My favorite messenger bag – or satchel – for Paris is a Timbuk2 Custom Classic Messenger Bag, size medium. Because I am tall (about 6’4″), I ordered the custom bag so I could get a longer strap. And, it was fun to pick some colors. The folks in San Francisco who make these bags are nice like that.
Since I first got the bag about 18 years ago, that satchel goes on every trip I make. I carry it everywhere with me like Linus’ blanket. The inner liner is waterproof. The outside is Cordura® canvas with a flap and Velcro® closures and buckles. D-rings at the ends outside are perfect for attaching my id tag. And, it holds everything I need for a day exploring Paris.
If I take it off my shoulder, I put it between my feet and also put one arm through the strap. (It is as safe in Paris as the United States, but because many things can distract my attention over there, I try to be more aware of guarding my bag.) The Timbuk2 Messenger Bags have interior compartments and zipper closures, keeping the contents out of reach from pickpockets.
Although my messenger bag is 18 years old, Timbuk2 is continually refining their bags with padded compartments designed to perfectly fit new model laptops and tablets. And, they are sleek.
One Messenger Bag – Two Uses
There are two uses for my Timbuk2 messenger bag. One, is going on the plane. Two, is exploring Paris.
Some Timbuk2 models include a luggage handle passthrough, making them ideal for travel.
For going on the plane, put all of the things you need to live for a day, in case luggage is lost. That means medications, laptop or tablet (if you are taking one), boarding passes, hotel contact information, plus other items needed on the trip over.
This is what I keep in my favorite messenger bag for exploring Paris:
- Two or three super lightweight ponchos that are about 99¢ at the grocery store in case it begins raining
- Several paper napkins – spill something on myself, wipe off a wet chair bottom to sit in, wipe the sugar off my face after visiting a patisserie
- Travel-size disinfecting wipes, who knows when you may need one
- Eye drops
- Lip balm
- Pocket map, if not in the guidebook or easy access on my phone
- Metro map, if not in the guidebook
- Museum pass or tickets to the events I am going to that day
- Water bottle
- Small umbrella
- Hotel name with the address and telephone number
Most of the time my messenger bag is light. I keep it slung over my shoulder, and there is still extra room to stuff my jacket in it if I get too hot. There is easy access to my water bottle, which I always need and can refill, and room to poke in some postcards when I see one I want to send.
Comfort is Key
Many women have comfortable bags that would be great as a satchel. Timbuk2 offers a variety of styish bags enjoyed by women too. Comfortable and useful are the key factors. But, you have to have some way to tote your essentials around in or you will be staying within walking distance of your hotel room.
Take note of what you use during a regular day and make a list of your necessities. Review the list, then review it again and make that the list for your satchel. Only those things that will make your day comfortable, go in your bag. Don’t overdo it – just the necessities. Remember, you are in the most civilized city in the world. A pharmacy or a Monoprix is never too far away and you can easily find the things you need.