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Thursday
May032012

Get a brand new bag

I have this problem with buying bags – They’re often really badly designed.

I admit it, I’m picky about my luggage. If I’m paying money for a bag, I want it to be worth it. Often – Or more accurately, almost all the time, what’s on offer doesn’t measure up. That said, https://www.trooplondon.com seems to share my sensibilities and that’s why they’re my pick this time, specifically the TRP 209, in black (But only because the super-popular brown is sold out).

Short version:

It’s built like a tank and it’s waterproof on the inside, looks good and is built for decent sized human beings.

Long version:

I buy my shoulder bags based on the following criteria:

  • It has to hold an envelope of a4 paper without needing the envelope to be folded over. If I need to cart some documents around, then I want a bag big enough to handle that. A surprising number of ‘messenger’ bags are too small to do this.
    • It has to be large enough to hold a magazine without needing to fold it too. Sometimes you just need to grab a couple of magazines and camp out
  • It’s got to be deep enough to hold a drinks bottle or soda cans. What use is a bag if you can’t put your drink in it?
    • Also a lunch box.
  • It’s got to have some sort of compartments or pockets so all the small stuff that I might want to take with me – Pencils, pens torch, mini prybar, mini first aid kit, etc. doesn’t end up as loose handbag trash rattling around some place under my magazine, documents, lunchbox, soda cans and bottle and sketchbook.
  • Zips. If you have a bag, it needs some sort of zip so when you inevitably put it down and it tips over, all your stuff doesn’t slide out and vanish.
  • A cover flap. This keeps the rain and wandering hands out. This is a good thing.
    • Also a flap that needs you to screw around for a few minutes trying to fasten down isn’t worth your time. Ideally it should have magnetic snap closures, or spring clips. Velcro will just fill up with fluff and also I just hate having to  rip it open – it’s too loud to be polite.
  • Canvas. Or equivalent – It’s stylish, it’s nicer than nylon, cheaper than leather.
  • Size. A large bag lets all your stuff slide around, gets in the way and is wasteful of space.. I’m looking for something small and nimble that’s not going to need constant handling to stop it flopping and swinging around, and folding in the middle.
    • Also a shoulder strap made for someone who’s over 4 ft tall would be great. Too many bags assume that six inches of slack in the shoulder strap is perfect for every use case. The Troop bag at full extension hangs down around my thigh, even when worn shoulder to hip, but the strap can be shortened.

Troop managed to ship the bag to me within 24 hours, and I can’t find fault with it apart form the nylon waterproof lining is a little stiff – But since I managed to spill a drink inside the bag, I think that’d be complaining about the wrong thing entirely (The bag was undamaged and did not leak).

It is indeed big enough to take a magazine, bottle, change of clothes, and some small odds and ends, while being small enough to be comfortable.

If you’re looking for any sort of bag, Troop’s worth using as a base to go from.

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