One Way To Carry A Laptop On A Bicycle Tour

We love looking in other people’s panniers to see what they’re carrying, so when reader Mark Watson sent photos of how he keeps his laptop safe from bumps and dust, we had to share.

He explains:

We use a Macbook Air. It’s very light and compact and with Flash memory, so its harddrive is much less susceptible to vibrations on the road. To make the Air bombproof in the pannier we keep it in a lightweight plastic box, of the type that electronics people carry their bits and bobs in. The box is padded with closed cell foam.

One way to carry a laptop on a bike tour

One way to carry a laptop on a bike tour

Mark is a photographer, so his laptop is bigger and more powerful than the netbooks and tablets that many of us take on a bicycle tour, but the idea could be adapted for any computer.

Additionally, Mark carries something to back up all of his photos.

We carry two Western Digital USB hard drives (320/500GB) for our Adobe Lightroom photo libraries (I’m a photographer) with one as the main drive and the second as a back up.

This is bulkier approach than simply wrapping your laptop in a few clothes and stuffing it in a back bag but it’s certainly a very robust option, if you want that extra protection. Whether it’s worth it for you probably depends largely on where you are going (paved roads or lots of off-asphalt riding?) and your level of concern about your computer.

For an idea of what Mark is using his computer for, check out his amazing photography. He’s currently touring in Southeast Asia with his partner Hana.


  1. Shane
    9th September 2011 at 12:25 pm #

    Solution for our Kindles? Time for a trip to the DIY store and see if they have a small version:)

  2. Rich
    10th September 2011 at 4:28 pm #

    Hi folks. What Raaco box is that? I can’t find it.


  3. Doug W.
    13th September 2011 at 1:28 am #

    Nice solution, Mark!

    As for Kindles, the padded pockets from Timbuktu have been a very lightweight and wonderful investment for Kindle protection. Absolutely no worries with it and only about $30.

  4. Rik
    14th September 2011 at 11:08 am #

    Hadn’t thought of that idea – looks interesting – particularily when out of the pannier.
    My wife & I have 2 kindles and a 13″ MacBook Pro.
    We bought the lighted kindle covers for the kindles and this is the only protection they have. If raining heavily we put them in a drysac for on the road.
    The macbook we store in a padded neoprene sleeve and then a waterproof cover, our crappy Altura panniers aren’t completely waterproof, and put it into the back pannier with our thermo-rests (and kindles). – in 6 months of travelling have had no problem with this – tho I accidentally cracked the macbook screen (still works) when it I rested my hand on it getting into the tent one night.

  5. Mark Watson
    18th September 2011 at 7:06 pm #

    Hi Rich,
    It’s this Raaco box. I bought it at Maplins in the UK.

    • Rich
      18th September 2011 at 8:22 pm #

      Hiya. Thanks for the reply. I researched it on the Interwebs and I found them. Unfortunately not for sale in North America. Expensive. A last resort.

      Threw my back out, testing it to see if I can survive. Today first short ride. 8 GB of video on my Contour.


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