For a while now, I’ve had the same backpack. It’s been my trusted bag for everything: work, travel, day tripping, etc. It carries everything I could think about needing and then some. But with some changes in my needs, I started realizing that for some situations – like going to my 3rd office that is known as Chipotle – it’s way more than I need. I need something smaller on the weekends when I’m not lugging my work laptop around.1
I needed something smaller, compact, focused. I needed a tactical bag.
So in my quest, I started thinking about what I would need for a trip for personal life, excluding work from it completely. I started developing a list of what I would need at any given time while on the go, and I was intentionally thinking of what I really needed for a day run anywhere I was going. I had some other needs as well: I wanted it to be as small as possible, have some RFID shielding, and also provide some anti-theft options. I did a lot of searching, and even asked Seth – the man who has a bag for damn near anything – about what he uses for this purpose. He had recently picked up the Pacsafe Vibe 325. It looked like a great bag, but it was a bit more than I wanted to spend.2 But when I looked for that bag on Amazon, I found a few other bags that caught my eye.
After a bit of sifting, I ended up finding the Travelon Anti-Theft Urban Sling Bag. While it doesn’t look tactical the way a GO RUCK bag does, this thing just screams urban tactical. Even though this is a small carry, it’s large enough for me to overpack it and get a lot inside of it. I ended up getting black, even though there is a gray option I might have liked more, because it blends seamlessly with the zippers.
There are a lot of anti-theft details of this bag: there are locking zippers to keep the compartments secure as you are moving around; the bag and straps have reinforced, anti-slash materials to keep the bag from being cut off my body; and the area for cards/passports are RFID shielded. These features make it a great bag for going around town, traveling to a big city via plane, train, or bicycle. I can even put a water bottle or Yeti tumbler on either side for travel.
With this bag, I’m able to fit most of what I carry on a normal basis. In the bag, I have:
- iPad Pro 11″ with Smart Keyboard Folio and Apple Pencil
- Anker Wall Charger with USB-C and USB-A ports
- Cord organizer containing: Anker Powerline+ USB-C to USB-C cable, Anker Powerline+ USB-C to Lightning cable, Apple USB-C to Lightning cable, and the Satechi Mobile Pro Hub3
- Foldable Wallet Stand
- Glyf by Studio Neat
- Joby Gorilla Pod
- Magnetic Flashlight4
- microfiber cloth
- A collapsible, reusable grocery bag in case I need increase my storage in an emergency, similar to these
- Glasses case – usually carried on the side
- reduce Water Bottle
- Personal items: Passport, corporate AMEX, a Visa gift card (for emergencies only), Kleenex, Boogie Wipes, Purell, Carmen lip balm, nail clippers, and flushable wipes
That’s a lot for me to carry on any given day; I don’t carry all of the items all the time, but it’s nice to know that I can if I want to do so. And while my goal of this bag was to be light-carry, this bag makes all of this feel minimal when I’m out and about, even when it’s packed full.
I really love the way this has turned out. I wish I could use this all the time, but there are some things that I do need to carry during the weekday which force me to use my backpack. There is, however, a clear delineation with which bag I grab now. But for the times where I need to be minimal while still being dangerous, this will be my go-to tactical bag for the future.
- Funny thing is that I decreased the weight of my work laptop by 4 lbs, but yet I still find carrying the thing a pain in my ass. ↩
- He got it for free based on his REI dividend. ↩
- This was a Secret Santa gift given to me by my cousin. It’s monogrammed on the front as well. It’s perfect for what I need. ↩
- I got this at a local store. This is the best approximation of what I have. Cannot say I recommend it because I didn’t buy this exact one, but it’s similar. YMMV. ↩