You only need two bags – ever. A a pick-pocket proof day bag and a rolling bag that fits under the seat of all but the smallest airplanes (like the Embraer 145 that is used for short hops between big cities and smaller cities). That and a vest with lots of hidden zipper pockets and you are good to go.
1. Is it theft proof?
- –Find a bag that has the steel mesh sewn into the fabric and straps – pickpockets will slash open the bottom of your bag and your stuff will fall into their hands before you even realize you’ve been had.
- Look for locking zippers
- Look for bags with many sewn-in loops from which to hang carabiners (a traveler’s BEST friend). I keep my wallet hanging from a sewn-in loop on the inner portion of my daypack. It not only makes it that much more difficult for a pickpocket to lift, but it helps me not to lose track of it, which I am prone to do. I also hang my keys on a loop in my bag because I’m not going to be using them until I get home and so they are bound to end up in some obscure corner at the very bottom and be hard to dig out.
2. Does it have several different ways you can carry it?
- Over one shoulder
- Across shoulders
- Convert into backpack. This requires a long strap that clips on one side so that you can loop the strap through the handle.
- On top of your rolling bag. If it has the long strap mentioned above, you can set this bag on top of your rolly, wrap it around the front of the bag, around the back of the rolly handle, and snap it to the other side of the bag.
This video explains how to turn an ordinary messenger bag into a backpack. You could also attach a carabiner to the handle on your pack and feed the strap through it so the stress on your handle is less.
3. Is it waterproof and easy to clean?
Keep in mind that this bag will sit on the ground at an outdoor cafe, on a wet sink counter in a strange bathroom, on the floor in a bathroom stall without wall hooks, under the seatback in front of you where countless shoes have made their mark. Waterproof and easy to clean with a damp towel is a must.
For detailed specs on my particular favorite bag, use this link: