Bag Week: The Nomadic WT-18 Toto Bag And WL-25 Wise-Walker Backpack

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I’m starting Bag Week off with two bags from one of my favorite manufacturers, Nomadic. This Japanese seller of quality bags makes their rucksacks out of rip-stop fabric and offers a certain stark, compact design that is as far from your typical JanSport as a kimono is from an Ed Hardy shirt.

Most of Nomadic’s bags are quite small and the the WT-18 Wise-Walker Toto is no exception. It is about 13 inches long and 11 inches wide but expands to snugly hold a 15-inch laptop. It has a side bottle pocket and a set of front pouches for phones, notebooks, and pens. A front padded pocket is perfect for smaller tablets and the entire bag expands to hold thicker books when necessary.

Designed as more of a tote than a messenger-style laptop bag, folks looking for something considerably smaller will definitely get a kick out of this. The build quality is excellent and the bag comes in beige, black, and gray with a light blue lining. It costs $90 but in my experience, Nomadics can take quite a beating and are worth the extra investment.

The second bag, the WL-25 Wise-Walker backpack aims more at the academic set. The $77 backpack comes in black, navy, and gray and has a large 17-inch main pocket and can hold a smaller laptop although they claim to fit up to 15-inchers in there.

The backpack is surprisingly strong and light and has a bright orange rip-stop lining. It has a set of pockets in a front zippered pouch for pens and notebooks and includes a long, springy keychain attachment.

Both of these bags are far lighter than most of us are used to and they’re quite small. If you’re looking for something more compact than the traditional tote or backpack and are OK with paying a bit more for quality, I’d highly recommend Nomadic. Folks who have a hard time finding smaller backpacks will definitely prefer these models even over similarly sized U.S. brands.

Nomadic is obviously a little pricier than most other bag manufacturers but I’m a fan of the quality and the sizing. Far too many bags are too big and sloppy to be of much use while walking or commuting by train or bike, which is why I definitely recommend looking at these two thin and light rucksacks.

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Bag Week is our yearly celebration of laptop bags. Being that they are, for the most part, quite boring, we don’t find it odd that most folks settle for janky bags they get free with their laptops. Therefore we’ve created Bag Week, a service for you proud men and women of the laptop carrying world. We’ll be talking about a panoply of travel and back-to-school sacks and if you have a favorite you’d like featured, drop us a line at tips@techcrunch.com with the subject line BAG WEEK. You can read all of our bag week coverage here