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(Pocket-lint) - Ever since UK airports have limited the number of bags you can take aboard a flight as cabin luggage to one, carrying a laptop has become problematical for those of us who like to fly light.

By which we mean avoid the hassle of having to place luggage in the hold and wait for it to arrive, if it ever does, at the other end of the journey.

By the time you’ve packed a laptop and your clothes and anything else you need for that business meeting or weekend away you are over the weight limit, assuming you can squeeze it all into the relatively small cabin baggage requirement in the first place.

Which is why we were keen to give the Tech air Weekender a whirl. Meeting the maximum size restriction for cabin baggage, just, at 54 x 36.5 x 16.5cm it combines a dedicated laptop compartment with a full size weekend bag. It is certainly practical, with a zipped compartment for every occasion.

Unfortunately, weighing in at 2.7kg when empty, by the time you add a 15.4” laptop it doesn’t take a great deal of clothing and allowable toiletries to take you over your cabin baggage weight allowance, even when travelling business class with the extra that brings.

In the end then, it didn’t really resolve our hunt for the perfect one piece cabin baggage solution, but it did come pretty close. If you are travelling by train, or car even, then things are different and the Tech air Weekender is about as perfect as you’ll get for travelling light, travelling safely and travelling in style.

Well, Ok, maybe not the last of those unless you have a thing for grey and blue colour schemes…

We love the foldaway, and zip-away, hidden handle that once exposed and extended brings the trolley into the bag and enables that easy rolling through the airport.

We were not so enamoured by the wheels though, that are fixed and rather ‘sticky’ on some floors. We approve, however, of the removable laptop slipcase which will hold anything up to a 15.4” screen not only in comfort but also in safety. Accessible by way of a securely closing flap on top of the bag, you can quickly and simply remove the laptop case without disturbing the rest of the contents of your luggage.

This makes for getting through security checks at the airport a breeze, it has to be said. More importantly, the slipcase features the TechAir patented "air-cell" technology to ensure your computer is better protected against bumps and drops alike. This layer of shock-absorbing air filled cells helps to cushion your computer against any kind of collision courtesy of its pressurised-air resistance upon impact. Whereas most laptop bags protect using foam padding, this can deteriorate with age and in any case provides relatively poor redistribution of impact force. TechAir ensures the shock is distributed away from the point of impact with no bottoming out due to the compressed air within the cells.

Protecting your lappy from damage is fine, but what if your luggage goes missing? This is where the second layer of protection from the Weekender comes into play, as each case is fitted with the i-TRAK luggage tracking tag system. One tag is sewn into the case itself, while another is provided as a sticker to affix to your laptop, and each provides instant SMS notification when found via a subscription service to which you get 12 months fully paid included in the purchase price of the luggage. It’s a bit like those tags you get for your keys, enabling anyone who finds them to inform the service using the code. This can be done via telephone or web, and results in a SMS text message coming your way telling you exactly where your case is.

What else can we say about a bit of luggage? How about that it is truly versatile thanks to the TechAir Skinn system that lets you replace part of the bag with a purpose-specific compartment of your choosing? The Weekender comes with a Wet Skinn which is actually a removable shower-proof sleeve with compartments, perfect for all those odds and sods that usually end up in sandwich bags or cling film at the bottom of the case but manage to leak over your clothes or into your laptop anyway. You can also buy a Digital Skinn, which we would have preferred to see come as standard given the laptop carrying purpose of the luggage that provides secure storage for digital camera kit such as cables and memory cards etc.


A well designed case that allows you to carry clothes and computer in just one bag, and does so in as safe a manner as you are likely to find.

Writing by Davey Winder. Originally published on 27 February 2007.