I've really struggled to find a bag that meets my needs, I liked my little crumpler but it was a touch too small (read tiny) and didn't fit my tablet. I then upgraded to the maxpedition sitka gear slinger which is a fraction more tactical or tacticool than the crumpler.
Its a quality sling bag (One strap worn like a backpack) that features the sort of organisational design I like combined with a nice compartment that my tablet fits in (albeit for CCW). Unfortunately I don't like the sling style carrier for work travel, wearing it with business shirts and riding on crowded trains I quickly new I should have opted for a shoulder bag. The Sitka will be awesome on a motorcycle or mountain bike bag because its design allows you to access all compartments without removing your helmet so I will keep it and still get plenty of use.
Why am I so fussy about bags? Its in part about being organised but also its about preparedness, I live a LONG way away from my work in the city and am dependent on services and systems outside my control to get to and from the CBD.
My bag needs to meet my every day needs as well as serve as a "get home bag" if need be. There are any one of a number of reasons for someone to need to get home on foot be it widespread power outage stopping the trains, a gas leak closing the highway or even a zombie apocalypse (2 of the 3 have happened in the last 6 months, I'll let you guess which ones).
From work to my home is just under 80km door to door, not a stroll in the park by any means and while my commute is split in half between rail and road I like to feel confident that if I needed to bail I could get home on foot.
- USB Drive & Cables
- Reading Glasses
- Lense Cleaning kit
- Lunch/Snacks (occasionally)
- Leatherman Wave
- Ventolin & Other meds
- Keys & Security Cards
- Led Light
Get Home/Preparedness Items:
- Fire Kit
- Water Kit
- Small FAK
These lists seem like a lot but most pack down into next to nothing, the only tricky item is my tablet and how to address carrying water. At work I typically refill my 750ml bottle 6-8 times a day so I'm tempted to replace it with another 1L Sigg (I have one at home also) so if I need to I have bottles with me but don't necessarily carry them daily. Another option would be a wide mouth bottle (like the nalgene or camelback styles) and use it to store some of the listed items.
I'm very happy with the quality of my maxped sitka and think something that fallsunder "Tactical"will have the quality I'm after. The 1000+ denier nylon doesn't wear or show up the dirt and look manky after the crumpler did from a few months use
Here are some of the options i've looked at:
Maxpedition Mongo Versipack - This was my original favorite, Its pretty exxy. In my opinion you pay more for maxped for their rep. I like that there are ample colors to choose from, dedicated water bottle storage and any maxped ad on would be interchangeable with my sitka I also like the pouch on top for eye wear.
5.11 Tactical Push Pack - This bag seems to offer the same as the mongo just on a smaller scale (and half the price). The downside for me is both of the side compartments are both water storage & it wouldn't hold my tablet securely but it does share the glasses pouch on to with the mongo.
5.11 Tactical Bail Out Bag - This bag moves away from the versipack style of the mongo and push and serves as an active shooter meaning there are ample pockets on the outside for magazines. Not being a shooter or purveyor of firearms in any form this bag looses out for me because 3 of the external pockets are not sealed. It does have a plus being that there is easy external access to glasses and all little bits and pieces, there is no dedicated spot for my tab though meaning i'd have to rig up some velcro retaining straps on the inside loop field to secure it. Internal molle webbing for adding pouches is an added bonus.
5.11 Tactical Rush Delivery Messenger bag - If this bag was a hair smaller it would be perfect, I don't have a need to carry a 15 inch laptop let alone a 17inch so size wise its overkill I do however like the design and internal organisation.
Plat-a-Tac taxi Bag - I'm so so on this bag given it includes a belt system that isn't removeable or stow able (which I don't need) however it is cheaper than the maxped and I can source it locally and it seems to have a few compartments that I can store my tab separately EDIT - I went and tried this bag on, one added bonus was the shoulder strap was more than long enough however they bag itself just didn't feel stiff enough on me also the waist belt was not removable/stowable.
Plat-a-Tac Modular Snatch Bag $195 I really like the fact that this bag is entirely customisable, you have ample MOLLE webbing to attache internal pouches and compartments, I could easily rig up a securing system for my tab too. There are 2 downsides one being that its freakin expensive (especially when you add in a few more $$ for pouches) and also its design is to drop out making all the internals available for access. I'm not sure how secure 2 press studs and a zipper would be holding the bag together. EDIT - I went and tried out this bag and the dimensions were not as I expected. I expected similar dimensions to the taxi bag however the bag itself was much larger and the shoulder strap was too short.
Plat-a-Tac Snatch Bag - This bag shares the features of the modular without being expandable, it also looses out on molle webbing and you get standard elastic internal loops. Price is better too. EDIT- They didn't have this one on display so I couldn't sus it out
So drawing on learnings from my usage of the maxpedition sitka over the past 2 months I opted for the Maxpedition Mongo Versipack for a number of reasons:
- Maxped Quality
- Superior Organisation options (loop field everywhere)
- Glasses access on top
- Fits my tablet
- Can carry a laptop
I think perhaps the key comment I saw on one of the many Mongo reviews comparing the two styles of bag (gear slinger vs versipack) was that the Sitka was more of a bag that you pack before your journey and access/unpack when you reach your destination. The Mongo is a bag you can access during your journey which really suited my needs.
I decided on foliage green over black, I really don't know why.