I just learned a new packing tip. Backpacks that have pockets for stowing away straps. When the straps are out - the pocket can be used for flat things like an ipad or chrome book.
This made me think... My backpack doesn't have stow away straps, but there is a long pocket on the front... There's a padded pocket inside meant for computer gear, but it's a pain to pull stuff out of there at airport security. I can use that long, almost hidden, side zip front pocket on my Appenzell for at least my bluetooth keyboard, if not my tablet; maybe both. Pad them with a scarf or sweater...
Our most recent trip (this past February) was the first time I had to pull out my keyboard for security. It takes up more room and weight than I like in my personal item, so I packed it in the padded pocket of my backpack. What a hassle to get it out!
That's one reason I liked the Cotopaxi Allpa backpack - you can access the laptop compartment from the outside, which makes it very handy. There's also another pocket on the other side for storing liquids and anything else you might need to pull when going through security.
RS is way ahead of you with its stowaway straps that have been a feature on the original RS bag for years now.
My Appenzell is an older version. The zipper for the long, interior pocket is on the top - not the side. I think this pocket was originally designed as a “stuff it” pocket for light coats. It’s also good for travel umbrellas and diapers, (hoagies?). It’s deceptive. It’s a longer and deeper pocket than it looks. I can see where access is easier than the back wall pocket in the main compartment.
My personal item for the plane is a Sherpani Camden which has backpack stowaway straps, small tote handles, plus a strap to wear crossbody. Since I’m not using it as a backpack for this trip, I carefully cut off the backpack straps and gained that extra pocket! I’ve used it for papers I want to access quickly. (The interior iPad slot is nice for that item.)
I have a RedOxx bag that has a back magazine pocket with a snap rivet to seal it. It’s nice having a pocket to easily store and access papers. I think you have found a great new way to use the strap pocket.
Ooh, I like that too. My favorite personal item bag pretty much fell apart three or four years ago (while we were literally running through an airport, no less.) It was rather heavy, but had wonderful pockets, including a back pocket into which I could fit a full-sized file folder which held all the papers, tickets, notes, spreadsheets, boarding passes - all the paperwork I wanted or needed for a trip.
The bag I'm using now as my personal item - a "premium" we got for joining the Sierra Club - has a pocket that's wide enough for a folder, but not very deep. We make it work; Kim (from this Forum, who lives near me) gave me a wonderful plastic zipper pouch big enough to hold my papers, my husband devised a hook-and-loop strap to run over the top of the pouch, but I sure miss my old bag. Any bag I consider for a replacement will have an easily accessible pocket for my pouch or file folders.
And be cheap. Lol.
Amazon sells zippered mesh pouches with waterproof PVC for cheap. You order a pack of 24 - 30 in various sizes and colors for $16 - $20. No wonder Kim gave you one. I was given one with work supplies on it. I repurposed it for travel. I think it’s a 4” x 9” one. Makes a good pouch for day pack to carry first aid items, sanitizer, tissue packets.