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how should I carry stuff on London jaunts

how should I carry stuff on London jaunts

Old May 14th, 2008, 05:32 PM
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how should I carry stuff on London jaunts

I've been thinking and thinking about how best to carry my stuff whilst doing all the touristy things in London. I'd like to carry camera, water bottle, mini umbrella or rain poncho, snacks, and maybe a small notebook.

Money and similar stuff I'll put in a waist wallet out of sight. But I don't know whether a back pack would be good for the rest. Will they let me into museums w/a backpack? Can the straps be slashed and it run off with? Or things taken w/o my being aware?

A fanny pack kind of thing, worn in front, would be good except for not having room for a water bottle.

I have looked at a thing called a Buxton bag (just 20 USD). It claims to hold lots and be kind to the back. Does anyone have any experience with them?

Or I could carry a more traditional bag, but worry a bit about my back and shoulders getting sore.

Your advice will be much appreciated. Thanks!
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Old May 14th, 2008, 06:51 PM
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While I sometimes carry a knapsack when we're traipsing around rural areas, for city days I usually carry those types of things in a nice tote bag over my shoulder. In cool weather I carry one by Chapelier that is nylon and lightweight and even fits my digital slr camera in its case. In the summer months I carry a printed cotton bag that is the same size.

To me a backpack/knapsack is too unwieldy for the sidewalks and public transporation of a city like London. And museums usually do require them to be checked, but I almost always want to check my bag in a museum. I don't want to carry all that (jacket, umbrella, guide book, etc.) around the museum.
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Old May 14th, 2008, 06:54 PM
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I carry a small backpack with me whenever I travel to London, I can't remember any place that they made me check it although they did make me take it off my shoulders at Harrod's and carry it. I don't typically keep anything all that valuable in there, I try to keep my money and credit cards in my front pockets but I usually have my camera in there and thus far no one has fussed with it.

I always swing it in front of me when I'm on crowded escalators or in elevators or really tight crowds where pickpocketing would be very easy.

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Old May 14th, 2008, 06:54 PM
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sally, I put everything (yes, umbrella too!) in my purse and carry it across my shoulder. I usually keep a credit card and some cash in my front pant pocket.
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Old May 14th, 2008, 06:57 PM
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I've been to a lot of museums in London and I don't recall them ever making me check my backpack, kind of odd really as most museums do in the US. Since almost all of them are free, they don't really have any admission control
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Old May 14th, 2008, 09:57 PM
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Londoners rarely carry anything! They like to have both hands free. Why drag around a bottle of water! Acquire a travel vest. Fasten gear to the vest pockets with short lines. Secure your camera with a strap around your neck. Tuck it into a vest pocket. Purses, back packs and fanny packs are all 'invitations' to thieves. Sit down somewhere and observe the pedestrian traffic. What are they carrying?
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Old May 14th, 2008, 10:30 PM
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I think the ideal is a soft, fabric-only backpack as opposed to those bulky, padded ones. You want one that can become small and almost flat when you're hardly carrying anything, and can 'expand' to fit larger items if needed.

As for what Londoners use themselves, shoulder bags that you sling over your head, so the strap crosses over your chest are quite common.
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Old May 14th, 2008, 10:44 PM
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None of those things are large or heavy. They would all easily fit in a moderately sized handbag. I personally avoid using a backpack/daypack. Why feel like a packhorse. I sometimes carry a small water bottle - but usually just stop to get a drink when thirsty.

Whatever you do - no, no, no, don't schlepp around wearing a belt bag (fanny pack).
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Old May 15th, 2008, 01:11 AM
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Fanny packs *titter* and travel vests(whatever they are) will mark you out as a yank faster than anything else.

Most of us locals have either a hand bag (bints) or a small ruck sack or case (blokes). We dont get pickpocketted.
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Old May 15th, 2008, 01:18 AM
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Packs for fannys, what will they think of next!
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Old May 15th, 2008, 01:47 AM
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If you decide on a backpack, please be considerate and remove it when using the tube.

I cann manage all you want to carry in my purse, though I do skip the water bottle. There are drinking fountains in musuems.
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Old May 15th, 2008, 03:27 AM
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I just carry a tote bag. One of those flat ones with handles long enough to carry on my shoulder.
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Old May 15th, 2008, 03:41 AM
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I can't stand backpacks. Everytime you want to take something out you have to take it off. And the ONLY time I've ever been pickpocketed on the Tube was when I was wearing one - some little blighter just unzipped a pocket on the back, stole my camera, and then took a photo of me as he got off the train!

As someone who roams around London, to and from work, every day and carries a lot more than you do (laptop, books, notebooks, diary, wallet, phone, keys, you get the picture), I carry everything in a leather bag that has a wide strap slings across the shoulder. It's comfortable, doesn't get in anyone's way, and is very secure. I wouldn't dream of carrying my valuables in a wasitband thingie - what a pain.
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Old May 15th, 2008, 06:58 AM
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I have a purse similar to the Buxton bag and I love it. You can carry everything and it goes across your shoulder so your hands are free.
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Old May 15th, 2008, 07:06 AM
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I've used the Timbuktu Metro messenger bag for my last 3 trips. It's made of really sturdy, waterproof material and allows me to carry the necessities without being so big as to encourage me to overpack. I also felt like I blended in with the locals as you see more people carry messenger style bags than anything else.

Timbuktu now makes a small cargo tote which has a zippered top if you don't like the look of the Metro messenger bag (and has the benefit of the long strap like the messenger bag). I got mine from ebags.com but I think they're available from Zappos as well.
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Old May 15th, 2008, 07:25 AM
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I always carry a small backpack or one strap shoulder sling with padding.

Museums in London do a quick security check of bags on entry and huge backpacks (camping variety) do need to be checked but regular sized ones don't.

Carry whatever is most comfortable for you. I've seen all sorts of bags on the Tube and in museums.
I doubt that anyone would be able to remove anything without your knowledge.
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Old May 15th, 2008, 07:42 AM
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I've used this North Face bag (http://tinyurl.com/5pvckb) in many places, including London, and love it. I wear it across my chest and have both hands free if necessary, although I usually rest my arm on top of it to make sure no one can sneak in. The main compartment has a magnetic closure, but there are two zipper compartments to store valuables in. It holds my Nalgene bottle (one that fits in my car's cup holder), a small umbrella, wallet, camera, maps, small notebook or book to read, and an apple, granola bar, or whatever else I'm carrying around as a snack. It's a lot easier to access than a backpack (and looks better, I think). Never had to check it in a museum or anywhere.

(If you're in London, please don't refer to anything as a "fanny pack"... http://tinyurl.com/5f2fel)
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Old May 15th, 2008, 07:54 AM
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jent103 -- Thanks so much for the language lesson! And just think -- it was not so long ago someone said that, coming form the US, I would not have trouble with the language. Yikes! I think I'll look over the whole site and see where else I might go astray.

Thanks too for the link ot the bag. I'll check it out.
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Old May 15th, 2008, 08:06 AM
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I have a Civita day pack which I love. I use tiny locks to secure the zippers so I don't worry about someone pickpocketing me from behind. I take it off and hold it when I'm on a train or bus so I don't whack people with it. Civita also makes a shoulder bag. For detailed information on both items, go here: http://tinyurl.com/6wfr.
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Old May 15th, 2008, 08:08 AM
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I spend a fair bit of time in London and carry my stuff in a small backpack. I seem to recall being asked to carry it in my hand in a museum, though I can't remember which one, but I've never been asked to check it.

In theory the straps could be slashed off and someone could run off with it, but the same applies to a "fanny" pack - you might want to refer to that as a bum bag while you're over here...

Oh, and if you mention pants or suspenders over here, we'll think you're talking about underpants and garter belts!

As whether or not to take bottles of water, it depends on how cheapskate you are. If you're in a touristy area, you could end up paying a lot.

If I'm out for the day in London I take a bottle of tap water, which is perfectly safe to drink btw. You may not like the taste though, it does vary widely from area to area.
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