What do you carry?

I love bags. It's part of my organization addiction. I am constantly on the lookout for The Perfect Bag -- something that will hold my stuff in an organized fashion without being too heavy or bulky. I own too many bags, to be honest. I've tried everything from messenger bags and Jansport backpacks to small purses, and I'm still searching. (I even replaced bags with a black photographer's vest for a while; it worked wonderfully, but I got sick of looking like a nerd.)

I keep coming back to my mini-backpack/purse. It's small, but not too small; it holds my Classic planner, a small knitting project (I love knitting socks), my digital camera, my iPod, and a few small sundries like extra pen refills and a spare pack of cigarettes. It's leather, but it's not thick or heavy. It's as close to perfect as I've been able to find so far. I just wish it had more pockets.

So what do you all carry? Wallets, briefcases, purses, totebags... I'm curious about other solutions!

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I carry a red flap purse. It's got one outside pocket and three interior pockets. The back interior pocket also has a zip mini-pocket. I picked this up at JC Penneys on sale last fall. I love the look, but I'm disappointed with the performance. The flap is stiff and does not allow the interior pockets to be used at their maximum width. The magnetic snap on the outside doesn't reach when there's a lot of stuff in the purse.

The last purse I had was a zip-top shoulder purse. That purse was fine, except the strap would not allow cross-body use.

I use zip pouches inside my purses now to organize my small stuff, and a double-zip wallet for cash, cards, and checkbook.

I used to use a plain black leather organizer bag with a long strap. I liked it, but I suddenly became bored with black. So the shoulder purse was multicolored straw & fabric weave with leather trim, and the red bag is tooled in a paisley pattern. All of these came from JC Penney and were priced in the $30 range. I still have them all, just some of them sit in the closet waiting for my next mood.

I think my next bag will be a zip-top, cross body model--something that will still close and look reasonable when it's totally overstuffed, no easy task. As for color, well, I dunno. It probably won't be plain black or navy. :) But I'm not into fringe or studs or beads, so we'll see.

There is a maker of hand-painted leather bags whose items are sold on eBags. I drool when I see them. Maybe someday when I'm rich I can buy one of those for daily use. Or maybe I'll just admire them from afar. I'm a pinchpenny and an art-lover. I'd hate to scratch an expensive and beautiful bag getting in and out of my minivan. :)


What about us guys ? :(

At the risk of sounding a bit sexist, you ladies have it easy being allowed/expected to carry purses. If a guy carries a "purse"... well, let's not go there or the Censorship Filters will get me. :)

Seriously, what is a guy supposed to carry ?

Personally, I have used small backpacks and, more recently, these "messenger bag" type things. I have a nice one I got in a Wal-Mart during the beginning of the school supply rush (in July!!) a few years ago.

Something else I used to use was the old Banana Republic "Vest-Of-A-Thousand-Pocketses" Photojournalist Vest. I had so much junque in them pockets that it must have weighed over ten pounds. I literally wore out three of them and I would probably still use it if they were still available. I have one unused one left and one in pretty good condition. I save it for special occasions involving air travel. They are great for simplifying the airport security gauntlet, although with recent changes to that, I'd have to seriously revisit what I used to carry :)
"I think the surest sign that there is intelligent life out there in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." (Calvin and Hobbes/Bill Waterson)


I think the messenger/mail bag is great~! I have many guy friends that have it filled like a 'man-purse'. There is nothing cuter than a guy with a messenger bag, able to rescue a damsel in distress who needs something :o) (It's the UtilityBelt of the future~!)
my artwork


Ha, ygor, as far as having it easy, try living without any useful pockets. No place to carry pens, Pocket briefcase, money, anything. It's a purse or nothing, my friend.

However, being as how I looooooooooooove purses and bags of all types, I am glad that it is socially acceptable for me to carry them!

now men can care a "murse" aka man purse

i have see many men with a "murse" and no one thinks anything of it.

levenger has two different styles of "murse"



---Levenger stole ALL of my money, but they left me all these nice, shiny organizational tools.

We like to call them...

...man bags. ;-)



I think I tend to look like a bag lady... seriously tho, here is a listing of the 'gear' I carry.

I'll use a work day for an example since they out-number my 'fun' days...

I have my purse. It was on sale and I adore it. It is more of 'clutch' stype with one large compartment with a small zippered pocket inside. Everything fits in the main compartment well, including my new 'mock-moleskine' and hPDA. Unfortunately, digging becomes a common occurence but I'm getting great at it. There are two velcro closured pockets on the front and one on each end. (These are perfect for keys, cell phone, and reciepts... one for each).

I have my messenger bag. My messenger bag is full of stuff that the average person would chuckle at. I always have a spare snack or two. I carry highlighters, pens, pencils, art pencils, erasers, etc. I usually have some mail tucked in there and my sketch book of choice. Now I have my red composition notebook wedged inside too. The back side has a velcro pocket that I use to hold my 24 oz water bottle that I never leave home without.

I also have my lunch bag... nothing fancy. It is an igloo knock-off in black. I usually pack that full of semi-nutritious food like baby carrots and yogurt. The good stuff like cookies and candy are always hidden in the bottom... this thwarts my coworkers curiousity for snacks to mooch. :P

If its an artsy day and I think I'll have some 'free' time at work I might carry my lil tote bag. Its dark blue denim. I'll throw my pencil boxes in there and a sketch book or two.

Yeah... I'm a lil thing so carrying all this stuff probably does make me resemble a bag lady. My coworkers like to ask me if I forgot anything when I make my way in with all of these 'accessories'... I like to remind them that on a windy day, that is the ONLY way I'll make it in to work ;P

my artwork

bag lady ?

carrying all this stuff probably does make me resemble a bag lady

You could always use a discarded shopping cart. Much better carrying capacity :)
"I think the surest sign that there is intelligent life out there in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." (Calvin and Hobbes/Bill Waterson)

Messenger Bag

I have recently moved to a "cross shoulder messenger bag." I used to buy backpacks, but the big open mail pocket just made everything fall to the bottom which I hate! I went to ebags last week and purchased a Milli Sherpani. I like it, but it might be a little too small. I might need to go up a size. The cross shoulder (is that what it is called?) seems to work best for me as you are then handsfree. For the men out there... my brother uses a normal backoack to carry all of his stuff - laptop, notebooks, pda, etc. He is an IT Technician, so he always has a million gadgets to lug around. He is never without his backpack... I will agree with Sarah (I think it was her post) that there is nothing cuter that a man and a messenger bag! :)
nay nay

messenger style

Ha ha! I don't know if it was my post or not, but it's probably true.

I've tried messenger style, but for me it doesn't work, as I have, um, shall we say "equipment" that gets in the way when I try to carry the bag crossways. :[

I actually own a couple of Timbuk2 bags that are really nice bags but I end up not using because of this.


I cannot tell a lie

(Well, actually I can, but here I shall tell the truth.) I am a purse-a-holic. Recently, however, I believe I have found what may be the closest thing to the perfect purse that I have ever found. It's the Ellington Stella Tote Pack. It's got loads of pockets, is lightweight, and the best part is that the straps can carry like a shoulder bag or quicky and easily convert to carry like a backpack. It's so fantastic that I bought a second one in a different color.

There are several versions of this bag. Ebags has a smaller leather version, but I don't think it has as many pockets. Travelsmith has a version that *may* be just like the one on Ebags that I linked to above. I actually ordered the Norm Thompson one, which is called the Sussex, but quicky returned it. It didn't have nearly the pockets, it was smaller, and the leather quality was poor.

It's my opinion that a company like Levenger could take this basic bag design and totally ace it by adding a few more pen holders, some 3x5 pockets, and upgrading the materials a bit (as long as it didn't make the bag much heavier).

American Tourister Bag

Two birthdays ago I asked for, and received, an American Tourister Bag. It's black, looks like leather although the $39.95 price tag tells the real story. It has handles and a shoulder strap (hands free!). It has zippers / pockets all over the place!

One compartment holds a laptop computer, although I stopped taking my computer home with me about three months ago. I use that pocket for my Classic size journal (complete with fountain pen) now. I can also fit a good amount of lunch food in the rest of that compartment. The other main compartment is where I transport my leather (yes, real leather) padfolio, magazines, and assorted other reading material.

There is also a utility type of zippered pocket that has a variety of smaller sub-pockets, one of which is the perfect size to carry my Moleskine Memo Pocket (I used to keep my PDA in there). On the front of this utility pocket are two small zip pockets, each approximately 5" wide. In one of them I carry spare change for parking meters and coffee. The other is my medicine chest, i.e. ibuprofen, bandaids (which came in handy the day I tried to make Sarah's Pocketster).

On one end of the bag is the obligatory cell phone pocket with velcro closure. Before the days of bifocals, I used to carry my reading glasses in there. Now it sits empty.

It's a great bag....when I actually carry it. Since vowing to leave my work at the office, I rarely have a need to lug it back and forth anymore. I usually just carry my calendar/Moleskine Cahiers in my inside coat pocket, and my leather padfolio in one hand (the contents of the padfolio would require its own post). Lunch is carried in discarded plastic grocery bag in the other hand.


American Tourister Bag

Two birthdays ago I asked for, and received, an American Tourister Bag. It's black, probability like leather for all that the $39.95 gross interest tag tells the corroborated story. It has closeles and a arc-boutant plastic tape (coasts free!). It has zippers / diminutives all zealot the place!

One compartment holds a laptop compiler, whereas I pharyngeal taking my analog abacist life after death stag party me near enough to three months ago. I use that billfold for my Classic ultrasound Muse of history (complete spherule bob up pen) now. I can also fit a cogent amount of board food in the surrender of that compartment. The other main compartment is where I transport my leather (yes, awfully leather) padfolio, magazines, and bracketed other tone material.

There is also a copartnership typal of zippered beset that has a disconformity of unworthyer sub-crates, one of which is the perfect spread to entrust my Moleskine Memo fob (I used to attend to orders my PDA in there). On the brazen of this advantageousness fog are two worthless zip clap ds ons, each chiefly 5" smoker nothing inside. In one of self I drag spare differentiate for parking meters and coffee. The other is my sauce chest, i.e. ibuprofen, bandaids (which came in professional the day I tried to procreate Sarah's chamberster).

On one end of the bag is the importunate cell phone freight the dansant velcro blockage. Before the days of divided spectacles, I used to affiliate my trip harlequin cheaters in there. Now it sits empty.

It's a bighearted bag....when I actually capture it. Since vowing to accord my work at the embassy, I rarely have a arrearage to lug it against the grain and forwards anymore. I as per usual deserved embrace my calendar/Moleskine Cahiers in my inside coat air baby, and my leather padfolio in one acta (the contents of the padfolio would lay down its own post). Lunch is carried in discarded plastic supermarket bag in the other circulate.


I just have to say, what an amazing use of the thesaurus. :)

That is incredible. I thought I had a sufficient vocabulary, but this post really found the holes. :)


Just be careful!

If you click on the contact link, you will be taken to a msn group page--it's subtle spam. Don't know where the text comes from... maybe, like you said, some weird use of a thesaurus, or maybe a babelfish translation or something... In any case, it's nothing more than another attempt at spam!


Appropriate word to the wise

I "mouse-over" all unknown contacts for messages. If the target address isn't a user record here at D*I*Y Planner then I don't click.


It's so out there in some other universe, but at the same time there are the references to Moleskines and other GTD-related terminology. I think it's a weird Babelfish translation. Wonder what the original text was. And what the original language was.

I thought so at first...

but after reading it more carefully, I suspect that it's rather a conglamoration of text from multiple places--maybe multiple posts from this site. I fear to say it was automated, because if it was, it's uncanny! I'm curious how it was done...


Outstanding joke!

It's a direct "translation" of the immediately preceeding post :) If you read it, and the one right before it together, it's a funky transliteration! I thought it was a fabulous joke!


Head spinning...

When I first read this post, I immediately suspected that I had, instead of taking my normal muscle relaxer pill, mistakenly grabbed my wife's sleeping pill bottle (which act like hallucinogenics for me).

How deflating to find out that was not the case... :-)

Bag Ho

My friends coined the term "Bag Ho" long ago for my obsession with bags and backpacks. I have no less then a dozen laptop backpacks and bags in my closet at home. Every time i changed my job, my laptop, or my socks I needed a new bag. Then my work provided laptop went away when my job changed from roving around and fixing things to sitting at a desk and fixing things. I decided to leave my personal laptop at home and find a good bag (or "Murse", derived from Man-Purse, as my friends call it).

I am currently using an $18 Embark® Vertical Briefcase from Target. It's light weight, cheaply made, not very big, and I'm sure it's going to fall to pieces any second. But it still hangs on, carrying an impressive amount of stuff given it's limited size. The first thing I did after buying it is replace the strap with a strap from a base model Targus laptop case. This I believe is the key to the unexpected longevity of this bag as the original strap was thin and flimsy. I have carried it for several months and none of the seams or the plastic tabs that the strap hooks to have any sign of wear. The case has 4 compartments, a small front zipper area, a larger organizer area, the main compartment, and in the back a partitioned file area.

With in the first small area I carry: Case for glasses, a Wireless mouse, and Zipper bag w/ misc Cables and Adapters.

The organizer pocket holds: a Screwdriver, MiniMag flashlight, Pens, Sharpie, Highlighter, Badge, Headset, and 2 Moleskine Cahiers.

The big pocket has Moleskine full-sized, Megatokyo #4, Python Pocket Reference, a slim 12 CD Case, and of course my Classic DIY Planner. There is usually also room to put my car stereo faceplate. Everything is sideways in the case, allowing for two "layers" with the books on the bottom and my planner on top.

The Back pocket has a divider and holds 2 empty manila folders for handouts from meetings and other letter sized papers I need to carry.

I plan on upgrading to a full messenger bag when this breaks or wears out. It just hasn't yet.

cruss hcity net

No, I'm the bag ho

I thought I was the original Bag Ho. Seriously, me and my pal, iScribe are bag fiends. I must have 10 bags at home, each with their own purpose. Currently, I have:

  • Tom Bihn Buzz: Slingback bag that used to hold my 12" powerbook. Since it's SLIGHTLY too small for my Macbook, I've been using this bag to carry all my journaling gear to work and home. They're revising this bag to hold the 13" so I'll be getting that soon too. I'll prolly gut this bag out and turn it into the journaling bag I've been dreaming about since I fail to find anything I want.
  • "Big Blue" Targus Sport Backpack: This is my bag I use to carry my Macbook and clothes on trips. It's huge. Really. Too big. But it fits under my seat in a plane and holds enough clothes for a week. As well as books, planners, pens, and i think we've crammed a small cat in there (just teasing).
  • Ballistic Nylon Travel Bag: I bought this perfect travel bag to use on trips. I pack lightly and usually carry only a few clothes, a book or journal or two, and my system with me. It's small and fits under my seat and is great to use. However, when I got my Macbook, I stopped using this bag because it didn't have computer padding. That's been rectified now with the next item. So I'll prolly use this more than Big Blue.
  • Tom Bihn Macbook Sleeve: I got this so I could have a sleeve that fits my system and can go into my travel bag.
  • Generations Scrapbook Backpack: When I go to my friends homes to craft and be artgirl, this is the bag I take with me. Literally fits EVERYTHING and the kitchen sink, it's perfect for weekend crafting visits.
  • Eagle Creek Duffle: Rarely used anymore, this bag used to be the thing I took on trips. However, it's prolly going to store all the clothes I want to keep at the in-laws when I visit. It's too much trouble to take clothes down there for a weekend, so I'm making a small home at their place with clothes to keep. Will make traveling down more fun and less cumbersome.
  • Hiker's Backpack: For use in camping. However, I take more than it can hold these days (we go camping with a 2-room tent and my car), so I don't use it. Do you want a good frame backpack, contact me and make me an offer. :)
  • Military Medical Bag: My newest acquisition, this bag's got pockets. Originally purchased because i wanted a better and smaller bag for journaling on the go, this bag was a bit of a disappointment. It's huge and heavy and the only good thing is that it's got tons of pockets. However, it's TOO big for what I wanted it to do, so I'm using it for my RPG book bag.
  • Various Pouches and bags: i have various small pouches and over the shoulder bags that I use when I need to carry my tarot decks around. Guess these would be considered bags.
  • Stuffed animal purses: I have two. One's an armadillo. The other is a plush cat named patches. These carry my wallet, my inhaler and lip gloss.

Whew, so yeah...there's a tour through my current bags. I will say that collecting bags is addicting. And so is the Tom Bihn bags as they make great bags and I find myself constantly wanting more. Of course, i also agree with you that... every time i get a new system, i also gotta get a new bag... or three... :)

When I get home from work, I'll post links into this on what they look like and where I got them. Right now, i had just enough time to get this post out.


Ten bags?

Only ten bags???? I scoff at ten bags! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!


i have heaps of bags

i have heaps of bags. as well as my handbags (which i dont have too many of, maybe 5, many of which have been gifts), i have a nike messenger bag(that has a laptop pouch which doesnt fit my laptop so its not practical to be my laptop bag), a laptop bag(which i dont like), a school back pack(quite large but good for school) a couple of old school bags which are 'somewhere' in the garage, a cabin size bag and matching suitcase that i got for my birthday, another messenger bag that I took to europe as cabin luggage and a smaller messenger bag that I took to europe as a camera bag. I also have a whole heap of enviromental bags that I have got from shops for free such as 2 or three Supre bags, and 2 or three Lorna Jane bags. And I am sure that I have some more!!!!!!

I do want a new laptop case though, something that I could use as a school bag as well.......
And I would like a more 'grown up' handbag...............

ten categories

er, i may have more bags than that tho... cos i've got them broken down into categories. so yeah, 10 categories with at least one or two bags in each.

i really should take a pict of ALL my bags together in one place. makes index card to do this.


Please do

Hi Oh please do take a picture of all of them. I too am a bag freak; it must go along with planner and 3x5s (organizational tools). I am nuts about it all and want to see what you have. I am taking serious notes. Thanks.

more bag ho

I would have to say I am closer to the 20 or 30 mark for how many bags I have... Many women are shoe crazy... well, I am more than purse crazy!!!!!!!! It is completely out of control.

Bags are me too

Hi Nay- I have to stick with "sensible shoes" due to poor arches so instead of shoes I have a real weakness for wonderful purses and bags. I am drawn to "large bag displays" wherever I see them just in case there are any I can't live without.


I may have to get one of those vertical briefcases. My big problem with messenger bags is always that they're too wide...


got this bag a few months back, and it's pretty good. it's the first time that i've have a vertical laptop bag as opposed to a horizontal one. it's made out of a rugged material, so should last. doesn't have tons of storage if you wanted to carry lots of toys, but it has plenty of room for the laptop (15.4 inch screen) files, planner, moleskine, etc.

[edited 1/23/07 by innowen: converted amazon.com link to HTML]

i have heaps of bags. as

i have heaps of bags. as dexterously as my handbags (which i dont have too many of, maybe 5, many of which have been gifts), i have a Ate messenger bag(that has a laptop pout which doesnt fit my laptop so its not practical to be my laptop bag), a laptop bag(which i dont like), a school apexward pack(quite rotu but good for school) a couple of old school bags which are 'Daedalianwhere' in the garage, a cot size bag and matching suitcase that i got for my birthday, another messenger bag that I took to europe as cot luggage and a lowered messenger bag that I took to europe as a camera bag. I beyond have a wide berth heap of enviromental bags that I have got from shops for free such as 2 or three Supre bags, and 2 or three Lorna Jane bags. And I am sure that I have handy several!!!!!!

Wow, I feel so

Wow, I feel so ...utilitarian... next to you guys. I have four LLBean totes (yes, the basic open at the top totes) in graduated sizes (and different colors.) Which one I grab depends on whether the day will include a gym visit or some shopping or just to/from work.

Well, pretty much I don't haul a lot of stuff around. I have a wallet-plus-a-few-storage-pockets thingy; my 'hipster'; whatever old notebook I'm using up as writing/journal paper; a few pens; a small zippered pouch with cosmetics/toiletries/emergency stuff; reading book of the day; and occasional transitory stuff: letters to mail, home papers to xerox on the sly (shhh! don't tell), things to drop off during my travels.

I couldn't resist.

Last night I ordered another bag. I couldn't help it. It's an Eddie Bauer backpack with a laptop compartment. The cool thing is that the front pocket zips off to use as a daypack when I don't want to haul around a big backpack. It's like being able to change bags without having to shift around the contents. I love that.

Hopefully the bag will work out. Should be here next week...

Grrr. Argh.

I am very annoyed. The bag came in and was not the zip-off daypack bag at all -- it was just a big honking laptop backpack, too big to carry around with me all the time.

I took it back to the local Target, and while there I found a very nice "briefcase tote" -- sleek design, with a laptop compartment. I bought it and am trying it out. I prefer backpacks, usually, but I always carry the things on one shoulder anyway. Might as well try the tote style. It tucks nicely under my arm, so I'm liking it so far...

-- Steff

I share your bag addiction...

Gentlemen, it's okay to carry a "man purse" (that's how my brother's girlfriend refers to his). But yes, there is a little less stigma attached to a backpack, if you're squeamish!

Someone else mentioned the LLBean tote bags. I prefer the Lands' End ones, which now have INTERIOR POCKETS. (Yay!) I loved my gigantic LLB one, but everything went right to the bottom (it didn't even have an exterior pocket).

I loved briefcase style bags... until I had a baby and ran out of hands. So I switched to backpack-style bags. When I was ready to shed the diaper bag for a purse, I found this bag at Norm Thompson (LINK).

I like it because the straps zip together so you can carry it messenger-style, or you can separate the straps and carry it as a backpack. It's got a bunch of pockets on the inside, and the ones on the outside are the right size for your phone, glasses, etc., or even a water bottle. It easily accomodates my planner and a paperback. I've had mine for two years now, and I still love it. (It looks a little "weathered" now, but I am notoriously hard on bags.) They also offer it in a lighter-weight nylon, too.

Laura :)

Some people hear voices in their heads.
Writers take dictation.

I'll have to check out the

I'll have to check out the Land's End totes...

But I avoid the 'everything is in one big mess at the bottom" problem by using sub-bags. As in, I have a zippered bag that holds cosmetics plus 'emergency supplies' like a band aid or two, some aspirin, a tampon, a roll of Tums, etc.

My gym stuff goes in another zippered bag.

I have a 9 X 12 plastic portfolio thing I use when transporting paperwork to be xeroxed or mailed or dropped at the bank.

I have an 'organizer' wallet that holds money and credit cards and such, which I can grab and use by itself as a purse when going out to lunch.

And so forth. So instead of fighting one big jumble, I can grab the sub-bag that applies and look only in it.

It also makes switching tote sizes easy -- you only have to handle a half dozen 'subs' instead of all the myriad individual items.

Good idea

SusanBeth, your sub-bags sound like a good idea. I think my problem is that I always carry a larger tote bag than I really need. I have the ("family-sized") XL LLB tote for the beach, and the little zippered bag I used to carry my keys, cash, chapstick, etc., always swims right to the bottom.

Where do you buy your sub-bags? (I think Levenger had a nice-looking set at one point, but I'm saving my pennies for Circa products!)


Some people hear voices in their heads.
Writers take dictation.

Great Idea

Good one Susan Beth. You took my baby (or sub) bag idea one step further. How easy can it get! Thanks a million

Norm Thompson Nantucket bag

Hey Laura, I'm thinking about trying out the bag that you talked about. Would you be willing to describe it further, or even go so far as to post some pics of the inside pockets? Do you find that the pens on the lid flop around or get stuck on things? How comfortable are the shoulder straps when you have a fair amount of stuff in the bag - are they wide enough when carried as a backpack to still be comfortable?


Norm Thompson Bag

Hi, Sarah!

Happy to. When I posted the link, I saw that it was $20 off the original price, so, um, I have a new brown one now. :)

It's about 13.5" inches tall, and the circumference of the base is 26". It tapers slightly toward the opening.

There are three pockets on the outside in front. The center one closes with a magnetic clasp. (I keep my cell phone there.) The pockets on either side are great for your keys or sunglasses, and are wide enough to hold a water bottle in a pinch. On the back of the purse (the part that lays against your back) is a zippered pocket that's 8" wide by 10" deep.

Inside, there are two elastic loops on the underside of the flap. They're large enough to hold a lipstick or a chunky pen, but I found that they stretched a bit after a while, so I use a pen with a clip there.

On the inside back is a zippered pocket, 6.5" wide by 5" deep, good for all your little miscellaneous items. Below that are two 8" deep pockets. They have a sort of gathered (elasticized) edge, so they can hold bulkier items like a tube of handcream, an eyeglasses case, etc. On the left side (looking in from the front of the purse) is a smaller gathered pocket that I actually didn't discover until I'd been using the bag for a while. I use it to store gift cards or membership cards that I don't need to carry in my wallet. On the right side is a shackle for your keys.

My old red one had a gray lining. When I opened up the brown one, I was a little surprised to see the sky-blue lining. But I have to say that the bright lining makes things *much* easier to find inside.

I think it holds a lot, but of course that's a personal measurement! When we were potty-training our son, I could stuff in a rolled-up entire change of clothes (4T), a plastic wipes case, a bottled water (and/or sippy cup), and a plastic snack cup, in addition to the usual suspects (wallet, camera, tissues, hand lotion, etc.). These days it holds my planner and a paperback with room to spare. I think in their original ad they said it could hold a rolled-up newspaper, which sounds about right. (Maybe not the Sunday supplement, though!)

Wow, just tried to squeeze my QuickPad in, and that fit, too.

Pictures coming soon, just as soon as I finish downloading the 200+ pictures my 3-year-old took this weekend. :)


PS Okay, I *think* you can view the pictures here. (But this is the first time I've used flickr, so let me know if I did it wrong!)

PPS The usual disclaimers apply: I don't work for NT, and they didn't pay me to gush about their product! (But if they did, it might help defray my office supply habit...)


Some people hear voices in their heads.
Writers take dictation.

Thanks for the pics!

Wow, thank you sooooo much. You did a great job showing the features of this bag. (It makes me mad when catalogs or websites don't show useful photos of their products. I guess a lot of women must buy a purse based on how the outside looks, but I go for function 100%.)

How do you find the straps are, when carrying as backpack? When I get a bag really full of stuff and heavy, narrow straps can be painful. Do you usually carry it as a backpack or as a sling?

I'm tickled that you got another one! I think the brown is nice. The red looks one looks very pretty, too.

I shall have to give this some serious thought. I saw that -$20 also, and that makes me more tempted... Of course the microfiber one is a bit cheaper still... Oh dear... come here, little credit card, come to mama!


Glad to help...

Sorry, the pictures were kind of lousy quality. I was trying to hold the bag open with one hand and aim down into it while I was taking them!! (Okay, I'm just a lousy photographer under *any* circumstances...)

I totally agree; the picture in the catalog isn't nearly enough. (And they don't even show the full item in other colors, so you can see what they look like-- impossible to tell from those tiny swatches.) I always liked the way Franklin Covey put little transparent "outlines" by the picture of the item to show you the location/size of the interior pockets-- sooooo much more useful.

NT used to have the microfiber one in tan/khaki, and if they still had it, I probably would have gotten that instead. The leather is more expensive and heavier. And this one seems to be slightly more substantial than my old one, but that could be because it's just newer and stiffer. (Or they did say that they had improved it, so maybe they upgraded the leather quality.)

The straps aren't as comfy as the padded ones on a serious backpack. But I don't recall that they've ever really bothered me, even when the bag is fully stuffed. I thought the zipper might be uncomfortable, but unless the straps get twisted a certain way, I don't even notice it's there. (Of course, diapers and wipes aren't as heavy as, say, three spare laptop batteries, so I guess it depends on what you're carrying!)

You may have to play a little with the length of the straps, depending on how you wear it. If I carry it messenger-style (straps zipped together, so the strap goes diagonally across the purse), I make them as long as they go, so it's easier to get off and on. Backpack style, I shorten them up, so it doesn't hang all the way down my back. I generally keep the straps set for a backpack, and just sling it over one arm. That way if I need my hands free, I can just stick my other arm through. (Handy when I suddenly have to deal with a toddler "emergency.")

NT is pretty good about returns/customer service, if you want to take one for a "test drive." Years ago I received a different bag from them as a gift, and the pocket inside tore. I called them up, and they apologized profusely and shipped me a new one immediately, with a postage-paid envelope to return the first one. Good customer service made me much more inclined to order something from their catalog!!

Happy bag shopping! :)


Some people hear voices in their heads.
Writers take dictation.

Nantucket bag on clearance

Hey, I just saw that the Norm Thompson Nantucket bag seems to be on clearance now, in leather ($41.99) and nylon ($24.99). But it only seems to be available in red now. (The first one I bought was the red leather, and I loved the heck out of it.)



here where i live, we refer to bags that men carry as manbags.


aka "murse"


I am but a simple caveman.

manpurse Submitted by ajay

Submitted by ajay on Sat, 2007-02-10 04:18.
here where i live, we refer to bags that men carry as manbags.

That's quite a coincidence. Where I live, we refer to men that carry bags as "douchebags."

what I carry - trying to cut back

When I'm out and about - I'll carry my cell phone and wallet and sometimes ipod. For work, I used to bring a backpack with probably more stuff than I needed. Now, I just leave a good reading book at work, bring the previously mentioned items along with planner (classic size Franklin planner) and notebook. I was using a Mead Composition book, but for now experimenting with a Rollabinder notebook from Staples.

FYI: Staples Rollabind notebooks are OK for testing, but you may want to just order a sample from Levenger or some other high quality company.

What I use/carry

Well, since I cannot utilize a purse any longer, I use a backpack, slung over my wheelchair's 'handles'. Fortunately, I am able to swing around and reach all the pockets, quite nicely.

I usally tote about with me my 'RunningMate', public transportation schedule book, at least 1 of my textbooks and a notebook. Also, depending on what day of the week it is my work-out wear.

interesting question

2 wallets (1 with ID 1 with c-cards).
A black gear bag (man-purse/bag/whatever).
A black messenger bag with stuff for my business.
A black messenger bag that is big enough for my laptop.
Tool bags in my truck for handyman tasks.

The bag with the stuff for my business I use because I get tired of trans-bagging. The other messenger I take to work at my job when I need to use the laptop during my lunch break. The gear bag the rest of the time.

I too am obsessed with bags. I spent some time modifying the gear bag to hold more.

Gear bags

I have one of those bags. Your mods are cool.

sweet hacks

Very impressive DIY hacks there~!
my artwork

Well, I usually just bring

Well, I usually just bring my LLB backpack with me. It holds up really well.

But for when I get older (I'm 17 now, planning on being a Librarian) I'm probably going to have two bags: an attache case (for when I have to wear a suit, or dress nicely at work), and my trusty LLB backpack.

Even if my current one doesn't last 'till then (which it probably won't, since even LLB doesn't make things like they used to), I'll probably just buy another LLB backpack.

Oh, and for my medications, I use a military medic bag that my Grandfather gave me, or a el cheapo lunch cooler bag thing.

((I have a rare genetic disease called Cystinosis, which is why I need a separate bag for my medications if I go on trips that take more than about a day).

Oh, and things I never leave the house with:

My Hipster PDA
My Wallet (unless I'm at school, because I don't have a lock for my Gym locker)
My keys

Speaking of backpacks, I don't know if you guys have seen this yet, but it makes me want to get 'accidentally misplace' my current LLB backpack. Since I can't figure out how to post a link, go to www.llbean.com, click on luggage and travel, book pack guide, and then click on the Build Your Own button.

Good for you

Good for you Xairip on becoming organized at your young age. Believe me, it pays great dividends now and later when you get older like me. I wish I had come up with this stuff when I was your age. Congratulations on a job well done.

Too many bags

I'm so glad I'm not alone in my addiction. My long-suffering husband has learned over the 40 years we've been together not to comment on my cravings, but he comes close with this one. I too keep trying to find the ideal bag, but they all fall short.
I want a bag with pockets for my Palm (haven't converted to hPDA yet), cell phone, keys, small digital camera, water bottle, knitting, wallet, passport, and the little junk that gets trapped at the bottom of a big bag.
When we were living in Turkey last year I bought a fake Prado leather backpack-style bag ($25) that didn't have enough pockets (easy to fix in Turkey, where they sell pretty little zipper bags for a dollar or two). I liked the way it kept my hands free, and I felt it was secure enough because it has a pocket against my back that holds the valuable stuff, but people would stop me on the street and tell me to look out for pickpockets - the Turks take good care of their visitors.
For major travel I've used a large messenger back with almost too many pockets - it has a convenient pocket on the back for wallet, passport and tickets. But it's clunky and gets overstuffed too easily.
I bought a very pretty little red leather bag in Florence last year to use "for good". It's small enough to take along in a suitcase when we're travelling. I keep forgetting to switch to it, though.
I still don't have a good way of packing along a water bottle. I have a separate water bottle holster that I may take on this summer's travels, but that doesn't feel like the ultimate solution.
I'd like to try the many-pocket vest thing. It sounds really practical. Any suggestions?

Photographer's vests

I bought mine in black from www.lapolicegear.com for forty dollars. I absolutely adore it. I can stick a sock-in-progress in one pocket (knitting), a paperback and notepad in another, and still have lots of room for pens and cough drops and my iPod and my camera and my two cell phones (one personal, one for work). There's even an inside back pocket for documents like passports.

I got tired of it covering up my clothes, though, and it's not very professional looking. So I've (temporarily) retired it. I'll definitely use it if I travel, though. It's wonderful for that.

You mean this one ?


I agree about the fashion nightmare, but when I am bumming about or on vacation, I use my Banana Republic. I may have to buy me one of them black vests for more formal occasions :)
"I think the surest sign that there is intelligent life out there in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." (Calvin and Hobbes/Bill Waterson)

LA Police Gear??

LA Police Gear??

Because nothing says formal like kevlar... :)

Black kevlar and tails !!

from the Jack Bauer Fashion Collection
"I think the surest sign that there is intelligent life out there in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." (Calvin and Hobbes/Bill Waterson)

JB carries...

Jack carries a D*I*Y*O*E planner in his vest.

Do It Yourself... Or Else


LLB Custom Super Deluxe Backpack

I already have an LLB Backpack, but their new Custom Super Deluxe Backpack is pushing my willpower not to buy a new one...

I'm glad to see I'm not alone...

...in my love of bags. Currently I'm carrying the Butler bag (www.butlerbag.com). The compartmentalization can't be beat!

butler bag

that bag is absolutely the coolest bag I have ever seen! A little spendy, but probably worth it. I like the wallet too!! Thanks for the link - I am going to share it with my mom whose purse and billfold drive me crazy because there is junk falling out of everything!!!
nay nay :P

The Butler Bag IS amazing.

The Butler Bag IS amazing. Despite my best efforts, my handbag ALWAYS ended up disorganized and impossible to manage and very heavy. As a working mum (I mean, all mums work but mean I work out of the home as well), being organized is even more essential and the Butler Bag allows me to have all my essentials at easy access. I can grab my bag in the morning, confident that I haven't left anything and can access my keys easily. I am always in a rush in the morning to get my daughter off to childcare and then me to work.

Another alternative for the guys...

I used to use messenger type soft attache bags for a while, the last one was one I picked up at an Eddie Bauer outlet store that was black cordura with brown leather trim. But, it became too much of an oversized "manbag" with too much stuff I really didn't need to take to work.

I started using a small sling bag that I got as a bonus gift for a PBS donation. (I had always worn backpacks by only one strap anyway.) That was too small to carry a pad holder, so I found a larger one on sale in the school supplies section of Long Drugs. Everything goes in it. PDA, planner, keys, pens, stamps, notebook, lunch, cell phone, iPod, sunglasses, etc.

When I have to carry a laptop, I'll put it in a sleeve and carry it in a backpack.
Remember, no matter where you go, there you are.
B. Banzai

man purse

I just came across this man purse on ebags, it's on a really good sale and looks like it would be pretty nice!

Hey all, I'm still a college

Hey all, I'm still a college student so my answers are a little different at the moment.

* Everyday: carried in pants/ coat pockets; Phone, Keys on a caribeaner attached to a belt loop or in coat pocket, black leather wallet that I've had for the past four or more years that I picked up at the local craft fair and have reacently added a hipster.

* Errands: Food shopping, library trips anything that requires more space than the pockets in my jeans. I carry a lilac Trans: by Jansport. Normal backpack, nothing too fancy.

* Formal/ smaller errands: I have a black purse that I rarely use. It's a vaguely triangular nylon bag that has one strap that goes across the body. The main zippered compartment is big enough to hold a copy of Fellowship of the Rings, The Two Towers, and Return of the King(standerd paper back size), but that was stretching it. It can also hold one balled up hoodie sweatshirt. The much smaller front pocket only has a Velcro'd flap, so I only use it for my phone, that just about fills it.

* School: was a three pocket purple wheelie bag with Eeyore on it. Came with a soft matching lunchbox (lost) mesh waterbottle holder (ripped, mended w/ duct tape). Small zipped pocket above where the lunchbox was stored was used for pens, calculator, spare change, etc. front pocket was used later for a second lunch bag and/ or sweater storage. Third largest compartment carried books, binders, papers.

School bag has been retired due to the plastic undercarriage breaking beyond what can be fixed by duct tape.

I'm now trying to find a backpack that can handle schoolbooks and a 15.4" screen Macbook Pro. Any suggestions?

How about Baggallini?

They're microfiber or ripstop nylon or crinkle nylon in lots of colors and lots of compartments inside and out. Mostly casual, but nice for travel. I wish they were less expensive. The Container Store has a small selection, but their website has much more.



[Edit: Link fixed - sard 25/3/07]

I have recently learned that

I have recently learned that any addiction keeps you from evolving into whatever you desire. It’s about the amount of peptides brain is releasing whenever your addiction comes into the picture and they are not redirect towards a new idea or plan. Think of that!

wow, that's deep

i can see it as being true, though. i have bags upon bags, notebooks upon notebooks, yet i don't have a good system...i need some peptide bismol

you cure yours yet? learn about this in a book?

the flip-side

is that our culture is so hypersonic--the MTV generation--that is is probably a _good_ thing if people take some time, thinking about one thing for a while. I'm sure a few moments of linear thought won't hurt anybody--and would be quite good for them. ;-)


Square Rigger / Classic Attache

Love the Land's End Classic Attache (used to be called Square Rigger). Had mine for 12 years, zipper teeth slipped, they replaced without charge AND no shipping cost AND reimbursed my cost to send the old one in!

Very cool. I use the Classic Attache every day.

(I'm not affiliated with Land's End.)

insomnia cure

Having just perused this

Having just perused this thread thought I would warm it up by adding that the Land's End Attache is the best bag I've ever had. And I have had many! For years as an executive I travelled extensively, boarding at least three international flights per week and the Land's End attache went everywhere with me. Best thing about it is that no matter how full, you can always fit something else into it (like duty free goods)and when it's nearly empty it's slim and compact. When completely empty you can roll it up.
I had a leather one for 20 years and returned to Land's End in exchange for a brand new fabric bag and they refunded the price difference!!
I believe "Just Joan" carried one in "Romancing the Stone"
There are pretenders but the Land's End Attache is undoubtedly the very best.


A perennial problem. When I lay out my clothes, I get whichever bag I need. A messenger bag if business casual, a backpack if cargos or jeans, a mere bike bag if cycling. They all must be capable of holding a pocket mole calendar and lined notebook, a small set of lds scriptures, my ipod, phone, keys and 9mm handgun. The extra space in the msgr bag or pack is for my laptop when required. Otherwise I try to pack light.

tombihn bags

High quality, imo, and great designs. I have the Buzz and the large Café Bag, both in plum. :D

Tom Bihn Bags

I also have too many beautiful bags from Levengers - including a gorgeous plum one from the very dangerous Levenger Outlet on ebay.

And totes! Love totes from all my favorite independent bookstores around my area, as well as others. Those I will admit I have too many of. But, too bad - I like 'em all and I'm keepin' 'em all. :D

I personally prefer

I personally prefer backpacks. Their so comfortable and so practical and they come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. They are very good from the space point of view.
Discount drugs

Rather inadequate...

Now I feel a bit inadequate as a bag-carrier after reading such a long list.

I use a small shoulder-bag/purse in which I regularly carry - a fobster attached to my keys, a small moleskine 18-month planner, a 'journalling device' (a small pile of 3x5 cards held together with a rubber band), a propelling pencil and spare leds, 2 pens, a coin purse, a slim wallet, and a folded plastic bag from a recent shopping trip in case I need to carry anything else.

Quite dull, really

As close to perfect as I've found

For all the guys watching this thread, this place (http://www.maxpedition.com/) has some of the most innovative products when it comes to "man bags". I'm currently carrying this one (http://www.maxpedition.com/store/pc/viewPrd.asp?idcategory=2...)
and it's just about perfect. If anyone is interested, I can post some pics.


Pics are always welcome. We love seeing people's setups!

[ blog | photos ]


I'd like to see some pics of how you're using it if you have some time. I have a Maxpedition Jumbo Versipack and while the bag is great, it's still a a bit small for what I was looking for. Being a size up from their Fatboy Versipack (which I'd never seen in person) I thought it would be larger. They now have a Colossus Versipack but I found a great comparison of that and the Jumbo online (including several pics) and it also doesn't seem much larger.

But you can't beat the quality of Maxpedition. And the Jumbo is a great gear bag.

Are you going

Are you going into battle with that dude???


I am but a simple caveman.

i may have finally found the ideal bag for me

Oakley Sandbag. Rugged, and the way that they have exterior pockets is great for tossing in a moleskine, iPod, calculator, etc. It has a laptop compartment. The shoulder sling is different and will take some getting use to, but it's a great bag.

They are not the best pictures of it in action, but here it is on the oakley site: http://oakley.com/pd/2306

I have a Maxpedition Versipack Jumbo, but it's not large enough for day bag (laptop, letter Circa, etc.) but the sandbag is perfect and similar to the stuff that Maxpedition makes. It's definitely on the rugged side (won't win any beauty awards) but that's not important to me.

For those that like pics

For those looking for pics of people's setups, reviews, and other info on maxpedition and similar types of bags, you might want to take a look at edcforums.com. They're really big fans of maxpedition there.

As for me, I'm currently carrying a countycomm/maratac EOD utility bag with a couple of their organizer pouches attached the the side. I like the fact that with the 'PALS' webbing on the side you can just add/remove extra pouches as you decide you want/need them.

Very nice

About them Organizer Pouches -- what are the dimensions ? The web page does not say. Would a Hipster fit in it ?
"I think the surest sign that there is intelligent life out there in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." (Calvin and Hobbes/Bill Waterson)

Organizer pouches

A hipster will fit in them perfectly, as will a pocket moleskine. I currently have my FC task list wallet tucked in the inside pocket of one of mine, so add about 1/2" on all sides to that to get a vague idea of the size. Unfortunately I don't have a ruler on me to measure so I can't give you exact dimensions, although I just checked and a similar pouch from cheaperthandirt.com says the dimensions are 7x5x1.5 that sounds about right.

If you're interested in putting a hpda inside, on the pictures, it would fit in the left hand inside pocket, but the right hand pocket is split into two. However, on my organizer, the right hand pocket doesn't have any stitches down the middle, so it will fit in the right hand pocket too. If you get one with the partition in the middle, and want to use the right hand pocket, the stitches are easily removed.

They're really nice pouches, but they're just a little too big for my pockets. If you wear cargo pants, they will probably be fine, and of course, for attaching to a bag, or throwing inside, they are perfect.

Often don't carry my Circa Planner

I often don't carry my Circa planner around with me for one reason: I tell people "I will have to check my calendar." That keeps me from making stupid commitments that sound good in the heat of the moment but on reflection aren't what I want to do at all." I also am a fiend for bags and just got my favorite one of all time in Buenos Aires. My Junior Circa almost matches it color-wise. This is really a sickness!!!!!!!!!!!

"To fly, we must have resistance."

Delaying the avoidable

I don't carry my planner so I don't lose it. And so I don't have to carry one more thing to make my bag heavier than it already is. But it does have the added of having to delay commitments. It's a good thing, as someone says.

For me bags are not a sickness. Pens are though.

I am a recent convert to the

I am a recent convert to the sub-bag philosophy. I have 2 young kids and I still need a diaper bag. But I really prefer to travel light, which doesn't really match with the diaper bag necessity. I was always torn.

In the past couple months I bought a tote and small purse from California Leash Company. I also bought two smaller bags to fit inside.

- The tote is my diaper bag. Always stays loaded with kid stuff.
- The small purse only has MY things for times when I go out alone. Things like my i-pod shuffle, lipstick, business cards. My Circa Jr fits in here nicely, although it doesn't match. :(
- One small zippered pouch has tiny kid toys & craft things (crayons, etc.) that would otherwise get lost in the tote.
- The KEY is the other small zippered pouch has my essentials: wallet, cell phone, lip gloss, sunglasses, pen. This pouch gets moved from tote to purse, depending on which I am taking.

I love it that the tote stays packed and that I don't have to lug it around when I just want to run to the store.

I have a very un-inspired work bag, but I work from home & go to meetings fairly rarely. One of these days I'll upgrade that thing.

One other thing I do is keep a travel bag packed with goodies for long car trips. It is just a canvas bucket bag, but it has stuff that the kids ONLY use on trips, so it is novel. Plus those toys are smaller.

I really liked reading the suggestions everyone had. I bookmarked some of the sites too. :)


bag rotation

I agree with the sub-bag philosophy. I've six bags that receive regular use.

For hauling my daily course materials, I use a custom L.L. Bean Super Deluxe Bookpack: http://tinyurl.com/2g73oa
The fabric and mesh pockets are black and the handle and pulls are reflective.
When the load is especially heavy, I turn to a black rolling super deluxe bookpack: http://tinyurl.com/28ofdx

On days my ThinkPad tablet (x60t) is required, I use a Targus 15.4" Global Executive Case: http://tinyurl.com/23zyfn
Its air and dome protection systems keep my invaluable silicon and plastic paraphernalia safe.

When I must don a jacket, shirt and slacks to lecture (I'm a TA and a grad student), and need to take a change of clothes, I carry something capacious yet sophisticated: a Levenger Bomber Jacket brief (snagged off the Levenger Outlet, of course!): http://tinyurl.com/26z9fo

When the Bomber Jacket brief is too much, I carry a Cambridge Briefbag (also from the Levenger Outlet for a quarter of the price): http://tinyurl.com/yvdeob

When a bit more space is needed, a Stanley Compact Traveler (chocolate brown, also from Levenger Outlet for US $100.00) answers the call: http://tinyurl.com/28tuur

I recognize I've a range of bags, but each fills specific needs. I've nothing but praise for all of them and would recommend those of you in search of Levenger bags at a fraction of their normal price scour the Levenger outlet. Christina McKinnie is particularly helpful and responsive.


Wow! I just love coming

Wow! I just love coming across industry sponsored websites like this. Just so you all know, Levenger routinely holds meetings to see how they can get DIYer's to do their marketing for free. I know. I've been to one. They love the fact that you all are selling Levenger products to each other, it keeps them in the money.

But you should know that Levenger products are way overpriced. Most of the crap they sell is made in Chinese sweat shops. The prices on Levenger products are outrageous, too. You pay something like $150 for a Tyler Portfolio, but Levenger's cost is only like $25. Almost everything they sell is jacked up by something like 200%. The brushed brass multitask lamp that goes for $200? $30 or so each for Levenger.

And here's the kicker: There's nothing special about it. There are certainly comparable products out there at only a fraction of the price. In fact, you can do better for way less. The True Writer ought to be called the Screw Writer, because it has a tendency to break when you try to remove the cap. Did you know Pierre Cardin sells superior ink pens at only $9.99 for two of them? They have umpteen models in umpteen colors, and they're all designed in-house.

Anyway, enough rant. Shoot me an email if you want some advice about where to find better products at lower prices. I'll send you some info at no gain to myself.

Belfast, Ireland

[Note: this comment has been edited for reasons of potential libel, and to remove gratuitous personal attacks that are unsubstantiated. --DJ]

Just so you know....

Just so you all know, Levenger routinely holds meetings to see how they can get DIYer's to do their marketing for free. I know. I've been to one. They love the fact that you all are selling Levenger products to each other, it keeps them in the money.

We all know that. Rasmussin is very open about that, or have you not seen his blog. The one positive aspect of this is that they are creating products that are molded by the interests of the DIY community. So long as the relationship is honest, and two-directional, I doubt it would cause problems. Don't let them betray that trust, though.... but I don't foresee that.

I would be curious as to why you left Levenger. I've discovered that there's always two sides to every story in these situations, and the truth is typically somewhere else, in left field... NOT, mind you, that I want to read about it here on this site. This is not the place for that.


In Response to a Newbie

Dear Mister Newbie,
I have been in this community of DIY for a while now and I have not seen you around. I praise your courage. I will assume that you are a newbie to this community and have taken advantage of the audience for your diatribe. Oh see you have even made me stoop low to name calling. I have a strange name too and you'll probably use it against me. I'm angered and sadden that I have to take up precious space on this community to write about personal attacks instead of coming up with innovative ways to encourage product use and development. Levenger is a unique company that listens to us note takers. I for one do not mind giving free advertising space on my blog or comments here at DIY. Do you know that Mr. Rasmussen even ask for user response and design suggestions here in DIY? It is a collaborative process in design. I believe something is going the right way because no one out there has even heard of Commonplace method of note taking, Cornell system, and index method of GTD. And to see these products being made in quality and luxury is a pleasure to behold? To say that we only give free advertisement is an insult to this community. I shall stop writing now because I do not want to waste my energy and health on your personal problem. I do not want your negative energy to sap mine. I do not want to waste DJ's time with editing my expletives!

Duc Ly

couldn't resist a second comment

I've been trying to resist this guy all day long (since my first comment) but I am finding it hard to stay silent.

First of all, 200% markup is _not_ outside industry standards for many items: clothing and accessories (including purses, etc.) and furniture spring immediately to mind. Secondly, those who are buying Levenger typically know what is available, and have either decided that Levenger products are worth the markup because of a long-lasting quality--I think of the Stanley bag, which has the nifty quick release--I've looked at tons of leather bags, and they have buckles. yuck. If I were in the market for something like this... Also, I think of many other products that you just don't find--the 3x5 bleachers, the pda docking station, and many other desktop items that are both drool-worthy and worth the price from the point of view of both their uniqueness and function. And then there are other, absolutely unique items--The Finest Hour book, which has fascimiles of Churchill's speech, and a CD containing the BBC broadcast. This is a one-of-a-kind that, at $48 should seem a bargain, if you want this--and I'm seriously considering asking my wife for it for Christmas. :-)

As for quality--everything I've ordered was above average in quality. I cannot speak for it all being made in China--Ryan would have to answer to that (and I don't want him to feel compelled to answer), but let's be honest. Almost _everything_ is made in China today. Whether I like it or not, it's true. In fact, living in Poland, we have access to some of the most unique hand-crafted items. For instance, Christmas ornaments made from straw (angels, snow flakes, people, animals, etc.) Well, my wife almost bought some the other day, but discovered they were _not_ true Polish handicrafts, but _made in China_! It's everywhere now. Like it or lump it. yuck.

Oh, and if by "keeping them in the money" means that I can continue to buy from them, then I'm all for it! That is what free market is all about.




Don't... feed... the.. trolls.

Stating the obvious (I hope)

Very seldom have I ever had to edit a post on DIYPlanner. In fact, I think this is only the second time. For the most part, we're a well-behaved lot, which is rather exceptional given that we have about 100,000 comments in the system, 8000 members, and many times that latter figure in anonymous or non-registered posters. But I cannot and will not stand for personal attacks on this site, especially when they constitute actual libel. Hence the editing of Mr. N's post, although I have left much of the non-libelous portion of it intact.

Besides the obvious observation that this poster is a disgruntled former employee of Levenger with an axe to grind, I feel there are a few things I have to share, especially for those visitors new to our site.

Jon and Duc have already addressed the fact that Levenger collaborates publicly with many of our members during product development, learns important lessons from our experiences with their products, and then produces new items that better meet our needs. It's a win/win situation, and frankly, any other company is free to do the same thing, provided they actually take the time to listen to their (potential) customers. Most don't.

As for price mark-ups, I used to manage a family-owned garden centre, and every now and then someone used to balk at our prices, which were actually quite competitive. They couldn't conceive that, while a pack of seeds might cost barely a few pennies, a lot happened between sowing and selling.

The same is true for every manufacturer or producer of goods. Raw materials and the base cost per unit are a very small fraction of overall costs. There is shipping, sales, marketing, distribution, storage, office space, utilities, quality control, catalogues, websites, warehousing, wrapping, insurance, taxes, product development, print materials, research, legal support, administration, vehicles, call centres, trouble/support personnel, and a hundred other things that have to be figured into the price. When this poster claimed a 200% markup over manufacturing costs, heck, I was astonished... I thought it would be far more.

Even putting aside the various internal factors that influence costing for the consumer, it is a free and open marketplace, one that can only sustain a product if the derived value is in line with expectations and competition. For example, let's take the aforementioned True Writer. I have a few of them, and have never had an issue; in fact, I quite like them. Check out knowledgeable reviews elsewhere (including at the font of all fountain pen information, the Fountain Pen Network) and you will find that the pens' comparative value stacks up exceedingly well against other pens in the same price range.

That's in keeping with most of Levenger's other products. I've had the opportunity to sample or review quite a number of them, and while there is the occasional one that has a few issues, the overall quality has been consistently and predictably high, well in keeping with their catalogue value.

This is not written to praise Levenger, but to put Mr. N's statements into the correct context. Leaving aside his desire to publicly defame various employees of the company (within the text that I have edited out), I don't believe his fundamental misunderstanding of basic product economics should lead people astray. Levenger has listened well to its customers, and has learned to innovate with them, producing products that are well worth their retail costs. I wish I could say the same thing about some of the other companies I've dealt with.

The only other thing that I need to address is his statement that DIYPlanner is "an industry sponsored website." All of our writers and editors (and yours truly) are volunteers. We do this because we believe in what we are doing, and we share many common passions with our readership. We keep ads to an absolute minimum on this site, just enough to defray basic operational costs and little else. We give away the D*I*Y Planner kits for free, and have resisted every urge to monetise the site in any way. To do so would sully our mission, undercut our resolve, and weaken our words. This is a labour of love, not a marketing shill.

I say all this at the risk of feeding the trolls and taking this thread further off-topic, but I had to step forward regardless. There's nothing worse than a misunderstanding that spreads, virus-like, into common belief.

all my best,

Levenger and others

Interesting thread and Doug's comments in particular.
From this side of the pond buying your products is wonderful at $2.00 to the pound but what kills it in many cases is the postage. In several instances I have found fantastic products and fantstically obliging sellers on your side of the pond but postage running at twice the price of the goods has made it non-viable to do as much shopping as I might like particularly for some of the tastier products/gadgets..............I suppose that is life.

Back to a slighlty restricted European market, although we do have a few things that you guys hanker after from what i read here and in other places!!

Have a good weekend


not just postage

You are right about the postage but then there are also duties and taxes... sometimes. We ship to the UK almost daily and there is no rhyme or reason to when they charge duties or taxes. It seems completely random. I think the miminum is $30USD so on a $100 purchase that is 30%.


EastPak Pusher Shoulderbag at the moment

It's a discontinued model. I cannot find it on their website or ebags.com or eBay. It looks at little like their Jr model but is kind of a "Portrait" version. Holds everything I need with me at the moment. Tends to get a little overstuffed, though, but then what doesn't?

Swiss Army Backpack

Most of the time I use my Swiss Army backpack, I have alot of laptop bags, messenger bags and assorted sizes of backpack but for more formal ocassions I have a briefcase by The Bridge; horribly expensive but worth every penny.

Levenger Bomber messagenger bag

I've been eyeing this for some time - but have two serious compunctions about it. One is the lining that appears to be an ill colored plaid. And then there is the strap - unfortunately this is the kiss of death. Whoever designed the strap should rethink this as it looks cheap and will show wear long before the rest of the bag.

Of course there is that other little matter of explaining to my husband of spending $200, but he might not mind so much if I got him that mixer he's been mentioning for some time now...

New acquisition!

I just got myself an Eagle Creek Drifter (unisex bag that converts between a waist pack and a shoulder bag). I wrote up my first impressions here. Seems like a pretty nice bag so far...

[ blog | photos ]


I just discovered that the Drifter can hold my junior-size Circa planner as well as the rest of my crap...

[ blog | photos ]


I’ve carried all sorts of different bags and find that after a short period of time I am carrying ten pounds of junk I don’t need. I’ve tried to minimize everything I carry and now I carry it in my pockets

What I carry:

I try to do everything else electronically. I email myself or place documents in my Yahoo Briefcase.


I must admit I'm not very

I must admit I'm not very organized yet (that's why I'm here) but I saw this post and instantly thought of this product I saw when doing stocking stuffer shopping this year. You said you want lots of pockets? How about this:


Basically an insert for your purse that adds more pockets.

Pockets to Bags

I've been trying to resist the lure of this thread, but tonight I give in! For my everyday carry, I rely on pockets:

Right front: key ring with car key, house key, Zebra F-301 Compact, and Imation USB Clip Flash Drive. Small comb.

Left front: Levenger Moneybiz wallet with BCB Mini Work Tool inside. Hankie.

Back pocket: Circa PDA (of course).

For most day trips, I load up my letter-size leather foldover, and between my pockets and the notebook I can carry everything I need. IPod goes in the pocket if needed.

If I need to bring my laptop, I have an old Baggalini handle-less padded sleeve rigged with a detachable strap pilfered from a cheap convention gift bag. If I need to carry even more stuff, I dump everything into my indestructible Ecolution courier bag made from nature's very own super-fiber -- hemp!

How therapeutic it feels to empty my pockets in public! :-D


Nice setup. How do you attach the F-301 compact to your keyring? I find the nicest thing about it is that it converts to a full size pen, and if it's attached to the keyring through the hole in the pen, then you end up either not having a full sized pen or having to use it with your keys dangling from it.

I try to keep many things in my pockets where possible too, I'm still getting used to carrying a bag around, and like to have a couple of things handy when I don't have it with me. Here's what I have:

Keychain: Keys, Uncle Bills Silver Grippers (tweezers), "Fauxton" Keyring LED light, Paracord lanyard/keychain (they're fun to make), bottle opener.

Pockets: Columbia Sportswear trifold wallet, Cellphone

Wallet: Cards, money, folded index cards (both blank and with important numbers on), wallet pen, usb stick (it's a tiny one that fits better in a wallet than a keyring).

F-301 on Keyring

That's actually the best part! I use a small spring clip (not sure what they're called -- it looks like a large version of a lobster claw clasp for jewelry, with a swiveling ring on the other end). The swiveling ring goes on the keyring, and the claw clasp goes through the hole in the cap.

That way, when I need to use the full-length pen, I just pop open the clip and slide the pen cap out.

Love the tweezers and flashlight idea. May need to try them soon.

Another cool thing: the steel Mini Work Tool LOVES the money clip magnet, so if you put the tool at the front of the wallet, it clamps everything in and nothing ever falls out! Discovered that one totally by accident...

Paracord lanyard/keyring

Hey these are great! Certainly fits the diy ethos. This link took me on a whole other tangent investigating these items and chinese knots.

It must take quite a while and quite a bit of cord to make even a short keyring. If you make them yourself I'm well impressed.


My bag

I work mostly in the New York Metro area so I carry a fine ladies' briefcase with me. It holds my Filofax, journal, Vaio, and is not too structured which allows it to pass as a fancy tote bag as well.

When the circumstances call for a more sensible solution to heavier baggage, I will carry a small purse with a tiny leather refillable notebook I bought in Europe. That way I can still capture my thoughts and ideas, and transfer them later to my bigger books.

I used to carry duffel bags but not so much anymore, especially when I know I'll be running around the city a lot and my shoulders and back might wear down from the weight. The duffels are now for short distance errands or long trips in the car.


I recently purchased the Keen Alameda 15. It is a sweet little bag. Adjustable padded strap is comfortable. The black denim like fabric shell is nice and clean. It holds most everything I need. A couple of books, moleskin, and checkbook in the main area; pens, flash drives, notebook, calendar, and mail in the front. There is a zip pocket on the inside for my camera and zipper pocket in back for my knife. The two side pockets hold the car keys and house keys, the cell phone, and coffee card.


Wow, this stuff is just beautiful. Everything from pencil cases (and pencil sharpener cases) to binders, totes, brief-cases, and I think a lunch bag. (it's in Japanese, so I'm not sure)

It's all handmade from leather, and it's mostly pen cases.

Takuya binder with jotter and pen closure
Takuya main page

Thank goodness I don't speak japanese and thus can't figure out how to order any!


Maybe it's good thing you can't order...

At about 60,000 yen for the binder, that's about $576, not including shipping. (about 104 yen to $1 US)

No wonder they show a Mont Blanc (looks like a 149) pen as an example. :-)

"The only reason for time is so that everything doesn't happen at once." Albert Einstein and Buckaroo Banzai

yeah, I knew I didn't want to run the exchange rate

Some of the pen cases are truly beautiful. (can't quite justify 'protecting' my $80 pen with a $300 or so pen case)

But, it makes what I decide to purchase from Levengers or Renaissance Arts look
emminently reasonable!


That's true...

It would make Levenger and Renaissance Art products seem quite reasonable in comparison. :-)

Hey, I think good quality is worth paying for, but I will still try to get the best deal when I can. So, though I am often overcome by temptation, it's usually when there's a 20% coupon available!


"The only reason for time is so that everything doesn't happen at once." Albert Einstein and Buckaroo Banzai

Try to carry minimal

Since I bus and walk everywhere, I try to carry the minimal.

Keys, Cell Phone, SwissBit [usb/swiss army knife/pen/led light], Palm Treo600 [ebooks, games, camera, videos/mp3], iPod ['cuz Treo's battery life can't handle 3 hours of constant song listening], Wallet, Powder compact & lipstick [the minimal], and a Moleskine pocket sized grid book.

I usually carry these in a small purse that goes over-the-shoulder or messenger style for easy access. For additional stuff I need to carry for work or for travel I use a backpack which keep much of the weight balanced and be easy on my back. I used to like to carry those big tote bags with everything inside in my early twenties but was told my posture tends to slant to one side when I was not carrying anything.

Extra stuff like lunch, extra pens & highlighters, magazines, full make-up pouch, cell & Treo usb lines & chargers, and just extra space to hold newly purchase items on my shopping sprees all go into my backpack. I'm trying to minimize these by purchasing multi-function products/gadgets or buying 2 sets where I can leave 1 set at home and the other at work.

Sometimes, I would move the sim card from my cell to my Treo when I go out for short errands and carry all my necessities in my coat pockets. However, due to battery life, I try to carry cell along if room permits. Another reason I want my Treo on me is because I have a voice recording program on it that my cell does not have. When I can't write things down quickly enough on my Moleskine or too much info to write then I'll just record it on my Treo.

I tend to change bags constantly due to moods, occasions and when I need to portray a certain appearance. My EcGo Journey Gear travel bag does not look professional when I'm on an offsite business meeting. Leather bags are usually too heavy. I use small pouches to carry some items together when I move them to larger totes and backpacks just to avoid forgetting anything during transition.

I have a constant worry that I will run into a situation where I will need a certain item/tool and realize that I do not have it on me. That is why I tend to carry unnessary stuff alot. But I live in Canada with harsh environmental conditions where I need to leap over big snow piles to catch or get on the bus. This reason alone really urges me to carry less.

Changes in 2 years

Can't believe I've joined this site for over 2 years now. Looking back on what I've carried has changed due to new technology and products.

I don't carry make-up items anymore (thanks to tinted moisturizer and lip stain). Phone & iPod replaced by HTC phone which does both and a lot more. Still carrying notebook/agenda with pen but these still change on a monthly/weekly basis (depending on mood - and my new purchases due to my agenda/pen addiction). Simple charger cable I can plug in at work to charge phone.

I'm using my cell more for voice recording and photo taking to capture things I don't have time to write down. However, I'm still buying as much agendas/note books and pens as I did 2 years ago. It seems like I'll never be cured.

Limit purse [long strap to go cross body for better posture] size to limit items I can carry. Once you limit the bag/purse size, you'll have to limit the items/gadgets. This way you'll be able to differentiate things you think you need and the things you actually use on a daily basis.

Eagle Creek Rules!

One of my other addictions are Eagle Creek products. My absolute favorite is my old Eagle Creek Matrix backpack. It just got too heavy to carry on a daily basis, however, and I've reverted to my, you guessed it, Eagle Creek Matrix wheelie bag. It's not nearly as wonderful or as much of a fashion statement as a backpack, but I don't have back pains anymore, either. When I don't need to carry around a bunch of files and stuff, I have two Eagle Creek bags that I use (one is a Matrix shoulder bag). I only rarely use my backpack these days because I'm a bit worried that it will bother my back again.

Eagle Creek

I like Eagle Creek, too. However, I have yet to find something that really works for me - it seems to be a never ending quest. :-) I have lately been toying with the idea of modifying one of their backpacks (in the true DIY spirit). Moving a shoulder strap here, splitting a pocket there, etc. I fear that I may end up with a pile of useless fabric, but who knows...

As of next week, my kit will

As of next week, my kit will be different. I will switch to a 13" MacBook (lighter) and will carry it in the marvelous shoulder bag my marvelous sister-the-leather-worker made for me.

Same Problem here

I have a terrible time finding something that works. I've tried all manner of bags as well and also have a ton of them. I'm pretty small-framed and my back is not very strong, but I like to carry at least a few items to work on wherever I go. I usually have my planner, my writing journal, and a couple of circa letter-sized notebooks. I always walk downtown to the cigar bar at lunch, and I sit and I work on my novels, but the transportation of my stuff part continues to give me some trouble.

First I got a big purse, but it destroyed my shoulder. Then I got an Old Navy drawstring backpack, but I realized I hate drawstrings and it felt like it was weighing my entire body down. Now, I've got a sling-type backpack I got off ebay, and I like it pretty well. It still hurts my shoulders a little on the return trip to the office, but it's the best I've found so far. It's also kind of odd in its construction, and I'm not sure how long I'll be able to deal with the opening to the main chamber being on the front instead of at the top.

I don't live in a big city where I can walk everywhere, so I don't carry it a whole whole lot, but those several blocks every day certainly call for some solution to back strain and lunchtime creativity.

Canvas rules !

I have some canvas bags I have been meaning to review.
I got tired of nylon bags wearing out after a few years.
"I think the surest sign that there is intelligent life out there in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." (Calvin and Hobbes/Bill Waterson)

My current object of lust (bag-wise)

is the Nomadic Wise-Walker shoulder bag over at Jetpens.com


I have the Wise-Walker backpack, but I don't like using it on the metro - too afraid I'll cause someone harm on a crowded train.


They look nice

but cost a bit more than I would want to spend.
"I think the surest sign that there is intelligent life out there in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." (Calvin and Hobbes/Bill Waterson) ***

yeah, that's why I'm only lusting and not buying...

I can't quite justify buying myself the shoulder bag ...--sigh--



I posted back when this thread was new, and I've changed bags so many times since then..

In the last year or so I've learned (again) to sew. I've made several purses fishing for features that I can assemble into the 'perfect' bag.

The one I'm carrying now is pretty durn good. And I'm figuring out which features are really important to me in a purse, now that my kids are school-age..

Small Pockets for:
* keys
* cell phone
* ibuprofen
* pens & nail file
* chapstick

A place for
* zip pouch for tissues
* credit card/money holder (a zip pocket/organizer thingy I made)
* checkbook
* receipts

And sometimes:
* water bottle(s)
* beanbag kitties and other detritus the kids don't want to carry
* papers collected while out

I found a bunch of places that have sewing patterns for various things like passport carriers and wallets and the like. But I had better luck looking at local quilt shops and online for purse patterns. Fabric purses are so much lighter than leather ones I don't think I'll ever go back. Depending on complexity it takes a week of evenings and a weekend or two to make one up, and you get to pick your own fabrics. And even with other people's patterns, I can add extra pockets, modify some of the measurements, change closures..

And the making part is fun too. Reading the directions is like instructions for anything else--a sort of a puzzle you get to figure out as you go along.


Miche Bag

The bag I carry is a Miche Big Bag. It was a present from my daughter. It is a two-part bag. The internal bag is removable and you just put it down into the cover and you can switch bags in seconds. It holds everything I need it to: ipod, phone, notebooks, pens, nook, wallet, checkbook, meds, and many misc other things. My boyfriend says you can find anything in my bag. If you are interested in them at www.michebag.com.
Thanks -

I have seen this concept before on the shopping channels

Their concept used a magnetic closure system
to hold the covers.

How are the Miche Bag covers held?

Magnetic closure

The Miche bag is also a magnetic closure. I have had this bag since Christmas and have never had any problems with it. My daughter and mother have the regular size and don't have problems either.

what do you carry?

Finding the perfect bag is right in line with finding the perfect planing system. I too have had many bags. I am also a knitter though I usually don't carry it with me. I walk, and use the bus, so I need to have everything handy but hands free as possible. A back pack works well enough except that I have to remove it entering and leaving the bus. I have three backpacks! I have one purse that will hold my planner and kindle, small makeup bag and wallet, but then how can I carry my shopping bags and lunch and water bottle and hat and gloves etc?

Being a seamstress, I decided to make a messenger bag that will hold what I need. It did end up a bit heavy, but that's okay. I now have every thing I need within reach and can still use both hands.

I used a felted baby blanket, fleece and fabric scraps. I spent two weeks thinking and planning what I wanted. It has a divided center section, one side for 5 x 8 planner and kindle. The other for wallet, makeup bag, mp3 player and headphones, and lunch. There is also a pocket for 2 folded shopping bags. On the outside is a zippered pocket for my cellphone and bus pass. At the ends of the bag on outside I put two pouch type pockets. One for water bottle, one for hat and gloves. Lots more room inside too! Being that I made the bag with soft fabrics, it kind of molds to my body as I wear it.

Only time will tell if I stay happy with it!

Sounds Interesting

Would it be possible to see pictures ?
You got a Flickr account you could post to and share ?
"I think the surest sign that there is intelligent life out there in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." (Calvin and Hobbes/Bill Waterson) ***

Old Franklin Covey

The old Franklin Covey and Franklin Quest bags were made for carrying planners. These aren't made anymore, but pop up on Ebay once in a while. I use a briefcase style bag by Franklin Covey which has multiple pockets and zippered compartments and an external section for carrying a planner. I recently found a Classic size Franklin Quest bag on Ebay in a nice looking deep navy blue color. Perfect for my new Classic size Franklin Covey planner. The layout of the zippered compartments and business card and pen holder slots are a pleasure. Since I just had a planner stolen, I use it to protect the nice leather of my newly purchased one. I also have a Franklin Covey bag in a beautiful forest green color which was made for a Compact size planner, but I use it as a catch all for small items when I travel. It holds a paperback book great and it is also outfitted with plenty of zippered compartments, etc. (some hidden!)
They always stop making the good stuff, but if you're interested, it might be worthwhile to generate a "saved search" on Ebay to get notified when one becomes available.