CityWalker Pack Gear Bag

As a devoted gadget freak, I have as much interest in ways to carry my assorted gadgets as I have in the gadgets themselves.  As soon as a new gadget is in hand, I am off to look for a way to carry it around with me.  I often like to have multiple gadgets, so having a way to tote them all around is important.  The gadget bag should be small, sturdy, loaded with pockets and have room for all the gadgets I might want to bring with me on any particular excursion.

I have been perusing ebags.com for a couple of years now in the search for such a bag. I have raided every store I know and some I don’t to find a bag that suited my needs.  The closest I had come was the Eagle Creek Padded Excursion Bag, which saw me through a storm-chasing trip last year.  The bag held everything I needed, but it wasn’t as sturdy as I would have liked, and it had one fatal flaw…it is not even remotely waterproof.

So what gadgets do I like to keep on hand for my excursions? My Treo 650 and bluetooth headset are always at hand, though I often wear that in a Tamrac padded camera bag on my belt.  A pair of Koss foam earplugs and my Rio Carbon, Kestrel 4000 weather device and Canon S400 digital camera are all things I like to have with me when I go anywhere.  I also like having my Pentax 7X20 monocular with me, as well as pens, pencils and a small notepad.  As an avid geocacher, I also like to have my Garmin GPSMAP 60CS with me at all times.  It’s also nice to be able to keep any travel bugs I am
currently holding with me so I can drop them in the next available geocache.  I also have a stack of personalized geocaching business cards that I keep with me to drop in when I find a cache.  Being able to carry my Treo IR keyboard is also a nice thing to do.  So where can I fit all of this gear and not be
loaded down?

I was getting ready for a geocaching/caving road trip a few weeks ago (from which I have recently returned) and I happened to be in New Jersey and stopped in at the local Container Store.  My friend Ross had mentioned this place and I wanted to check it out.  I got to the aisle with the bags and WHAM!  There is this little bag, for $35, that is exactly what I had been looking for.  I have not been able to find this bag anywhere else but here and on their web site.  It’s available in black and powder blue. Being a man’s man (overcompensating much?), I opted for the black version.  Don’t worry, you don’t have to go to New Jersey to get it.  The place maintains a web site, and the link to the item is at the bottom of the review.

It’s called the Large CityWalker, and it is really not all that large.  It measures 7-1/4″ long,  4″ deep and 8″ high.  Not too big, right?  It is loaded with pockets and pouches and fits everything I mentioned above with aplomb.  It sports a waist belt (very comfy) and a shoulder strap.  The shoulder strap is OK, but I replaced it with my favorite strap ever…the one that comes with Roadwired’s Photo/Video Convertible Bag and the Megamedia Bag.  It is robust and I can fit a belt clip on it to attach my GPS while I am out geocaching.  The bag is made of waterproof nylon, and the interior is orange for easy visibility of items.

The bag comes with two exterior front pouches.  The top one is padded, and is the perfect size for the GPS60CS or my Treo in a leather case.  The bottom one is not padded, and fits my Rio Carbon with its headphones and spare AA’s for the GPS.

The main compartment has a fully open pocket in front, which is perfect for my notepad and travel bugs.  In this pocket is also a keychain clip.  Attached to the front pocket are two smaller pockets side by side.  One I use for my Canon digicam, the other for the pocket monocular.  Then there is an open space large enough to hold my Treo 650 and the geocaching cards, as well as a small spray bottle of DEET (which was emptied on the trip thanks to killer horseflies in Mammoth Cave National Park).  Then comes another pocket with an ID wallet thingy with a thin pocket alongside
perfect for putting receipts.  Behind that is more open space (not in use at the moment) and the back wall of the main compartment is a zippered mesh pocket.  I kept all my wallet contents in here on my recent visit to DC, and the Stowaway Treo Keyboard fits nicely here.

But wait!  The main compartment also has pockets on each side!  The left side has a pocket for pens and pencils, and the other side pocket holds my Kestrel weather device!  How’s that for efficiency!  The Kestrel 4000 is a device worthy of its own review if you are a weather enthusiast!

But wait again!!!  The top exterior pouch flips up! It is held in place with a Velcro strip, and when you flip the pouch up, it reveals two more pockets for papers!  The top pocket is fairly small.  I kept my DC Metro tickets here.  The bottom pocket was large enough to stuff all kinds of information papers, including a map of the DC Metro system, a map of how to get from my hotel to the Metro station, a map of the Smithsonian Institute on the Mall, a list of restaurants close to the hotel and other papers.  I had to fold the papers to get them in there, but they all fit!

Is this the perfect bag?  Well…only the top exterior pouch is padded, but the compartments inside are so well divided, that isn’t much of an issue.  The bag is small, so my little Sony camcorder won’t fit in it.  Not to worry, I keep that in a Roadwired Pod bag.  I only use the camcorder on rare occasions
anyway, so that works out.  I can keep the CityWalker on my waist and the Pod on my shoulder.  As you can see, there is room in the bag to hold even more than I have in it…a small pill-case perhaps?  A microcassette recorder?  My Swiss Army knife (a big fat one) fits in here well, too.  It is the closest thing to the perfect bag that I have found.  It will go storm-chasing with me next year…unless I find something better.  Have I mentioned that I am a little fanatical about gear bags?  :)

 

Product Information

Price:34.99
Manufacturer:The Container Store
Pros:
  • Waterproof
  • Orange interior for easy viewing of stored items
  • More pockets than you can shake a stick at
  • Two ways of carrying it
  • Compact and comfortable to wear
  • Not expensive for what you get
  • Extremely intelligent design
  • Durable (survived water and lots of pricker bushes on my trip)
  • Only one strip of velcro (yes, Julie, the stuff bugs the heck out of me, too!)
  • Double zippers on the main and top exterior compartments
  • Holds a lot of gear very comfortably
Cons:
  • Only top exterior pocket is padded
  • Shoulder strap could be more robust
  • No top handle for carrying around (but that might be a pro in your book)
Posted in: Gear

{ 36 comments… add one }

  • Julie August 15, 2005, 3:40 pm

    Post your comments here on the CityWalker Pack Gear Bag Review.

    http://www.the-gadgeteer.com/review/city_walker_gear_bag

    Just click the POST REPLY button on this page.

  • fnj August 15, 2005, 3:55 pm

    Manpurse!

    Good review, though!

  • TOB9595 August 15, 2005, 4:22 pm

    I love manpurses and carryalls!
    I didn’t see how you removed the shoulder strap. In the pic it looked to be permanently affixed…
    Is the belt strap removable?

    VERY well done review and pics!
    Tom

  • isobutane August 15, 2005, 5:01 pm

    The shoulder strap attaches via two loops on the top back of the bag. I use the strap from my Roadwired Photo/Video Convertible Bag…it’s my favorite strap. The waist belt does not detach, but there is a pocket on the back that the belt can be folded into when not it use to keep it out of the way.

    I don’t understand this cultural aversion men have to carrying around bags. Especially given our penchant for gadgets. If the majority of men wore bags, then it wouldn’t be so taboo. They don’t have to be flowery showpieces, but functional places for us to store our man-gear. MEN! Let’s unite and reclaim the right to wear bags!!!!

  • Craig August 15, 2005, 5:28 pm

    isobutane wrote:

    I don’t understand this cultural aversion men have to carrying around bags. Especially given our penchant for gadgets. If the majority of men wore bags, then it wouldn’t be so taboo. They don’t have to be flowery showpieces, but functional places for us to store our man-gear. MEN! Let’s unite and reclaim the right to wear bags!!!!

    Agreed. But men have this problem with being laughed at or called girlie men. If you wear a man bag, or murse, or shoulder bag, then you’re going to be called names. That’s how it is.

    Then again, some men, such as my brother-in-law, don’t like carrying anything. He likes his pockets empty. He carries a driver’s license and credit card only because he has to.

    — Craig

  • isobutane August 15, 2005, 6:02 pm

    I haven’t run into any issues with that, and I wear a bag of one sort or another pretty much every time I go out, in addition to my belt bag. I guess it depends on where you live, too. I think the whole girlie-men name-calling issue is sort of blown out of proportion. I don’t know anyone who has ever run into that situation. Maybe it’s the fear that keeps men from wearing bags.

  • Splusmer August 15, 2005, 7:41 pm

    Cool looking little bag, and a nice review, Mark. Do you think the main compartment as you have it packed could also hold a book (paperback or hardback?) without overstuffing/bulging the bag? Your contents are otherwise similar to mine (I’ve even got a Kestrel!), but I usually like to have a book too.

  • isobutane August 15, 2005, 7:43 pm

    I think one could fit a medium sized paperback in place of something else. Never thought about that, actually…I usually keep my books on my Treo! :)

  • Judie August 15, 2005, 8:59 pm

    Mark, that was a great review and I must say that I am inspired by all of the pockets and compartments inside your bag! I wish that more manufacturers would get pocket happy like that. :0)

    Can that waist strap be cut off without ruining the looks of the bag? That’s what I would be tempted to do. :p

    Regarding men carrying gear or day bags – I think they look great, even a bit cosmopolitan, as long as the bag looks like a bag – and not a purse. I am thinking specifically of Lenny Kravitz and his man-purse – there is nothing else to call it. :D

  • isobutane August 16, 2005, 12:56 am

    Horrors!!!! Maiming a bag shamelessly like that. :) I don’t think you would have a problem, but like I said, the waist straps tuck pretty inconspicuously behind the back, so there probably isn’t a need to perform such radical surgery. :)

    Yes, pockets galore is the best way to go…although I just picked up a bag that I will be taking storm chasing next year…it fits my little Fujitsu mininote, my camcorder, camera, GPS, Kestrel weather meter, spare batteries, spare CF card and DV tape in a tiny little package. It also has a waist belt and carry strap and is fully padded throughout. It is the Lowepro D-Res 240AW. Not much on pockets, but plenty of padded compartments. I am hopelessly addicted to bags. I have no idea how that happened. I have a collection of bags, most of which I should put up for sale on Ebay.

  • Julie August 16, 2005, 12:57 am

    I don’t like calling my bag a purse, and I’m a GIRL! ;) Ha!

  • isobutane August 16, 2005, 1:02 am

    How about satchel, pack, bag, carryall, gear, pouch or other names I have not thought of yet. I would love to try out a Podzilla, but I don’t want to spend another bunch of bucks. HEY! I finished my training yesterday, and now I am a freshly minted voice actor! Just waiting for my demo CD’s to come so I can dress them up and send them out. I have another great gear bag for taking with me to studios…not too big, but fits everything I need for the job.

  • Julie August 16, 2005, 1:16 am

    This is going to get off topic, but I can’t help but ask… A voice actor??? How did you get into that?

  • isobutane August 16, 2005, 9:30 am

    I have been told for years that I have a great voice, and I was interested in getting into it, but I had no idea how. Then a Schenectady firm offered a two-hour introductory course through my school’s continuing ed program, so I took it, and signed up for the full course. I just finished it, and wow…it’s going to be interesting. It will allow me to continue my teaching unhindered but give me vast opportunities besides. It will take a while to break in, but once I do…watch out! :)

  • Julie August 16, 2005, 12:31 pm

    Good luck Mark!!! :D

  • I_M_Noman August 18, 2005, 1:28 pm

    If you want waterproof, rugged as hell, and huge capacity, you’re talking Filson. The Style 230 Small Rugged Twill Field Bag (http://www.filson.com/230.HTM) should be right up your street, and although it certainly ain’t cheap you do get what you pay for. I have the Laptop Bag (http://www.filson.com/258.HTM) and it’s the best I’ve ever had.

  • isobutane August 18, 2005, 1:33 pm

    Looks like a nice bag…the small one also looks exactly like a purse. Also…my personal preference is zippers instead of buckles and belts and flap-overs. Just personal preference, don’t ya know…but then again, I don’t own the thing. If you do, please write a review replete with pics of the thing in action. A good gear bag is not an easy thing to find.

  • Judie August 18, 2005, 4:43 pm

    iso, I agree that the small one looks like a purse. I would carry it. ;) In fact, I would love to get one to review. :D

  • Craig August 18, 2005, 4:54 pm

    isobutane wrote:

    the small one also looks exactly like a purse

    It’s not a purse, (if a guy carries it) it’s a Man Bag, Baby! Yeah!

    The last time someone (my beloved younger sister) called my shoulder bag a purse, I replied, “It can’t possibly be a purse. [PAUSE] It doesn’t match my shoes.” I got laughs all ’round.

    Off-Topic: At 44, I’m starting to feel almost grown-up. My sister, who is 12 years my junior, is 32. Her daughter (!) just celebrated her 2nd birthday. Yikes! Time does fly.

    — Craig

  • Judie August 18, 2005, 5:27 pm

    Craig wrote:

    It’s not a purse, (if a guy carries it) it’s a Man Bag, Baby! Yeah!

    If a man carries it, then it is a field bag…and he should be wearing a pair of Wellington boots, duck-cloth trousers, a plaid shirt, a shooting vest and have a 12-guage shotgun and hunting dog at his side. :p ;)

  • Craig August 22, 2005, 2:30 am

    Judie wrote:

    If a man carries it, then it is a field bag…and he should be wearing a pair of Wellington boots, duck-cloth trousers, a plaid shirt, a shooting vest and have a 12-guage shotgun and hunting dog at his side. :p ;)

    Would you believe — as Maxwell Smart would say — bluejeans, lowhikers, and a pullover sweater? I sit way in the back of the office, next to the server room, and it gets COLD back there.

    — Craig

  • Judie August 22, 2005, 2:43 am

    Okay, see that sounds like it fits the bag – kinda outdoors-y and rugged. :0)

    I am sure I don’t have to tell you how much I used to love Get Smart. :D

  • Craig August 22, 2005, 2:45 pm

    Judie wrote:

    Okay, see that sounds like it fits the bag – kinda outdoors-y and rugged. :0)

    I am sure I don’t have to tell you how much I used to love Get Smart. :D

    Even though I am about as far away from outdoorsy and rugged as one can get!
    I am merely another tall, thin, nerdy, nearsighted, and pale gadget lover.

    Here’s another “Maxwellism” for you: “Missed it by THATMUCH.” It still kills me whenever I catch an episode and hear Don Adams deliver that line. And may I say The Cone of Silence RULES!

    I’ll go sit down now.

  • Craig August 26, 2006, 1:39 pm

    TOB9595 wrote:

    VERY well done review and pics!

    Ditto!

    Craig

  • Skay January 7, 2007, 8:26 pm

    Thanks for review. What size are the front two pockets?

    Have you found any other bags like this one?

    Sharon

  • isobutane January 7, 2007, 8:52 pm

    LOL!!! I actually put the bag in storage in favor of a new bag, which I will be reviewing eventually. It’s the Victorinox Travel Companion 2-Way Carry Horizontal Tote, and this is the quick review I wrote for Ebags:

    “Wow!!! What a great gearbag! It fits quite well as either a waistpack or a shoulder pack, though adjusting the strap is a bit of a pain. I keep a Nano, earbuds and BT GPS in the front pocket (with plenty of room for more), the middle organizer pocket holds two pens in the pen sleeve, there are three credit card sleeves, where I keep spare device batteries, SD cards and my medicine container. Next to that I keep my digital camera in the little pocket for that, and behind that is a full-length pocket where I keep my passport. On the other side of the center compartment I keep my Kestrel weather meter and Sanyo C6 camcorder, and in the middle is my pocket monocular and tube of Dramamine. The rear compartment holds my Treo and Axim PDA, with room for one more decent-sized gadget, and there is a flat mesh zip pocket in the front of the compartment. Extremely well-organized! I got the black bag, and it appears to be quite durable. It’s my new gadget bag!”

    You can find it here:

    http://www.ebags.com/victorinox_swiss_army/travel_companion_2_way_carry_horizontal_tote/product_detail/index.cfm?modelid=68373

  • Skay January 8, 2007, 7:13 pm

    Can you get the bag out of storage and check size of pockets?

    About the Victorinox bag…Can you show pics of the inside? I see ebags shows just the outside.

    Also what is the material like on each bag?

  • isobutane January 8, 2007, 10:17 pm

    Skay wrote:

    Can you get the bag out of storage and check size of pockets?

    About the Victorinox bag…Can you show pics of the inside? I see ebags shows just the outside.

    Also what is the material like on each bag?

    I will post pics of the interior of the Vic bag when I write my review. The material is a durable nylon on both. It seems sturdy enough.

    The top outer pocket measures 6.5″ long by 3.25″ tall by 1″ deep. The bottom pocket is 6.5″ long by 3.25″ tall by 1″ deep, but is not padded.

    As for the way you worded your request…I appreciate a “please” and “thank you” rather than a demand. I respond better to nicely worded requests than to demands. Getting the bag out of storage requires effort, and I was tempted not to even respond to this after I read the way you worded your demand.

    Mark

  • Skay January 8, 2007, 11:11 pm

    So, sorry. I didn’t demand it, I asked a question. I asked a question, which means you have the decision to do it or not. I didn’t realize I need to say thank you or please with every question asked on this board.

    Thank you for answering my questions. When do you plan to have the review of the Vic bag? I actually like the vertical one.

  • isobutane January 8, 2007, 11:27 pm

    Skay wrote:

    I didn’t realize I need to say thank you or please with every question asked on this board.

    Thank you for answering my questions. When do you plan to have the review of the Vic bag? I actually like the vertical one.

    It is not required to be polite, merely nice. Especially when asking someone to do more than answer a question. At least, that’s how <u>I</u> was raised.

    You are quite welcome. I will likely write my review this coming weekend, and then it is at Julie’s discretion as to when she posts it. I have been putting off writing it, as things at work have been somewhat…insane. This will give me an excuse to write it.

    Mark

  • Skay January 9, 2007, 1:50 am

    I agree..and I wasn’t being mean. It was not meant to be opposite of nice at all. I’m sorry I didn’t ask please or Thank you in my question posting.

    Sometimes we have to realize we can’t get everything spelled out online to make it seem like we are mad, happy, etc. Some of us can’t get our thoughts out like we’d like or forget to add that one word.

    Again my apologies. I look forward to your review.

  • Meredyth January 9, 2007, 2:45 am

    Mark,

    Can I make demands for you to review somthing pink and furry in a gear bag? :D

  • Skay January 16, 2007, 4:25 pm

    Mark, can you please post here when Julie posts your review of the Victorinox bag? thx

    SK

  • Skay February 16, 2007, 11:47 pm

    Mark, any update on the review?

    thx

  • isobutane February 18, 2007, 2:28 pm

    I am not going to write the review until I have a chance to really put it to the test. That will be the first week of April. I will be bringing it with me on my first travel expedition, to New Mexico, where it will really be put to the test. Any review written before that time will be pretty meaningless (look at the pretty bag with lots of pockets!).

  • isobutane March 10, 2007, 11:08 pm

    The review of the Victorinox bag is written and I have submitted it to Julie. I hope it serves your needs!

    Mark

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