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how should I carry stuff on London jaunts

how should I carry stuff on London jaunts

Old May 15th, 2008, 11:03 AM
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I would never use a backpack - since you're just asking for someone to slit it - unless you have eyes in the back of your head. And fanny packs - how 90's. And not practical.

I have a couple of smaller Sportsac parachute nylon bags with heavy duty extendable straps that can be worn on the shoulder or bandoliere style. They weigh nothing, are expandable to hold everything you need, have several zipper compartments to secure valuables close to your body - and are practically impossible to cut through.

Have used them on more than 60 trips and never had a problem.
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Old May 15th, 2008, 11:18 AM
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Either a nylon totebag or messenger bag style (look at the Lesportsac as mentioned above for an idea what we mean) with a strap long enough to go cross-ways on your torso OR an oversized normal pocketbook (that's what I use myself).

Dont' like backpacks.
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Old May 15th, 2008, 11:46 AM
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I agree, LeSportsacs are great. Light weight, any color of the rainbow, sturdy (practically indestructible) and lots of styles.

You can often get them discounted at Loehmann’s, Ross, Marshall's, Nordstrom Rack, etc.
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Old May 15th, 2008, 12:15 PM
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nothing beats a backpack if you are carrying any weight. after years of carrying a laptop with power supply, mouse, phone, and a few notepads, i switched to a backpack. i've tried air and gel filled shoulder straps and nothing works for long walks...always end up numb. it's not healthy to have weight hanging on one shoulder. i take it off on the tube, not to be polite (whatever) but to avoid pickpockets. i also sometimes remove it in other very crowded places. many londoners use backpacks. i've walked into meetings with ceos carrying one. nobody cares.

for minimal weight, anything will do.

if you wear a 'fanny' pack, you will be mistaken for a german as they are the most prolific fanny-packers around.

you can also try one of those £1 blue and yellow ikea bags. they are pretty popular among hoxton hipsters who somehow think they are being ironic.
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Old May 15th, 2008, 01:01 PM
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I've found several bags I like the look of and have decided to test them by packing up all the stuff I want to carry, taking it to the stores, loading the bags, and trying them out. Of course, the feel of a bag after 10 minutes walking in a store is significantly different from carrying it for 8 hrs. or more.

I know from experience that carrying stuff in most bags other than backpacks really hurts my back after a while, so that's what I want to avoid. Yet I see the negatives of backpacks. I'm still hoping I can find a good compromise.
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Old May 15th, 2008, 01:44 PM
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IMHO, that is why we have pockets. We put things in the pockets so that we don't have to lug a backpack around. In a city few locals will wear backpacks or other forms of hiking equipment. Now, if you are a student all bets are off and kids will be kids.
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Old May 15th, 2008, 01:46 PM
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sallyky - You'll have no trouble understanding anything you need to know, but there are lots of words that have a completely different meaning in the UK from the US, as you've found out!
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Old May 16th, 2008, 12:25 PM
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rogeruktm -- I wish it were as easy as filling pockets. I don't have anything that would have enough pockets for a guide book, maps, tickets, small notebook, camera, water bottle, snacks,and umbrella.

I could do w/o the water, but I'm hypoglycemic and have learned always, always to have snacks with me.

I think those who live in a city wouldn't have all that stuff and so could carry what they do have more easily. And those carrying more, like a laptop to work, would not be carrying the heavier weight for 8 hours or more at a time.

I've got a list of items from the suggestions and am trying to decide on the best. When I do a trip report, I'll tell you what I got and how it worked for me.
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Old May 16th, 2008, 01:16 PM
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I carry a smart looking backpack to work every day. It's better than a briefcase for carrying papers, files, umbrella, Streetfinder, packed lunch, book, etc. I also have my handbag over my head and across my shoulder (so it can't be grabbed). Pasengers on the tube are advised to carry water in the summer, just in case, but I rarely do so.
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Old May 16th, 2008, 03:10 PM
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I was in London last October and used a backpack every day and didn't feel out of place. I was able to carry everything you listed and never had any problems with someone trying to slash pockets or straps. I took it off on the tube and checked it at the museums. I have of problems with my shoulders when I carry a purse (even when I wear it across) and I didn't have problems with the backpack.
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Old May 16th, 2008, 03:12 PM
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When people talk about pockets, they are usually recommending a "travel vest" I think. It is made especially for the purpose (places like TravelSmith or Magellen have them).
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Old May 16th, 2008, 06:20 PM
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I started using a health back bag (tear drop shaped shoulder bag) on my trips last year.

Previously I used a Le Sportsac and although it had plenty of room by the end of the day it was killing me.

I have a medium size healthy back bag and had no trouble fitting in a guidebook (or 2), maps, small(ish) water bottle, small camera in case, small umbrella and even a light weight sweather or fleece shirt. There are plenty of pockets both inside and outside the bag.

I will say these bags aren't for everyone and it took me a couple days to get used to it. When I was traveling outside cities I would wear it on one shoulder. In cities I could place it across my body and keep the zipper close to my body (pickpocket deterent).

The bag I have is a microfiber material, but they make them in nylon and leather too. I like the microfiber because it is water repellent and I can roll it up and put it in my larger carry-on bag and take it out when I get to my destination.

I got my bag on Amazon.com, but I know they are also sold in the LL Bean catalogue, TravelSmith and I believe they carry them in AAA travel agencies/stores. They come in sizes X-small to X-large. I found the medium size worked best for me...not too big and not too small.
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Old May 18th, 2008, 01:28 PM
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You mentioned back problems? Stick to a decent backpack designed to distribute the weight with well padded straps. Why exacerbate the problem?
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Old May 22nd, 2008, 06:21 PM
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I got a bag! I decided to look in a few stores before ordering online Mostly they had Eagle Creek stuff, but that was OK because I like EC.

I had picked the EC Instant Messenger from their online store, but couldn't find it in person, though I found ones much the same but bigger and smaller. I knew they wouldn't work because I had taken the stuff I think I'll carry and loaded the bags up and tried them. ;-) I loved the layout, but it has only the shoulder strap.

Then I found a bag called the Scout. It has a handle, a shoulder strap and a waist belt, so I can carry it several different ways and my back should be OK. It has lots of pockets and places for various items. I think I'll like it.
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Old May 23rd, 2008, 12:43 AM
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I did a double take at the word "vest" until I remembered that it's the American for waistcoat. Pants are also underwear.

When I lived in the US, I had a colleague who was an expert on all things British.
I wonder if she posts on this forum ;-)

Anyway, she informed me that supermarket shopping must be a big treat for me as there are no supermarkets in the UK.
She was also adamant that British men don't wear underwear.
It was in vain to plead that Marks and Sparks would go bankrupt if they didn't.
I can only think that she or somebody else had asked an Englishman what he wore under his vest and pants.
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