With our latest purchase of a mega sized duffel bag on wheels for Jim’s travels, I have come to the realization that Jim has more bags than the average human being should have a right to own.
I guess that’s because he’s got more electronics and gear than the average human being.
That, and he needs to have a compact, lightweight, and portable means of getting all of his gear from one place to another.
And when you put 2 gadget-friendly people in the same household… watch out! We have fun (and practical) bags coming out of our ears. And we use them all on a daily basis, too.
A Camera Bag
I think the very first cool bag we ever bought Jim was this one. He used it to tote his digital camera (then a Canon Digital Rebel D300) and his handheld video recorder (a Canon ZR200 Camcorder) to and from IHRA drag racing events.
We used to think this was the coolest bag in the world. A legit camera bag that looks like a backpack?… C’mon, how FUN is that?!
We thought we were so cutting edge when we bought it back in 2003. And we used this for years… until we “upgraded” (or should I say “modernized”) our camera gear recently. More on that in a minute.
Laptop Computer Bag
When Jim bought a new laptop, he needed a new laptop computer bag that was lightweight and easy to carry around. He chose this one.
It’s perfect! It’s huge, and has lots of great compartments. He uses every one of ‘em too. Mostly for all of the cords, adapters and chargers that plug into his computer when he’s on the go (…which is a lot).
And his laptop even has a larger size screen (19″), and it still fits inside this bag, and it zips up just fine. It’s a tight fit, but he’s used this bag for years to transport his laptop cross country and it has yet to tear a hole or snag, or break in any way. This is one heck of a great bag!
And, check out all of the great reviews for this laptop backpack. It’s not every day that you find so many… and such glowing praise for something.
For the record, here are the ladies laptop bags that I chose to protect my laptop… and my Chromebook.
Goodbye Square Suitcase, Hello Rolling Duffel Bag
With all of that computer bag’s hip new plugs, pockets, and pouches made to simplify your life on on the go, Jim decided it was probably time to modernize his travel luggage, as well.
Big square suitcases just weren’t cutting it anymore. They were simply too big, and bulky, and not flexible for people on the go a lot. He needed one bag — one big bag — that could hold everything he needed for a 2-week trip AND take a beating AND live to tell about it.
Fortunately, I found a fun 2-piece set at Sam’s Club one day. It’s not your typical set of luggage. There’s a luggage-looking backpack that’s extra long (with a drop-down compartment for shoes, dirty clothes, etc.) and yet lightweight. And then there’s the 30-inch rolling duffel.
That duffel bag on wheels has been a lifesaver for him on his many trips. He is very rough on luggage (as are the airport personnel!) — mostly because he doesn’t always travel conventionally. He frequently hops from motorhome to motorhome… race car hauler to RV… rental car to airplane… and it’s not at all unusual for his luggage to spend weeks in the back of the race car trailer on occasion.
This one rolling duffel bag has taken a beating, yet it’s held up remarkably well. He has used this one rolling duffel bag regularly since the day we bought it circa 2006. It’s made by Skyway. (Great luggage, but they don’t give a hoot about customer service — as evidenced by my emails that went unanswered.)
Goodbye Boring Camera Bag, Hello Bells & Whistles
About the time he upgraded his D300 (mentioned above) to a Canon Digital Rebel XTI, Jim also started acquiring more camera lenses, a high-powered flash, more cords and adapters, and more tapes to tote around with the video camera in the same bag. This meant that a new camera bag was in order.
He chose the Naneu Pro Camera Backpack. Jim actually went with the K2 version, instead of the K3 pictured here. (The K2 doesn’t have the bulky waist-belt support.)
Let me just tell you… this bag kicks butt! And talk about hidden compartments and extra features! There’s a pull-out “raincoat” for the bag that always stays attached and tucked away. There’s a huge compartment for a full-size tripod that is positioned in such a way that it doesn’t take up much physical space. There are bungies and pockets everywhere you look. That type of extra storage is highly versatile for stuffing and tucking things on board at the last minute.
Now he can tote around his full size digital SLR camera, his palm-size video camera, and all of their respective add-ons (flashes, lenses, cords, adapters, tapes, cleaners, etc.) without breaking his shoulder. One of the biggest strengths of this bag is its ergonomic design. It’s a little longer, and less boxy than most camera bags. So you can lean to the left or right, and the bag stays put.
A couple days ago, we bought Jim the mack-daddy of all travel bags… this 30″ duffel on wheels.
It’s the REI Tech Beast Rolling Duffel. (It’s not red… it’s rust. Jim hates red bags.)
This bag was sorely needed to replace the Skyway 30″ rolling duffel that has lasted far longer than it should have as a primary piece of luggage.
We loved the 2-piece Skyway set, but they have since discontinued this particular model — and their other lines don’t seem nearly as durable (this one is the closest to it) — so it was time to shop around.
Here Are Some Larger 36-Inch Bags We Considered…
- Timberland Treeline Active 36-inch Duffel With Wheels
- High Sierra AT Gear Access 36″ Drop Bottom Wheeled Duffel
That is, until we realized that 36 inches was golf bag size! That, and the fact that you have to pay more to check luggage of that size on most airlines.
We know from experience that Jim’s 30-inch rolling duffel passes all airline luggage restrictions (even though they questioned him a few times), so we felt safer sticking with another 30-incher.
These Were Our Top Choices For 30-inch Rolling Duffels:
- High Sierra 30-Inch Drop Bottom Wheeled Duffel
- High Sierra 30″ Wheeled Duffel With Backpack Straps
- Eagle Creek ORV Trunk: A 30-Inch Compartmentalized Rolling Duffel
We’re really happy with the 30-inch REI bag we chose, but to be honest, I’m pretty sure we would’ve been just as happy with either of the above. Except maybe the last one — the ORV Trunk — because it was a little too over-compartmentalized. Good for really super-organized people, but a bit overkill for us.
I don’t like the bulkiness of a backpack for a camera. I mean, the camera is big enough… who wants to look like a professional photographer at every event?
This small camera bag is deep enough to hold my bulky camera with the lens attached, a full-size flash, an extra battery and charger, and whatever else I feel like toting around (like a small wallet, cellphone, gum, tissues.
Unlike most camera bags that just fall right off your shoulder, this one stays in place, partly due to the extra long shoulder strap.
I also think the shape of the bag has a lot to do with that. It’s slightly deep while it’s also narrow and hugs the body — much like a purse.
Check out Guy Gear: Camera Bags for even more cool bags!