Architects' Construction Site Visit Bag
Okay, a little obscure, but here you are:
Architects, engineers, contractors, developers and others in the building industry frequently need to wear business attire for meetings, but bring along the clothing and PPE (personal protective equipment) for a construction site. I currently use a canvas tote, but some of the gear is awkward, breakable or dirty; or sometimes all three. Critical items include a hard-hat (odd shape is hard to pack), eye protection (easily scratched), steel-toed boots (always muddy) and possibly gloves, a reflective vest and hearing protection (just bulky.) I have cast many an inquiring, yet fruitless glance at the bags that hold ski boots and helmets. However the sizes and proportions are wrong for my gear, and overall a little flashy for us style-conscious design professionals. What we need is a Tom Bihn solution.
I would like to be able to store all my PPE in the bag, travel to the site, get it all out quickly, and then leave the bag in the car or field office while actually walking around the site (I bring a smaller bag for that, more of which anon.) Most important, all the dirty gear can go back in the at the end of the site visit. This would keep the mess contained when I lug it all back to the car/subway/office in nice clothes and do not want to soil the carpet.
For these trips, I typically carry a briefcase with laptop on one shoulder (for the meeting portion) and another bag (medium cafe bag) on the other shoulder to bring onto the site to carry the various sundries required such as a clipboard, tape measure, camera, batteries, flashlight, level etc. In my hands on the way to the site I often have a roll of drawings the tote of PPE gear in the other. I would like to get down to two shoulder bags and both hands free traveling to and from the site: a briefcase for business stuff, and the Architects' Site Bag with everything else.
Some nice features:
- A way to secure a roll of drawings for (mass) transit. Possibly using a clever strap system similar the way backpackers hook sleeping pads to backpacks could hold them on the outside, and free my hands to hang onto the straps on the subway.
- A removable cafe-like bag that clips in and out to be carried in the field (l am imagining a sort of mashup of the Freudian Slip and the Packing Cube/Shoulder bag) holding the odds and ends listed above, and again, freeing my hands for ladders and so forth.
- Water-and-muck-resistant enclosure for the boots. Splash-proof zipers in this area are key. Seamless construction (like the bathtub floor of a tent) might be a good idea.
- It would be extra nice if there was a way to remove the boot-section and wipe it down or wash it (maybe the changing pad material?)
- Fuzzy safe place for a set of safety glasses. Possibly just a good place to clip a padded-lined organizer pouch large enough for a set of safety shields (which are bigger than normal glasses of course) so they don't get banged around and scratched.
- A few other characteristically well-designed pockets for a clipboard, folded safety vest, work gloves and the like.
Instead of a ski boot bag, have you ever looked at a step in firefighter bag? Since they're made to carry all a firefighter's gear, they will easily carry boots, helmet and other items.
Thanks for the suggestion Tzporah, I did some looking and the step-ins seem like very well-designed functional bags for their purpose, just not for my purpose. I noticed they tend to a) have a single HUGE compartment to hold boots with the bunker trousers down around them (for fast donning, which is cool) and b) if they have other pockets become quite enormous. I don't need quite that much room, I'd rather separate my hardhat from the boots, and I'd prefer not to get it in fire-engine red with a Maltese Cross. So, like I said, I posted it here in the selfish hope for an ideal bag.
I have to say, take a look at the Brain Bag.
The first compartment can hold a Vertical Freudian Slip and a Packing Cube/Shoulder bag (the vertical Freudian Slip doesn't fit into the Packing Cube/Shoulder bag, the horizontal one might)
A Padded Pouch attached to lanyard inside the front top pocket of the Brain Bag could hold your safety glasses.
I think your helmet, hearing protection and boots could fit in the second compartment.
The reflective vest could be folded to fit in the bigger compartment of one of the small front pockets and the gloves could either go in the upper front pocket or with the helmet and boots.
You could carry your boots in an "Oversized" Stuff Sack or the Shop Bag.
And your drawings in a "Super Long" Stuff Sack Secured by the straps in the
middle of the Brain Bag small front pockets.
I might be stretching the capacity of the Brain Bag but that bag is amazing so
it would be great if you could give it a try.
Not sure what the best solution would be. I'm an engineer (but probably with only limited site visits compared to what you do) but I work on the environmental side. So when I visit, it gets really dirty!... including filter masks, large heavy rubber gloves, Tyvek suits or rubber overalls, etc. I've found that I can't pack all my PPE into a carry on. You might be able to manage with an Aeronaut, but whatever you use, I imagine you'll have to use plastic bags to wrap the dirty items before they go back into your luggage.
I have a SuperEgo bag that I now use for my field visits. Its big enough that it holds returned shop drawings, a set of project specifications, 30' and 100' tape measures. The slot holds up to a 17" laptop but I now travel with a 12.5" laptop. You could even put a point and shoot camera in it, however I like to carry my DSLR in its own bag. I also keep an REI climbing carabiner on the shoulder strap to clip my hardhat onto when off site.
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