A Quest For The Best Bag

Hello, 2021! Lately, I’ve been searching for the ideal…bag. Yeah I know, sounds boring; it’s just a bag! But it’s not so simple. When it comes to grabbing the right bag, there’s a lot to consider. Maybe by the end of this post, I’ll have found the “perfect” pack for the back. Or maybe not.

Burdened With Baggage

We all carry stuff around with us everyday. Women typically have a purse to tote their essentials. Traditional options for men are jean pockets or a backpack, but there’s no in-between. That’s the zone I’m looking into for every-day-carry (EDC) items, like all the tech gear for a mobile computing lifestyle.

My daily carry is a personal Backpack for my work commute. It hauls my laptop plus other stuff, but it’s kind of overkill most of the time. I like using both shoulder straps for convenience; it’s harder to lug stuff off-center when using only one of the straps.

I also sometimes use a Messenger Bag that came with my company laptop. I like how its single long shoulder strap crosses my body from one side to the other, letting the bag hang by my side, back, or front. That’s a big difference from a backpack, which is only for transporting stuff on your back from point ‘A’ to ‘B’, not accessing your stuff between those points like you can with a messenger bag.

Backpacks and messenger bags are big and handy for lugging your accoutrements, especially when traveling for a weekend. But for commuting or every day carry, it’d be nice to have a smaller simpler bag to hoist around, keeping my pockets clutter free. But I’m not talking about a “Murse” or a “Fanny Pack.” Right?

There are somewhat synonymous terms for bag types. What’s the difference between a rucksack, backpack, satchel, hip-pack, messenger bag, or shoulder bag. Sometimes, I’m really not sure. But I have found some good niche websites all about bags where they…pack a lot of helpful info.

If you’re wondering about optimizing your own daily carry situation, I highly recommend these two great sites:

The Slingbag

This is the type of bag I’ve been drawn to most. Its main funtion is hinted in the name. The bag and single-strap set-up enable a small to medium-sized bag to sit comfortably against your back; it doesn’t dangle loosely like a messenger bag. Then it rotates to your front for quick easy access.

I would say a slingbag is a cross between a backpack and a messenger bag.

Amazon has stacks of packs to preview. It’s a decent starting point. But to stay focused, I made a list of my everyday items I am likely to carry in a slingbag or similar pack.

Rather than find a bag that “looks cool” and has “neat features” and then hope all my stuff fits is a backwards way to go. I should first note what stuff needs to fit, then find a suitable bag.

So for my potential every-day-carry, here’s an itemized item list of…items:

Pocket stuff:

  1. Wallet
  2. Keys
  3. iPhone
  4. Knife

Essential burdens:

  1. Sunglasses
  2. Low-dose Aspirin
  3. Advil
  4. Gum
  5. Snacks
  6. Chapstick
  7. Pen

Tech gear:

  1. iPad
  2. AirPods
  3. EarPods
  4. Lightning to 3.5mm adapter
  5. Micro USB cable
  6. Lightning cable
  7. USB C cable
  8. Battery pack
  9. Bluetooth speaker

Other things to weigh me down:

  1. Water Bottle
  2. Leatherman multi-tool
  3. Nintendo Switch (in its own case)
  4. Mini LED flashlight
  5. Zippo Lighter

When I list it out like that, wow, I may need to minimize first! That’s a lot to carry. So I think it comes down to access. What do I need/want to access quickly or frequently while on-the-go and don’t want stuffed into my pockets? That answer needs more brain cycles…and coffee…

The modern mobile man needs not resort to a classic backpack. Today, bag options abound.

If, like me, you’re thinking you might want a better bag to pack, maybe now you’ve got some new ideas. Let me know what you think in the comments! Or do you already have the perfect bag; what do you use?