I am looking for the best choice for a daypack or purse to carry while sightseeing. I had thought I was looking for a small, lightweight front-pack, but haven't been able to find anything. Any recommendations?
Depending on where I'm travelling, I bring one of several cross body bags. They're similar in style to a messenger bag, with both a flap (which I wear next to my body) and a zipper. DH recently switched from his old standby small backpack to a messenger bag. Wearing it cross body is comfortable (for us, anyway) and secure. No worries about it being snatched. And I think, when worn to the front of the hip, is less likely to be picked.
Look at LiteGear's City Tote. I got one for travel, liked it so much it's now the go-to at home.
I've used the Baggallini cross-body purses for several trips and also at home. I like that the purse strap is wide and similar fabric to a seatbelt. The purses are very well made; I've washed mine several times in the "hand-wash" cycle of the washing machine.
I personally prefer a small backpack like Merrell rouge with a small combination luggage lock for security. I also really like ameribag purses. Ameribag purses can be worn several ways and have great compartment organization. ( ebags.com has many ameribag choices.)
I do best with a cross-body messenger bag that is lightweight and can hold my pared-down purse essentials and also travel things like guidebook, camera, snack, perhaps a light sweater. My favorite is a canvas one from the Smoking Lily in Victoria, BC, but I also like the nylon ones by LeSportsac. The one I used this year could be enlarged by opening a zipper around the edges, came in handy when I had some small purchases to stash inside or needed my umbrella, lots of organization but not too much, sometimes that gets tedious. They make a variety of crossbody styles, check out Amazon for good prices. I used to bring a leather purse but there's quite a weight difference once you switch to nylon or canvas, my neck/shoulder is much happier now.
I'll tell you right now. There is no perfect bag. As soon as I think I've found it, my search seems to begin again. That being said, I have a small cross body purse that holds my Passport, CC's, license, money and iPod: Bryant Baggallini. I often just carry this small purse. If I need to carry an umbrella and don't have a pocket large enough or need both sets of eyeglasses, I have several bags into which my small cross body bag will fit. If I am carrying my DSLR plus a lot of junk, I have two cross body camera/purse bags. However, I have an old small travelon purse that fits my camera with 50mm lens perfectly. Sometimes with contents of my small cross body purse or sometimes with the small purse cross body under my jacket and my small camera purse on the outside. I could go on and on... I am a container addict. My point is that it is really difficult to figure it out, particularly for your first trip, and each trip will vary to a degree what type(s) of bags you might want. I'm not a backpack person but I do now also have a travelon backpack for if I am carrying my camera, umbrella, book, etc. all day as it does balance the weight of the camera better. If you don't have a dslr like I do, I'd keep your cross body bag as small as you can figure and just throw a recycled shopping bag that folds up tiny in your purse or pocket for the times you need more; i.e., take your jacket off, etc. Just my two cents. Have fun shopping as it is a dilemma. Everyone's style is just slightly different...which makes it interesting.
PS, just to make it clear, I do not bring all bags on my trip. The backpack is my underseat bag, my small camera purse will fit in my backpack, as will my baggallini. If I drop one of these for my trip, all bags are
up for changing except my Bryant Baggallini; all my bags fit this small purse...
I am definitely the exception. I carry a purse - the same big a$$ purse I use at home. It has very short straps so when it is on my shoulder my arm holds it closed. Important items are in the center compartment that is snapped shut. Have been in Paris, Germany, and currently Amsterdam and no worries here. If we need to carry larger things we have a canvas bag we use.
Depends on the trip -- I've used both a daypack and a crossbody bag. For city/town tours I prefer a crossbody bag. If I'm hiking or want to bring a physical guidebook and water, a daypack is more comfortable. A phone-based guide and water along the way saves a LOT of weight. -C
For city sightseeing, I've been using a Tom Bihn Cafe Bag. Even though it's a snap closure instead of zipping closed, I like their internal clip and O-ring options that let me effectively leash my pocketbook and other items to the bag proper for extra security.
For hiking purposes when we need to carry liters of water and snacks and extra camera lenses, I use the same Tom Bihn Brain Bag that's my airplane carry on. (If you like the look of the Tom Bihn bags and want a smaller daypack backpack, the Luminary and Synapse 19 would probably work well)
Thank you all for such thoughtful responses.
I bought a baggellini crossbody purse at TJ Maxx. I liked the clip and flap. It was very comfy to wear and held quite a bit. I found the smallest that would fit my stuff.
As a poster above said, there is no one perfect bag. When I am considering a trip, part of my bag choice depends on what I want to carry for that day. Am I just carrying my phone and some tissues? Am I hauling around water bottles and a sweater and a hat?
When I travel, I take a HUGE travel purse on the plane. It can hold a laptop, books, water bottles, etc. I also pack an empty, smaller bag for walking around places. I prefer a crossbody bag because it leaves my hands free from having to clutch at it on my shoulder. BUT I also have an ancient, ugly bag that fits perfectly on my shoulder and tucks underneath my arm. I never carry it at home any longer, but it's a travel favorite since it literally can't be moved when I am walking or standing unless I raise both arms in a referee's touchdown position.
I suggest heading to a few stores and walking around the bags section with several, different bags. Think about travel, think about putting stuff in there to weight it down, and consider what's too heavy, too easy for someone else to access, etc.
Thanks to this discussion, I'm seriously thinking about taking a cross-body "manbag" (flat leather purse) within my daypack. The daypack can carry more stuff for entertainment & snacking on the plane, whereas a manbag is really all I need for cameras, etc, while touring. I also like the idea of not carrying valuables behind me in crowded places.
I say wear what you already know! The last thing I want to do on a trip is get used to a new bag, a sure fire way for me to look awkward or unorganized. I wear a big leather cross body at home, I wear a smaller light weight cross body when I travel. The bag lives on my left side, any travel cross body needs to just have an inside zippered pocket and i am good to go. I can reach blindly into both bags and pull out lip moisturizer, my wallet, a pen...you name it. I hate lots of pickets, one big bucket works great.
The Tom Bihn Side Kick has become my every-day bag. It holds my most important stuff: wallet, cash, lip balm, phone, small notebook, pen, etc. At home I carry it inside something larger for commuting, but if I'm running out to lunch I take just the Side Kick. Ditto while traveling: it can nest inside a larger backpack or shoulder bag for the flight, but once at my destination, it can be my only bag for the day's touring, particularly if I'm going to museums where a larger item would have to be checked.
It's pretty ulilitarian-looking, but waterproof and secure. For me, its ability to nest inside other bags is really important, because I don't have to transfer things from one bag to another, which is when I tend to lose things. Particularly if they are tiny.
If I'm nervous about pickpocketing, I secure the zippers with a tiny Nite-Ize carabiner. I personally prefer the version made with their tougher, more rigid fabric, ballistic.
The other handbag I used to love before I started using this one all the time was the Dakine Jive. They are so pretty! They don't "nest" and aren't as useful for me in terms of interior organization, but I still have a few in my closet I'm holding onto, and I've given some away as gifts. Also a "museum-worthy" bag.
Stewart, is the City Tote allowed as a personal item? We are doing carry on plus one personal item. Is the City Tote within specs for personal item?
1Jpgirl, I don't know personal item specs, sorry. The City Tote measures 13-ish" tall x12x5 empty. LiteGear's website has all the specs. For flights I put it inside my serious larger carryon tote (loaded with clothes & survival stuff, in case checked bag goes on a different trip). Inside the City Tote is the stuff I want to access/keep by my feet during flights, so the larger can go up in the bin. So far, so good.
Vicki (Stewart's other half)
I've also got a Tom Bihn Side Kick in my regular rotation at home, but find it a little on the small side for vacation needs.
As already stated each person has different requirements and each trip also has different requirements. I second the Tom Bihn bags. Expensive but great quality and variety. I personally like a small crossbody. Have a Baggalini & Travelon and now the small Cafe Tom Bihn.
Consult your airline's website for information about personal item size restrictions, especially if you are taking inter-continental flights.
I too use a Baggalini cross-body purse. Lightweight and washable.
The Pacsafe brand has great purses and daypacks. When traveling, I use the Metrosafe LS 250 as a daypack and a purse.http://www.pacsafe.com/metrosafe-ls250-anti-theft-shoulder-bag/30425.html. I really like the outside pockets for a water bottle and umbrella. Plus it's roomy enough for my rolled up rain jacket without being to big and bulky. I cinch it up tight and push it to my back when hiking (last year in Zion NP). I have a very small bagellini that holds a credit card, money, and my phone, for times when I'm going out for only a few hours (dinner) that's small enough it doesn't take any room in the luggage. The Pacsafe's have the best built in security features available!
I use ameribags. They are really a single strap backpack. Worn in back they are a backpack. Worn to the side they are a purse. They have many clever pockets inside and out. But their fat banner shape, while ergonomic, makes them less functional for their size.
I use both on a daily basis as I live in NYC and commute by foot and public transport. For lightness in weight, I like Le Sportsac.