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Tom Bihn Forums: Community discussion on travel bags, laptop bags, and backpacks. Tom Bihn has been designing and making bags since 1972. The best materials and innovative construction.

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  1. #1
    Registered User
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    5

    Daypack for travel: backpack vs. messenger bag, which is better?

    The great dilemma that has plague travelers throughout the ages. What daypack do I use? With the plethora of ergonomic messenger bags on the market now, the choice is more than just the style of backpack.

    Theory
    When traveling in crowded areas, I find that backpacks tend to be more of a hindrance than a help. You smack people accidentally with them (kinda like me on the dance floor, but I digress). To access them, you have to clear out an area, so you don't elbow anybody when you take them off. At home I use a messenger bag for when I'm out and about, as it were. I also have the TB Empire builder for work (or had actually, because some lazy mook stole mine, so I will be replacing it after my trip). I was thinking of losing the backpack and taking a messenger bag as my daypack for my next vacation to crowded Israel.

    Here is my dilemma, TB Ego or Id messenger bag vs. TB Synapse 25L or 19L backpack as my daypack. I was hoping group-think or group experience would help me decide.

    Background
    I have a customized Red Oxx Sky Train, yes heresy I know, but I'm a two compartment max kinda guy, as my main bag. I would like to pack my daypack of choice in the Sky Train.

    Needs
    The daypack needs to be light and crush-able. It will need to house: a camera bag (a customized Red Oxx trifold shaving kit) that holds the camera and two lens, special lightweight telescoping hiking tripod 10" long, lightweight jacket, tour book, Apple mini-pad, change of clothes, snacks, water, souvenirs, phone, and a very small toiletry bag.

    Questions
    1) Would using the messenger bag bag hurt my shoulder and back, not just over the course of a day, but over a month of daily use, more than a backpack?
    2) Which style provides better ready access to the camera gear?
    3) Which is less conspicuous?
    4) I think the Synapse 19L should suffice for the loading mentioned above and the 25L would be massive overkill and harder to pack in my main bag?
    5) I think both messenger bags would work for the same load, so it is functionality at this point. I think the Ego has more quickly accessible options than the ID, but I like the extra little pockets of the ID. Anybody have any idea of which would be more usable in the manner I would like?

    Thanks all or anybody.

  2. #2
    ceb
    ceb is offline
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Posts
    201
    I agree with your assessment of a backpack. I also believe that they are pickpocket magnets in crowded places.

    A messenger type bag (especially with a Q-AM type strap) is far better for crowded places because you can easily change how you carry it depending on situation.

    In addition, a properly fitted messenger bag will be just as comfortable as a backpack and looks far less "touristy".
    When in trouble, obfuscate.

  3. #3
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    North East US
    Posts
    50
    1) To reduce and even out the stress of carrying a single strap bag, switch the side you wear it on and alternate between shoulder carry and cross-body carry. Also, wear it on your back. (Messenger bags are meant to be carried on the back. They are not meant to dangle on one side bouncing off of your hip.) If you get the Q-Am strap, and snug the bag into your back, it will carry in a similar fashion to a backpack.
    2), 3), 4), 5) Since you are looking to be less conspicuous, have quick access to the contents, and stuff this bag into another large bag, it sounds like you're aiming for the Large Cafe Bag. Even if you'd prefer the larger capacity and features of the Ego and Id, it seems like a messenger is the appropriate choice.

    Good luck!

  4. #4
    Registered User
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    549
    I use the Synapse for exactly this type of travel.
    The side and bottle pockets are almost perfect for lenses and I made a simple foam shell for the camera with main lens to ride in. You can also easily order a simple insert from Amazon for whatever body and main lens you carry.

    I carry the 7D mainly with a 15-55 2.8,not a small combo by any means.

    I also think the messenger may work but I find they do not hold as much as the Tardis Synapse and I just use tiny caribiners to lock the zippers on the Synapse while in a crowd.
    It is also easy to swing it around to my front when I need to.

    The Synapse just holds an insane amount of gear in my experience,INSANE!

    Ed


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