05 March 2012

The Perfect Travel Bag

image via Luggage Pros

I recently hit the wall with carrying my every day purse on trips and came up with a list of demands I needed from a good travel bag: be lightweight, require no hands to carry, be expandable, easy to clean and not ugly. It also could not be a backpack since many museums and other tourist sites will not allow you to carry backpacks in.

After doing a bit of shopping around, this all brought me back to something I already own the Manhattan Portage messenger bag. I bought this bag in NYC in 1998. I have used the heck out of it and it shows no signs of wear. I just forgot to use it for travel! Here's what makes this bag the perfect travel bag.

  • Simplicity and Adaptability -- It's very lightweight Cordura. It packs totally flat into a suitcase or makes a great carry on. It can amazingly expand to carry all the stuff you'll need for a day of sightseeing: a water bottle, snacks, jacket, camera and a few purchases and it still looks good.
  • Big and Small -- The front clasp adjusts in length so you can really tighten it or loosen it as needed. You can make this bag very small so you don't have to feel like you're carrying a giant empty bag around but if you need it big, it totally accommodates.
  • Lightweight and Practical -- A bag that is very sturdy but weighs almost nothing is fantastic for your back. You can wear it cross-body or on your shoulder. You can also shift it back and forth from shoulder to shoulder to ease back strain. Plus this is a bag that your guy won't be embarrassed to help carry - that's a huge plus!
  • Secure and Understated -- This all black version is perfect for travel. When I'm carrying expensive camera equipment, my wallet, passport and other valuables I do not want to be calling attention to myself or my bag. Plus I want something that I can keep strapped close to my body.
  • Easy-to-clean and Protective --This bag shows no dirt and is very easy to just wipe off with a wet towel. It dries quickly. The Cordura also does a good job of keeping things dry unless you fall into a lake or get caught in an extended heavy downpour. 
  • Adjustable and Well-organized --The adjustable shoulder strap makes it easy to keep it comfortable and just the right size if you're wearing a tee shirt or a giant winter coat. It has a zip front pocket for valuables, a large middle section for gear and a back slot for a book, magazine, maps, tickets and anything you want to keep from being crumpled.
Manhattan Portage makes all kinds of bags so if you want one with a padded computer envelope or more pockets, bells and whistles they make those too. It is the PERFECT travel bag. It's the best thing I've seen and used through many years of extensive travel. Have you tried Manhattan Portage bags? If you have, what bag do you like best and what features best accommodate your life?

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