Unless you’re an extreme minimalist or a wardrobe-packing wizard, chances are pretty good that you don’t carry all of your everyday gear in your pockets.
But if you’re new to this whole EDC community, you’re probably wondering: Why the heck are there so many different bags to choose from? And why do guys obsess over the details of each one?
Here’s the deal: Your choice of bag sets the foundation for the rest of your everyday carry setup. That’s true whether you stick to the basics of keys, wallet, and phone or get into the heavy tech and gadget side of the hobby.
So in this guide, we’re going to put our expertise as bag makers and gadget lovers to good use, and explain the ins and outs of finding the perfect bag for your everyday carry style.
The way you carry a bag is about more than just comfort. It’s also about style, professionalism, and practical use. That’s why there’s such a big range of bag styles to choose from: Each has their own purpose for a different type of guy and a different type of lifestyle.
Shoulder bags are easily one of the most versatile bag styles, and our most popular bags as well. From a small Man Bag to a laptop-ready Satchel or TacSac, this style of bag offers a quick, convenient, and professional looking way to store your daily essentials.
Backpacks and duffle bags definitely have their place, but they’re generally regarded as less professional looking than a shoulder bag. Still, if you’re carrying a heavy load back and forth from work or the gym most days, they’re the most practical bag for commuting. And they’re especially good for weekend getaways, where you can pack all your necessary clothes and toiletries with room to spare.
Somewhere in between the shoulder bag and backpack, you have the sling bag. This is the newest addition to our NutSac family of bags, and we’re really digging how it changes the experience of everyday carry. Its medium size is enough to hold an iPad, and the unique carrying and access systems make it especially comfortable to carry and easy to search through. Think of this style of bag as your go-to for errands and quick trips out of the house.
When it comes to bag size for everyday carry, there’s one simple rule: Less is more. That is to say, the smaller the bag you can get away with, the better — which is why backpacks are usually going to be overkill for the average dude.
Small shoulder bags clock in at two to five liters of storage capacity, making them the right fit for basic EDC setups. Our Man Bag, for example, is a perfect pocket dump; you can throw your basics into it and have a little extra room for a notepad and a pocket knife, too.
Sling bags are a step up in carrying capacity from the Man Bag, giving you room to carry a tablet with you for casual use. This is the size of bag we reach for when we want to take a quick trip to a coffee shop mid-day, but don’t need to take our full sized laptop along as well. They’re also an excellent secondary bag to pair with a backpack if you’re taking a multi-day trip, as you can use a sling as a more convenient day bag.
Full size shoulder bags are usually fitted to accommodate different sizes of laptops. If you’re a digital worker of any stripe, grabbing one of these that matches the dimensions of your laptop is a must.
Backpacks and duffel bags run the gamut from small 15 or 20 liter casual carry bags up to big 60 liter camping bags. The middle range here is best for most guys, with 25 to 30 liters being the sweet spot for weekend trips or heavy duty everyday carry.
The fabrics that are used to make a bag determine a huge part of how much you’re going to enjoy it — as well as how long it’s going to last. And there’s no shortage of materials they can be made out of, from lightweight tech fabrics to waxed canvas to ballistic nylon or leather.
Generally speaking, materials for bags work on a spectrum: The lighter it is the less durable it will be, and vice versa. But there’s a caveat too, as this is only true within each category of materials. So a heavier 1000 denier nylon bag will be tougher than a 200 denier bag, but will likely still be lighter than natural materials like leather and waxed canvas. There’s definitely more to explore here, but that’s a great place to start.
So if you want a heavy duty bag that could survive a bomb blast, you’ll also need to be ready to carry around a bit of extra weight from day to day; the same thing goes in reverse, where if you’d like an ultralight bag you’ll also need to be prepared to repair or replace it if it gets ripped.
For our NutSac bags, we like using materials that fall in that sort of “Goldilocks” range: Waxed canvas, midweight ballistic nylon, and leather. Each has a great balance between toughness, durability, and weight — and they look darned handsome as they patina, too.
So which material is right for you? Think about what you’re going to be doing with your bag on a regular basis. If you’re traveling through the city carrying a laptop, something like our TacSac or Jones Bag will offer a great blend of toughness, water resistance, and easy to carry weight. But if you’re headed out on the road with all your work from home gear, something in ballistic nylon will hold up to the rigors of travel even better.
All of the above elements won’t really mean a whole lot, though, if the bag you choose isn’t well built.
For NutSac, that means taking the extra time and money to make sure that every one of our bags is built right here in the USA. Is it more expensive? Sure. But it ensures that there’s a level of attention to detail and thoughtful craftsmanship that’s unparalleled. We’re only happy with our bags when every stitch is in place, and every last zipper and pull tab is as durable as possible.
Which Bag is Right for You?
Now that you’ve studied up on the elements of a great everyday carry bag, which one do you think is best for you? If you’re still not certain, please check out each of our bags in more detail below!