AskMeFi Shopping Network
August 22, 2014 10:14 PM   Subscribe

I need a very specific bag and I don't know where to look for it. I need a large bag that can be carried like a backpack, larger than 25L. I would like it to be in some way elegant (that's an open definition...), semi-fashionable for the PNW set, and water resistant enough to walk for 15 minutes in the rain and not be damp for days (so, probably not leather).

I am commuting on the bus with a baby and need to carry quite a few things with me, but they all need to go into just one bag. Below are the more specific specs for what I need

- Backpack style - this is the most compatible with the baby carriers (Bjorn/Ergo), I think? Opinions?
- LARGER THAN 25L - critical. My current bags are too small.
- I would really like it to be elegant, or at least somewhat fashionable. I like more streamlined looks, I'm OK with faux retro, but would prefer something more modern. I like the squarish flat backpack shapes, but they seem generally not very large.
- I need at least one zippered outside pocket.
- Two largish interior compartments would be really nice. Or something with a wider opening - the drawstring open top is not ideal.
- I have been using this pack. I don't *mind* the look, because it is very simple on the outside, vs the Osprey packs with straps and stuff everywhere. But it's too vertical, it's hard to get stuff out from the bottom without unpacking the whole thing. Also it falls short on any internal organization - it's just a big bucket. I've also been using this , which is better because it's wide, so stuff is more accessible/not buried at the bottom. I sort of like the tote-as-backpack look, it feels a little more "city" than a true backpack. I have no real attachment to either of these bags other than they happen to be in my possession at the moment.
- I've done the fashion backpack search on google/zappos, but they are generally fairly small. I need bigger.
- My searching has turned up this, this and this as OK options, but I'm not sold on any of them. I am OK with the look of the Herschel bag, the Patagonia bag I think would work but don't like the shiny material and giant logo; the Timbuk2 bag I think would work too, but is kind of fugly.
- My normal small purse is this, to give a sense of my aesthetic. I like it a lot.

Go MeFi shoppers, please help!
posted by annie o to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (14 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
How about this (different) Timbuk2 bag?
posted by Kololo at 10:37 PM on August 22, 2014

For backpacks and travel bags, I always hit the men's accessories at Saks or Neiman's. The pricepoints for men's bags are generally lower, even when the men's version is virtrually identical to (and usually larger than) the women's version of the same bag. Prada is a case in point.

I like the 3.1 Philip Lim, the Gucci techno canvas, and the Prada large nylon, but really you're spoiled for choice there from the super high end, high fashion McQueen bags to the practical Tumis.
posted by ereshkigal45 at 11:05 PM on August 22, 2014

Some ideas:
* Fjällräven Rucksack No. 21: The large size is 30L, and they have a classic look, similar to Herschel bags.
* Tom Bihn Synapse 25: Has several outer pockets and looks like it might be less prone to the "big bucket" effect. Volume is 25L.
* Chrome Fortnight: Utilitarian-looking but low-key, although at 40L it might be too large.
* You might take a look at Jack Wolfskin rucksacks, especially their hiking and biking packs. They have a large selection.
posted by neushoorn at 11:13 PM on August 22, 2014

Chrome Bravo
posted by mollymayhem at 11:35 PM on August 22, 2014

The North Street Woodward backpack in large is 29L and would fit your criteria very nicely. The convertible version can also be a bike pannier.
posted by Emperor SnooKloze at 12:40 AM on August 23, 2014

* SSCY Tack totepack
* Alite Designs' Pine to Pacific rucksack or Presidio Shifter pack
* Arcteryx Cordova backpack
* Goruck SD25 backpack
posted by evoque at 6:51 AM on August 23, 2014

I was also going to suggest the Goruck backpack. If that doesn't suit your taste, Minaal has a 35L backpack that should fit your needs.
posted by lunch at 7:16 AM on August 23, 2014

I second the Chrome Bravo. It's minimal and elegant and stylish. The problem with most backpacks and their lack of elegance is not in the actual styling, but in the ugly hardware and rugged padding/reinforcement details that are added. I also think this is pretty, and also waterproof/large/elegant but it is currently sold out. This is beautiful. This is as well, although I am not a fan of the logo.
posted by the webmistress at 7:35 AM on August 23, 2014

This might look small in comparison to the big bags others linked, but it's crazy packable, and it fits the "tote as backpack" look you want. I bought two in different colors, I like it so much. Dries fast and is light to carry.
posted by Ender's Friend at 7:40 AM on August 23, 2014

So far I think the Chrome Bravo or the SSCY are the best options you guys have come up with - please keep them coming!
posted by annie o at 7:59 AM on August 23, 2014

The Chrome Bravo customer reviews on Chrome's website make me think it fits your requirements pretty well. Waterproof, zips open all the way around so you can find stuff, good straps, not ugly.

It makes me want one.

Btw, I use the Tom Bihn Synapse 19, (the smaller version of the Synapse 25 neushoorn suggested) and it holds an amazing amount of stuff in an intelligent design, but I don't think of it as waterproof in the same way the Chrome bag would be.
posted by blob at 8:55 AM on August 23, 2014

It doesn't say exactly how big it is in liters, but this bag from Rickshaw Bags could work out for you. I have a friend with the smaller version. I linked to the waterproof sailcloth option.
posted by that girl at 10:54 AM on August 23, 2014

Just a comment about the baby carrier aspect of things... I'm not sure where you are in the Baby Carrying Process, but as your baby gets bigger, you might want to switch so that he/she goes in the carrier on your back, instead of your front... in which case a backpack may be less useful. I have an Ergo and I use a cross body bag that works well with either front or back baby carrying. (I will add that when I use the Ergo on my front, a backpack is still reasonably comfortable, even with the overlapping shoulder straps and general bulk.)
posted by JubileeRubaloo at 9:32 PM on August 23, 2014

I have this bag, it is made for Pacific Northwest rains, and for our esthetic (I live in Vancouver). The bag features a zippered pocket on top (with a mesh zippable pocket inside for little things) and the body has a roll-top closing, like a dry bag, that is waterproof. Inside there are three compartments. I have the charcoal grey backpack, you might like the other colours better.
posted by seawallrunner at 9:26 PM on August 25, 2014

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