Recently, a few of us here at Carryology were throwing around some lists of bags we’d buy if money wasn’t an issue. Rather than keeping the lists to ourselves, we figured it would be rad to ask our main contributors to write their list up, and share it with you guys. So here is the first of our top 3 backpacks and messengers lists (in this case 4 and
2 3), from one of the Carryology contributors, Taylor.
Taylor’s carry wish list: I’m a minimalist. I’ve spent hours upon hours (and a bit more cash than I care to admit) in the pursuit of slimming down my keychain so it fits perfectly in my jeans pocket. The same goes for me and carry in general. I like minimalistic designs. Simple, bold, solid colors. Honest tough materials. Not too much flare. But a detail or two that draws you in. Bags and packs that carry my minimal amount of gear perfectly, with refinement, comfort, and durability. Durability is probably my most sought after trait when it comes to carry, refined style comes second. When it hits that sweet spot of both, while being comfortable, well, here are the ones that I think do that well. Email me for my personal mailing address, I’ll happily accept any of these items for testing, abuse, love, and a carefully written Carryology Road Test review. Yes, I’m serious.
Here is my wish list.
VISVIM: 20L and/or 22L
This backpack is a backpack. It nearly defines the word “backpack”. If you took a Jansport backpack from the 80′s or 90′s, had an artist draw a wildly exaggerated caricature of it, then have an Industrial Designer who studied Cubism refine down that caricature back down to its most simple elements using only the highest quality materials and hardware available, with a off-center point of view, you’ll get the Japanese brand Visvim
, and the 20L and 22L backpacks.
There is quite a cult following to this brand, but like many highly specific great things, the brand is relatively unknown by the masses. In my opinion, that is a good thing, as it keeps the quality high. They even try to be sort of a mystery in the world. Go ahead, look up their business phone number. Like the Volvo slogan goes “the thinking man’s BMW”, I feel like Visvim is “the thinking man’s Jansport”. Or something like that. Free International Laboratory/Cubism. Enough said. (I’d opt for one in the black colorway… if you couldn’t guess that already). Keen to buy?
KILLSPENCER: Special Ops Backpack
This guy has it figured out. Masculine aesthetic without excess gaudy military extras. His designs walk the line between military and a well-tailored men’s suit. Professional and rugged. Well thought out compartments, not too much extra. Again, the highest quality construction, materials, and some of my favorite hardware details on the market today. Check out the buckles on the messenger they offer, AstriAlpin, made in Austria for life of death situations. I was on a roller coaster about a year or so ago, they were using the same exact brand/model of buckles on the shoulder harness. No joke. KILLSPENCER
even offers mil-spec hardware to hang each of his product’s on your wall when you get home at the end of the day. Thoughtful and bad ass. There are three versions of this backpack available. My favorite two are the wax cotton black and the repurposed olive drab truck tarp version. Keen to buy?
What hasn’t been said about GORUCK
and the GR1? This is one of my favorite bags. It’s an instant icon. The military backpack for civilians. The military backpack for active military. The every day carry backpack or travel backpack for anyone. 1000D Cordura nylon everywhere. Military refined, without webbing hanging everywhere looking sloppy. Almost too simple. When I think GR1, I think professional hit man. Easily overlooked and can blend into a crowd discreetly, but when you give it a up close look you realize it is no doubt as serious as they come. Keen to buy?
The end of hiking backpacks. For me it was either the Arc’teryx
Naos 85 or one of Granite Gear’s fine offerings, but the Naos 85 just inched by. Want a backpack that will last you a lifetime of travel, mountaineering, trekking, and more? This is it. Their own proprietary materials have been created for their packs, then tested again and again around the world, in the most extreme of climates and situations. This is the black belt of hiking packs. An amateur may have trouble with packing this pack, but once you know what you’re looking for, and have already been let down by the “other guys”, this is the one that is everything, simply. No included rain cover? It doesn’t need one. It’s waterproof. Oh, and it’s expensive. But this is quality you can see and feel. Go find in a store to touch one first hand. (The colorway on the left side is the one that I personally prefer). Keen to buy
peace4you (all his messenger bags) I’ve already wrote a review on Carryology on peace4you’s mouth-watering messengers if that tells you anything. Read the entire review here for much more information and photos. Re-purposed military material and hardware (looks like WW2 era to me) brought back to life in the form of beautifully tailored messenger bags, made by hand, by the owner in Germany. Everything about this company and their products embodies my favorite aspects of carry design. This is high fashion meets military, in a quiet, calm, thoughtful method. Keen to buy?
Triple Aught Design: Dispatch Bag I love Triple Aught Design. Their company is amazing, as well as their products. I love browsing through their accessories, their clothing, even their knives (and I’m really not a knife kind of guy). Everything is the utmost highest quality. Simple, honest, bold materials. Where TAD really shines is in the carry department. I personally own a TAD FAST Pack Litespeed, and it is my favorite backpack I own. I feel confident saying this pack will last the rest of my life. 1000D Cordura nylon, all the right military accents, yet very refined. Now that the Dispatch Bag is available again, in multiple colors, I may have to think about a messenger for myself. Go to the site and check out the features and details on this pack. I know from experience, it is very difficult to design a military messenger that works well. From everything I have read and viewed, they nailed it. (Obviously, for color I would go for the bla… you get the idea). Keen to buy?
UPDATE: Hard Graft: Flat Pack 11″ OK, I admit it, I cheated. We were supposed to have 6 items on our wish lists. But, I added another item on my wish list here, after the post was up already. Then again, I had to add this. It was beyond my own control. Look at this piece of art. There isn’t even much to say about this one, it speaks for itself. The finest Italian leather. Perfect stitch lines, that almost make music. Beautiful design. Handmade in Austria by people who love what they do. Holds stuff. Holds stuff really well. I would use it to carry my gear every day… and probably use it as my pillow at night as well. Honestly… I lust for this item. Keen to buy?
Taylor's designed for countless carry brands, across every carry category, he’s contributed to the lost art of manly moustaches, and earned a reputation for reviews that keep our core carry nuts learning.