Kensington Contour Cargo Notebook Case Review

Kensington Contour Cargo Notebook Case Review

If you’ve been reading the site lately, you’ve surely seen some bags that feature Kensington’s Contour feature.  The Kensington Contour Cargo Notebook Case is another one, but one that has a little bit more style, in my opinion, than your standard black bag.  It’s also very lightweight and has some great features that let you keep your possessions organized and easy to access.

Features and Specifications


  • Utility Panel with device-specific pockets for important devices like an MP3 player, cell phone and more, there’s even a headphone port for your favorite music player
  • Zippered Locker Door keeps media drives, business cards, pens and more within easy reach
  • Media storage bays and bottom accessory pocket for power cords and adapters keep everything organized
  • Contour System with the Contour Panel that keeps weight close to your body to increase comfort and reduce fatigue
  • Adjustable Contour Shoulder Strap with dome pressure pads reduce slippage and increase comfort
  • Durable, water-resistant nylon material keeps contents safe and dry
  • DropShield padding for notebook protection
  • Exclusively endorsed by the American Chiropractic Association (ACA)

Contour panel (view large image)


  • Fits most notebooks up to 15.4″
  • Material: nylon
  • Weight 2.05 lbs.
  • Exterior dimensions 18.0″ L X 14.5″ H X 76.5″ W
  • Notebook compartment dimensions 14.4″ L X 11.4″H X 2.0″W
  • The bag is backed by a limited lifetime warranty
  • MSRP around $70

Construction and Styling


The bag’s exterior is made of a water-resistant nylon in a couple different colors and textures.  The front of the bag and some of the back has a green color.  The Utility Panel is gray colored nylon that wraps around the edge of the bag.  The Contour panel on the back is black.  The Contour panel allows the bag to to sit comfortably against your body as you carry it.

The Utility Panel contains three purpose built pockets.  On the bottom of the bag, a zipper pocket is perfect for loose wires and power adapters.  On one side of the bag, below where the straps attach is a water bottle holder.  On the other side, you’ll find a padded media player pocket with a headphone port.

Bottle holder (view large image)

Media player pocket (view large image)

Cord pocket (view large image)

The carrying strap on the top of the bag is nicely padded for when you need to give your shoulder a break.

The strap consists of standard nylon webbing that slides within a Contour shoulder strap with dome pressure pads.  The pressure pads are padded neoprene bumps that distribute weight across your shoulder.  Since the webbing strap can slide within the padded part, the padded part can stay stationary on your shoulder and not rub.


There are three pockets to keep your supplies organized.  Thoughtfully, there is good padding even between all of the compartments.  The main (notebook) compartment can accommodate most laptops up to 15.4 models.  The notebook is held in a padded sleeve with elastic panels to snugly hold a variety of sizes and shapes.  The notebook is further protected by the DropShield padding in the bottom of the bag. 

The next pocket is slightly smaller (in all dimensons) than the main compartment.  There are two elasticized mesh pockets sewn into the side of the compartment for some organization.  There is room in here for a standard thickness paperback, extra wires or your camera.  You can fit a file folder in this pocket, but you kind of have to tuck it in.

The last compartment is what Kensington calls the Locker Door.  This compartment is relatively flat and has a zipper that only traverses the top and one side of the flap.  Within this compartment are purpose built neoprene sleeves to hold business cards, memory media, pens/pencils, and a phone.  This compartment also works nicely for holding airline documents or a small notepad.


The first thing that I noticed about the Contour Cargo was how light it was.  The empty bag is very lightweight (around 2 pounds).  The next thing that I noticed was the styling.  The bag is a nice green color that adds a little bit of style, more than plain black, and it’s not too stylish for people who don’t like to stand out as much.

The bag holds everything that I need to carry on a typical day.  While my notebook, a Dell XPS m1210, is only a 12 model, it still fit snugly into the laptop sleeve.  In the pictures for this review, a 15.4 Dell Inspiron 8600 also fit nicely.  I usually have a couple file folders, which fit into the main compartment.  I put my notebook’s AC adapter and a spare networking cable in the bottom pouch of the Utility Panel.  The Locker Door compartment handled my business card holder, phone and pens quite nicely.  In the middle compartment, I tossed everything else in that I carry around with plenty of room left over.

I took the bag on a recent trip to New York for a trade show and really had a chance to try things out in real life.  It was easy to take through airport security and fit nicely under the plane seat in front of me. During the trade show, I spent extended periods of time walking around the floor and occasionally stopping to talk to someone or sit down for a meeting.  I really liked being able to easily grab things in the smallest pocket, like a pen and small notebook, to take notes.  It was also easy to reach in and store a business card that was handed to me without having to take the bag off my shoulder.  The larger pockets were great for quickly stashing press kit CDs and other things that get pressed into your hands while walking around.

I did have a few minor gripes after lugging the bag around for a while.  First, there are no swivel mechanisms on the straps, so they won’t untwist if you put the bag on with twisted straps.  While the padded shoulder pad was comfortable, the webbing strap kept getting scrunched into the side of the padded sleeve.   This is not really a bad thing, but I would imagine that if the strap gets bunched up that it detract from the strap comfort. 

Another minor thing was that the wire pouch on the bottom of the bag pushes into the main notebook compartment, so it’s possible to crush papers or folders that be in the notebook compartment.  I think the bag would be much improved if there was a sleeve, or another flat compartment that could hold a small stack of papers or file folders.  The existing pockets worked for that purpose, but the space was a little too free-form for folders.


The Kensington Contour Cargo Notebook Case is a lightweight, high quality notebook case that looks good, is functional, and reasonably priced.  I carried the bag all day long at a trade show and my shoulder still functioned afterwards.  It carried everything that I needed and it provided easy access for the few things that I need it to.  It also travels very well.  However, I had a couple very minor gripes, so the bag doesn’t get a perfect 10 from me, but be a 9.93.


  • Lightweight nylon construction
  • Has a more style that a standard black bag, but not too much style
  • Compartments were well planned
  • Padding between compartments protects items in your bag from other stuff in your bag
  • High quality construction (limited lifetime warranty)


  • Would have liked swivels on the strap
  • Icons on the various pocket be too gaudy for some
  • Would have liked to see a better, cleaner compartment for file folders, papers





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