The Best EDC (Every Day Carry) Backpack – Reviews for 2017
So you’ve hit that threshold that modern society is increasingly running us all into: too many things to keep track of and need on hand at all times. Your pockets stopped cutting it a long time ago, and you’re sick of having a half-dozen cases/bags to keep track of, but not really feeling a briefcase. Welcome to the EDC (every day carry) backpack world. This guide is designed to give you a simple way to think about how to accommodate your needs in an efficient way, and my personal favorite suggestions for the most likely EDC scenarios you’ll face in a modern urban environment.
The simplest way to break down your daily carry needs is to start with your biggest item. Think about stacking everything like a pile of books, with the largest one on bottom. For most people, this is going to mean your electronic devices, so that is how this list is organized. Three different bags assuming your biggest item is your Laptop, tablet, or phone. In a case where this assumption isn’t accurate, just substitute your largest item and consider it in comparison to the item I base the selection on. There are of course, bigger EDC bags if you feel you need one. Barring that though, let’s look at the three most common situations.
There were several considerations in choosing this particular bag. First, because the items beside a laptop could vary wildly from person to person, I desperately wanted to find a bag with side straps to keep things inside, snug. You don’t want things shifting around incessantly inside your bag.
MOLLE integration is also a staple of such a bag. Keeping things organized is a core component of keeping one of these bags, so the ability to add purpose chosen pouches for your various [daily] accoutrements is invaluable.
Quality was a huge issue. If EDC truly means Every Day, then this bag has to stand up to regular use. There were several other bags that I really liked, but the reviews had too many claims about poor stitching, which is a non-starter. No bag will last forever, but they should never come out of the package with signs of poor manufacturing, or have holes within weeks. An EDC bag needs to be able to last under continuous, and heavy use. Some of these will have heavy items in them.
Finally, (and of course) price was a consideration. Can you get better bags with similar designs, and more room? Absolutely, but you’re going to shell out 2-3 times as much money for diminishing returns. I liken this to paying for Beats headphones, when there are JBL sets with equivalent performance for one quarter the cost. If you want the social bonus points, go for it, but it’s not necessary, or efficient, which in my mind is contraindicated by the thinking behind getting a bag like this in the first place.
I approached finding this bag with the same scrutiny as the larger one, save for the need to have compression straps along the side. Some of the things that were of particular issue here were finding a bag that was good quality, and efficient size (these things seem to have a negative correlation), but also accommodated a large array of common tablets. Sadly another bag I found that was great, did not have room for an iPad 2, which to me is just foolish.
I like this bag, personally, a little more than the larger one (though I do need something big enough for a full-size laptop), because it’s purpose built, and avoids excess. In addition, it’s possible to wear the bag in different configurations (such as front carry) without it being grossly uncomfortable. Versatility is a corner-stone for efficiency. The only downside is that you can fatigue one side of your body, if there’s a lot of heavy items in the bag, which can lead to muscular imbalances and a whole host of other physical complications. If you start to notice this, don’t be too proud to switch shoulders. Your fitness trainer will thank you.
Phone / mini-tablet
You may notice this size bag, uniquely, has two options. I really wanted to stay away from the extra straps of the X-Freedom model, but it has several advantages.
First, the Reebow requires that you be wearing a belt, which I realize not everyone does these days. More importantly than that though, it doesn’t seem incredibly easy to get off and on, securely. Problem is, I could not find a pouch that simply slipped on and off like an old cell phone belt clip. Which may spell an opportunity for the more entrepreneurial among you.
Other than that, the belt pouch is extremely minimal. If you need space for anything more than the common things one might keep in their pockets, we might run into problems. Which also makes the Reebow more of a fashion accessory to some extent, other than the fact that you will always have everything (keys, wallet, phone, etc) in one place. But fashion isn’t a terrible reason either. Fitted pants with awkward bulges where your wallet and phone are, defeats the purpose of dressing so well.
So in light of that, I added the tactical drop leg pouch. Just make sure you have need for the space. It also has the added benefit of being able to snap on and off quickly (as opposed to stuffing straps in your belt and trying to snap them on), via the buckles. I would wear the upper strap comfortably and rely on the leg strap to secure it snugly against your leg. The less movement, the better. Both in terms of keeping things organized, and longevity of the bag itself.
I hope you found one you like, and will also keep the thought process in your toolkit. As time goes on, you can expect your usage needs and preferences to change. So more than anything, I want you take with you, the process of choosing a bag, and shopping searches to be more efficient for you in the future.