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Messenger Bag Tips and Tricks

Discussion in 'EDC Bags' started by reppans, Jul 12, 2014.

  1. reppans

    reppans Loaded Pockets

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    Hey folks, I just wanted to share some ideas for increasing the versatility and comfort of using messenger bags and see if anyone else had any tips and tricks they would be willing to contribute. I should start by saying that I know there is no beating a proper backpack for secure, comfortable load carrying, and I am an avid outdoor enthusiast and backpacker, but for most of my pedestrian EDC/murse needs, a messenger bag just seems to fit my age and suburban/urban lifestyle better. So, that said, here's what I have:

    Double Wide Strap - If you have doubled-up shoulder strap and put a little kink or "edge" on the bottom layer, before and after the load bearing contact point on your shoulder, it will separate and hold the strap to be double wide. This of course spreads the load over a greater surface area for more comfort, and for me, negates the need for a separate, bulky shoulder pad.

    [​IMG]

    Belt - For active sports like technical hiking, bicycling, X-C skiing, etc. I hate it when my messenger bag swings around front, so I belt it. It's just a piece of cord and tiny carabiner with a bowline and adjustable grip hitch knot (< my all time favorite knot BTW). Bag stays where it's put, and lumbar friction takes some weight off the shoulder.

    [​IMG]

    Backpack - This is ultimate in stability/security/load bearing although you need a long strap and handle - I'd have no problems rock climbing with this rig. I'm using a small carabiner with a half twist in the strap which leaves no strap folds against your flesh, and also locks the strap from shifting left/right. Can't argue that it's as comfortable as a backpack, but it's getting awful close.

    [​IMG]

    Rain Cover - It's a just rectangle cut from a heavy duty garbage bag draped over the bag and tied down with the belt cord. Cord is threaded through the bag's front daisy chain and does 1.5 loops around the bag so it's not going anywhere. Cover weighs 1 oz, folds to nothing, and doubles as a very useful mini ground sheet for my dog and/or I to sit on.

    Best Way To Chair Hang - Just tie a knot in the strap to take up slack and adjust height. Keeps your bag off dirty floors, takes up zero space, won't tip over the lightest chair, drop and tip-over proof. Reverse the orientation - lid facing inward - if concerned about security/theft.

    [​IMG]

    Best Spot In Cars - On the floor, leaned up against the seat, right under your knees and calfs. Takes up no other passenger space, pretty well hidden if you leave it in the car, never slides around, easy access to contents, easy to place and take as you move in/out of vehicle. I suppose there is some remote argument one could make about safety and the car's foot controls when driving, but my bag has never budged from it's spot. (Sorry, no illustration for this one ;))

    Hope that help folks, and would love to hear other ideas... :)
     
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  2. Moco

    Moco Loaded Pockets

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    killer ideas.
     
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  3. Exploriment

    Exploriment Loaded Pockets

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    Now this is a good post.
     
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  4. Tonka Hotcakes

    Tonka Hotcakes Loaded Pockets

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    Nice tricks! I like that last idea.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
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  5. RBid

    RBid Loaded Pockets

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    Modularity!

    Building gear into smaller kits or packs allows you to quickly and easily arrange your bag. This convenience means you're more likely to carry the best bag for a time or activity.

    Example:

    [​IMG]


    If you don't carry it every day, it's not every day carry.
     
  6. reppans

    reppans Loaded Pockets

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    Bumping and old thread. Still rocking the same bag, and using the same tips/tricks. Just adding a couple more:

    Lashing gear to the outside.... eg, for an ultralight outdoor overnighter, or carry a winter coat indoors. Clip stuff sack to a shoulder strap to bear weight and tie-up to main body to stabilize.

    [​IMG]

    Couple of ways to tie-up to a bicycle (this is a folder, my "EDC bike"):

    [​IMG]

    Anyone else got any messenger bag tips and tricks to add?
     
  7. MCPOWoller

    MCPOWoller Loaded Pockets

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    That is an awesome set up!
     
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  8. Cobra 6 Actual

    Cobra 6 Actual Loaded Pockets

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    I've found the Jandd Military Harness Straps to be very useful across several types of bags: fanny packs, lumbar packs, and messenger bags:

    [​IMG]Stock Photo
     
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  9. earthman

    earthman EDC Junkie!!!

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    That harness is a great idea.
     
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  10. Cobra 6 Actual

    Cobra 6 Actual Loaded Pockets

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    It's worked well for me. In some cases I've had to modify the existing straps a bit ... sort of depends on the configuration of your bag. But, overall, it's been great for me.
     
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  11. ghbrumbaugh

    ghbrumbaugh Loaded Pockets

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    What do you guys like for a drop height/strap length? I have always gone with being able to have my finger tips just curl under the the outside edge, one knuckle under. I'm working on my own strap that's a fixed length. So I would like input on what your preference is.
     
  12. jag-engr
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    jag-engr Semper Bufo!
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    I carry a Timbuk2 messenger bag every day during the work week and when traveling. I have picked up a few tricks less spectacular than those above.

    Table Hanger
    Carry a device of some sort to hang your bag from a table. Most of these are made for women's purses, but they will usually work fine for a bag.

    Extended Carry with Strap Across Chest
    I actually got this idea from a picture of a Native American man carrying a bundle of wood with a "burden strap" across his chest (It's a little blurry, but check out the picture at the top of this page).
    Just hang the bag over behind you with the strap across the top on chest, just below the collar bone, and resting against your triceps. Adjust the length of the strap to where the bag rest against your lower back or hips (whichever is comfortable). I does limit how much you can swing your arms and you wouldn't want to do this somewhere where it could prevent a choking hazard, but it is a symmetrical loading that rests against large muscles and should result in very little fatigue or pain.

    Carry a Flat, Rectangular Form
    I tended to have issues with everything lumping up in my bag. However, I took a relatively stiff plastic cover off of an old notebook and stuck it it the back of my bag. It adds almost no weight or volume, but it helps the bag hold its shape and keeps stuff from lumping up.
     
  13. reppans

    reppans Loaded Pockets

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    Not sure if I got the question right, but I usually carry cross chest and the top of my bag hangs just below the small of my back. I think the friction against the slope of my fat butt supports some of the weight.

    Nice ones jag-engr, gonna try that Indian idea out, looks like a good solution for when I don't want to bother rigging full backpack mode.

    I did try one of those table purse hangers.. Looked strong and made from steel - LOL still broke the first day under my ~10lbs bag. :)

    Fortunately my messenger bag has good internal organization so stuff stays vertical and clumping is minimal. Backpacks are a another matter. For them, I use one of these OR organizers that has a stiff plastic sheet in it so it keeps all the small loose stuff vertical and flat - I stick it in the computer sleeve.

    [​IMG]
     
  14. jag-engr
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    jag-engr Semper Bufo!
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    Check out the Dango - I don't know if it's in production yet, but it looks like a worthwhile idea.
     
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  15. Siwhite

    Siwhite Loaded Pockets

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    Great tips - thanks. I'll be using some of these with my MB...
     
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  16. Cobra 6 Actual

    Cobra 6 Actual Loaded Pockets

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    Another useful addition to my gear has been a closed cell foam pad: I bought a couple of these 15 inch square pads of 1/2 inch closed cell foam for a couple of bucks at a local hardware store primarily because they were for sale.

    Turns out that I have found that one of these things is great for backpacking and even general walking around, using it so that it pads any sharp or lumpy items from my back. Also, makes a good ersatz seat pad.
     
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  17. reppans

    reppans Loaded Pockets

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    Well, after figuring out the MB chair hang thing above, I rather not carry another single purpose item.

    I've been EDCing this Klymit Cush "pillow" for a few years now (also started a thread about it somewhere here). 3oz, size of a deck of cards, and $10 on sale. It's my go-to for winter ground insulation for sitting and even napping on the snow. I even spent a night on it backpacking. In the summer is my air mattress for lounging on lakes. (I'm now using a Tyvek groundsheet.)

    [​IMG]
     
  18. Cobra 6 Actual

    Cobra 6 Actual Loaded Pockets

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    I'll have to check that Cush out ... even though I have more padding in my butt than I need, there's something luxurious when backpacking about having an insulating cushion in addition to my natural one!
     
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