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Home » The Vine

The Vine: February 15, 2013

Submitted by on February 15, 2013 – 10:06 AM32 Comments


I need a bag.

This is for a friend. She likes this bag. Well, she likes the size, and she likes the style, the way it's designed to rest against the body. She really doesn't like the fabric it's made out of (it's a sort of cotton twill I think — gets too heavy in the rain), and isn't that impressed with the weird flappy style.

She needs a bag with:

  • multiple compartments. At least 3 or 4.
  • room for a steno-pad sort of size of sketch pad (Kindle, etc.)
  • made out of a lightweight fabric, like microfibre or nylon.
  • it must rest against the body — so a standard handbag isn't the right option. The photograph of the bag, on the webpage, being worn by an embarrassed-looking young man, shows you the way it's designed.

 She isn't that bothered about how it looks. UK-based options are best, but others can be considered.


I have emailed the Healthy Back Bag people, but they are more invested in their teardrop-shaped bags, which are not great for sketchbooks. Getting it made for her may be our best option, and I'll dig into that one, but I'm wondering if there's an off the shelf option I'm not seeing.



I was a big reader as a kid, and practically lived in the library downtown. There was a series of books (2 or more) about a Professor Mycos from another planet with mushrooms and rockets ships and I'll be damned if I can recall what it was. Perhaps the all-knowing readership can help me out?



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  • bristlesage says:

    Kate, if your books aren't the Mushroom Kingdom books, well, I'll be interested to find out what they are. The professor in the Mushroom Kingdom books isn't named Mycos but Tyco, though.

    A hen plays a pivotal role in the first book. HEN.

  • Sarah D. Bunting says:

    Sarah D. Bunting likes this.

  • Louisa says:

    Joy – Try the Baggallini bags. They're available in the UK, made of a wonderful fabric that is water resistant, have many pockets for different things. I have had a few of them, from tiny wallet sized ones to bigger messenger styles and they've all been well built and very useful. I have one specifically that fits my iPad and Kindle.

  • Betsy says:

    Kate, there's a book called "The Wonderful Flight to the Mushroom Planet" that was followed up by a few more. I only read some excerpts in Cricket magazine, so I don't remember a Prof. Mycos, but they might be worth a look

  • Kate Smith says:

    bristlesage, thank you! I KNEW the TN readers would know. I found it in the county library system, and I can't wait to read it again.

    As we say here in the South, bless your heart!

  • Brigid says:

    I HIGHLY recommend a Baggalini bag! They come in all sorts of sizes, are pretty water-resistant and hold WAY more than they look like they should. I love mine so much that I want to buy one in every shape and size! And they aren't ugly either. Amazon carries them so it should be easy to find one in the right size and color.

  • Yoshi says:

    Joy: I am SUPER picky about bags and have many of the same requirements as your friend. After more than a year of looking for a new bag, I finally had luck at Vegan Wares in Melbourne. They're not cheap, but the bloody things last for years and look awesome on top of it. You can see their standard styles at, but I also know that they'll work with you to alter those designs if necessary – for example, I got the Pasadena bag and was debating changing the shape so it was longer instead of taller, and they were great about it. You can choose the colour of the bag and the stitching/lining as well.

    I will say that their website is blah and a bit out-of-date (e.g., they have other colours available now), so the best way is probably to e-mail them and discuss options. But they're quick to reply and heaps friendly and accommodating, so it's no dramas.

    Good-luck wishes to your friend. I feel her pain.

  • SorchaRei says:

    I can't make your link work, Joy, so I can't see the bag your friend likes. I used Healthy Back bags for years, until I needed something smaller and the didn't make Bagletts yet. So I switched to Bagallini, and let me tell, those things last forever, and they come in a wide variety of designs, including several that have tablet slots.

    I will note that I have found that some of them work better with my body than others, and not the ones I might expect. So, I think it's key to find a retail outlet where you can try out various options.

  • Sarah D. Bunting says:

    Link should work now.

  • Danielle says:

    Another vote for Baggalini bags. They are perfect. Lots of compartments, nylon, a bunch of fun colours. Love them!

  • Jobiska says:

    Both and (or, which I learned here on TN is Zappo's cheaper sister? Oh, that sounds bad, but you know what I mean) let you search for cross-body bags. For security, I only use cross-body bags, and also if it's just on one of my sloped shoulders it slides right off anyway. I like LeSportsac, which certainly don't waste any weight on the fabric. I once upended almost a full can of soda into one (luckily my electronics were not in it) and it washed right out. They wear like iron.

    I am super picky, and I like, if you will, "landscape"-oriented bags rather than "portrait," because I can never find anything in them anyway and the deeper, the more difficult. So my favorite orientation does not seem to be your friend's preferred orientation, but all these shopping sites do provide measurements so you could see if a more up-and-down one would fit the sketch pad or Kindle. I do fit a 5.5" x 8.5" planner into my "Deluxe Everyday" style from LeSportsac with ease.

  • Lindsay says:

    Adding my voice to the Baggalini fans – I can't live without mine and it definitely meets all of your friends requirements!

  • A.L. says:

    Try M.Z. Wallace for bags — they're amazingly roomy without being bulky (inside and outside pockets galore), they come in lots of colors, and they're made of water resistant, super light teflon coated nylon. The Hayley sits close to the body:

  • Rebecca says:

    Timbuk2 is a US based company so I'm not sure of their UK availability (although, now that I think about it, some German friends of mine have them so they must be available in Europe somewhere…). But they make great bags that can be customized with patterns and colors. They are very popular in Silicon Valley since they are a local company, but they are also very practical and built for carrying gadgets safely and comfortably.

  • Molly says:

    Oh, man, when I saw "mushroom professors from space" in Sarah's Twitter feed I knew immediately that someone was looking for Wonderful Flight to the Mushroom Planet et al, and here I've been beaten to the punch. :-(

    Joy, this is sort of a random suggestion, but have you looked at the messenger bag that Barnes & Noble sells in the same category as Nook cases? They have a separate pocket that's supposed to be specially sized for an e-reader (hence the category), and IIRC, they're made out of some sort of nylon or waterproofing-coated fabric.

  • Angharad says:

    Joy, I have a lot of the same requirements as your friend when it comes to bags, and I've had much better luck looking at luggage and travel companies.

    Magellan's ships internationally and has a wide selection (this particular bag does adjust to a crossbody, by the way, even though it's shown as a shoulder bag):

    Eagle Creek has a good selection, as well. I believe they have brick-and-mortar retailers in the UK:

  • Maria says:

    Zappos's Cheaper Sister is the name of my next album.

    Also I would now very much like a Baggallini bag.

  • Kimra says:

    They're not based in the UK (but they will ship anywhere), but Rickshaw Bags are my new love. I have both a mini and a medium Zero messenger. Both hold more than they say they will (e.g. the medium says it only supports up to a 13" laptop, but it actually holds my 15" macbook, and I can stuff bike locks, shoes, a notebook, a wallet, sunglasses, lunch, and a sweater into the mini), and you can customize the colors and (to some extent) the fabrics. Three pockets are standard, and you can buy various velcro pockets and other accessories to attach to the inside if you really want to trick the thing out. Standard fabric is some sort of nylon.

  • bristlesage says:

    In re: HEN

    I know Buntnip when I see it.

    And I'm glad I could help, Kate!

  • Nanc in Ashland says:

    I must be the only person on earth who doesn't like Baggalini bags! Joy, your friend might find something at Eagle Creek. Expensive, but I've had one for 20 years and I spent 10 of those years flying for work every month or so. I've thrown that sucker in the washer and dryer (especially after the mocha incident at O'Hare airport!) and it still looks great. Two years ago my local shoe repair guy replaced a zipper on one of the smaller pockets but otherwise it's worn very well.

  • Mouse says:

    Another Baggallini fan here. They're lightweight, tough and come in all shapes and sizes with compartments for everything. My favorite is the Large Wallet Bagge which is a cross-body bag but too small for your needs. I'm sure you can find one that's perfect, though.

  • Kim says:

    I'm a big fan of the bags by Queen Bee Creations in Portland, OR:

    The Trucker and Truckette models are vegan/vinyl, so any grunge wipes off, and with a cross-body seatbelt strap. They last forever; I use one as a daily purse and it's at least 6 years old. (I finally blew out the seams on my previous one after forcing it through excessive carry-on duties, but I'd had it for more than a decade!) You can get a simple design with just some subtle decorative stitching, but it being P-town they will put a bird on it if you'd rather. They also ship internationally, though that can get costly.

  • Maria says:

    This one isn't microfiber, but it has 4 compartments, will fit a Kindle, is cross body, and is from a UK supplier.

  • Laura says:

    I have an older version of this bag from Mountain Equipment Co-op (Canada), and it seems impossible to wear out:

    It's not waterproof, but only in an absolute deluge (or after a long hike in the rain) has stuff inside become damp. It's really a great bag!

    Oh, rats. I just looked up their rates for shipping internationally and it's very expensive. If you like this one, I can send it to you for way less.

  • Claire says:

    For anyone looking for cross-body nylon bags: try looking for diaper bags. Lots of compartments & generally designed to be easy to clean.

  • s says:

    HIGHWAY BAG. I love mine so much. It's gone through about 4 years of constant use, and it has absolutely no evidence of wear. Like, NOTHING. Not even a loose thread. And even the tinier ones hold a ton of stuff.

  • Morgan says:

    I'll second the Queen Bee bag suggestion. The bag I use as a purse (truckette) has inspired at least 3 other people to buy one. Not only are the bags durable and vegan – it seems like a great group of people to support.

  • Nikki says:

    You know, I don't own any Baggallini bags, but this one definitely fits the requirements you state: lightweight, large enough, rests against the body (and it's even water resistant).

  • Bo says:

    Thank you SO much! I've had my problem solved without even having to write a letter. The Baggalini site is having a 25% off sale for February and I found the perfect little Nook-friendly, multi-pocketed, cross-body bag in Flyers-close coral and dark gray. I've been hunting and hunting and the ones as small as I'd like in profile are too shallow to carry glassed and inhaler and phone and Nook. But the one I got is 3" deep (not the usual 2") and I think is going to be perfect when it arrives in the next couple of weeks. The Nation is powerful!

  • Lianne says:

    I'm a little late, but I'm another vote for Baggallini. I specially got mine — the Everywhere Bagg — so I could carry my Kindle as well as have pockets and places for assorted other things. I also REALLY like Baggallini because they use sturdy zippers instead of snaps/velcro/flaps. I want things to stay put if I turn the thing upside-down. They've got lots of other ones, too, and lots of cross-body wear ones. I insist on being able to have my hands free and no fear of it falling off my shoulder while I'm carrying my purse.

    I love it. I've been using a different Baggallini bag for years, so I can attest to the sturdiness in general. But I'm afraid I've retired that one since getting the Everywhere bagg… it's just too useful!

  • Bo says:

    Apparently, I have Baggallini disorder. They send the wrong bag (even though the packing slip has the number of the right bag) and three weeks, 2 calls, and 2 emails later I still don't have the FedEx slip for the free return after which they'll happily send the right bag. Which I don't want any more because…well, would you?

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