Travel Lighter With a Laptop





Introduction: Travel Lighter With a Laptop

About: I miss the days when magazines like Popular Mechanics had all sorts of DIY projects for making and repairing just about everything. I am enjoying posting things I have learned and done since I got my first ...

Travel cases for laptops are often bulky. Some barely fit under the seats on an airplane. Pictured is a nylon attache' received as part of a convention registration packet. It is large enough for a laptop. The handles and shoulder strap are strong, but there is no padding and only fabric not at all resistant to pushing and prodding from the outside.

Step 1: Beware the Screen

Pressure against the screen of a laptop from even a finger poke can crack it. Once damaged, the repairs are so expensive that a new laptop is the only course remaining. Light cases made only of fabric mean no protection for the computer's screen.

Step 2: Make Your Own Protection

Cut a piece of plywood or Masonite the size and shape of your laptop. This piece is 3/8 inch thick and it is quite rigid. 1/4 inch plywood could work, but will provide a little less security. This particular piece of plywood is from some crating. It does not need to be fancy.

Step 3: Slip the Plywood Into the Case

Slide the plywood into the fabric case with the laptop so the plywood is next to the screen side of the laptop. There is even room for a few papers or a book. And, the plywood acts as a divider to make an artificial extra compartment in your case.

Step 4: Cords and Accessories

Place each item with a cord into its own plastic zip freezer bag. Slip them into the front zipped pocket on the attache'. The freezer bags keep the cords from becoming entwined with one another.

Step 5: Ready to Go With a Thin Profile

Here is the case loaded with your laptop and its accessories zipped and ready to travel. It still weighs whatever your laptop weighs, but it makes a smaller and neater package for travel. And, it utilizes an attache' that may be only gathering dust in your closet. Most importantly, your laptop's screen is well protected against any pokes that could crack it.



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    12 Discussions

    Because of the possibility I may have to carry in through a driving rain my netbook resides in a plastic ammo box from Walmart. I wrap a piece of bubble wrap around it to protect if from the shock of being bounced around inside the box. I also use zip lock bags to manage the tangle of cards, which include a 12' light duty extension cord. Preferring a mouse over the touch pad a wireless mouse took care of the mouse cord. Bulky, but it works for my needs. This reminds me that Fall seems to be the only time you can find those boxes in Walmart so I need to remember to pickup another. I end up dedicating one to something during the, and wishing I had another Unless they took a huge price hike this year, they aren't a budget buster. Now I need a use for the top trays that always get taken out because the get in the way of my intended use. The women's purse section (as opposed to the men's purse section?) is a good source of sturdy lower cost soft sided bags, if you can find one at the Good Will store.

    Great idea with the wooden board. Another addition could be a postal envelope one of those the ones that are large and padded with bubble wrap, they don't take up space and offer good scratch protection, one that is big enough for the laptop to fit inside. Or an old blanket sewn into a envelope would offer good protection from minor injury.

    4 replies

    Those are possibilities. My HP laptop is over 5 years old. It has held up well. I had a bigger cosmetic problem than scratches. Wear from my hands has taken away the silver finish color near the keyboard and black base plastic shows through in a big round spot. But, the insides still work fine. After a while a person's vanity about new looking things takes some inevitable hits. But, that also makes a laptop less attractive to thieves. And, the white paint on keyboard letters has chipped off. See my Instructable titled Restoring Painted Letters on Keyboard Keys.

    my dell laptop has done that Where i rest my left hand whilst not typing has rubbed the silver paint off and i now have a big White patch!

    Honestly, i like a toughened look over shiny laptops...The only laptops the i can enjoy how they look are the thinkpad series and dell latitude series.

    Laptop screens arent THAT fragile, are they? I mean, my dell latitude is about 5-6 years old, and its held up fine. But then again, ive only owned the kind of laptops with metal frames...

    1 reply

    My laptop has no metal framing, only plastic.  I read Scott Mueller's "Upgrading and Repairing Laptops."  He seemed to urge a great deal of caution regarding the screen side of a laptop, especially when using it on a passenger airplane.  Guard against the guy ahead of you suddenly thrusting his seat backward.  If you laptop's screen gets caught by the seat back, it can crack the screen, but that is just a little different.  I usually have the power adapter and other things creating a bulge in one side of my case.  Careless pressure on that could cause too much pressure on the screen side of the laptop.

    It would probably take a pretty good poke from a pretty stout finger to break a screen, but it is good to be extra careful. Of course, many other things are a danger to the integrity of a laptop screen, even setting things on top of the laptop. One danger often overlooked involves using a laptop on an airplane. The passenger in the seat ahead of you can suddenly thrust his seat back to take a nap. If your laptop screen is in the way, it can be caught and cracked.

    Nice bag you have there. I would like to get something like that for mine, all i have a gigantic bags.

    1 reply

    Oddly, that bag was part of our convention packet more than a decade ago long before many people had laptops.