Through junior high, high school, and college, I was known for carrying a lot of stuff with me (I hated going to my locker or dorm room between classes) and therefore always had some sort of large soft-side briefcase or backpack with me. I could only afford cheap stuff, so I often went through two or three bags a year.
A few years ago, I realized that I was starting to carry more and more stuff with me all the time, and so the Quest for the Ultimate Man-Bag began.
I first started out with a small Timbuk2 Messenger Bag:
I was never fully happy with the way it carried or felt. I ended up using it (along with a Sumo laptop sleeve, first with my iBook and now my MacBook) as a laptop case, and still use it for that today.
Next, I tried the Zitelli Z1 MOLLE Pack.
At the time, I didn’t know that the Z1 was a cheap knockoff of a Maxpedition Falcon II. The Z1 was poorly made, cheaply constructed, and had strap attachment points prone to failure – you really do get what you pay for. It lasted about a week before I replaced it with a CountyComm Bail-Out Bag:
The CountyComm BOB was well constructed, solid, durable, and held all of my stuff. However, the shoulder strap was suboptimal, and I ended up leaving it in the car more often than taking it out and into my office. A month and a half ago, I relegated the BOB to use as a range bag for my handguns and accessories, and it has excelled at that use so far (so much in fact that I ordered another one in “Sage Green” for my AR15 stuff).
The BOB’s replacement, after much consideration, was a Maxpedition Fatboy Versipack.
However, a couple of days after I ordered the Fatboy (after it shipped and before it arrived) I realized it wasn’t going to be big enough for my needs, so I ordered a Jumbo Versipack and a “Janus” strap pocket to replace it.
I used the Jumbo for a week or so before I discovered its sole flaw – the lack of a handle on top of the bag for “grab and go” situations. It (and the Fatboy) are designed solely for cross-body strap carry, and do not work well with either single-shoulder strap carry or by being carried in one hand. So, it ended up sitting in the back seat of my car for about a month. I ended up selling both the Fatboy and the Jumbo to a friend and his wife.
After much more consideration, research, and evaluation, last week I ordered my current “man bag”, the Maxpedition Typhoon Gearslinger in khaki (as I got tired of “Tactical Black”).
The Typhoon is the perfect size for all of my every-day carry stuff, while still having plenty of space for books and normal “from home to office” cargo. It’s geared for cross-body carry, but there’s also a nice durable handle on top for when I don’t want to use the shoulder strap.
I’ve added two small MOLLE pouches to the left-hand side, and a few Grimloc carabiners here and there just in case I ever need to strap something to the bag. I’ve also ordered some ITW Web Dominator clips to take care of excess straps – I hate strap ends flapping around, but I don’t want to cut them any shorter.
We’ll see how this one fares – I’ve been very impressed with the production quality and workmanship I see coming from Maxpedition, so it’s just a factor of finding which bag of theirs perfectly fits my needs. I hope the Typhoon will be the one.
December 2008 Update: I’m still carrying the Typhoon. However, I’d be open to doing a review and evaluation of any other similar bags if someone were to send me something different.