A long time ago, I started using a shoulder bag to carry my normal daily stuff around- something big enough for a tiny laptop, a notebook, pens, and regular everyday stuff. That bag was this:
That’s a Maratac Mine Bag (long since out of production), and it was lovely. It was a great size, had the ability (via PALS and MOLLE) to attach pouches to the outside, and kept me from hauling too much crud. Served me well for years. Then, the lining on the fabric started flaking off, and the bag just sort of… got old. Worn. Tired. And I was starting to carry a camera a lot, so…
Yeah. It’s not pretty. The first thing I’ve ever really made on a sewing machine. Pretty sure I never used this one (I hope). It’s a start, but it’s gross. So.
Ah. That’s better. It has a cohesive shape and structure. A padded back and bottom (and a movable padded divider to size to whatever camera I was carrying). It’s made of cotton (because it was a prototype), but this got used for a good while. It saw service, we’ll say. But cotton isn’t great for this sort of thing, and it wouldn’t carry my laptop (which I was starting to have to do more), so…
I started to get all design-y with this one. I’d seen a prototype bag made for Tom Sachs that would convert between a shoulder bag, backpack, and waist pack, and I thought: That’s the ticket! So I built this: it’s a smallish shoulder bag as you see it, but the fold down front flap opens, and you can pull some backpack shoulder straps out of it and the bag basically doubles in volume. It’s pretty neat (and not a bad bag…), but there were a couple of minor issues (the attachment points for the shoulder strap were too low, for one), and I found that the ability to make the thing bigger led me to… make the thing bigger. Carry more stuff. It’s ok! I can bring more because this bag will get bigger! Sure! So it’s hanging up now, and I made this:
This is my current carry. It’s based on a cycling musette bag (what they use to hand lunch off to racers on long ride days), but it’s got a padded back and bottom, a couple of pockets for pens and notebooks, and that’s about it. In a pinch, it’ll (just) hold my laptop- and that’s the way I like it (to discourage me from taking it with me all the time). There are one or two changes I might make (surprise surprise!), but for now this’ll do the trick.