What We Want: When Pockets Aren't Enough
As important it is for your carry to hit that sweet spot of “just enough” gear, the reality is that for many of us, pockets alone aren’t enough. This holds especially true for people who commute, work remotely, travel, or require some extensive equipment to get through the day. Backpacks and messengers are more obvious ways to carry around the rest of our essentials, but even those can lead to “overcarrying” because of the extra space they afford.
In this post, we’ll take an informal look into a growing but often overlooked class of packs — more than an extra pocket, but less than a full-on daypack, and far from a “murse”. If you’ve been looking for something to carry a few extra things like sunglasses, a water bottle, a notebook, a point-and-shoot, or even a backup EDC pouch, you might find what you’re looking for in our editors’ picks below.
Bernard’s Pick: DSPTCH Waist Bag
I just moved to New York City, and I’ve quickly realized that my carry needed to adapt to handle this huge, fast-paced city. Right now, I use a DSPTCH Slingpack for everything — whether I’m working or not. My 15” laptop and mobile office gear is a tight fit and a single strap isn’t the most comfortable for that type of load (I’d opt for their Daypack instead). When I’m just out running errands, the Sling is more than needed and can get cumbersome in a crowded train.
For things like a notebook, pens, my Kindle, external battery, and other loose things, I’ve got my eye on their Waist Bag. It’s sleek, close to the body, easily accessible, and made with the same military-inspired urban design language. I really like being able to swing my bag around to get to something without having to take it off for both accessibility and security. There are a few others I’ve had my eye on, like the CargoWorks Utility Sling, the Loft of Cambie Urban Pack (not quite my style of colors though), and even the Topo Trip Pack.
Ultimately, the DSPTCH Waist Bag sits at the top of my list for its “just-right” size and super streamlined form factor for getting things done in the city.
Top Pick: DSPTCH Fidlock Waist Bag ($92)
Ed’s Pick: The Mountain Brief by Topo Designs
I carry a 15” Laptop and a camera on a daily basis, and it’s nice to have a bag that I enjoy that securely and easily carries what I need. I love the way the bag looks, the vintage camping aesthetic and leather accents make it stand out from a regular boring briefcase. Cordura construction is weather resistant and durable. The versatile 3-way carry system (hand straps, removable messenger style strap, integrated backpack shoulder straps) has come in handy many times when I needed the free hand or simply got tired of carrying the pack.
My typical pocketed EDC includes a folding knife, wallet, watch, phone and keys, so the bag is great for everything else. I’ve also added a Grid-It to the front zippered pouch in the bag for addition organization and gear retention. It helps me keep everything in place and easily accessible as soon as I need it.
Top Pick: Topo Designs Mountain Brief ($149)
Mikey’s Pick: RUSH MOAB 6 by 5.11 Tactical
I EDC the 5.11 MOAB 10 as my daily commuter to accommodate the 12" laptop I use for work, and given how much I enjoy that bag and its features, it's no surprise that my pick is its smaller sibling, the RUSH MOAB 6. I absolutely swear by the fit and finish of 5.11's packs, and though they style more towards the tactical end of the spectrum, I'm willing to give up a bit of flair in exchange for sheer resilience.
Like my MOAB 10, the 6 has an ambidextrous, padded strap with an integrated tech pocket, and has a roomy main compartment with organized sections for your carry. All of these are sealed up in military-grade 1050D nylon with a MOLLE platform webbed exterior, and quite simply the best straps and zipper fittings on the market. It sounds like overkill, but I wouldn't reach for any other bag if I needed a sturdy pack to store my kit, especially since I find myself in many situations where I'm walking around in crowded areas.
Top Pick: 5.11 RUSH MOAB 6 ($70)
That’s all for smaller packs. Are you on the hunt for a really specific product to round out your carry? Maybe we and the rest of the EDC community can help! Shoot us an email here and ask us for a recommendation for that missing piece in your EDC.