Bags, They Are NOT Bigger On The Inside! 4 Tips To Lighten Your Load


Bags, They Are NOT Bigger On The Inside: 4 Tips To Lighten Your Load

Words and Photos: Adam Jeffery

Remember those days when you’d put on cargo pants lined with multiple pockets? I had a pair of those “bags with leg holes” (which they essentially were) covering my lower extremities. I’d put my wallet in one pocket, my gameboy in another, pen & a small notebook in another pocket, and snacks in any leftover pockets (don’t be surprised to find a PB&J / Kaya (coconut spread) in one of my pockets).

Unfortunately, long gone were the days where the bag-for-pants, made popular by kid celebrity Kim Possible (yes, the cartoon character of the popular show of the same name). Baggy pants may still be fashionable in certain parts and by certain people but those pocket pants are rarely ever seen anymore. People now carry bags of various shape, size, and style as opposed to wearing them for pants. A no-duh observation of the female population but men too have accessorized themselves with a bag; from a clutch to a portfolio to a backpack and so much more.

My bagging needs have continued to evolve and change and like so many others things (such as hair styles and fashion) our accessories ought to morph so as to accommodate such needs. I’ve gone through my “school boy” phase where my Bentley University backpack would have been attached to my back, carrying the weight of knowledge wherever I go. However, once I graduated from Bentley University (and feeling embarrassed by my fashion faux-pas after a few instagram meets) I decided to graduate from the backpack that has served me well for the past four years.

For one reason or another, I still carried around a backpack after my university bag. Though those last few months in Boston have been spent in the company of a blue Herschel & Supply backpack. It was big, deep, and good-looking (no sexual innuendo here) but because of how big and deep it was I had the inclination to carry the weight of a “blogging lifestyle” with my camera, two camera lenses, my MacBook Air, my Mophie Power bank, a magazine to pass the time, a notebook to draft my posts, my wallet, some beauty essentials, and a myriad of wire. The relation I harbored with Herschel & Supply was intimate but rough! My small, fragile, and weak back would ache after long photo walks.

I changed bags yet again once I left Boston for Malaysia and this time what accompanied me was a fancy shmancy Longchamp sling bag (which I like) but slimmer and thinner (which is what I aspire to be but not for a bag that would bear the brunt of a “blogger’s lifestyle”). I couldn’t possibly fill this bag with everything I’m used to carrying with my old Herschel & Supply. Not only would that make the bag all bulky and fat but would put an enormous strain on my shoulder! I’m faced with an ultimatum: look fat or become an essentialist…I chose the latter.

Four Steps To A Lighter Self

No, I am not referring to the use of excessive dieting and extreme workout sessions (though considering the amount of food I’ve eaten since I came back to Malaysia…I should really put some thought into doing just that). Who you are can sometimes be deduced from the things we carry on our person. Yes, it is the bag that you lug around with you wherever you go that will have it’s proverbial stomach stapled! There are four essential questions that I go through everyday before I step out and they are:

  1. What Am I Doing Today?Depending on whether I’m going out with a mission or merely wandering about on a shopping spree, going out on an inspiration walk, or even mindlessly walking all over the place, each one will necessitate a key accessory. For instance, if I’m going on an inspiration walk or a photo shoot then I’d prioritize my Nikon D3300 and a notebook to jot down ideas. If i'm mindlessly wandering then I might bring my notebook and pen. Of course, if space allows it, then I might bring my DSLR but if that is not possible then I will make do with my iPhone 5S.
  2. Which Bag Am I Using?Let’s face it. We all have more than one bag in our closet and I’m not referring solely to the womenfolk. Yes, the ordinary men have more bags today than ever before from briefcases to carryall; though we may not have nearly as many as our shoe collection (I know…we can no longer berate women for having too many bags or shoes as we are equally guilty). With a closet full of bags of different shape, size, brand and style we dig deeper into ourselves to curate the right bag to our outfit of the day. Thus, depending on what our look demands the “necessities” we bring along may change. So, what happens if the stuff you thought to bring with you does not fit? Simple. Put away what is “non-essential!”
  3. Will It Fit?We’ve asked this question at one point in our lifetime (for some, maybe more). When we’re trying on a new slim fit tee in a store; putting on a pair of old jeans during our tween years; as we stuff the filling into our holiday turkey; and those passionate nights in  bed…yeah, you know what I mean ;-). It should not come as a surprise that I will ask the same question I ask my lover in bed while deciding on my companion-of-the-day: will it fit? Even if you can force that big tripod of yours into a small bag do you think it would feel good with that huge black stick sticking out and hitting your head or poking an unsuspecting passerby? Well, you can get used to the myriad of things sticking out of your bag but whether or nor you can handle the weight of your “life” is another question.
  4. Will My Spine Come Home Straight?Let’s say we ignore the form of the bag and fill it up with everything you might need then you may be prepared for whatever life throws at you but at the cost of the bag’s aesthetic and the risk of an uncomfortable journey ahead (remember the tripod “accidentally” raping the people around you). So, after putting some thought into what I’ll be doing for the day; the bad that I will be using; filling it up without compromising the bag’s aesthetics; I then consider the weight (of my decision…such a hard choice to make). Even if I did managed to fit everything into my bag without changing its form it may still be too heavy (a DSLR is not light!). What is the point of carrying all those things if it impedes you journey, or worse, cause physical pain & discomfort (wrist pain from carrying a DSLR, two lenses, a tripod, a Mac, a notebook…so yeah, I know your pain and the pain of all wives, girlfriends, and lovers that are burdened with carrying their own stuff and those of their partner).

When all is said and done, it is absolutely fine for you to not even consider these four (obvious) tips. After all, no one but yourself really knows what is essential. It can be just your phone or it could be your entire photography equipment (if it's the latter I hope you have a good assistant). So, what’s in your bag?

What's In My Bag: