travelteq Mirjam Leather Shopper is available directly from the manufacturer.
Source: Personal purchase
MSRP: €495 (~$674.88) with free shipping on orders over €200
What I Like: Gorgeous light brown leather; handmade of Italian Vachetta; orange leather lining is easy to clean and makes it easy to spot items inside; doubles as a casual laptop bag or a great travel tote;
What Needs Improvement: Not offered in any colors other than brown; expensive (and it’s gone up ~€40 since I bought it last summer!)