- Buyer's Guide
What’s In My Bag Collection: Geoff Chu
Due to popular demand, we’re reigniting our Bag Collectors series. And for our first new episode, meet Geoff!
Geoff Chu is a man obsessed with bags. So much so that he co-founded the blog Pangolins with Packs. A space where he and his friends could share their carry insights and experiences with others. And geeking out over carry gear is something we can definitely get behind. So we were stoked when Geoff reached out to share what’s in his own bag collection…
What was the very first piece in your collection? And do you remember where and why you picked it up?
While it wasn’t the first backpack I had, the Code 10 was the first backpack I got once I started collecting. I backed it through its Kickstarter campaign and I remember being really intrigued by all the unique features it had that I hadn’t seen in typical backpacks before, like the security cable and lock, and being completely waterproof while still having a removable tech sleeve.
When did you begin to feel more than what might be called an “average obsession” for bags?
There is a shelf near the door of our apartment where my wife keeps her handbags. I started out leaving all my backpacks there too and when I started noticing that I had more bags than my wife did, I realized it was really an obsession.
How many bags do you have in your quiver? Can you run us through an itemized list?
It changes frequently as I get new bags and sell bags. At the moment I have 32 but with a few repeats.
- Aer Tech Pack
- Aer Fit Pack
- ALPAKA Shift Pack
- ARES Backpack
- Cotopaxi Luzon 18 (two of them)
- Craft Cadence (prototype)
- CYCOP DayPac (prototype)
- CYCOP DayPac (released version)
- Dakine Heli Pro II
- Deuter ACT Lite 50+10
- DSPTCH Bookpack
- DSPTCH Daypack
- Duer Freedom 9 (prototype)
- EVERGOODS CPL24
- EVERGOODS CTB40
- Granite Gear Habanero 28
- Kenneth Cole Reaction – Relatively Easy Bag
- Knack Pack (medium)
- The North Face Base Camp Duffel Pack (medium)
- NYA-EVO Fjord 36 (two of them)
- Patagonia Black Hole MLC 45L
- PNW Sea to Sky
- Revelar E-Pack
- Standard Luggage Carry-on Backpack
- Thule Landmark 60
- Travelab Freedom Pack
- Waterfly Folding Smart Backpack
- Waterfly 3 in1 Multi-functional Backpack
How do you store your collection?
I live in a 1BR apartment in the city, so wherever I can find space. If I don’t use a backpack very frequently, I put it in another bag or put another bag in it. Some are in boxes in the closet and any free corner of the apartment. The bags I use most frequently live under my desk.
What do you look for? What makes a bag a ‘must-have’ for your collection?
My ideal backpack offers a ton of organization, even for small items and tech gadgets. It also has a quick-access pocket where I can keep things like my phone and sunglasses. For some reason I also put a lot of emphasis on having a water bottle pocket. It sounds so simple, but a lot of bag makers have been doing away with the water bottle holder.
What turns you off a bag or carry piece?
Being from NYC, everything is very fast-paced. So the biggest turn-off is when a bag is inconvenient to get anything in or out of the bag. I need to be able to get to my stuff fast, or the backpack needs to have a quick-access compartment. I shouldn’t have to go through three separate steps just to open the bag and get my keys.
All-time favorite brand and why?
This is a tough one but I think EVERGOODS comes out on top for me. They’re simple bags but done very, very well. You can tell that the bag designers know what they’re doing and know how to design solid products that are still comfortable. If anything, they just lack the small-item organization. Boundary and Peak Design are pretty up there too. Their bags are packed full of innovative features.
Was there anything from the past that you hesitated on that you would kill to have now?
I’ve always regretted not jumping on the GR1 before the price hike. I still think about getting it pretty regularly but have always decided against pulling the trigger with its price tag. Now with their decision to move manufacturing to Asia I have even more regret for not being able to try out their USA-made ones. I’m still always on the lookout for a good deal on a GR1.
If your house was burning down and you only had enough time to grab one bag, which one would it be and why?
Only one?? I guess it’d have to be the CPL24. It’s a really versatile bag in my opinion. You can use it for daytrips, short hikes, in the workplace, almost anywhere. It’s very well-designed from both the comfort perspective, with the nice padding and contoured straps, to the way the bag packs and handles.
What’s next on the wish list?
I haven’t tried anything from The Brown Buffalo yet. I hear good things about their Conceal Backpack.
If you’ve got a carry collection you’d like to share, please reach out to us on firstname.lastname@example.org, place ‘Bag Collector’ in the subject line, and tell us a little about yourself and your collection.