Now that the powerthirst has worn off..
July 17, 2008 9:24 AM   Subscribe

Help a college student find a (simple) no-frills man bag!

I like the mini bag here, but am looking for more ideas before I make the jump.

What I like:

Original designs/unique artwork
Vintage (or vintage-esque)
Small size (less than messenger bag)

What I don't like:

Synthetic woven materials
Shiny leather
Plastic buckles

I have seen some South American woven bags around that fit these characteristics, but what can you recommend?

posted by bradly to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (16 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
Timbuk2 has a limited edition wool bag with no plastic buckles. They also have a hemp bag, but it does have plastic buckles. I and many of my friends have beaten our Timbuk2s into the ground and they keep on tickin'. Downside: they're pretty expensive.
posted by sadiehawkinstein at 9:45 AM on July 17, 2008

I've got a WWII-era musette bag that's big enough to hold a laptop and a couple of single-subject notebooks, but is thinner and slightly smaller than lots of messenger bags I've seen around. It's made of olive drab canvas with metal buckles and eyeholes. Some (like mine) are designed to be worn as a backpack, but you can clip the two straps together and turn 'em into an ersatz shoulder strap. Other bags come with a single-shoulder strap already.
posted by xbonesgt at 9:55 AM on July 17, 2008

Simple has some decent stock.
posted by mds35 at 10:00 AM on July 17, 2008

Check out milsurp places
Cheaper Than Dirt
The Sportsman's Guide

Both of these have military surplus from around the world in generally great condition.
Won't be much artsy shit, but the utility level will be high.
Might be something you'll like.
posted by Seamus at 10:05 AM on July 17, 2008

Find yourself an Army/Navy store! A good one will have piles of sturdy, vintage looking canvas, leather, cotton or even (blech) nylon bags with buckles of all sorts. The older style or vintage stuff will have big metal buckles and snaps. They're not very artsy, but damnit, if you want your man-bag to be manly, military surplus is the way to go.
posted by The Man from Lardfork at 10:07 AM on July 17, 2008

This one (in brown) just came in the mail for me yesterday. It’s very compact; slightly smaller than the one you linked, but there’s a lot of small pockets and enough room for my essentials, which include keys, phone, iPod, notepad, sunglasses, etc. It’s small enough that I could pack it inside my messenger bag when I need to bring the computer. It is leather, but not shiny patent leather. I imagine it will obtain a rugged, weathered look after I’ve used it for some time.

The seller through Amazon is Shoebuy, and they offer free return shipping. Endless and Zappos also sell bags and offer free returns.
posted by breaks the guidelines? at 10:14 AM on July 17, 2008

I don't know if this is exactly what you're looking for, but I like Shanalogic's Octopus Field Bag and Owl Field Bag.
posted by shadowfelldown at 10:14 AM on July 17, 2008

Also from Timbuk2 a canvas bag you can paint on - for your artsy side.

I did the design your own and love it. use it for work/gym/travel whatever. Really basic, but lots of room, fits comfortably, etc... Patagonia also makes a good bag (I had an older version for 6 years and its still great - but dirty), but I opted for the other 'cause I could pick my own colors.
posted by jeffe at 10:52 AM on July 17, 2008

See recent man-bag discussion here. The couple bags I recommended fit into the vintage-esque category.
posted by nemoorange at 11:21 AM on July 17, 2008

I've had the same Timbuk2 messenger bag for about five years now. It's been beat on, slept on, dropped, thrown, spilled in/on. It's carried laptops, food, clothes, books, bicycle parts, tools, and boxes.

This after my adventures around Chicago completely destroyed a prissy Kenneth Cole messenger bag (horrible, horrible brand) and a seemingly well built Speedo backpack in less than three months.

Best $100 I've ever spent.

Also, unless you're going for fashion over function, don't be scared of the plastic clips on most of Timbuk2's bags. They work great.
posted by wfrgms at 11:58 AM on July 17, 2008

I got a great Leather Joeseph Abboud messenger bag from TJ Maxx/Marshalls/Ross. Give those stores a try, they usually don't have a lot of man bags, but you can get good deals if you do find something you like.
posted by ijoyner at 1:34 PM on July 17, 2008

I have (and love) one of these from thinkgeek: Canvas Utility Bag
posted by namewithoutwords at 3:03 PM on July 17, 2008

nthing Timbuk2, I love mine (in my pants).
posted by T.D. Strange at 3:18 PM on July 17, 2008

Canvas field bag
Vintage Red Cross canvas field bag
Leather field bag
Twill field bag
Wide variety of international military bags here.
posted by the littlest brussels sprout at 4:03 PM on July 17, 2008

I have a Timbuk2 bag (from the now discontinued Single Speed collection) that has metal buttons (and leather straps!) instead of plastic clips. Mine's gray, but there's a black one on eBay at the moment.

I also like that it's soft canvas instead of the shiny stuff most of their bags use. An all-around sweet bag.
posted by substars at 7:34 PM on July 17, 2008

crumpler bags.
posted by weaponsgradecarp at 10:08 PM on July 17, 2008

« Older Please help me get my tax refund   |   A gift for Mom and Pop Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.