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Talking Carry Cultures

by , January 27, 2011

What influences how we carry

What influences how we carry?

I love how radically adaptable humans are. If you live in Alaska, you learn to love 40 below temperatures for how light the snow will be. If you live in Bali, you learn to love never needing a jacket, and playing in rain without getting a chill.

Carrying cultures also vary radically, and my latest theory is that the two biggest influences on it are work and transport…

If you hang in Tokyo, it’s mostly salarymen carrying small black attaches by train. The slim and discreet profile looks great in an office, the single strap or handles are sufficient for short runs between the office and station, and there’s vending machines adorning every platform if you need a quick bite (so you don’t need to carry much food or drink).

If you hang in San Francisco, you’re probably working for a young company in less formal attire, and hauling a big water resistant messenger that lets you pick up shopping on your bike commute home. If you’re in Idaho, you don’t really have a bag, as you just throw everything in the back of your pick-up on your way to the potato farm.

London? That’s more about your fancy wallet, where just stepping out your door seems to require handing over pound notes, so you want to look good shouting the boss a pint.

Trains are pretty undemanding carry environments

Yes, yes, I’m generalizing, but you get the drift. Those leather attaches are pretty useless on a wet ride home in San Fran, but few Tokyo office workers ride, so they work great there. And those big SF messengers are really disrespectful in a Tokyo office, as it shows you value your commute more than your office time.

What’s the carry culture that I hang in? Hmmm, it’s a beach/country/town/self-employed mess. I have IKEA bags for hauling clothes in the car, a van for hauling surfboards, a few bags for office trips by bike, and a water resistant wallet for all the gunk that accumulates along the varied way. Yeah, I’m a carry conundrum.

How about you? Any interesting carry culture that you hang in? We’re always curious about what seems to work for all those peculiar combinations out there…

End note: One of the most exciting areas of carry is when you take work out of the equation. Walking around Hong Kong or Tokyo on a Sunday, you get to see crew out for the day still using trains as their transport. That’s when you get waist bags slung over shoulders, and crazy little leather satchels intended to haul your everyday carry with minimum intrusion. Put those in a car dominated culture though, and you have to constantly shout ‘it’s European!‘ to justify your manbag.


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