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Day bag for men that fits in luggage?

I looked back a ways and didn't see much about this.
I don't normally carry a bag with me when out and about during the day but i was thinking that on this trip I may like to on some days but not on others. So i was considering options for a bag that i can fold up and store in my luggage when not in use.

Anybody have any thoughts on this?
Advice one way or the other?
Suggestions for a bag?

thanks in advance

Are you looking for a backpack, cross body, over-shoulder, or sling bag? What style? Size? Day bags can run from 13 liters to 22 liters in volume.

Posted by
8586 posts

I've used the Rick Steves Civita bag for years, not just for travel. They used to give them to people on the tours, which is how I got it. In the photo on this site, it looks like a stand-up formed backpack, but it is actually shapeless and scrunchable, almost like a pillow case. I can fit it into a jacket pocket.

But really just about any small backpack works. Like Mister E said, it's good to have something with some capacity if you're out and about and need to buy a six pack of Coke Light or a bottle of wine or whatever.

Posted by
1533 posts

I second Eagle Creek's packable daypack. I own two of them.

I also like Sea to Summit's older version that sadly is no longer available.

Eddie Bauer and LLBean both have packable stowaway backpacks in daypack size. RedOxx has manly bags in various sizes and configurations (i.e. over-shoulder, crossbody, etc.)

Posted by
6362 posts

My husband Stan (not the Forum stan) also uses the Civita. It's lightweight, and can hold an amazing amount of stuff. He slings his over one shoulder.

Posted by
2529 posts

The shoulder version of the civita is a little smaller and has some light foam in the back to give it a little bit of structure

Mine is when it was still offered in 'camel' color andhad the mesh side pockets j--
one great thing about it is the zipper doesn't go all the way around, so you can leave it open and use it as a tote if need be,
or keep it closed and under your arm to get into places that don't allow bags, and you can just turn it around for riding the mass transit

Posted by
740 posts

Frankly i don't KNOW what i want. That is part of why I am seeking advice here.
This would be used in Europe. For. things like a day spent on the Rhine and walking around the various towns. or other places.

I have not in the past used a bag while out touring. So this is all mew to me. I dont want a big bag, just something for a few incidentals. Frankly an old style fanny pack would be sized a out right. And i think the big thing is to be able to fold it up as small as possible to fit in my luggage.

But like i said i am not sure about this so suggestions and advice are more then welcome

Posted by
7648 posts

I too rarely carry a bag when out for the day, just like the feeling of not having anything weigh me down, just my phone and a slim card holder with a credit card, maybe my debit card, and a little cash. However, I do usually pack a small crossbody type bag, similar to this:

It will hold my tablet, a charging bank, and a few other things. It is slim enough not to bump into or catch on things, I can easily slide it to the front in crowded areas, too the side, or to the back depending on where I am or how crowded it is for comfort.

Some might be put off by the "man purse" appearance, but you also do not look like you are off for a hike in the middle of a city.

Posted by
18519 posts

Around town I stuff my pockets. Cargo pants help if I think I need to carry more than usual.

Traveling on planes and trains and in sketchy areas where I want to carry a few more things securly I carry someting like this. The one I have they dont make any longer but this is close (but no way I would pay $90 .... there are plenty of cheap similar ones on Amazon for $10 to $20): When I arrive at the airport all the pocket stuff, watch, etc is already in the bag so its toss the bag in the bin and walk.

One place I go often I stay in an AirBnb and tend to do a little shopping (beer, wine, cheese, the local sausage, pate). Never know when I will decide to stop so more often than not I carry a bag simiiar to the backpack I posted above. I just clip the carry pouch on my belt and forget it unless I need it. In the winter it fits in my coat pocket. Weights absolutely nothing and takes up about as much room in my luggge as a pair of socks.

Try this first. Collect the items you are going to carry or something similar to represent an item.

Will you carry: water bottle (size), pen and note pad, map, travel guide info., toilet tissue, any electronics, etc.,
Then, figure out what size bag you need - pocket arrangement for access, security features, etc.. Do you want a waist pack, backpack, shoulder bag, sling pack, etc. How do you normally carry stuff? Perhaps, borrow bags from a friend to try out. Thrift store bags. Do a test run. Style - urban or outdoorsy or bright floral. Maximum price?
You may need to try a few bags to find what you want. Rick Steve has civita and veloce bags. There’s a lot out there. Surf the net. Check out RedOxx personal carry bags.

I have used a few different bags over the years. I use different bags for different trips. I have to resist buying new bags.

Posted by
4574 posts

Well, if a fanny pack size would work, then go with one. There are hundreds of styles and now people wear them across the body so it sits against your breastbone. Hands free and a lot more secure. Most are pretty pliable and could be placed in the bottom or side of a suitcase.
Here are Tom Bihn versions. Look at la Petit Derriere, Bantam or Side Effect. Maybe a belt bag could do the trick.

Posted by
740 posts

Se the problem is i dont have anyone to pawn things off on. I don't have a wife or SO with a purse. And my previous travel partner (my dad) used to carry a small camera bag so we could put un any paperwork we needed for the day as well as a phone charger and maybe some mints. Back then i wasn't diabetic so water was not as critical.

Now i am thinking of using a Cell phone (modern Apple Iphone) as my primary/only camera, as well as GPS/map and battery life is not great on those.
So i am thinking
Small phone battery,
Papers as needed for the day (including tickets and what have you)
Some sugar free candy,
maybe a SMALL refillable water bottle or buy water bottles (is it easy to get water to refill or better off buying bottled water?)
Car keys on the part of the trip that i have a car.
MAYBE a usb charger but i doubt it.
Better plug in ear buds as tge ones you get on tours and buses hurt my ears (still cheep so no big deal if i lose them, just better then the crud you get free)
A small pill bottle for evening medicine.
Not a lot really but i dislike putting everything in my pants pockets. my cell phone and my carry wallet (with very little cash in it)

of course i will have either my neck wallet or my money belt to hold credit cards and passport and backup cash. (am i the only one that takes both a neck wallet and a money belt and swaps them out as i feel like it?)

So like i said not a lot.
As for looks I could care less. i am in my mid fifties and single and could not CARE about looks any less. Comfort and convenience are key followed by security. Beside i cary either a Backpack or a messenger style (man purse) bag when out visiting sites and clients. And i don't worry about “blending in” as I think walking around in Germany or Italy talking english and being in touristy areas will be a dead give away anyhow.

You are getting good suggestions here. Time for you to start internet surfing your options. Check Rick Steve Veloce guide bag for iPad - regardless of whether or not you pack an iPad. Then, go from there. You can also go someplace like Marshall’s and check out bags in person.

Posted by
25 posts

I have used the 20liter Eddie Bauer stuff bag on many trips. I just got an Osprey 20L ultra light water proof dry stuff pack to use on our best of Scotland trip in a couple of weeks. I decided that water proof would be good so I didn’t have to worry about contents. It weighs 6.5 oz and when not being used, stuffs into itself ~ 6”x 4”x 2”.
If you can get to REI you can check out a lot of small packs - even buy one, take it home, try it out and return if not happy.

Posted by
288 posts

For backpack style travel when I might include a couple of hikes, I use an Osprey Daylite Plus backpack. The main benefit is a padded back that many smaller bags don't have.

For all other travel, I vastly prefer the Tom Bihn Co-Pilot cross body. Much better security when I can simply shift it to the front. Plus, hear is much esker to access. Expensive but worth every penny.

Posted by
740 posts

I will do some searching online and see what i find.

As for cargo pants… I graduated in the 80s and as a result cargo pants are just a no, :)

Posted by
362 posts

My husband carries this one from Eddie Bauer. Has some minimal padding that makes it more comfortable to carry, but it packs very flat and he packs it in his suitcase until we have day trips where he needs to carry more items. I know he can fit his phone, a light jacket, water bottle, etc in it.

They are usually $15 at the outlets, if you have an outlet mall nearby.

Posted by
795 posts

OP. What do you use now for your travel on a plane? Do you only have one bag, checked or not? Where do you carry your passport, water, earbuds, and other assorted paraphernalia that many of us like to have with us when we are on the plane.
On a day about town abroad where do you now carry an umbrella, camera or phone? Or where do,you put your jacket if it gets hot during the day?
Surely you have a method now.

Posted by
4982 posts

With regard to a day bag that fits inside the luggage, consider this. Pack the day bag inside the luggage and leave all the zippers open. Then put the items that would go in the luggage into the day bag. The only space you will "lose" in the luggage, is the space used by the structure of the day bag itself. You can still use the space in the day bag as it is still empty space.

Posted by
2 posts

Took me awhile to get in board with the “Murse” traveling style my dad has been doing for years. But having a small bag that you can throw you wallet, phone, headphones, snacks on the plane is incredibly helpful… and when at you destination it also is great. I started with a cheap on from TJ max but finally but the bullet and bought a nimatic sling and I love it! Spending money on a thoughtful piece that I’ll have for life is worth it. That. Wing said you can get really reasonable ones, the Rick Steve’s day bags are really well thought out and super affordable

Posted by
17 posts

Just got back from about 2 weeks in France. Eagle Creek packable waist pack (here: was great for airport and light days. When I knew I would be carrying a jacket or buying things along the way, the nano backpack (here: has been invaluable for me. Both are extremely light, durable and pack down to practically nothing when not in use. I won't travel without them anymore. Good luck in your search!

Posted by
740 posts

I have a backpack that i carry on the plane (i put a carryon sized suitcase in checked on overseas flights). I keep a change of cloths, my medicine and everything i need for the plan as well as all the tickets and such for the trip. so basically all the stuff that i cant afford to lose/replace if the bag gets lost goes in the backpack, but the backpack is to big for day carry.

I have a small bag inside the backpack that has sugar free candy and my ipad and anything else i want at my seat. So the backpack goes in the overhead.

This odd method is a result of how I used to travel and personal circumstances. My father was my travel companion and he was in his mid to late 80s and in general in amazing shape gor his age. Howver he was still ij his mid to late 80s so pulling a suitcase was a bit of a pita. Add in that he loved his camera so his carry on was his camara bag/backpack. So we always check our bags. Add in that i am 6’-5” and cant spare the leg room at my seat for an under seat bag and the result is I had a larger backpack with stuff in it forvmy carryon and i just pulled out what i needed from that for the aircraft,
When flying in the US I either had a carryon suitcase and a small personal item bag if it was a short trip or the same combo as in europe.
But in the US we typically have a car so a day bag is not that important.
My last trip was with my sister And she kept hold of the tickets. Which she COULD do i suppose on this trip. But i was looking to try something different on this trip.
As i said I dont carry a lot. A small phone, the papers needed for the day (which will be more a backup then anything as most places have gone to digital tickets) Maybe some sugar free candy (which i didn't carry last time as it was not needed then) and a power battery for the phone. And medicine as i take that in the morning with food and in the evening. (also something nee since the last trip to Europe)
So i dont carry much but.
More then i want in my paints pockets. And while i know some like cargo paints.. I just cant bring myself to buy them. I had enough of those 30+ years ago. :)
I did find one tiny bag from Nomatic that looks interesting. it is smaller (about 3L) The question is is it to small? I notice that only the larger bags (about 6L) have a place for a water bottle. So there is that
So this topic is as much about the concept of a day bag as it is about what day bag

NOMATIC Navigator Collapsible Sling 3L- Crossbody Bag Sling Backpack - Light Collapsible Hiking Daypack Sling for Travel

Anyway things for the advice

Posted by
740 posts

So i have spent a fair bit of time looking at options, and i think i am looking for a small ish sling bag.
Ideally JUST big enough to fit a standard Ipad in so that i can use it on an airplane as my personal item.

So features i am looking for or uses or things to carry.

Use 1 On an airplane or in an airport. It would be nice to be able to put a few snacks such as suger free candy, handi wipes, And be able yo out things like my phone and wallet in this as i go through security.
It would be a plus if it can hold an Ipad, a small battery, and a charger. as well as a small head set

Use 2 (most common use probably). as a small day bag, holding some candy, handi wipes, my cell phone a battery back up, a charging cable, and MAYBE a small phone tripod. (the tripod will only be on some days). Ideally a water bottle probably hanging from a carabiner.

Use 3 Travel days, much like Us 1 but minus the earphones,

So ideally the bag should be
A) as small as possible but still able yo hold a typical Ipad
b) A quick access pocket/zippered pocket to dump a wallet and other pocket stuff in a t security
C) it should have a couple sub compartments or dividers in it to organize stuff and to hold a batter and or a charging cable
D) it should have a loop or something to hold a carabiner (sp?) to hold a small water bottle.
Bonus points if it can be swapped from one shoulder to the other.

anyway that is the ideal. I hvae seen. a few that may work, but the downside of todays retail world being mostly online for specialty stuff like this is that you cant tell sizes and such. this would he easy if i had 10 of them i could pick up and look at but…. not so much. an option.

anyway thanks for the advice.

The Rick Steve veloce guide bag for iPad may be just right for you. It’s an over-shoulder bag rather than a sling bag. There’s a brief video about it. It’s unisex. Sometimes, it’s hard to find the perfect bag because everyone carries different stuff. For me, a side pocket for stashing tiny packets of peanut m&m’s is a big plus. For someone else - it could be electronics, camera, or medical stuff.

Posted by
56 posts

Agree with the cargo pants .... love 'em or leave 'em. For yard work fine, otherwise a no-go for me. Check out Peak Design. Maybe a bit "techno" looking for you but they have a variety of bags that might fit your purpose. The Field Pouch and the 3L Sling could be good options.

I have this one: Fits unpacked and flat easily in a carry on. Will carry just enough for when I need more than my camera (on my Peak Design Leash). Good for second lens, extra battery, tissue, map, snack bar, sunglasses, etc. Can be worn on the belt or sling style (what I do so I can carry n front of me in more crowded areas) Though 90% of the time its my hidden money belt for card/cash/ID and camera sling style.