What’s In YOUR Bag?

July 23, 2011

For a long time, I used a diaper bag for everything. It was a pretty cool diaper bag, one that cost way too much money – like, designer-handbag-too-much-money – and I figured, if I spent half a mortgage payment on one bag, I’d damn well better use it. So I did. I used it for diapers, of course, and wipes and snacks and toys and the like, but also for my camera and for my laptop. Diaper bags, as you know if you’ve every used one, come really well-padded and are virtually indestructible, which are exactly the qualities that you want in a gear bag as well. And seeing as most gear bags aren’t as pretty as some contemporary – pricey – diaper bags, well, might as well go for the diaper bag. My friend and fellow Intel advisor Shalini does this too, because it just makes sense (great minds, etc, etc.)

I continued using the diaper bag long after Emilia was out of diapers, and would still be using it (Jasper is still in diapers – don’t get me started on that one – so the diaper-holding functionality is not irrelevant) if it weren’t for my Epiphanie bag. My Epiphanie bag is everything that my diaper bag was, and so much more. Also, it’s not a diaper bag.


I’ve written about how awesome is my Epiphanie bag before; that, and if you’ve ever seen me at a conference toting it around, you’ve almost certainly approached me to admire it and been rewarded by a long speech about how amazing and life-changing and did I say amazing? it is. So I won’t tell you again.

I’ll just show you what’s inside:

Clockwise, from the left (excluding the big pink wonder of a bag):

1.) MacBook.

2.) Toady.

3.) My husband’s Canon (I’m testing it for him, you guys. OUT OF LOVE. Plus, my Nikon battery needed charging a whole six days ago and I just haven’t gotten around to putting it back in my bag because oooh, Canon, pretty!)

4.) Dora Band-Aids.

5.) Magazines (Wired, Harper’s, The New Yorker); my Moleskine notebook, with Disney Princess nametag sticker, because, duh.

6.) Crayons.

7.) Gordon.

8.) A lens brush.

Not shown: a handful of cosmetics shoved into an internal pocket (lipgloss, compact, more lipgloss); a tangle of wires and peripherals; my iPhone (what do you think I took the picture with?); my Android (US-based, with a US number, y’all); random bits of paper; one diaper shoved in the back external pocket; more crayons.

I’ve also carried a netbook in there, in addition to the MacBook, just because I can, and I might have also had a flask in there once. I think that the contents of one’s bag can tell a lot about someone; mine, I think, says that I’m a literate and gear-obsessed multi-tasker who likes pink, crayons, and trains, and who lets her daughter play with a phallic plushy. Which sounds about right.

What does your bag say about you? Do you have a gear bag-slash-diaper bag, or a diaper bag-slash-gear bag, or something else entirely? My friend Shalini rocks the diaper bag, as I said above, and she spilled the contents for all to see over at her blog – go have a look. The spill the contents of your bag here, or in your own space (let me know if you do so that I can come see!) or join the discussion at the Intel Canada page on Facebook, where all the techie guys with their drab techie bags totally don’t know what they’re missing.

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    Emily WK July 21, 2011 at 5:29 pm

    This is so totally hipster of us, but we use a size M Chrome Messenger bag as our diaper bag. It’s cute AND functional – it’s designed so you can access the contents without taking it off, which is definitely awesome. I can hold my son on my left hip and swing the bag around to the front on the right and get to the diapers and whatnot that I need.

    It’s also waterproof, so if something spills inside it doesn’t get on us, and if it rains, it doesn’t get the insides wet.

    The only thing I wish it had was a divider for a laptop so I could put the changing pad in there (a handy hint for those shopping for backpacks or messenger bags to use as a diaper bag – changing pad = laptop).

    I am so in love with those Ephiphanie bags but I can’t justify the cost right now. I really really really want you to convince me, though.

    (PS: I am the commenter on Jez who recognized you and gave a shoutout to loving this blog. Yay for the internet being a small world!)

    Her Bad Mother July 22, 2011 at 9:27 am

    Hi Emily! The Internet IS a small world ;)

    And, seriously, if I could put my Epiphanie bag in your hands I would have no trouble convincing you to get one. NO TROUBLE. They are just THAT awesome. They replace all other bags. You will SAVE MONEY by not needing or wanting other bags. THINK OF THE SAVINGS.

    Emily WK July 25, 2011 at 1:29 pm

    Ok, can we talk about weight? Because I have a bag that is a purse that is big enough to hold my dSLR. I got the bag at Target, and it is red and cute and can hold my camera and wallet and phone and iPad, too, if I don’t mind it sticking out a little.

    But the weight then hurts my shoulder when I carry it. Is that because of the weight or because the bag is low-quality?

    Meaghan July 21, 2011 at 5:36 pm

    Ha, you should go on Art Linkletter!

    I have a really old Roots bag (from waaaaay before the Hangover, obvs) and it fits so much! There’s usually at least one camera, my wallet, a moleskine, lots of snacks (for me – I don’t even have kids, just the bouncy blood sugar and propensity for resulting tantrums of a two-year old), tons of pens, a swiss army knife, and my iPhone. My macbook fits in it in a pinch, but it makes it hard to fit anything that’s not flat in with it.

    Her Bad Mother July 22, 2011 at 9:37 am

    Roots bags are my favorite non-gear bags.

    Lindsay July 21, 2011 at 5:56 pm

    We have the sturdy brown diaper bag, but although we carry it everywhere, it doesn’t get much use (it’s the “just in case” bag) BECAUSE… I have the most awesome purse ever. It is a lovely purse that is secretly a backpack. So no matter where we go — shopping, Grandma’s — I can carry it on my back leaving me hands free (and not leaning), which means I’m able to handle the squirmy toddler. I can fit all the essentials in there, even a soft cooler bag with juice and milk. And no store security has stopped me yet, because, PURSE.

    Courtney @ The Mommy Matters July 21, 2011 at 6:00 pm

    Epiphane is pretty much the best bag ever. I don’t know how long it’s been since I actually looked at what’s in my bag. Maybe I should do that….

    Kayris July 21, 2011 at 6:28 pm

    But exactly how much does the bag WEIGH with all that stuff in it?

    Mine are older (almost 7 and 4 1/2) so I hung up the big bag a long time ago. The kids pack their own small backpacks if we go anywhere for more than a couple of hours, with toys and snacks and their water bottles. (Although I’d highly recommend checking those bags when you get home, because an uneaten string cheese smells really funky after a few days.) I would love a bag with a padded section for my laptop that doesn’t look so….boring.

    My diaper bag when I actually carried diapers was a bright orange canvas messenger bag from LL Bean. Nice sturdy strap so it didn’t kill my shoulder, washable in case a sippy cup leaked, and lots of pockets and compartments. My current bag is a smaller version in olive green and since it’s full of sand, it says that we were just at the beach and I carried it over my zebra print with red trim shoulder bag because it zips shut to keep my phone and iPod and keys safe on the sand. Because digging through sand frantically trying to find the keys to your condo totally sucks.

    Her Bad Mother July 25, 2011 at 2:49 pm

    The weight of the Epiphanie bag is actually pretty manageable, which is one of the things that’s awesome about it – it distributes weight really well. That said, I’m not out hiking with it, but I have hauled it around conferences and the like.

    Suzanne July 21, 2011 at 8:20 pm

    I actually carry a diaper bag AND my Epiphanie camera bag, because I am attempting to win an Olympic medal in crap-hauling-around. No, actually I just planned very poorly and chose a smallish camera bag (the Lola) and if I shove all my stuff in on top of my camera I can’t GET to the camera to take pictures of my adorable children while they are being adorable. And if I leave the diaper bag in the car, both children (27 months and 7 months) will poop through their clothes and having a fancy Nikon will do me absolutely no good in that situation.

    Although I did put my BABY in my camera bag this week. It wasn’t very efficient but it was very cute. Of course there is a picture on my blog.

    Sara Hamil July 22, 2011 at 9:40 am

    1) I have been in love with Epiphanie bags for a long time. One day… One. Sweet. Day…

    2) I don’t have kids so I’ve yet to experience the diaper-bag-purse situation. I’m a fan of big bags though, the kind that are just one big compartment. Which isn’t really a good thing. I can never find anything. SIGH.

    ahdra July 26, 2011 at 3:56 pm

    Have you ever heard of Kelly Moore bags? (kellymoorebag.com) It’s a toss up for me which I like better between hers and Epiphanie’s. I ended up getting a b-hobo bag from KM. Mercy, the love, it is strong with that one. Now I want a Libby bag…oh the gorgeousness.

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