Go-to gear: bags, briefcases, and backpacks

Kelty Essential 900

Whether you have been a Gadgeteer reader for a while or have just started, you know that Julie has a section called “Julie’s Favorite Gear” that lists items that she uses. So today while I was looking at some of the items I use on a regular basis, I thought I would come up with my own list of “go-to gear”.  This is the gear that I would choose if I had to pick only one of each item.  I plan to cover a new category of go-to gear every other week or so until we run out of topics.  We’ll start with bags.

It’s hard for me to make a selection of just one bag. I am torn between my Pelican i1075 iPad case and my Kelty Essential 900, but in the end I have to go with the Kelty. The Kelty Essential 900 is an older model (discontinued) fanny pack-type bag. The main reason I chose the Kelty over the Pelican iPad case was versatility. The Kelty has several zippered compartments and is large enough to carry my iPad and all my essentials for trips. The Kelty Essential 900 also has a shoulder strap, so it has versatility in how it can be carried. This is definitely my go to bag for almost any kind of situation I can think of.  So, what’s your go to bag, briefcase, or backpack?  Tell us a bit about your favorite bag in the comments.

Posted in: Articles, Bags

{ 7 comments… add one }

  • Julie Strietelmeier January 27, 2014, 10:52 am

    I carry a Timbuk2 Custom Laptop Messenger bag every day. I keep trying other messenger bags, but always come back to Timbuk2.

  • Andy Jacobs January 27, 2014, 5:43 pm

    Great question, Larry! Bags and packs a big part of modern day life, since we seem to have convinced ourselves that we need to carry so much gear around in this day and age.

    The GORUCK GR1 is my currently reigning go-to EDC and travel backpack, hands down. It is bulletproof in materials and construction (not literally, but might as well be), simple in design, had just the right amount of organization features and is comfortable even when carrying heavy loads.

    Not sure I currently have a go-to shoulder bag. If I did, it would probably be either the TAD Gear Dispatch Bag or the Tom Bihn Super Ego Messenger Bag, both of which I own and use occasionally, although not as often lately since the GR1 became my EDC pack. However, GORUCK has a new shoulder bag design that I would like to try out as well.

  • Andy Chen January 27, 2014, 6:51 pm

    Tom Bihn Ristretto for iPad. Rocking the second one. Yes, that bag I had when hit by a car.

  • Julie Strietelmeier January 27, 2014, 7:15 pm

    @Andy It took a licking and keeps on ticket ;)

  • John January 27, 2014, 7:38 pm

    The best for the money that I have found is the current Commute from Timbuk2. It has ample room, more interior pockets than ever, a TSA friendly area for laptop and iPad, and now even a napoleon pocket you can access without opening the flap. Love the bag and that it has a waterproof lining! Even fully customized it was only about $150, and will last for years and years.

    I also have a Mountain Hardwear Enterprise backpack which is fantastic as a backpack if that’s the need of the day. Bought it second hand in like new condition for $50, and is so well made that will last and last.

  • Mark Rosengarten January 29, 2014, 5:52 am

    Depends on what I need.

    Everyday school bag: Tom Bihn Ristretto 13. Holds my 13″ Macbook Pro Retina, iPad Air, adapters, cables and USB memory sticks. Sometimes I carry my Sony compact camcorder in as well to record a demo or lecture of mine. Nice and light and the rear pocket fits everything I need to take home to grade in a folder.

    Camera Bag: Billingham Hadley Pro. Holds the Canon 5D Mark III with 24-105 lens and a 70-300 lens in another compartment, front pockets hold cleaning supplies and remote shutter switch. I can fit a third lens in as well, depends on what I’m shooting. Frequently I’ll carry the iPad in the back of the camera compartment.

    Storm Chase Bag: Lowepro Urban Reporter 250. Trying out this new bag this year. Fits the Canon 5D Mark III with 24-105 lens, 17-40 lens, camcorder, hotshoe mount, cleaning supplies, cable remote, lightning trigger, iPad Air, MacBook Pro Retina 13, travel documents, memory cards, external USB hard drive. All without looking like a camera bag at the airport and fits with lots of room to spare under the seat.

    Everyday Go Bag: LL Bean Guide Bag. Waxed cotton canvas, holds the iPad Air, Sony RX100 II camera and anything else I need to bring with me for the day.

  • Jon Austin January 29, 2014, 10:11 am

    The Tom Bihn Brain Bag has been my tried-and-true bag for nearly a decade. I occasionally use other bags but nothing beats the Brain Bag for storage capacity, durability and quality. It can handle two laptops, an iPad, all of the peripherals and extras I need. And, in a testament to the quality of the bag, even after almost 10 years of hard use, carrying 30+ pounds of gear, there are NO ripped seams, no frayed straps, no worn patches of fabric. Really, really excellent.

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