Recommendations for a man purse?
March 23, 2004 1:37 AM   Subscribe

I think I need a man-purse. Any recommendations? What with a cell phone, PDA, Costanza wallet, digital camera, GBA, etc., I'm running out of pockets. Something manly yet stylish and versatile would be good.

The ideal gadget bag would have enough easily-accessible pockets for all my stuff, yet would be small enough that I wouldn't just be better off carrying around a backpack or messenger bag. Just for reference, I have a thick trifold wallet, a flip cell phone, and a small Clie that I always carry around. In addition, I have a first generation gameboy advance and a somewhat bulky digital camera (Sony DSC-F717--btw, any good suggestions on a camera bag as well?), one or both of which I occasionally cart around. I'd like it to be something I can cart anywhere, from the beach to a restaurant or party.

Any suggestions can be to bags that either do or don't fit the GBA and/or digicam, but the bag should be able to fit the stuff I always carry. Thanks for any suggestions.
posted by EatenByAGrue to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (29 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Musette bag. Go anywhere--beach, party, homeless shelter. Doesn't shout "rob me." (In fact, sort of whispers "Go on, make my day.")
posted by jfuller at 5:11 AM on March 23, 2004

Hmm. Maybe a mini DJ bag like this one?
posted by grabbingsand at 5:12 AM on March 23, 2004

i have a leather shoulder bag. it doesn't have a lot of pockets (just one zippered compartment inside apart from the main "bag" bit), but it looks good (clean, simple rectangular design, with large flap and single steel buckle) and can certainly be taken anywhere (kind of oiled finish, maybe 25 cm wide and 30cm deep). i've also got a more traditional "satchel" style bag from the same place (a local shop that sells what they make) that's larger, which i don't use as much (i use whichever i need - i don't like carrying around half-empty bags, they are a nuisance). leather is pretty tough and (in my opinion) looks better as it gets older.

before that i had a canvas bag (about the same size) from that american shop that's not gap or old navy (if that makes any sense). i've converted that into a laptop bag (x31 - slightly smaller than a small powerbook). that was ok, but got scruffy quickly.
posted by andrew cooke at 5:25 AM on March 23, 2004

(errr, so i wasn't just trying to describe my wardrobe there - the points were that (1) a range of bag sizes is good and (2) consider leather (i know it's not mainstream macho acceptable in some countries, but i promise people do not laugh at you on the streets))
posted by andrew cooke at 5:58 AM on March 23, 2004

I use a the Kensington Saddlebag Pro, which might be a bit big as a man-purse but it suits me quite well. It's a laptop bag, though it doesn't broadcast that to the world at large.

It has a very sturdy and comfortable handle (I think there's a metal tube under the leather), removable shoulder strap, and padded backpack straps that can be tucked away into a pocket. The front flap has a zippered and unzippered pocket, and underneath that, the main body of the bag has some zippered mesh and non-mesh pockets. Inside is a removable padded, reinforced area that fits both my oversize laptop and my littler one, and several leafs for paper or miscellaneous junk. I keep a bunch of GPS hardware swimming around in the bottom of one.

I've had several other bags, including the more briefcase-like laptop bags, but I keep coming back to this one. It's versatile and makes for a good carry-on as well as an everyday bag. I've never owned a piece of luggage I liked quite as much as this, and even after over four years of use I'm nowhere near invoking the lifetime warranty. This is a good bag.
posted by majick at 6:25 AM on March 23, 2004

ebags. I know, I know. But for reals. They got it all. My JanSport messenger bag is really useful, and its rugged masculine looks avoid the man-purse label easily.
posted by vraxoin at 6:29 AM on March 23, 2004

Oh. And I frequently carry some or all of the following items in that trusty old Kensington: wallet, digital camera, Leatherman, chunky old Palm Pilot, some super glue, a box of band-aids, a stack of velcro rip-ties, miscellaneous cabling, a handful of PCMCIA cards, keys, paperwork, GPS receiver, a GBA, my RIM 950 ("a Blackberry," but not), a phone or two, and a nine pound laptop. When I'm travelling, lots more stuff gets shoved in there.
posted by majick at 6:35 AM on March 23, 2004

I love my Timbuk2 bag, and they recently came out with a new bag they refer to as the Metro.
posted by terrapin at 6:36 AM on March 23, 2004

YakPak has a bunch of bags they call small shoulder bags. I'm fond of the Nevins. Their mini-flap [by Dickies] is like the Nevins but with a lot of little pockets [I'm more of a one-pocket fan]. I have a messenger bag made by YakPak and the thing is absolutely bulletproof. They've also got a decent return policy and a weird and interesting "3 bags for ten bucks" deal where they'll send you some of their old prototypes.
posted by jessamyn at 6:59 AM on March 23, 2004

I think a smallish messenger bag is your best bet for hauling loot around (although this is more of a "hip" thing than a "manly" thing). With all the electronic gadgets you're toting, a bag that looks like it's holding nothing more important than a couple of books and a moldy sandwhich is a good thing. If you're feeling brave, be outlandish: black and brown bags are the ones that tend to scream "I have a camera in here."
posted by DaShiv at 7:00 AM on March 23, 2004

I recommend military surplus stuff like this, if it fits your style. Practical, rugged, manly, and cheap.
posted by lazy-ville at 7:20 AM on March 23, 2004

I'll second I got a great Ogio bag there for half off, fast shipping.
posted by tr33hggr at 7:28 AM on March 23, 2004

Here's another way that you could go, if you wanted to eschew the, you know, purse thing.
posted by rushmc at 7:38 AM on March 23, 2004

Rushmc: Other than the magnetic wind flaps that is one cool clothing item. I am not sure why someone whould think having magnets near computer and stereo equipment was a good idea though.
posted by terrapin at 7:58 AM on March 23, 2004

I have this in black, and love it.
posted by amberglow at 8:02 AM on March 23, 2004

I went the Army surplus way too. Got a British Paratrooper bag, which is about 10" by 10" and has a shoulder strap and removable backpack thingies. And if anybody gives you any guff, hey--it's a British Paratrooper bag. Cheaper than trendy leather stuff, although it was years ago and I can't remember how much it cost me.
posted by goethean at 8:29 AM on March 23, 2004

Lucky for you the coolest people on the planet, Louis Vuitton just released Damier Geant (checkerboard giant or something), that's not designed like Louis Vuitton's other super-blue blood stuff. And it's just for men: Damier Geant. (Flash no direct link)

Look at the Citadin or Mage as the two smallest ones I think. Expect to pay the price for looking cool, hip and sexy.

Prada's going to be cheaper, but more seasonal (though still better then most other stuff, and you'll have a leather option).

I think if I was going to carry a bag around I'd go for Louis Vuitton or Prada as you can do it and people won't go "what a geek", they may go "is he gay" but that's a whole other issue -- you're the one wanting to carry around the stuff. To justify the cost, just realize your bag will still be less value then the things in it.
posted by geoff. at 9:22 AM on March 23, 2004

Might as well have the best. I don't own (can't afford) one of these CC Filson bags but I have it on good authority that they are indestructible, useful, and at home in formal situations while not being too dressy for everyday wear.

Personally I have a generic shoulder bag that works tolerably, but the problem with a lot of these bags is that the attachment hardware is sub-standard. Bent D-rings and cracked fasteners can really make a nice bag unusable.

Buy quality and only cry once.
posted by Skorgu at 9:31 AM on March 23, 2004

The Filson Bridle Leather Field Satchel. It's will cost you (currently $627), but it's well worth it. I've used mine every day for well over 10 years and it's still in perfect condition.

On preview: The other canvas Filson products are also nice.
posted by probablysteve at 9:40 AM on March 23, 2004

These bags look pretty nice, if you're into the messenger look.

Manhattan portage makes very durable bags, mine is 11 years old and looks as good as new, even after some heavy use. They're pretty simple though - not really great for several delicate electronic items.
posted by Icky at 10:46 AM on March 23, 2004

Timbuk2 has a small messenger bag that would carry all your gear but not be overly bulky.
posted by sardonista at 11:49 AM on March 23, 2004

If you want to be really, really, too-hip-to-live, you should try a freitag bag. They are made out of recycled materials by properly compensated workers. At least poke around the website, as there is a cool, flash based option that allows to design your own bag.

Myself, I carry a black timbuk2 'commuter'
posted by elwoodwiles at 11:50 AM on March 23, 2004

for the life of me, I can't remember whose blog I saw this on, but bohemian bag's Urban Plumber's Bag has got a classy leather finish and styling that I think you'd be more comfortable taking into a formal affair.

also, thx elwoodwiles -- I saw that link nearly a year ago on k10k, forgot to bookmark it, and have been looking ever since. You have no idea how many combinations of "bag make your own truck flash design" phrases I've thrown at google.
posted by fishfucker at 12:51 PM on March 23, 2004

before that i had a canvas bag (about the same size) from that american shop that's not gap or old navy (if that makes any sense).

Banana Republic?

posted by deborah at 1:59 PM on March 23, 2004

yep! thanks (i bought it on the 'net, had it delivered to a friend who was coming to visit. never been in the shop).
posted by andrew cooke at 3:17 PM on March 23, 2004

i simply stole a bag from a girlfriend years ago. Works pretty good...until i can afford a timbuk2.

big enough for sketchbook, books, laptop, and a towel. No point in having a shoulder bag unless you can fit a towel into it.
posted by th3ph17 at 5:35 PM on March 23, 2004

For good reason, Mountain Equipment Co-op has a nearly cult-like following. Their merchandise is well made and reasonably priced (in Canadian dollars, to boot!). Their shoulder bags are both popular and durable and their man purse is unobtrusive, functional, will last for years, and is all of CDN$19.
posted by lumiere at 7:22 PM on March 23, 2004

The Land's End Square Rigger Deluxe has served me many years. A black one with leather trim looks sophisticated enough for the office without being a heavy briefcase.

Although at the moment I'm considering this Contractor's Briefcase. A little heavier-duty for the freelancing I'm doing now.
posted by dhartung at 12:28 AM on March 24, 2004

29 comments and not a single mention of Crumpler bags? They come in plenty of configurations, have lots of compartments and paddings. They just look like slightly hip bags, rather than advertising they've got a laptop, camera or assorted gadgets inside.
posted by lia at 6:52 PM on March 25, 2004

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