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For those who like to carry their larger sketchbooks with them (8.5 x 11 or 11 x 14) which carrying bags do you prefer? I realize this is a personal preference question but I like to hear what others find useful. I thought about a backpack but for me they seem very bulky and much larger than I would ever use. My items would be:
8.5 x 11 to 11 x 14 sketchbook
MP3 player & headphones
Messenger bags seem like a good fit but I don't see the need to spend $$$ for a trendy bag. I was looking at military style surplus bags but some reviewers complain of shoddy stitching. I love the price of these compare to Timbuk2 bags and if it get's scuffed up it won't matter as much.
So besides using a plastic grocery bag (for you smart alecks) that might offer that has helpful advice, do you use when going out and about? Also for those that have gone to museums, did you end up pocketing everything or using a waist bag (fanny pack)?
I have this Lands End shoulder bag that I've had for years that's incredibly durable, fits everything I need, and isn't too bulky, but unfortunately Lands End seems to have stopped making them. So I don't know what I'll do if/when that bag wears out... (The bag I have is black, about the size of a messenger bag, and made of sturdy heavy-duty canvas, with lots of handy pockets. The bags Lands End carries now are bigger, bulkier, and flimsier, with fewer pockets. Not so good.)
I also have a smaller, lighter EMS shoulder bag that I got at a sporting goods store, sort of a cross between a large purse and a small backpack. It's like a messenger bag cut in half. It fits two or three small sketchbooks, water, and a pencil case comfortably, and it's small enough and light enough so it won't be in the way if I'm sketching in a crowd or while hiking or something. It also has plenty of pockets. Pockets are good.
Sometimes I just throw stuff in a tote bag, if I'm just heading out to the park or something. (I collect free tote bags...)
Speaking of purses, a large purse with a shoulder strap might do the trick. Those suckers are practically as big as shoulder bags, and many of them are leather (leather bags are good - durable and waterproof.)
I use a Timbuk2 bag because it's a bike bag and it's waterproof. Most of the time when I'm going sketching I go on my bicycle. The bag has to have a chest strap so it doesn't become a necklace, and I get rained on enough that the water resistance saves my sketchbook. The only problem with it is that the one-shoulder design is hard on the back, but the only real remedy for that is a backpack.
I don't really consider the price when buying a bag because I'm going to wear it until it falls off the straps. All I really ask is that it's useable on a bike and keeps my paper dry.