The Handbag Search

Ever since my kids were born – this is more than 15 years now – I have carried a backpack with me everywhere. It was easiest to manage when my hands were full of babies and strollers; it had room for all the stuff I needed to carry around, plus two convenient water bottle holders. Eventually I moved down from a full sized backpack to a cute little day pack but I still looked like a perpetual university student on her way to class.

Now that the kids are bigger, I don’t carry around as much stuff anymore (but don’t get me wrong, I still am anything but a light traveller). So lately I have been wanting to ditch my daypack for something that falls more into the “handbag” genre, but I can’t find anything that works.

My shoulders are weirdly rounded – I assume, because anything that follows the traditional one-strap style just slips off my shoulder all the time and is SO annoying. But bags like a cargo bags, where you sling the strap across your body, are uncomfortable and rub on my neck and make my chest look weird.

I need something big enough to hold my giant wallet and several smaller personal items and a camera and a phone and keys. It can’t be anything to narrow because my wallet is really, really fat. And it can’t be anything too deep as I hate having to dig in the bottom of an endless Mary Poppins style bag for the one small little thing I need.

I’d love it to have a bottle holder, so my ever-present bottle of water doesn’t leak all over the inside. But that seems to be kind of a pipe dream so I’m willing to let that one go.

And I have security issues so things that are open at the top, or just close with a little magnetic snap, are out.

What do you use to carry around your stuff? What do you recommend?

6 thoughts on “The Handbag Search

  1. Lily

    The bag I use won’t meet all of your needs– it’s an older Haiku bag that’s apparently been discontinued and isn’t a handbag style. It’s a crossbody/one-strap type. What I like about it is that it has zips on all of the openings, is big enough to fit my ipad, 1 thicker trade paperback or a couple of regular paperbacks, my wallet (a large wristlet style), and a couple of Luna bars. I can put water bottles in it, but it doesn’t have a holder.

    You might want to check out the brand to see if there’s anything that fits your needs. Looking at their website right now, they talk about security features and rfid blocking– so it seems like they’re at least in sync with some of what you’re wanting.

  2. I’m a less is more kinda gal but it depends where I’m going. So a backpack is not required most of the time…but my phone and debit card are in my handy little baggie I wear everywhere I go so that my hands are free.

  3. Zhu

    I splurge on handbags now. I wouldn’t recommend Fossil because the bag had many issues and I ended up returning it. I like Coach: My first one was about $150, the new one I bought last June was $80 on sale. I went from a big wallet and big everything to… the same, but much smaller. I’m tired of big bags. The one I have now is super small but guess what, it holds everything I need: wallet, keys, phone and cigarettes!

    You may want to look into Espe as well, they have nice stuff (and they are Canadian!)

  4. Shyla

    I like Lug, it’s lightweight, has water bottle holder and organized pockets. Bonus: it’s in MARKHAM and has great warehouse sales!

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