After more than a year of travel and reviews, I thought it high time to round up my thoughts and create a list of favorite bags for each category.
It has been super fun and entertaining.
I have looked at onebag “this is my life on my back” backpacks that take the place of your carry on. With these, you never need to check anything in and baggage claim is a breeze. To me, these do not need to be pretty as much as they need to be functional and comfortable for the road. I looked at the Tortuga Setout 35L Women’s and Men’s, the Tortuga Setout Divide, the Cotopaxi Allpa 35L, the Patagonia Black Hole MLC 45L, the Mission Workshop Fitzroy 40L, and the Huckberry/Mystery Ranch Mission Rover 40L. For me, there was a clear winner in the Tortuga Setout 35L. Funnily enough, the women’s version was more comfortable for me than the men’s but I liked both.
I have also looked at Every Day Carry (EDC) bags for use around the town. I primarily use these for work or going to a cafe. I also use it as my personal carry on item for plane travel. I use them to bring my laptop, water bottle, snacks and maybe a jacket if needed. This the tightest competition with the most choices running the gamut of prices. I tried out the Patagonia Refugio, Mystery Ranch Urban Assault, Evergoods CPL, The Brown Buffalo Conceal, Bellroy Classic Plus, Monoprice Form Tech and Work backpacks and more. I settled on the Alchemy Equipment x Carrylogy collaboration called the AEL 222 which is a riff on the AE 022. A great bag for my uses with super build quality and great materials. High end all the way and super comfortable to carry.
Now, if I am going to a business function or conference and wearing a suit or sportscoat, I need something a bit less casual than the AEL 222. That is when I did a new search for a convertible backpack/briefcase. For this battle, I looked at the Mystery Ranch 3-Way Convertible, Aer Flight Pack 2 and the Topo Designs 3-Day Global. I found the Topo Designs 3-Day Global Briefcase fit my needs the best. It fits a ton of stuff and has a nice build. In all black, it is professional enough, though they do have a bunch of more interesting colorways as well. The backpack mode straps are surprisingly comfortable, and the shoulder strap is really nice as well.
For a day trip or outing when traveling or urban adventuring, I need a sling. This is when I do not want to tote around a laptop, but still want my water bottle, snacks, headphones, and maybe a battery pack and charger. I went out to San Francisco and copped the Chrome Kadet and Timbuk2 Classic Messenger Extra Small. I also got the Skunk Sling from Amazon, Bellroy Classic Sling and Peak Designs 5L Sling. For me, the Chrome Kadet was the winner here in terms of build, size, and features. I love it. I also love the Bellroy Classic sling for carrying my drone around. Anyway, I hope this video helps others make some decisions! Links to the original reviews:
Tortuga Setout 35L Men’s
Alchemy Equipment Carryology AEL222 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B6juJypp8As&t=716s
Topo Designs 3-Day Global Briefcase https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CzxsTTNlgv0&t=548s
Chrome Kadet https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CrjQ1bB3zLw&t=1s
Bellroy Classic Sling https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yr0UhUU4JiQ&t=124s