The Mountainsmith Network : An Ideal Bag For Those Stuck In Economy Class

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1/05/2009 – The Mountainsmith Network : An Ideal Bag For Those Stuck In Economy Class

Briefcases, satchels, messenger bags, etc are part of nearly every travellers’ kit.  Most travellers have a favourite bag, and many have a dozen favourite bags.   I fall into the latter category; I’d be hard pressed to be pinned down a single favourite bag (well that is not true, the Mountainsmith Tour waist pack has been a mainstay of my kit for well over half-a-decade).

As my professional role transitions from full-time photographer to that of both a professional photographer and a travel strategist, my travel needs have begun to shift.   This transition has introduced me to a wider array of bags and travel gadgets that I did explore when only travelling as a photographer.  Sure I still travel with cameras, I don’t foresee myself ever travelling without cameras, but my packing needs have changed slightly

With these shifts in my travel requirements I have once again turned to a company I have relied on for years…Mountainsmith.

The newest Mountainsmith bag to enter my extensive line up of their bags is the Mountainsmith Network briefcase.   The design of the Network is similar to other bags, such as the North Face Off Site (which I also own), however the Network is more compact and better designed for travel and dealing with confined carry-on space on aircraft.

My basic requirements for a new briefcase were simple. The bag needed to be compact, hold two laptops easily, a change of clothing, have a slot to slide of the handle of a roll aboard bag and have an organizer compartment that hold my Think Tank Cable Management 10 case, a hard drive two Moleskine notebooks (I write in one the other actually a receipt organizer).   I looked at bags from Mountainsmith, North Face, Timbuk2, Think Tank and explore what I already had in my closet from Domke and Land End.

After reviewing many bags I once again found that Mountainsmith’s products were what I was looking for.

The Mountainsmith Network’s laptop compartment has a neoprene slot that easily handles a 15″ Apple PowerBook, while still having plenty of space to comfortably accommodate my 13″ MacBook as well.

The center pocket is used for my clothing. In this compartment I place a change of pants, dress shirt, under shirt, socks, boxers and my “3-1-1” bag with toiletries.

Finally the outer compartment, the organizer compartment is stocked with AC power supplies for both laptops, the Think Tank Cable Management 10, a portable hard drive, two Moleskine notebooks, CF cards and other basic accessories.

For easy access, on the back of the Network, along with a slot to attach the bag to a roll-aboard bag is a sleeve for a boarding pass. This sleeve is also incorporated into the Mountainsmith Tour and Mountainsmith Day.

A great feature of the Network, as well as other Mountainsmith bags, is the bright yellow interior.  Searching for items in a black bag is challenging, and even more challenging at night or on a dark plane. I love that the bright yellow interior lets me quickly find objects in the bag with minimal hassle.

For travellers who fly in economy class (like 99% of us do) or who frequent life on regional jets and turbo props the Network is 16″x13″x6.5″ (40.5cm x 33cm x 17cm) allowing the bag to fit in smaller overhead compartments as well as under the seats of any commercial aircraft I can think of.

For photogs looking for a handy shoulder bag, this bag works well with gear as well. For a quick day out the compartment I use for clothing can easily hold a full-size DSLR body along with a 16-35f2.8 (or 28-70f2.8) and 70-200f2.8.   I have used a Domke insert in this compartment as well as just stacked my gear in and been happy with the ease of use both times.

For now I foresee using this bag often as I travel with a camera or two out my shoulders on quick trips in and out of town where a briefcase is preferable to a backpack.

Below are six photos of my Mountainsmith Network bag.

Happy Flying!
–Click Images Below To Enlarge–
a man pulling a luggage bag

a bag with various items inside

a bag with clothes inside

a laptops in a backpack

a black bag on a chair

a black bag on a chair


  1. I followed your recommendation and am delighted. I don’t want to carry a large backpack and this fits nicely on the luggage handle. I put a camera body and a couple of lenses in neoprene pouches and I am set. Thanks for the tip.

  2. Steven;

    What is the rolling bag in the top photo? It looks like a perfect size. I’m not looking for a rolling equipment bag…but one that can handle shall we say less-than-polite treatment. If it were convertible that would be a plus.

    Too many choices out there man. The Network is a very sweet bag. Nice job on this site, its a treasure.

    Its been a long time…hope you are well. Take care,


  3. The rolling bag in the photo is the Mountainsmith Correspondent bag. I wrote a detailed writeup of the Correspondent back in June of 2008 here:

    Unfortunately Mountainsmith has discontinued the Correspondent, see if you can find one in close outs online. I love mine as a camera bag, modular bag, plain every day suitcase and a general purpose bag. Really I love it. Mountainsmith currently makes a non-photo rolling bag which is nice called The Boarding Pass. The Boarding Pass may be adaptable depending on your comfort level in adapting bags (my comfort level is extremely hight as many of my photo bags are not actually photo bags.

    Happy Flying!


  4. Thanks man. The Boarding Pass looks even better…I don’t need all that the Correspondent comes with…though it looks like a completely sick bag.

    You de man!



  5. just been looking for a new bag and came across your review, and based upon that I have gone ahead and bought one.

    Thanks for helping me out.


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