The much maligned man purse or murse is an increasingly useful bag in this age of pocket filling gadgets. I believe that we need to stop worrying about looking feminine and start carrying bags that make our lives better.
There will always be the knuckle dragging uber bros out there who cast dispersions on small bags. But are we really going to let those who are insecure in their manhood influence what we carry? I say, no!
The Manliest Man Purse
Why the Bail out Bag
The 5.11 Bail out Bag is the perfect size for a commuter. While it’s front pockets are intended for 6 AR magazines they are also great for gadgets, snacks, gloves, and sunglasses. These three pouches offer quick access but comes at the price of security as only a velcro tab separates your stuff from theft. There is also two pouches at both ends. These are zippered and slightly more secure. They also offer molle webbing for accessories.
The main compartment offers lots of organizational options tho they will have to be add-ons. It has a molle system that will take any molle compliant accessories. The other side of the main compartment has a wall of velcro (the soft loop side). This allows you to stick anything with the hook side of velcro to it.
The back padding is very comfortable and the mesh and contour design offers better airflow. There is also a shoulder pad made of similar stuff.
Lastly if you are looking for a very manly diaper bag this bag is amazing.
Why not the Bail Out Bag
There are some who would claim that unless you are using this bag to tote your firearms and ammo, it falls in the Tacti-cool category. I completely understand if military spartan chic is not your style and yes there is a lot of molle webbing on this bag but it is also a well built piece of carry. If that is a turn off to you then skip this one and move on to the next bag.
Also pass on this bag if you need to carry a laptop. The Bail out Bag will carry all manor of tablets and such but it is just not set up well for a laptop.
The Techy Murse
Why the Tom Bihn Ristretto
The Ristretto is a very modern bag with modern sensibilities. The main compartment is split into a padded laptop slot and a general use pocket. The laptop slot is great for whatever tech you carry be it tablet or laptop so long as your laptop is about 13 inches. The general use pocket can be used for whatever but its shape makes it particularly good for books or folders.
The front pouch is closed by a water resistant zipper and has various organizational pockets. There is also a back pocket that is great for reading material or boarding passes.
Why not the Tom Bihn Ristretto
It’s portrait orientation could be a bit weird for some. It’s styling is polarizing.
The Swedish Man Purse
Why the Fjallraven Foldsack No. 3
Principally, you want the Foldsack No. 3 if you value simple focused design over cramming in every imaginable feature. I wouldn’t go so far as to call it minimalist but it is close.
The main compartment is large enough to stash your every day carry but don’t expect to get a whole lot more. The main compartment is closed by a flap and hook. The Flap has a couple of snaps to keep the sides from becoming unruly and the hook fastens partially out of sight.
The carry handle is a welcome feature that is missing from so many bags and the shoulder strap is adjustable. The zipper pocket is a nice for small items and for a modicum of organization.
Why not the Fjallraven Foldsack No. 3
There is essentially no organization in this bag. Your only choice is main compartment or zipper pocket. If you like to have everything just so then this is not the bag for you. Also the strap is thin and unpadded so if you routinely carry heavy things maybe look elsewhere.
The Mountain Man Purse
Why the TOPO Designs Mini Mountain Bag
The styling on this bag is really fun. If you just want colorful then there are hundreds of bike messenger bags that will work for you but if you want a more grown up look then this is your bag. I particularly like the contrast colors on the functional components like the zipper pulls and liner.
The main compartment has some organization but is really just a large open space. The front pocket offers isolation for smaller objects but is fairly basic. One of the features that I really like are the straps on the bottom of the bag. This allows you to roll up a jacket and strap it down where otherwise it would need to go in the bag and take up space.
If you are a photographer you might take notice. There are quite a number of people out there using this bag as a camera bag.
Why not the TOPO Designs Mini Mountain Bag
If you need a laptop compartment you should look at the Mountain Briefcase as it will serve your needs better. Also if you work in a formal setting then this bag may not cut it.
Why the Saddleback Leather Messenger Bag
Buy this bag because it will outlast you and the longer you use it the more you will love it. Saddleback over-engineers its bags so they are tough. With high quality full grain leather, polyester thread, and rivets you can be reasonably sure that this bag will not fail you. If it does there is also the warranty. If you want to read more about what makes Saddleback Leather’s construction so robust check out their craftsmanship page.
Why not the Saddleback Leather Messenger Bag
It’s heavy. All that thick leather that makes this bag so wonderful is also why this bag is heavier than you might be used to. It’s cost is also a consideration but I firmly believe in investing in the gear that you use every day.
If I haven’t convinced you of the merits of any of these man purses then maybe you will find something interesting in the bag database. Hopefully this has expanded your conceptions of what a man purse can be and hopefully you will find a use for it in your life.
If you have an opinion I would love to hear it in the comments or on Twitter!