Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Shopping for the Ultimate Messenger Bag for Men

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After purchasing a super high-end device like the Asus Transformer Prime, I need an equally impressive bag to carry it with. My older red bag in which I got from the Berlin Film Festival two years ago is still with me, but has become somewhat faded from extreme usage. That bag was my first messenger bag type I carried, and I got really easy using this sort of bag - with a sling and rectangular body type. The pouch area is torn and now have a huge opening below, so I must be careful not to put anything into the pouch. I'm surprised it's so easily torn, perhaps due to that area is where I usually place my house keys into with so many sharp edges of the keys jangling inside.

The best time to buy new bags I believe is towards the end of the year. That time is when the big sales are everywhere in KL. One especially that caught my eye was when I saw this bag being carried around by another guy, and was impressed at how "big" it looks, which would be ideal for me to stuff in all my belongings. I managed to caught a glimpse of the the brand name: "Sub Zero", but not the other "Sub" brand that is well-known. This is the other messenger bag, with PLENTY of pockets to put in. I love it for I could then separate my stuff into little, little categories. Ahem, for example, condoms, keys etc....That love at first sight frantically set me into motion for the search for that exact type of bag, no matter what.

Messenger or Back Pack
It's as if by fate that during my search I came across the exact same brand name at Berjaya Times Square. The bag carries the same brand name, but not exactly alike the one I first saw and fell in love with. I didn't buy it right away, for I wanted to search some more. I was really lucky to find the brand name I first spotted and "fall in love" with that ignites the beginning of my search. The price was very cheap too, costs like RM70.  I love the way this messenger bag can be folded inside out and turned into a backpack. But this would come at the expense of the space for the shoulder straps, meaning I could not put in as much stuff as I wanted to accomodate the straps. Also I have a funny suspicion that this bag won't last long. But when I came back in January to look for this bag, the retailer has already moved!

The Need to Simplify
Another reason I need a new bag is because I need to start categorizing all my knicks knacks. It happened once when I was searching for my wallet in my bag and I accidentally pulled out a strip of condoms! The waitress at the stall looked at me surprised, bug-eyed and cheekily sending out the message like I'm trying something on her. I just smiled and continue searching for my wallet, still buried deep inside the pile of stuff I always take with me. I'm not ashamed of it per se, but it can be quite troublesome searching for my wallet. Like my Berlin Film Festival messenger bag, I could no longer use the pouch because of the "hole" underneath which needs stitching. Since the new year was coming, and I was planning to get the Asus Transformer Prime, why not search for the ULTIMATE messenger bag that fulfills ALL my needs? I have faith as high as Everest that I will find it!

The search has been a fulfilling one. I managed to scoured all shops in Bukit Bintang, and some in PJ, but somehow I still go back to Bukit Bintang area for the bag. I did tried Sogo, but don't believe when people said the bags there are good and cheap. It's actually VERY expensive, even after discounts. Especially for the men's bag, the prices there range from RM500 to over RM2000! And the sizes of the bags there are all 9-inches and below. I did went to Paradigm Mall, but the bags there are either too small or just not functionable for my extreme usage. I didn't actually set a budget for the bag, for I want quality bags and cheap is not always good. I also went online to look for bags, but I simply cannot put my credit card numbers there for purchase. Firstly, I cannot feel the bag. Secondly, I hate my bag being shoved into a package and delivered to my door. My mailbox has a very, very narrow hole!

Try Me!
Somehow to get the bag you want, you need to be there in person at the shop and feel the bag on. You need to carry it with you, walk around a few steps, then stop at the mirror and see if the bag is you. I've tried on one at the Everlast shop, and simply fall in love with the brand name which is stitched in quite prominently at the top pocket. It has all the pockets (and some pockets I don't know what to use for). The overall look is very impressive, except for the shoulder sling that is stitched directly onto the bag. I'm kind of worried that it might snap off since the load I will carry is going to be very, very heavy. And the price of course, is quite heavy too. I could get a discount if I purchase another product of the same value. Better give it a miss.

Clothy Cheap!
The next shop I visited is very quiet with few customers. From now on, I begin to learn to feel the fabric of the bag. This one has hard-cloth fabric which reminded me of one bag I bought somewhere that my aunty could have used and passed it onto me. Cloth-like bags to me are easily stained and it would put me on a maddenng trip to clean it with bleach and what not! But it was so cheap, almost RM70. I love the big size, meaning I could fit in my Asus Transformer. But the cloth-like fabric just left me with second thoughts.

The loud splash of colours on this messenger bag is enough to shout how trendy I am. But do I want that? I'm a man of business, serious business, and this one seems like I'm just out from college. But I do like the durability of the fabric, as compared to the previous one. The cloth fabric is much thicker. It can withstand all the stains and water it might have to endure. The price also makes it quite attractive, but it's just "shouting too much" for me.

Sheep-ish Expensive
So I've decided I had enough of looking at "cheap" bags and should turn my attention to the more exclusive kind. The one you're looking at has sheep-wool linings at the top of the bag opening. The metal hooks connect the shoulder sling to the bag securely, and did I tell you it's made from leather? Wow, the feel is so good. But there is a minor point. It's devoid of any functional pockets for me to put my stuff into categories. When I open the bag, it's just this one giant black hole I could sink my head into. The shop only carries ONE of this bag, meaning if I decide to buy, I have to contend with the display one. The salesperson also informed me that it comes from China, mimicking the latest trend from Paris and it's only one of its kind so I don't have to worry if I carry this bag around and shamelessly bump into some else with the same bag. Yeah, right.

Baggy Vertigo
Leather seems like a nice feel for me, or at least faux-leather, since pure leather costs a bomb. So I went to Berjaya Times Square and came across this little shop. In essence, the messenger bag I wanted looked almost the same across all the shops there! Suddenly my eyes is repeating the same look over again and again and again. What's happening? Have I seen too many bags already that is beginning to cause some kind of visual pattern or blindness that all bags are the same? It's always black, or leather, or with plenty of pockets with a shoulder sling that's strong and secure. Is there nothing else?

The One
Finally, I decided to change my location to change my view. I'm already at my wits' end, and am becoming more knowledgeable of which bag suits me more. My mind has been thinking of my own rough usage when handling my bag in the past, like the Berlin Film Festival one, and trying to change my behavior towards my usage. Must not be so harsh and in a hurry all the time. Must be patient to open gently the zipper. In the middle of all thee mumbo-jumbo thoughts, I stumbled on Camel Active store at Pavillion. It's like everything that happens in the past had finally led me to this perfect moment where I would finally meet my ideal bag. And indeed it is an ideal bag! It's made from strong canvas with an exterior that feels like leather. That means it's water resistant. It has 3 main compartments outside with metal zippers. Inside the bag, it has another 3 mini compartments for me to easily categorise all my stuff. The most glorious news I receive from the salesperson is it is 50% off and the LAST one left on the stand. Sold!