I like this cover by Anna Tsuchiya!
2011 May 22
I like this cover by Anna Tsuchiya!
2011 May 21
One thing that I’d like to have is a good shoulder-bag to carry all my daily stuff. You know, things like papers, pens, camera, a book, and laptop. I’ve owned several over the years but I haven’t found the perfect one. The first one I can remember with any detail was a Timbuk2 messenger bag circa 2002. It cost about $100 and was very basic. It was really meant for bike messengers, and had an extra strap to keep the bag aligned in the center of your back. It was tough and waterproof, plus it looked cool. The problem was that the inner pocket was just a big unpadded space, with only a couple loops to hang keys, and a couple pockets for a wallet.
In 2008 I bought a Case Logic bag from Fry’s for about $50. It is pretty good in that it has a dedicated padded space for a laptop, and you can access that via zipper without having to open up the main flap. On the inside, it had several useful pockets and even a zippered one on the side which can be used for a point & shoot camera. On the other side is an elastic pocket with is good for a slim water bottle. The main inner pocket is pretty spacious and could fit my dSLR. It was a little cramped, but is fine for the body/50mm and a couple smaller lenses. There are also various-sized zippered and un-zippered pockets for lots of things like iPods, wallet, business cards, etc. Lastly, the main flap itself has two side pockets to stash thin items. Those little tissue packets that people hand out in Japan for instance.
The downside to this bag is that it is a little big depth-wise, so when I am not carrying a dSLR, it’s just added bulk. And with all those pockets, padding, and zippers it is on the heavy side.
My current bag is something I stumbled across at Target, and was only about $25. I was going to Japan for a couple weeks and had dedicated to myself to traveling light. This included downsizing from a dSLR to my Panasonic DMC-TS2 point & shoot and from a paperback novel to a Kindle3. The Embark bag (which I think is one of Target’s house brands) is just about perfect for this. I like the plain grey outside, and the single large buckle snap for the main flap. There’s a zipper on the flap where I can take stuff in and out quickly like my walled and keys. Inside, there are three main compartments. The one closest to the body has a securing strap and I guess this is the good for a laptop. The second one is just plain and open and I have a folder in there with papers and printouts. The third space has elastic pockets for various things (iPod/earbuds, medicine, money, etc. There are also two zippered pockets one of which is perfect for the point & shoot camera and the other is perfect size for the Kindle. You can actually get to these pockets without opening the main flap, which is really convenient. The bag itself is really lightweight and the elastic pockets work well. I feel that a more complicated series of zippered pockets on the Case Logic is unneeded.
The downsides to the Embark bag are that there isn’t very much padding for a laptop (I need to find a padded sleeve to put in there) and it could use an elastic outside pocket for a drink. To remedy this last part, I have a little hook to carry a small MSR bottle. As a lightweight bag, the Embark is hard to beat, especially for the budget price!
Now I have my eyes on an REI Quantum bag. It’s got some good things going for it, but my Embark still handles the stuff I need a bag to do. Plus I still have the Case Logic in case I need it. Still, it’s fun to shop around!
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