Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag

A year and a half ago, I wrote about my find of a wonderful, cheap bag.

I also noted that I am a bag fanatic.

Today, I present my brand new murse* and tell you why I like it.  This one cost lots more than the last one, but the Prior Bag was starting to show some signs of fraying, and it had survived my bike crash, and, well, I was getting itchy for something new.  So


The bag in question is a Manhattan Portage Europa, size medium.

There are many things this bag has in common with PB.  It’s similar in size.  It has two fastex-type buckles.  And it has a sewn-in strap.  Size is important–you want a bag big enough to carry file folders and notebooks, but not so big that things will flop around.  And that’s one of the reasons I like this one better.  Less flopping.

First, the main compartment is narrow, at 3.5 inches.  There’s a zipper around the perimeter that opens a fold and allows the bag to go to 7″ at the bottom.  Whatever you put in has to fit through the 3.5″ opening, but once it’s in, it’s got room.  So, great for fat books, etc.

Second, there’s a divder in the main compartment.  It’s intended to stuff folder, etc., into, but it works great for my little notebook computer (a Lenovo Thinkpad X100e.  Once it’s in place, the main compartment is closer to 2.5″, even better.  There’s also a pocket on the back of the bag.  When I was younger, I loved pockets like this because I could slide a folded newspaper right in, and pull it out on the bus or train to read.  I no longer get my news from dead trees, but an open pocket is always a good thing.  A folder I’m working on, or a plane ticket, can easily go in there.

And the pièce de résistance  is a zipper pocket on the flap.  Why is this so great, you ask?  I’ll tell you.  It’s a place for junk you need, and it’s less cumbersome than unclipping the fastext.  Specifically, it’s a place for phone, earbuds, sunglasses, that sort of thing.  It would be nice if it had some kind of organizer in it, but I can pretty much find what I need by touch alone.

Speaking of organizers, that’s the one place the Europa falls down, in my opinionated view.  Instead of an organizer, there’s just a large front zipper pocket,  It holds a lot of stuff, but you need to organize it yourself.  Not hard to do–but having extra pouches seems kind of silly.  I may have to do some surgery to add some pockets.

Final thing to like about this bag:  The red label?  It’s sewn on, not glued.  Thirty seconds with a knife and it’s off. 

Overall, I like this bag a lot.  I just wish it was less costly!

*Murse:  man-purse, man bag, etc.  A bunch of terms for the bag that you claim is a briefcase but that you actually use to haul your stuff around.

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