I have to go out and buy myself a service bag for a new job I got. I would like to find a really good bag that isn't too huge but accommodates what I need it for:
Hand tools. Service techs know that you don't need a lot of tools. Hell most jobs can be done with one screwdriver, but I'd like space for a couple of them, a multi-meter, ethernet crimper, and maybe a few other miscellaneous tools I might need.
Laptop. I'm pretty sure I'm going to get a netbook instead of a laptop computer. I don't need to do a lot with it, so a netbook will do fine. I would like my bag to have a spot for a netbook.
Paperwork. I would like a bag that has another slot for paperwork, something that can hold a full size sheet of paper / folders and a receipt book.
These are the requirements I have. Some of my co-workers have multiple bags, for tools and paperwork and it seems like a big hassle. My boss has a bag like I am describing but there's some stuff that I don't like about it.
Basically I have no idea where to go to look for a bag like this.
What bag do you use? Do you like it? Where can I get one?
Honestly, I'm using my old college backpack from like ten years ago. Enough space for a full size laptop, front pouch I can toss some tools in. Though with you wanting the slot for paperwork, that might not be ideal.
Fair economical, but should not be too bulky for you. I'd grab myself a multi screwdriver kit. Newegg or actually ebay would be a great spot to pick some up. If you have a microcenter near you, check there. I got a multi screwdriver for like 10 bucks and it has 30 different tips with it, magnetic too, so saves time if you lose a screw inside a machine sometimes.
Also for your toolkit, don't know exactly what you are going to be doing, assuming tech work. Here is something to make your life easier.
You download their program, install it to your computer, take an XP cd and use it to build an iso. When you do that, burn the iso to a disc, and you get "The Ultimate Boot CD for Windows". Basically you get some tools, but you also can boot the computer into a full blown version of Windows XP from the cd itself. I love it. It has allowed me to boot up crashed machines without pulling their hard drive so that I can hook an external hard drive up and pull their files, which saves me time. Has utilities to test hard drive, memory, password crackers in case someone forgets a windows password, even a bios password breaker which helped me one time when working on a laptop where another guy worked on it before and set a password in the cmos of this person's computer. I even used it on a friend's machine who's vista install had gotten so corrupted that it would give him error messages when he tried to boot. So he'd have to click ok like 5 times. His computer was so messed up that you couldn't even run chkdisk. But booted off that cd, ran chkdisk on his c drive from inside that disk, couple hours later, computer was perfect. Great tool.
Great if you need to pull data, pull the drive from the computer you are working on, it gives you adapters to hook the bare drive to your machine and you can do backup, pull data, virus scans, whatever you gotta do. It fits sata drives for notebook and desktops, ide drives for desktops and laptops too. So nearly anything you will see. And the price is great. If you are cheap, there are some ebay knockoffs floating around for like 8 bucks.
Also get a spare length of network cable with the ends on it to test users setups with. Another thing, you may want to grab a usb mouse, in case you end up working on laptops where you hate their trackpad. You can grab a wireless one from ebay for like 3-5 bucks. I think they've even got them to where the transmitter goes inside the mouse.
If you go the netbook route, I would say grab an external drive. So you may wish to look at full notebook. But if you need to burn a cd or something onsite, you might want that. The other thing you could look at if cost is the issue, check around for maybe like a dell latitude d620. They are for the most parts that I see, dual cores, like the core duo series. You can pick them up usually with xp, maybe toss a bigger hard drive later if that's an issue and ddr2 notebook memory is cheap now.
But back to the bag, if the bag above does not work for you, I would still look at targus. I worked in a school system as a tech for 2.5 years doing all the hardware repairs for 8 buildings. Long story short, I carried an older targus bag, beat that poor thing to death with the loads I carried, and it still kept ticking. It was actually a smaller bag, but it was very tough.
If price is not an object, I would say you might look at an apple macbook with 13 inch screen. I am pretty certain you can use their bootcamp application to install windows. I know when I worked in the school systems, we were mostly macs, so that's what I always carried. But it was 13 inch, light, and quick too. But only the 13 inch screen, so not a vast size difference vs a netbook.
I use a small messenger style bag for docs and invoices. However, it is a good idea to have a plastic storage bin in your car for parts and cables. I have one that is still portable, so I can take it inside overnight. A bag is usually not enough for any type of on-site computer repair.