Finding the perfect bag.
So it’s not really a huge secret that some of you have known me to turn into some kind of bag / backpack whore as of late. It’s just been growing over the years, and I think I am finally at a point in my life where I can:
1) No longer count the bags on one hand.
2) Afford many more bags.
Now, it’s just not for the sake of actually having a collection. I gave that up years ago with action figures. There are much more practical and sinister forces at work. It’s like having different parts of your wardrobe for different occasions. A white shirt doesn’t work in all instances – the same applies much more to the bag. Now, this is still very much a utilitarian thing for me, I am not trying to match my bag with my outfit for the day. I am matching the bag for the purpose into which it is needed – something that is much more important. (And for my own sake, I hope it allows me to keep my man card still.)
So right now I have three smaller man-purses. One is a replica WWII Gas Mask bag used by the Germans, very much like the one that Indiana Jones uses. This should be standard man-issue for all guys. Now this one, it’s rather sturdy because of the canvas, has a few pockets, and is great for all around town stuff. Trouble is … for those that recognize it, it totally puts you into walking-geek mode. The second one I received at Trek World this year. It’s black, has the Trek logo on it. It works well, zippered pockets, lots of places to store stuff. Also looks somewhat professional, always a plus. The third one is another one from Trek World Backstage. This is one of my favorites, it’s a super soft cloth, brass clasps that hold things together, and one giant pocket is all you need to store everything you have. I use this one quite often for every day use, and it honestly saved me while I was on crutches earlier in Sept. With no hands to hold anything, well, a bag seems almost limitless in it’s uses!
Stepping into the world of messenger bags, I own two. One’s a medium-sized Timbuk2 bag that I used my first couple years in college. Held up fine, but I replaced it with a bag that you might have read about before. Another Timbuk2, and it’s been serving me well all summer and so far this fall as I’ve gotten back on the bike and rode back/forth to work and play.
For outdoor activities, I have a couple-year-old CamelBak H.A.W.G that I use whenever I could be needing to carry gear while … outside? Works amazingly at the EAA Air Venture every year, while doing trail work. I also love using this to hold camera equipment while doing photography at cycling events. Remember the mantra: Hydrate or Die!!!
Moving along, I have my “Traveller’s Backpack” it has an aged look to it, lots of pockets, softer canvas with leather highlights. I like it a lot except for the fact that it doesn’t hold it’s shape well at all. But it’s pretty comfortable, and it’s been to 3 different countries with me. Not bad, eh?
I have 3 duffel bags, one that I use mostly for traveling – the other two are for cycling gear.
To carry my laptop, I have two bags: a Mamba Sling and an older Boa from booq. I think from now on I’m going to be shying away from sling & one-shoulder bags, I just really think a regular backpack is more versatile.
My latest acquisition is a Banjo Brothers Commuter Backpack. I am honestly not happy with how my Timbuk2 sits on my back when it’s loaded, unloaded, or semi-loaded. It needs to be immaculately arranged or else anything that’s not clothing will poke you in the back, it shifts around all the time while riding, and causes me to suffer from “sweaty back syndrome.”
This backpack sits lower on the back, has some cushioning behind it w/mesh to help with airflow, is waterproof, comes with more reflectivity and well … is another bag to add to the collection. I’m a little excited to give it thorough testing on my daily commutes to work. The weather looks to be super crappy this week, with rain and sleet tomorrow morning. Looks like I’ll get a good chance to see how it works tomorrow.
My commuter bike also has a sweet prototype rack on it that I’m testing out. Because of shipping delays, most of the cycling-luggage I actually want still isn’t available, so I haven’t set myself up with a trunk bag of panniers. I did test out some panniers for a few days … but it honestly feels like I’m riding naked. I actually enjoy commuting with a backpack, it just feels more natural to me. A backpack + a trunk bag, or maybe some grocery-bag sized panniers for the bike will definitely help me depend less and less on my car. I’m stoked about that.
So … I’m looking to add at least 2 or 3 more bags to my collection. I’ve just discovered a sweet backpack from an Australian company called Crumpler. Would be great for carrying stuff around town, and the Mahoubar has a sleek design with tons of pockets that’s just … cool. Ok, maybe a little form over function is allowed. Just don’t tell too many people, ok?