Bags for the Adventurer
You have read about them before on RSOC and you probably own a few yourself, however I would like to showcase a few bags that I find to be essential for me to do what I do on a daily basis.
On average I think that it is essential to have at least three backpacks. Three you say, are you mad, why would anyone need that many bags? My answer is simple, each bag has its own specific use and having bags with specific uses makes life easier.
Bag One: The Media Bag
most commonly known as a school bag. I choose the Power Pack by Outdoor Products:
The perfect media bag has a padded spot for laptops, various small compartments that hold electronics and other special tools/gear intact. This bag does just that, it even has a file-folder system in the main compartment to separate things as you wish. While many bags have laptop compatible sleeves it is best to buy a bag with a dedicated area for laptops specifically. The Power Pack even comes with a customizable pad that form fits to your laptop, giving it the utmost protection from banging around.
I recently took this bag to Maine and it protected my breakables from impacts, rain and a few minor coffee spills.
Bottom line: everyone needs a go to bag to take care of their electronics, make sure that yours allows you to customize to your configurations and fulfills all of your standards. Do not jump to buying a bag, take your time and get the right one.
Bag Two: The Technical Day Bag.
The technical day bag is that one bag that you possibly spend a little too much money on, so you need to get one that is tough, proven, ergonomically designed fit and has all of the pockets and straps that one would ever want!
My Choice: the REI: Traverse 30 liter:
As you can see this day bag has enough straps to accommodate a host of different configurations for hanging anything you want of the back. It also has two cinch straps on each side to compress the bag to make it less bulky and to help make you gear stay where you put it. The ultimate day bag a pouch to hold a water bladder, sternum strap, waist strap, side pockets for bottles and a few smaller pockets to hold specialty items. On this bag I especially like the small pocket on the waist belt, it holds a knife, Cliffbar, or energy shots.
Bottom line: the day bag needs to fulfill all of your needs while being comfortable enough to carry decent sized loads, like picnic lunches, "hey boo boo bear." Also make sure that the day bag has everything that you want in the places that you want it, nothing is more frustrating than having to take off your bag every time you want a sip of water.
Bag Three: The Bomber
The bomber is the bag that you use for everyday; the gym, the library, the store, getting beer, keeping your back warm... etc. It may be a media bag or a day bag, or even a shoulder bag...
My bomber is the smallest of the First Ascent Line: The Little Tahoma 30 liter:
The perfect bomber has a large main compartment, side pouches and a few small specialized compartments. This is the bag that you need to carry out your daily routine. I use mine to take stuff to work, hold clothes for the gym and to take groceries to the car. The bomber is also a great bag to take for multipurpose trips, such as the trip home.
Scenario: you are heading to a friend's for the weekend. You will be hiking and possible strolling downtown. Space is limited and you do not want to impose, so you bring the bomber. Load it up with clothes and unpack them when you get there. Voila! The bomber becomes a technical day bag!
Bottom line: Pick your bomber wisely, it will need to be a chameleon among bags, doing everything and anything to fulfill its purpose(s).