Best Rugged Laptop Cases – For the Off-road Writer

December 8, 2008

Otter 7030 Laptop Case 

The off-road writer – now there’s a niche.  

If you find yourself toting your laptop on camping trips, hiking trails or perhaps everyday is a rocky adventure scaling the urban jungle, you may want to take extra precautions in protecting the prized possession that holds your latest masterpiece – the laptop. 

As long as you have hard drives with movable parts (Come on 500GB SSD!) and manufacturers like Apple producing laptops with glass screens (new Macbook/Macbook Pro) you can never be too cautious. There are extreme solutions and everyday precaution gear.  This article is all about the EXTREME.  As in, "I dropped my laptop bag halfway down the Himalayas and it took a lickin’ and kept on tickin’".

Aside from the overkill look of the 80s James Bond aluminum briefcase, there are a handful of "practical" off-road laptop bags:  OtterBox is arguably the king of rugged gadget cases.  Toting the 7030 laptop case will add a whopping 6 pounds to your mobility but it gets the job done for $189.95.

Otter 7030 Laptop Case 

If you want to double-up with a hard-shell sleeve and a hard-shell bag check out Axio or Booq (Vyper Exo System). Both manufacturers offer a hard-shell sleeve as well as bag/backpack hard-shell for double protection. Caution!  This solution will add noticeable weight to your mobile platform, but you can tumble freely and look cool doing it. 


Axio – Hardsleeve & Hardpack  $99.95/$169

Booq Exo System

Booq Vyper Exo System $205


Update: Two more cases were brought to our attention after the first run of this article – The Radiator and Pelican. The Radiator by Civilian Lab for MacBook off-roaders is reasonably priced in comparison to other models but limited to the 13" MacBook. specializes in rugged cases for gadgets.  Their products are for the hardcore off-roaders, as there is nothing civilian-like about their products.



Radiator by Civilian Lab $57



Pelican 1495CC#2 $179.95


I will be writing a three-part series in the new year on Which Bag Carries Your Geek’dm, covering my experiences with the best laptop bags, backpacks and slings. Stay tuned…. 

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

VonF. January 20, 2009 at 2:46 pm

I look forward to three-part article you will write. Please try to include bags available in UK also.


Robin January 20, 2009 at 2:54 pm

I will keep that in mind VonF.


M. Sully January 22, 2009 at 4:02 pm

I need something that can withstand sand and the constant banging of a dunebug. I hit the san dunes every weekend but I don’t trust leaving my laptop at the camp grounds. Didn’t know about Otterbox. Thanks. Will be taking a serious look at their products.


CountryTechman January 22, 2009 at 10:11 pm

Saw a Youtube video where a motorcycle ran over a laptop incased in that Otter. Tough as nails.


Zenwrite January 23, 2009 at 4:53 pm

The Axio looks pretty cool. Do you know of any other rugged bags that offer a backpack strap (vs. a shoulder strap)?


Robin January 23, 2009 at 5:19 pm

Yep. Boblbee.

Oakley use to have a hardshell backpack but it’s discontinued.


SaturnGal January 30, 2009 at 4:23 pm

I need a rugged case. God forbid they make one in pink, taupe, lavendar, or anything cute!


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