Id or Zephyr?
I previously asked a question here about fitting several articles in a bag, and I got such useful answers, I thought I'd try again. So...
I have a Large Cafe Bag which is very useful. In it I carry my iPad (in Waterfield Travel Express for iPad case), a Moleskine, a Kindle, glasses, some pens, a spiral notebook and a textbook. If I don't have to carry lunch, this is the bag I'll always take.
Now I'm looking for a briefcase-style bag that will carry all of the above plus lunch. Lunch is usually a sandwich or two and a Tupperware container about the size of a Clear Quarter Packing Cube. Maybe a banana and/or an orange.
So...I'm looking for the smallest briefcase-style bag that will carry all that. I think that would be either the ID or the Zephyr. Note: I won't always have time to pack cleverly :D, so this bag would have to something that could fit all this stuff when packed hastily (i.e., I'm just throwing stuff in there...).
Used my new navy Zephyr for the first time last week. LOVE how it's organized, and especially love the foam "bookends" that secure everything in the center section. I carry several heavy books (can load them standing upright, side by side), iPad2, supplies, thick folders to teach my classes. It even holds a volume of the Saint John's Bible, which is large format 10" x 15", and keeps it nice. The front organizer pocket is roomy, so that I can see what's in the pockets, and could put my Ipad2 there if I wanted.
The plastic dividers in the center work great to separate the items, and keep the fragile stuff safe. Didn't realize how much I would like this feature! Expected to ignore the dividers. But I like being able to partition books from iPad and smaller stuff, especially for packing a lunch or a sweater. I'm not a fan of messenger bags - the flaps me crazy. I like the extra structure from the Zephyr for carrying the heavy resources; works great for what I need. However, it is a good-sized bag. Truly briefcase-sized.
Doug, you just might be reading my mind.
Originally Posted by dougmon
I almost posted about the same thing over the weekend. I need to carry some notebooks, some printouts in file folders, a book or two, an iPad or a Kindle or a Fire or some combination thereof - all of which are flattish things. Then I need to stuff in my lunch and my knitting. I carry my purse separately, but it's smallish and might stuff in the bag in place of the lunch or the knitting. And I realized last week, much to my shock, that since the primary carry items are flattish and work-related and computery, that the reason I was having so much trouble carrying them in backpacks and totes was because I really needed a briefcase.
But you really hit the nail on the head with that one sentence about not having time to pack cleverly. One's possessions might fit in any number of bags, but if one doesn't have the time or inclination to pack them carefully, then "fitting" won't be the same as "fitting well." Thanks for the a-ha moment! Now it's all so clear...!
My vote would be the ID. I used my ID for two years as a work and casual/travel bag, and my favorite thing about it was versatility. I would use a horizontal Freudian slips to organize my work doodads, and could quickly and easily reconfigure things based on what I was doing at the time. I cannot comment on the Zephry (never had one), but the deciding factor for me was flexibility for work & recreational situations.
Unfortunately, I gave up my ID because I had to switch from a messenger style bag to a backpack as my carry needs got heavier (I've used a brain bag for the past two years). But I would (and have) recommend the ID again and again as a daily mid size messenger. I think it straddles that professional/casual bridge with the added flexibility perfectly!
It seems to me that either the ID or the Zephyr would work equally well. The Zephyr seems a bit smaller (by a 3 liter capacity) and I keep thinking: won't that extra capacity in the ID come in handy someday? But then I think: won't the slightly smaller size of the Zephyr make it easier to carry?
And my impulse is: get both. But...can't do that.
Anyway, thanks everyone for the input. I'm sure I'll re-read it several times before I make a decision.
Oh! I just went through this decision! I actually ordered both and sent one back. Here's my impressions:
1. They're both great. You probably can't go wrong.
2. Get the Zephyr if you want something more structured.
3. Get the ID if you don't need the more structured approach.
In the end, I got the Zephyr because I'm using it as an actual briefcase, and want to use it more professionally.
What I liked most about the ID was the exterior water bottle pocket. That would be super useful, but made the bag a bit more casual than I liked. I also liked that I felt like I could sort of cram more stuff in the ID if I wanted too.
But, the Zephyr holds a ton of stuff, probably not much less than the ID (especially if you take out the plastic dividers) on a practical level, and it sort of forced me to be more thoughtful about how to pack it. I also liked how the Zephyr fell against my body while carrying it with the shoulder strap. The Zephyr also is easier to carry by the handles - the ID flops a bit more than I'd like when doing that. I think the ID would generally have to be carried mostly with the shoulder strap, with the handle mostly used to quickly pick it up and move it.
Either bag really is great. I think you just need to be pretty clear about how you're going to use it!
Well, I really thank all of you for your input. I'll be going with the Zephyr, because...I don't know, because I still can't make up my mind, and the Zephyr seems to force orderly packing, and yeah, I did say I don't do orderly packing, but...
Anyway, it's the Zephyr. I was going to flip a coin, but the reply from smj clinched it.
Thanks, all you folks.