Yet another bag question.
June 15, 2010 11:19 AM   Subscribe

I need a new bag that will hold all my stuff, look good, and won't make my shoulder sore.

I have carried Healthy Back Bags on and off for years. I keep going back to them because of the room, the pockets and the way I can pack it full, and it still feels light and cozy on my shoulder.

But, I think that it lacks a bit in the style department, and I'm ready for a change. I would love to find similar elements - big, organization/pockets, most importantly, comfy on my shoulder - but in a new bag. Is there such a thing out there?

I'm 5'2" and, um, generous of bosom, so long, crossover straps can be too long and/or uncomfortable for me.

I'd like to find something at $100 or less (preferably less).

Can you help me Hive Mind?
posted by lucyleaf to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (16 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I've got this Tom Bihn Messenger Bag with the Absolute Shoulder Strap. That strap works wonders!

Not sure if it meets your style requirement though...
posted by Zoyashka at 11:32 AM on June 15, 2010

How big does the bag need to be? In other words, give some detail on "all my stuff." I am a huge fan of Tom Bihn bags, but some of them get pricey.
posted by enrevanche at 11:32 AM on June 15, 2010 [1 favorite]

Jansport has a lot of decent items; most of their daypacks include storage for laptops, phones and even vinyl records.
posted by Smart Dalek at 11:37 AM on June 15, 2010

Response by poster: How big does the bag need to be? In other words, give some detail on "all my stuff."

Ah yes! Let's see... Most of the time:

- small makeup bag with various chappies and glosses
- envelope wallet
- small notebook
- rectangular bag about the size of my wallet holding pencils and pens and other whatnots
- another similarly sized bag holding tissues, eyedrops, etc.
- small baggie with a snack for the kiddo
- sometimes a small water bottle
- sometimes a paperback book

There may be a need for me to do a compromise with the amount of stuff, but if a bag big enough for all my stuff is out there, it'd be great.
posted by lucyleaf at 11:40 AM on June 15, 2010

In that case - check out TB's Large Cafe Bag.
posted by enrevanche at 11:49 AM on June 15, 2010

I just got a Sherpani Wee Messenger Bag (twee name, but a good bag) for a trip this spring, andI liked it so well, I started carrying it all the time as my daily to-work bag.
posted by gladly at 12:08 PM on June 15, 2010

I will just come out and say that in my experience, the basic messenger bag design sucks for back health.
posted by salvia at 12:16 PM on June 15, 2010

Response by poster: I like the Cafe Bag and the Sherpani bags, but I won't be wearing anything cross-body. In my experience, some messenger bags work fine without being cross-body, some don't. How about these?

I will just come out and say that in my experience, the basic messenger bag design sucks for back health.

salvia, I have to agree with you on the basic messenger bag design. I've had luck with the Healthy Back Bag's sling style - it can be worn either cross-body or on one shoulder. What have you had luck with?
posted by lucyleaf at 12:25 PM on June 15, 2010

Well, I use rollerbags when I have any weight to carry. I realize that doesn't help with your question. I do think balanced backpacks with two shoulder straps work better, so I've started to be interested in these and a few others found in these questions.
posted by salvia at 1:07 PM on June 15, 2010

I would try an Absolute Shoulder Strap before settling on a bag with one. I have tried it, the "Claw" strap from Red Oxx, and the offset shoulder strap on the Waterfield bags. None of them worked quite as advertised. The Waterfield bag was a particular disappointment.

I tried some backpacks - booq for one - and they're more stylish but not practical when you're in a city going all the time, having to pull the bag off my back in subways and stores and try to find a wallet just got impractical. It was better for my back, however.

Physically and logistically, I do best with a tote bag style of bag, two long-ish handles that can easily go over my shoulder. I tend to throw a lot of things in cases inside LL Bean-type canvas bags and I am always on the lookout for bags that aren't canvas totes that are that style.
posted by micawber at 1:26 PM on June 15, 2010

Tom Bihn makes magnificent bags - tough as nails, deceptively large, stylish-enough. I've got a Super Ego (mammoth courier bag) and an even larger Brain Bag, and they've got my business for as long as they want it.

Courier bags (one-shoulder bags, really) are bad for your back, but their Cafe is mighty nice...
posted by waxbanks at 1:48 PM on June 15, 2010

When I was last in the States I saw a bag in The Container Store that I really liked but, to my regret, didn't buy. It was by a company called Baggallini and was surprisingly capacious yet at the same time looked good enough to use for work. It expanded way more than you can tell from the picture.

Damn, it's on sale now.
posted by essexjan at 2:27 PM on June 15, 2010

How about this Baggallini (in one of the non-green shades)?
posted by Pamelayne at 3:22 PM on June 15, 2010

I've bought a number of bags on etsy, from shops like bayanhippo and morelle. It's worth looking around etsy, to see what's out there, especially since so many sellers are able to customize.
posted by monkeymonkey at 5:20 PM on June 15, 2010

Response by poster: All awesome suggestions! I love Baggallini bags - I've owned one and have admired that one from the Container Store for a long time, and have NEVER seen it that low.

The Tom Bihn Cafe Bag looks very tempting - those bags seem to have a very devoted following.

I also love the idea of an handmade etsy bag.
posted by lucyleaf at 7:21 PM on June 15, 2010

Definitely look at Moop bags. Depending on the style, they are close to (or in excess of) the high point of your price range, but definitely worth it.
posted by thisjax at 10:21 PM on June 15, 2010

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