My current flight bag is a backpack. It's black, has the brand name Jaguar on it, and is in a traditional tombstone shape: flat on the bottom and curved on the top. There is a main zippered compartment with a smaller zippered compartment on the front of it, and a third, yet smaller, zippered compartment on the front of that. It looks nice and symmetrical with the three concentric zippers. In it I keep all the personal things I need to access outside of the hotel room, especially during flight: batteries, gloves, pens, lip balm, kleenex, pee bags, oxygen tester, more pens, flashlight, magnifying glass, other flashlight, extra binder clip, what the heck is this doing in here? You get the idea. It is also kind of worn out. The fabric has separated next to the zipper at the top of the largest compartment, so I can zip it closed, but it's still not completely closed.
So being busy, my first pass at solving this problem was to ignore it. The problem is not especially amenable to sewing, because the material is all frayed away from the edge, and there isn't a lot left on the zipper side to sew into. Maybe I should try to find an appropriate patch not made of duct tape, but, being a geek, my second course of action involved duct tape. The duct tape didn't last the first week of the season, so I started looking at ideas for a new bag.
I looked at the BrightLine bag over four years ago, and even had a link (now expired) to buy a discounted one, but I didn't buy one then. They've since been improved and are more modular, and I am considering them again. The blog entry I wrote then suggested that a Spider-Man backpack would be an unprofessional choice, which is amusing, because I've been considering getting a Star Trek or Top Gun backpack this time around. I also still have that leather messenger bag that I was using at the time I wrote that four year-old entry, so I think I'll try it again for a while before I buy something new. Your flight bag suggestions, links and stories happily accepted.
How about a good Aussie product...
Also being a geek, I've headed to thinkgeek for my work bags (camera bags are a different story).
I use a Bag of Holding for my everyday bag, it looks like a normal messenger bag, but carries everything (I carry three laptops with me every day and it has no trouble).
However, for a flight bag, especially if you still like to buckle it in to the non-pilot seat when working one-up, I'd have a look at the plan-b sling bag - it looks like it may do the trick.
Husband has brightline bag, he loves it except that it isn't that comfortable to carry. It doesn't sit on your shoulder well and digs in.
I get the impression that it is good if your bag goes from car seat to plane seat but if you are walking any distance carrying it then it sucks.
Avoid ASA. I had a bag from them that lasted less than a year and despite sending photos to customer support , they ignored me.
i have the back pack from Sporty's. It seems okay so far
Been using Tom Bihn bags for my 45-week-a-year travel schedule for at least 8 or 9 years. Their "Brain Bag" would probably suit you well, and they have lots of little organizers to go inside to keep related things together.
I have had a Brightline bag for a number of years. The quality appears to be okay, and it works great for most items. I second the previous poster's comments; it is not great for carrying on its own, or for other purposes, such as packing clothes.
It also may have too many pockets! It is nice if you have a 'system' and your flashlight is always in a certain pocket. However, I have had a few epic in-flight searches for a specific item... You know it is there, but just which pocket did you put it in?
If I were to do it again, I might go with a bag or backpack that only has a few compartments.
I second the vote for Tom Bihn. I've had an ID Messenger bag from them for 5 years and it still looks brand new.
I'll put in a delayed third vote for Tom Bihn. I have a 6 year old Ego messenger bag made by them. It's in perfect shape still, and they have a good reputation for warranty replacement on top of that. The two things I like most about it are the water bottle holders that cinch down, and the swappable internal compartments. I have a laptop pouch and camera insert that I quickly swap between depending on where I'm going.
Being an air ambulance pilot in Alaska, there's a lot of flying in the dark. Not that it's "night" mind you, it's just dark. Just like the north of Canada, it's daytime but the sun isn't up yet (it all gets to be confusing doesn't it) or conversely, flying in broad daylight but it's 0200 local time. Anyway, I carried a diaper bag for a few years before it wore out. A "black" diaper bag (please), none of this pink business with little white bunnies and kitties. The benefit here is that it's lined in white and it is very easy to find things if there's any light at all. The normal pilot bag is always black inside and even with a small light, items can "hide" and the black material really soaks up the light. No shoulder straps!
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