The Quest for the Perfect Man-Bag

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:

Timbuk2 Small 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.

Old bag - Zitteli 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:

New Bag - Front

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.

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.

Maxpedition Fatboy Jumbo Versipack

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”).

Maxpedition Typhoon Gearslinger

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.

6 thoughts on “The Quest for the Perfect Man-Bag

  1. Saw your link from EDC Forums – the journey for the perfect bag never ends…thus my current question as I am also considering the Typhoon or the Malaga. Did you consider the Malaga and if so, why the Typhoon over it? I have the Lunada but need something just a little bigger but not too big. Thanks,

  2. I looked at the Malaga, but finally picked the Typhoon because it was just a tiny bit bigger.

    The Malaga’s advantage is its ambidextrious strap setup, while the Tyhpoon has a right-handed cross-body strap.

    I recently added a Maxpedition M1 pouch to the bottom left MOLLE position in place of the miscolored pouch in the picture above.

  3. I had a hard time picking a bag for the motorcycle. I wound up settling on the camelbak HAWG because it has compressible storage and of course the requisite 750ml water bladder. It has enough room for my Air, my rain gear, four quarts of oil, and an oil filter. At 70mph or so, the extra flaps and thing flap around a little, but I’m not trying to set land speed records.

  4. Mr Bill,
    Thanks for sharing your Quest for the Perfect Man-Bag. I found your blog by searching the subject on google and have thoroughly enjoyed your insight. I share the same thoughts and considerations that you do with respect to your daily toter. I had the same question that Rick did with respect to considering the Typhoon vice the Malaga and as you pointed out “The Malaga’s advantage is its ambidextrious strap setup…” which I think I would prefer rather than the Tyhpoon with the right-handed cross-body strap. Now that it has been a little while how is the Typhoon working out for you? Are there any features that you don’t like? Any regrets about picking it over the Malaga? You know, size does matter! but I think that cross-body strap thing would be less desirable than the ambidextrious strap setup. Your thoughts? Thanks!

  5. I finaly decided after reading your reviews, alot of good info. Thanks for taking the time and posting your info. I am leaning towards the Typhoon.

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