Does my ideal purse exist?
February 11, 2013 12:21 PM   Subscribe

I'm on the market for a new everyday purse/bag, and I'm having trouble finding exactly what I'm looking for. Can you help?

- Cross-body with adjustable straps
- Canvas rather than leather or nylon
- Dark colours
- No visible brand names or other extravagant exterior embellishment
- Preferably no patterns or graphics, though I can be flexible
- I'm an artsy geek in my mid-20s, go nuts

- It should hold an iPad comfortably with room for a small sketch/note/book, a wallet, and a bottle of water
- I do not want a messenger/laptop bag; looking at it from the front it should be about the size of an 8.5"x11" piece of paper, give or take
- At least 1 or 2 exterior pockets for cellphone and keys/cards
- Zippered top, or else a flap over the top

Nice but optional:
- Multiple interior compartments or pockets. The more the better.

Price range:
- Ideally $50-75, though I can go up to $100-$125 if it's really perfect

Examples of others that come close:
- Example 1, Example 2: So so so so SO close, but they're too big. If I don't find anything better I might still go with one of these.
- Example 3: Comes close wrt functionality, but it's a little too big/triangular.
posted by Phire to Shopping (32 answers total) 24 users marked this as a favorite
Have you tried an Army Surplus Store?
posted by Made of Star Stuff at 12:29 PM on February 11, 2013 [1 favorite]

Is this too small?
posted by tealcake at 12:32 PM on February 11, 2013

Your first two items are from Etsy. Have you tried contacting the seller and seeing if they'll make a custom one to your dimensions?
posted by chickenmagazine at 12:34 PM on February 11, 2013 [5 favorites]

I saw this recently at the Container Store.
posted by marimeko at 12:35 PM on February 11, 2013 [2 favorites]

Is this too big?

Also, if you search for a men's ipad 'purse', you'll find something with the smaller dimensions in your style. Canvas is typically not considered a very feminine cloth.
posted by politikitty at 12:38 PM on February 11, 2013

Have you looked at Lug bags? They come in lots of different shapes and colours and most include space for a water bottle. They have lots of pockets and take a heap of abuse.
posted by melissa at 12:38 PM on February 11, 2013

I feel you. I was looking for a very similar purse, but it seems like everything on Etsy is diaper-bag sized. Your best bet is probably to look specifically for an ipad bag.

This one on amazon is probably too small, but is cheap at least.

This one is a bit bigger, although the "exterior" pockets are under the flap.
posted by specialagentwebb at 12:40 PM on February 11, 2013

I'll bet this Etsy seller can add an exterior pocket to one of their standard cross-body bags.
posted by purpleclover at 12:42 PM on February 11, 2013 [1 favorite]

I love this bag.
posted by Rock Steady at 12:50 PM on February 11, 2013

If you were willing to do a nylon bag, Mrs. Advicepig and I love the Tom Bihn Cafe Bag. The small is plenty big for an iPad and stuff.
posted by advicepig at 1:04 PM on February 11, 2013 [2 favorites]

Oh, wait. Missed the "no-nylon" thing. Sorry.
posted by Rock Steady at 1:09 PM on February 11, 2013

This is the one I love for my iPad: STM Scout bag
posted by smuna at 1:13 PM on February 11, 2013

Maybe the smallest of the Waterfield Muzetto Outback bags? It looks like it meets all of your criteria, including the canvas material, except price.
posted by RichardP at 1:15 PM on February 11, 2013

Does the Moop paperback work for you? Although it's at the top end of your price range.
posted by crush-onastick at 1:18 PM on February 11, 2013

Queen bee designs in Portland makes great bags-durable and well made. Check out their iPad bag and their Penelope.
posted by purenitrous at 1:23 PM on February 11, 2013

Have you had a look at eBags? Their search filters can be quite helpful, as can their ratings and recommendations for similar bags. Here's the results for a filtered search on small and extra small canvas vertical messenger bags with iPad pockets, for example.
posted by EvaDestruction at 1:23 PM on February 11, 2013

If the Tom Bihn Cafe bag advicepig mentioned is too big, their Ristretto is smaller and still quite simple. It comes in several sizes, and there's one designed specifically for the iPad, with a bit of room to spare. You can go with black or a more fun and funky color. There is a small label patch on the lower corner, but it's removable with the careful application of a seam-ripper or very sharp small scissors.
posted by rhiannonstone at 1:26 PM on February 11, 2013

The Fossil Key-Per Crossbody looks like about the right size but every version on Zappos is in a print (although that navy blue bird print is pretty nice!).
posted by jabes at 1:26 PM on February 11, 2013

Best answer: I have this and love it. The cons for you is that the strap is not adjustable. The logo that's on there I do not find obnoxious; even though I vowed never to wear something with a logo on it, I clearly made an exception. I also got the laptop bag and love it, too.
posted by Stewriffic at 1:27 PM on February 11, 2013 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Wow, all of these are gorgeous. My problem now is too many options, not too few.

These are going on the shortlist:

- marimeko's link led me to this other Bagellini bag
- purpleclover's Etsy seller
- specialagentweb's iPad messenger bag, which is gorgeous, if a little pricy.

I was also recommended this Duluth Shell Bag on Twitter.

That Muzetto Outback bag is beautiful, but really a little out of my price range.

I haven't contacted the Etsy seller that makes the first two examples because 1. They really seem like a factory-outlet-disguised-as-handmade-seller, and 2. Even if they did custom work, it would likely add more to the cost than would be worth my while. So I'd like to keep that as a last resort, and it looks like I won't be needing to reach out to them.

I will likely agonize over this for weeks, but keep the suggestions coming!
posted by Phire at 1:30 PM on February 11, 2013 [1 favorite]

(And the Tom Bihn bags are technically nylon but look and feel more like canvas, so don't let that throw you off.)
posted by rhiannonstone at 1:35 PM on February 11, 2013

The Keen Brooklyn II is an awesome little bag. Is it too messenger-y?

I came in to recommend the Moop bags too - they're beautiful in person.

Grey waxed canvas - packet
posted by barnone at 1:43 PM on February 11, 2013

Just FYI, I have the first example you linked to (same color and everything), and I really like it. The quality is reasonable, it looks great for a less expensive bag, and there are a tremendous number of pockets in it. The way the top flap is designed, it's not super secure, but it's a very thoughtfully designed bag. It is definitely slightly bigger than my ideal bag, but it's comfy, reasonably versatile, and has garnered me compliments from a huge range of people. I got mine as a gift, but during the holiday season, I think they were going for less than $40, so maybe keep an eye out for a sale if you go that route.
posted by Diagonalize at 2:01 PM on February 11, 2013

Archival Clothing makes a cute one but $190. I can assure you it will be something you'll pass on to your kids in terms of quality though.
posted by dottiechang at 4:02 PM on February 11, 2013 [1 favorite]

Here is my Highway Bag, which I love. They have different sizes and a number of different styles and many gorgeous colors. It's a kind of nylon, I think, but it's a thick, stiff Japanese linen-y type that holds its shape.

In my opinion the Baggalini bags referred to in an above post are a kind of knock-off of the Highway Bags.
posted by DMelanogaster at 5:25 PM on February 11, 2013

Best answer: I have the bag Stewriffic recommended and it's really great. It has a built in iPad sleeve and a pretty low profile, but you can stuff a lot of stuff in it if you need to. Really great for travel!
posted by itsamermaid at 6:07 PM on February 11, 2013

I have the Baggalini Large Wallet Bagg, but only the iPad Mini will fit in it. Love the bag, though, and they have a lot of other styles that might fit your needs.
posted by JaneL at 11:51 PM on February 11, 2013

The High Flyer by paco + lupe hits every single one of your requirements. I love mine.
posted by KathyK at 5:42 AM on February 12, 2013

I got a Baggalini for Christmas and CAN NOT STAND the constant jingling sound from the zipper pulls. If that might bother you, try another brand.

Have heard amazing things about Duluth Packs. I went to their store in Duluth years ago, but thought everything was too expensive at the time. That was before I had learned the value of buying quality things that last!
posted by stompadour at 8:29 AM on February 12, 2013

The Baggalini line is nylon, not canvas.
posted by steinwald at 8:32 AM on February 12, 2013

Response by poster: After much deliberation I've settled on the Ogio bag! Their product video really sealed the deal, haha. Thanks to Stewriffic for the recommendation and itsamermaid for the endorsement.

I'm still a little tempted by the Kinies bag, but I'm greatly looking forward to the Ogio being shipped here.

Thanks to everyone who chimed in! It's really awesome knowing there are so many great options out there if I ever need them.
posted by Phire at 10:56 AM on February 13, 2013

You're going to love it! I get compliments on it at least once a week, and it's so light weight, and the ipad fits so well, and and and... Hope you get it soon so I can see it!
posted by Stewriffic at 10:14 AM on February 15, 2013

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