Recently I have been jotting down some thoughts on minimalism. I will share some of these observations in a future blog.
This is quite a useful exercise, since often it identifies deficiencies in what I have. It also inspired me to organize my current possessions more logically.
A Room of Rucksacs
One field I started thinking about was that of bags.
Part of my bedroom floorspace is taken up by several rucksacs, and more lurk on top of the wardrobe or in a nearby trunk.
Different models for different purposes: The Alaskan Packboard I built that I used to tour Germany, Holland and Austria. The internal-framed pack I acquired for Iceland, since I did not trust airline baggage handling with my packboard. The DPM Northern Ireland Patrol Pack and large Bergen that I treated myself to. The most travelled pack is one that converts into a soft suitcase and has six large external pockets.
A large rucksac is a useful thing to own, and like me, you may own several, each suited for different purposes.
A smaller bag, such as a daysac, is likely to see more use, however. It may be used weekly, or even daily. I notice many women carry small rucksacs in lieu of a handbag.
Smaller packs are less well represented in my collection. The one I have used most recently is rather small, and somewhat tatty. I acquired this from lost property at work (yes, it is amazing what people leave and never come back for). It only has one external pocket and I have had to repair the shoulder strap junction at least twice.
Elsewhere, I have told the story of why my beloved North Face daysac is no longer with me. The multi-pocked pack I brought to replace it proved to be far too small for my trip to Kos.
Given the use it will get, it makes sense to invest in a good quality daysac. Sadly, I have very little budget for such things these days. I have spent several days web-searching for a new daysac, only to find what I did not want or could not afford.
Following my recent article, I wanted something neutral and natural in colour rather than the ubiquitous black. A search for khaki backpacks turned up an item on ebay. Price had dropped and was within my budget. For that money, I would risk it.
The Sunrise Khaki Backpack
The bag arrived several days ago, and I am pleasantly surprised.
It is a little bigger than I expected. Dimensions quoted on websites can often be misleading.
Quoted dimensions were 47 x 31 x 21 cm, and size was quoted as 31 litres. That latter figure seems to be external volume rather than internal capacity.
The bag is probably ideal size for a general-purpose daysac. When I am travelling my daysac serves as my cabin baggage or carries the items I may need when sightseeing. This bag is of a size that most airlines will permit as cabin baggage. When moving between locations the daysac needs to be small enough to fit inside my larger rucksac, so I have only one bag to carry and watch.
Colour is a nice khaki-coyote brown shade, not so light that it will show up dirt. The inside is lined with a black nylon/polyester[?], so better finished than I was expecting. This, however, is my single, very minor gripe with this bag. A black interior makes things more difficult to located within a bag. More manufactures should utilize lighter materials such as the bright lime green used inside my girlfriend's theft-resistant bags.
Unlike my old North Face, the main compartment has a padded pocket that can take a laptop computer. I could have used this a few months ago while I was hot-desking!
Interior is large enough to take my soft-core pack with plenty of room left for other items.
The main external pocket is quite large. The interior seems rather bare. This could use some internal pockets for smaller items. One can only expect so much for this price, however. Interior pocket is something I may add when I have time.
On each side is an open-topped, elasticated pocket suitable for carrying a waterbottle or collapsible umbrella.
Very little needed to be done to bring this pack “up to speed”.
The shoulder straps each have a plastic D-ring, so adding a snap-link to the left one took an instant.
The zippers needed pull-tails, and short length of “desert-camo” paracord I had proved to be ideal length and colour. The main compartment zipper is two-way, that of the exterior compartment one-way.
The other addition I made was to coil a wallet chain around the grab-handle. This is a trick I have borrowed from my girlfriend's theft-resistant bags. When stationary, feed the chain around a chair or table leg to deter sneak thieves. Obviously, this precaution does not mean you can wander off to the toilets and leave your bag unattended! Even if you added a lock, a thief could cut through part of a bag if left unwatched.
This is not the highest quality bag you can find. You can easily spend ten times as much on a daysac. Whether or not you will get ten-times the bag is for you to decide.
This is all I can afford at the moment, and nicely demonstrates some of the features you might look for in a bag, and some of the modifications you might consider.
This particular bag is has the brand “Compass, Sunrise Bags” and model number “BPC108-KK”.
Mil-Tec MOLLE Multi-Pocket Backpack
While I was researching this blog, I discovered something new about my small black multi-pocket daysac. Other than its small size, this really is a nice bag, well-made with lots of nice features.
The bag is made by “Mil-Tec” in Germany. I discovered the same design is produced in two different capacities, 20 litres (“small”) and 36 litres (“large”). There is also a 14 litre kid's pack.
A number of sellers offer copies/knock-offs of the Mil-Tec design, many claiming to be “30 litres” The dimensions claimed for some of these suggest that even the exterior volume of the bag is less than 30 litres.
I suspect that I in fact brought the 20 litre version of the Mil-Tec, assuming it was the same as the “30 litre” bags being offered elsewhere.
The genuine 36 litre Mil-Tec can be found for quite a reasonable price, although out of my current budget, sadly. Based on my examination of the 20 litre version, the 36 litre may be a very good choice for anyone looking for a slightly larger daysac or patrol sack.