About Me Photos

Man bag

I’m the kind of guy who likes to have his diary on him during the day, so I have used a man bag for many years.

First man bag

My first man bag.

My first man bag was bought for me by my sister on my 18th birthday. It’s a black Kangol bag, quite a simple affair with one main pocket and a zipped internal pocket. It was perfect for my University years – if memory serves correctly, I could fit my pens, diary, wallet and mobile phone (when I eventually got one) neatly into that zipped pocket. It lasted me for a good six years.

Second man bag

My second man bag.

Up until recently, I carried a grey bag from Next which was purchased back in late 2004, I think. Karen saw it in a catalogue or something, and so we bought it one day from the store on Oxford Street. I offered to carry it home for her, and she never really managed to get her hands on it after that.

As well as the main compartment (large enough for an A4 folder) it has similarly sized zipped pockets, located in front of and behind the main compartment. There’s also a zipped pocket inside the main compartment, same size again. The flap is held down with two large buckles, which come down on top of the two smaller pockets at the very front. There is also a small mobile phone pocket inside the main compartment.

Problems that I had with this bag were:

1. It’s made of canvas. Though it is light and foldable, this also means that it doesn’t really hold its own shape, and sometimes trying to extract an item from one of the larger pockets feels like you’re fighting through a sea of loose material.
2. The pocket sizes aren’t ideal. Apart from those two pockets at the front, all the pockets are large. Once those small pockets are full up, anything else has to go into one of the larger pockets, from which it can be hard to retrieve small items (see above).
3. The two front pockets don’t have a secure closing. This can be an advantage at times, because you can fish things out without having to undo anything, but it doesn’t take a genius to see that this is a potential risk when you are on public transport &c. The main pocket is also less than 100% secure, for the same reason.

The bag itself is also much larger than I need, and on the vast majority of days I would just fill up the two small front pockets, and put my Moleskine notebook and diary in the front zipped pocket.

Third man bag

My third man bag.

So I decided to look for something with the following criteria:

1. Smaller.
2. More variety in the pocket sizes.
3. No pockets that can be easily violated by a pickpocket.
4. Able to stand up by itself and hold its own shape.

Allow me to introduce my new man bag. I fear that I’m getting dangerously close to “handbag” territory, but I’m very much a form-over-function kind of person, so I’m not going to let that bother me.

This new bag fits all the criteria, and even though it is smaller, I have actually put more things in it (because it’s easier for me to get things out of it). In addition to the things that I used to carry before ((keys, wallet, phone, diary, notebook, pens, car stereo fascia)) I have put in some other useful items ((compact camera, mini-tripod, compact binoculars, USB pen drive, lip balm, mints)) and it is now looking quite full.

I’m keeping the old Kangol bag on reserve, in case I ever find myself in a situation where I need the extra capacity. But the grey bag has now returned to its rightful owner, Karen.

10 replies on “Man bag”

If you’re getting dangerously close to ‘handbag’ territory, putting lip balm in it may push it over the edge. Just a thought. Nice bag though.

For years I’ve been sort of Rucksack Man (comes from all that walking) even my laptop goes in a rucksack (the world’s smallest rucksack as it fits the laptop and virtually nothing else; you can squeeze a mouse in if you are lucky).

So, I’m tempted by a Man Bag, but what does it offer that a rucksack doesn’t?

Predominantly aesthetic. Rucksack screams “skateboard!” whereas Man Bag is more “Indiana Jones!”

Also, a rucksack slung over both shoulders is much more likely to give you a sweaty back than a Man Bag worn down by your hip.

I would be a bit worried! They look very lady like to me. More of a messenger but maybe too large or perhaps a small leather one? Check out I got a small leather one and thus far have not been ridiculed in the street or arrested!

Hi MJ, welcome to the site.

Thanks for the link – there are lots of great-looking and reasonably priced bags on that site.

I’m pleased to report that I haven’t had any grief from strangers over by new bag, so evidently I must be treading on the acceptable side of effeminacy. Still, watch this space, because anything could yet happen.

Hi-love the 3rd man bag, I’m looking for one to buy for my man to replace the over shoulder bag he takes to work-where did you get it from?

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