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Which Laptop Briefcase Meets My Computer Needs?

Red Oxx CC Rider Laptop Messenger Bag

Comparing the Red Oxx Line of Laptop Bags

Red Oxx generally steered clear of the ever-changing laptop briefcase bag market until it settled out into common popular computer screen sizes. This philosophy has allowed the bags to develop according to consumer needs instead of chasing down the latest and greatest laptop screen size.

Instead, our focus was put on designing and refining existing elements in the briefcase line that could be applied to securely carry a typical laptop. These included design improvements to our Metro, and CPA Laptop Briefcases, and our Gator EDC (tablet) bags.

As the need arose, Red Oxx launched several new bags that had seen plenty of prototype testing and revisions until the finished bags were ready. These included our popular Micro Manager Tablet Briefcase, the Maximum Utility Travel Tote, and the C.C. Rider Laptop Messenger Bag.

To help you make that all important decision regarding which laptop briefcase will meet your computer needs this article will discuss each bag’s features and how those can resolve your search for the perfect laptop briefcase.

Essential Components to Red Oxx Laptop and Tablet Bags

# 1 – PADDING:
The number one ingredient in desirable features on a soft-sided computer bag is padding. How protected is your investment? Since there’s no hard shell exterior what can be done protection-wise with a soft-sided bag?

Red Oxx builds all our computer bags using two kinds of tough, durable closed-cell padding. Closed-cell padding is of consistent density, this helps to improve resistance to chemicals and minimize water and moisture absorption.

  • A thicker dense heavier padding for main compartment bag walls called 4 pound Volara, used in the Gator, Metro, CPA. Micro Manager, and Mini Boss briefcases and the back side of the C.C. Rider. The 4 pound rating refers to the amount of weight of pressure applied before compression of the foam.
  • A thinner denser padding for a special computer and device sleeves contained within the main bag called Hypur-cel used in the Micro Manager, CPA, Gator, Metro, and C.C. Rider.

The main compartments of all our computer bags usually contain Volara padding, a dense closed-cell 4 pound foam padding that’s relatively impervious to moisture and is stiff enough so that the bag stands upright on it’s own, and yet flexible enough to qualify as a soft-sided briefcase that can be folded down for storage or stuffed into a storage compartment such as the overhead bin in aircraft.

Watch the video below with Lead Bag Designer Lacy explaining the redesign improvements made to our Laptop Briefcases.

The Laptop Sleeve Cradles Your Computer

An addition to the padding of the exterior wall, Red Oxx developed an independent "Laptop Sleeve" where the laptop is suspended inside the cocoon of the exterior shell within it’s own (also often padded) sleeve. These sleeves are filled using the thinner, and denser Hypur-Cel foam.

Padded Sleeve Cradles your Laptop
Padded sleeve in the C.C. Rider cradles your laptop

By suspending your laptop in this sleek sleeve, it won’t make contact with the ground when the bag is set down hard (or accidentally dropped). Each sleeve is then held in place by an adjustable clasp so you can tighten it up against the wall of the bag for more security.

# 2 – ACCESS:
The second component essential of a quality laptop bag is access. Are the interior compartments and pockets easy to get into? This is important because easily finding your writing instruments, or your charger and cables, reduces stress and improves efficiency.

In addition, since Red Oxx manufactures our own bags it’s important that the bag be simple to manufacture. Red Oxx developed kits of important interior pieces that are constructed separately and can fit a variety of bags across the product line. This is why you’ll usually see the same interior pockets and divider on the briefcases.

Plenty of pockets keep you organized
Plenty of pockets keep you organized

An ingenious exterior pocket feature on three of our computer bags are the bellows pockets. These sleek exterior pockets are designed to expand outwards and are a popular place to insert your mouse, chargers and cables. The unique one-finger snap-loop allows quick and simple lid closure. They look sharp and give the bags a distinctive appearance, especially in the proprietary Safari Colors option.

Expanding bellows pockets in Safari color
Expanding bellows pockets on a Safari Color Gator

Comparing Red Oxx Laptop Bags

Now let’s break down each bag’s individual advantages. Starting with the top-of-the-line C.C. Rider Messenger Bag, this laptop bag was over a decade in prototype development. Over the years samples traveled from Vietnam to Zimbabwe to Texas garnering useful feedback from Red Oxx Ambassador testers to make it our crown jewel.

When the bag was presented to a 20-year veteran soft-sided bag builder (and ex-production manager at former Montana bag company), he spent nearly an hour going over the bag checking seams, opening pockets, zipping zippers, poking inside and out. When he was finished he declared he could not figure any improvements.

Unlike most Red Oxx bags, the C.C. Rider Messenger bag features more pockets. Not just more, but more useful. The front facing pockets are raised instead of the typical bellows front pockets. Access zippers on top of each pocket reach around half way down the side, allowing easy access. It also has our typical laptop sleeve cradle.

A feature not found on many messenger bags is the flap access slot. There’s an access zipper on the top of the bags so there’s no need to lift the flap, making it super easy to get inside without having to flip the bag around, contort yourself to lift the flap, or set the bag down to open it.

In addition there’s a trolley sleeve so that you can slip the bag over a rollaboard handle.

This bag has the ability to slightly compress your load, creating a compact and sturdy container that prevents spillage and keeps things from shifting around inside.

Lastly, the strap was upgraded to our Long Hauler Comfort Carry Strap built with cushy neoprene padding to grace your shoulders. The C.C. Rider Messenger Bag is our best laptop bag for men or women to carry your high-end computer in complete confidence.

C.C. Rider Messenger Bag Dimensions: 16"L x 4"W x 10"H. Weight: 3.75 Pounds.

Will hold a laptop with standard 17" screen (not game laptops).

Red Oxx C.C. Rider Laptop Messenger Bag
C.C. Rider Messenger Bag makes you look good anywhere.

The second oldest computer bag in the line, the Metro employed our size-up size-down build philosophy. That is, find something that works, then size it up or down.

The basic design elements of the Gator EDC Bag, which was birthed as a macho diaper bag, were adapted to laptop configurations. Taller, narrower, wider, yet using the same front bellows pockets idea, the same wrap around closed cell padding and the same interior splitter pockets arrangement as the Gator, only this bag is large enough for most common laptops up to 17".

We like to call it our "Million Mile Metro" as one customer logged a million flight miles on his before a warranty issue came up.

Go for the Metro if you need a clean and distinctive looking laptop briefcase to carry your business basics.

Metro Laptop Briefcase Dimensions: 17"L x 3.5"W x 11"H. Weight: 3.15 Pounds.

Will hold a laptop with standard 17" screen (not game laptops).

Red Oxx million mile miracle Metro Laptop Briefcase
Million mile miracle Metro Laptop Briefcase ready for takeoff.

Expanding on that size-up size-down idea, the CPA goes one better. This large laptop bag has all the superior features that the Metro has with one clear advantage… it’s wider. About twice as wide in fact. This allows room for your business basics plus a light coat, socks, undies, shirt, and tie, making it a great laptop travel bag for an "Overnighter" business briefcase.

CPA Large Laptop Briefcase Dimensions: 17"L x 7"W x 11"H. Weight: 3.25 Pounds.

Will hold a laptop with standard 17" screen (not game laptops).

Red Oxx CPA Laptop Briefcase
Red Oxx CPA Laptop Briefcase is swank.

The first tablet bag, when tablets were paper. While not exactly sized to hold typical legal documents, the GATOR was found to be a good fit for most tablet devices once that market erupted. It’s a hair short for a small laptop and some larger tablets won’t fit, so we developed a tablet specific bag to suit that market (the Micro Manager). The Gator is also designed along the lines of the Metro and CPA, same basic features, scaled down.

Gator EDC Bag Dimensions: 12"L x 6"W x 9"H. Weight: 2.35 Pounds.

Will hold a tablet with standard 10" screen.

Red Oxx Gator EDC Bag
Red Oxx Gator EDC Bag – Gator Eats Chicken.

The Chica Mini Messenger Bag was the first bag we discovered would carry most tablets. But not everyone is into a bag that might look like a travel purse to some, and has an official "feminine" name. Besides, there was a need for a briefcase-style tablet bag that appeared more businesslike.

The Micro Manager deviates from the Metro/CPA design routine. No front bellows pockets, no end pockets, though it does have an interior padded tablet sleeve. It’s also still padded all round in the walls and floor. Look for a slightly larger Not-so-Micro version coming soon.

Micro Manager Tablet Briefcase Dimensions: 12"L x 4"W x 9"H. Weight: 2 Pounds.

Will hold a tablet with standard 10" screen.

Red Oxx Micro Manager tours downtown Billings, Montana.
Red Oxx Micro Manager tours downtown Billings, Montana

Quite possibly our most popular laptop tote bag that can comfortably and safely carry a laptop, the Maximum Utility Travel Tote, or M.U.T.T. as the herd fondly calls it, was designed from the get-go to accommodate the portable computer.

The same mesh interior split-sleeve pocket arrangement that holds your computer in place in the Briefcases is employed in this laptop tote. This time the base of this laptop tote is padded with Volara, so there’s no Hypur-cel padding in the laptop sleeve. An enormously popular everyday carry bag, fans like Steve raved "This bag can do it all!"

Maximum Utility Travel Tote Dimensions: 15 1/2"H x 7"D x 15"W. Weight: 2.2 Pounds.

Will hold a laptop with standard 17" screen.

Red Oxx Maximum Utility Travel Tote
Red Oxx Maximum Utility Travel Tote hangs out.

Mini Boss Laptop Briefcase:
And finally we have the Mini Boss, a business briefcase developed to fit any typical carriers checkpoint personal item bag checker box. We even bought our own bag checker just to be sure. Again, the padded laptop sleeve protects your computer while the much wanted extra room allows enough capacity to make for a nice weekender bag or 2-3 day business trip. If you fly a lot of international flights, no worries, this bag will carry-on, any flight, any where, any time.

Mini Boss Laptop Briefcase Dimensions: 19"L x 12"H x 6.5"W. Weight: 3.4 Pounds.

Will hold a laptop with standard 17" screen. An ideal gamer laptop bag.

Red Oxx Mini Boss Ready for Helicopter Ride
Red Oxx Mini Boss ready for take off!

Whichever Red Oxx laptop or tablet bag you finally decide on you’re guaranteed the world’s finest and freest "No Bull" Lifetime Warranty. This is the bag that will outlast any computer so prioritizing which one for you is an important decision.