Wherever you’re going and whatever you have planned, the right bag will be a good accessory. As well as having practical uses, like storing or carrying things, the various designs of bag express the individual tastes of their owner. Whether it’s for school books, make up, mountaineering gear, or holiday outfits, there are bags designed specifically for the job.
New Materials for Contemporary Bags
In the past most bags were made from leather and other natural materials, like cotton or canvas. Leather is still a refined, elegant choice, often used in high-fashion bags and cotton remains perfect for day to day light use, but these materials aren’t ideal in more challenging environments. Recent advances have given manufacturers the opportunity to work with synthetic polymers like neoprene, Gore-Tex, and nylon to add colour, flexibility and strength to modern bag designs.
Which Types of Bag are Available?
Years ago bags for men were purely functional briefcases or rucksacks, but now they are as much part of the fashion mainstream as women’s bags. Many bags are also suitable for men and women, from expensive designer versions to practical basic bags and luxury travel luggage. Here’s a list of what you can find online or on a high street near you:
Cabin bags - Cabin bags can be taken on to an airplane as hand luggage, enabling you to escape the fees associated with checked bags. They usually have four wheels so they are easy to manoeuvre and a main section that opens right out, just like a suitcase. To the top many have a mesh compartment that can be used to store items that you might need before arriving at your destination, like travel documents or snacks. There will often be other zip pockets too, for organising smaller items. If you’d like a more flexible cabin bag, go for one with a carry handle or over the shoulder strap, so you can pick it up on surfaces that are uneven. When it comes to a maximum size and weight for airline travel, each carrier has their own specific set of restrictions, so check with them for details.
Shoulder bags - Shoulder bags can be large or small and are often used as an everyday bag; the strap sits over one shoulder or across the body. This makes them ideal for all sorts of activities, as both the wearer’s hands are left free. Also known as messenger bags, many have straps that can be adjusted to suit the height of the wearer, or even detached to create a bag that can be carried under one arm. Slightly smaller than totes and shopper bags, these have a number of handy interior compartments and pockets instead. Choose a casual design for everyday use or select a smarter style for a formal occasion.
Backpacks - If you intend to move around a lot during the day, if you’re going on a holiday or a sightseeing trip, then a backpack is essential. Backpacks are also mainly used as school bags for the heavy load of books and other school material that pupils have to carry around. Backpacks strap over both shoulders to distribute the weight of what you’re carrying, and leaves both your hands free for other activities. Slightly smaller than a rucksack, backpacks do have some similar features, like a larger main compartment, zippered closure and zippered front or inner pockets for smaller items. Many have padded straps for added comfort and they come in a huge variety of colours and designs.
Handbags - Handbags are used by women for keeping important items safe and conveniently close, both during the day and on a night out. These versatile pieces come in a wide variety of styles; they can be large practical tote bags, clutch purses, or small shoulder bags with a delicate strap. Handbags are very functional, but are also considered a fashion accessory and can be used to finish off an outfit or add a touch of designer luxury.
Luggage - Luggage is used by people who are travelling and need a way to transport what they need for the trip. Suitcases come in many sizes, from those compact enough to use as cabin luggage, to much larger versions. Some have wheels and a retractable handle to make them easier to move through an airport terminal or train station. You can buy lightweight cases for short trips, hard-shell cases to keep your possessions safe during international travel, and coordinated luggage sets for carrying more.
Briefcases - Sometimes referred to as an attaché case, these business-like items are often finished in leather with metal fastenings and feature a lid-over base. Inside there are usually internal compartments for holding separate documents and files, along with pockets for business cards and pens. Briefcases have a handle to make them portable and can be large enough to carry a laptop.
Duffle bags - Duffle bags are lightweight and ideal for holding large amounts of gear in one place. They are generally long and rounded in shape, with one handle on both sides and a central zip. Some have internal pockets for storing items that you might need to access in a hurry and others have shoulder straps for added utility. Duffle bags are often used by sports people for carrying their kit from home to the gym or training ground, but they are also popular with trekkers who can choose waterproof designs. As they are made from fabric, they can be folded or rolled up when not in use.
Equipment bags - Equipment bags are usually padded to safeguard delicate equipment whilst you are on the move. From cameras to audio apparatus, lighting and smartphones, high-tech devices should always be carried in bags that provide protection and reduce the risk of them being damaged. Large equipment bags are often built like a trolley, with two wheels and optional pull out handles. Smaller bags for transporting equipment are ideal for holding lots of extras, with separate pockets for items like lenses, cables, and smart devices.
Tips on Choosing the Right Bag for Travel
Choose a bag that’s finished in a bright colour. A vibrant shade of blue or red may not match up with your business or casual clothes, but it will be easy to spot amongst high volumes of other luggage on a carousel.
Look at the interior to see if it meets your requirements. Travellers often prefer to have lots of small pockets to ensure their belongings remain organised en route, and features like waterproof pouches are great for storing wetsuits or leaky bottles.
Bags that have additional loops are excellent if you’ll be clipping on extras like sleeping bags, smaller packs or trainer bags at some point. They help you keep at least one hand free for other things.
Before buying in a physical store, it’s worth testing a bag out to see if it’s comfortable and the handle is as long as you need it to be. Check that the case or pack feels strong and robust and that the back straps are padded as well. If you’re ordering online, have your travel bags delivered at least a month in advance, so you can carry out the same tests and return the items if they don’t feel right.
North Face: Surge II Transit Backpack
Tips on Choosing the Right Bag for Business
Many people want to combine practicality and fashion in a business bag or briefcase, so they go for one that is manufactured in leather. Top-grain leather will maintain its appearance throughout many seasons, with the right care.
Go for a briefcase with a detachable shoulder strap for added utility, especially on long journeys, and a less formal feel at casual meetings.
Traditionally, briefcases are black because it’s a neutral shade that will coordinate with whatever you’re wearing. Popular second choices are darker browns and tans, but these can be more difficult to match with your clothing.
Don’t over complicate things; some briefcases and business bags have pockets for everything and this can lead to documents and smaller items getting lost. Unless multiple compartments suit your profession, it’s easier to keep track of what’s gone where if you stick to a design with one or two pockets, and maybe a mobile phone holder.
Tips on Choosing the Right Fashion Handbag
Handbags are great style accessories, but aren’t of much use if they don’t keep your possessions safe. Check that the design you like has a secure pocket or compartment for your purse, mobile phone and keys, so you can slip them away from the rest of your belongings.
Black is a great shade to go for because it can be used again and again, whatever you’re wearing. Other good neutral handbag shades are grey and tan. If you feel like a change, you could go for a tried and test shade with added texture, like soft quilting or pebbled calfskin.
Some people like to buy lots of cheaper bags and others like to make an investment purchase that lasts longer. If you go for the more expensive designer bags, they can be put away for a few years when you feel like a change then brought out again. However, if you prefer to get a new handbag every few months, it makes sense to opt for less pricey styles.
Shoulder straps are handy if you will be carrying a bag for longer periods of time and you would prefer to have both hands free. For added stability, go for a cross body bag with an extendable strap that won’t slide around while you’re walking. A bag with a simple carry handle is adequate for shorter trips.
What to Look for in a New Bag
Whether you need a reliable business briefcase, a robust all-weather holdall or a chic designer handbag, there are a few points that might help to hone your selection skills.
Is it Functional?
A bag should fulfil the function you have in mind, whatever that happens to be. If you’ll be using a backpack on a camping trip, then trendy ones with pockets that are too small or it has odd zips that don’t serve a purpose, will be of less use than one designed for carrying equipment. Duffle bags and packs from outdoor specialists often have taped seams, built-in dry pouches and waterproof fabric, making them ideal for use in all environments, but if you’ll be using the pack for work a less robust option could be more appropriate.
Is it the Right Size?
Bags come in many different sizes, those which are large enough for many different tasks and those which are so small that their main purpose is aesthetic – like clutch bags. If you’ll be using the bag on a daily basis, it’s worth considering whether it’s large enough to store everything you’ll need, but not so big that it gets in the way, or becomes difficult to carry. Check that the dimensions of a briefcase are enough to store your laptop if you’ll be carrying it around, but also factor in extra space for other items.
For duffle bags and luggage, you’ll need to think about how much weight you can reasonably carry and also what the airline restrictions are if you’ll be travelling by plane.
Is it in Proportion?
Proportion is more of an issue for people choosing a bag for daily use. Women can select a handbag that suits their frame or helps create a certain look. As a rule, larger handbags make the wearer appear smaller, whilst handbags with long straps can add height. Women’s handbags come in a range of shapes and sizes, but men’s bags tend to be more angular in design. Bags designed for men also tend to be large and don’t have the kind of embellishments you’d expect on a woman’s bag, like tassels or branded metalwork.
Buying Cheap Bags
For high-end handbags or briefcases, you could watch for reductions on the designer’s homepage; Mulberry has sales twice a year, just after Christmas and in the summer, as do YSL. Large department stores like John Lewis and House of Fraser stock lots of designer brands, so you could check their collection online during the Black Friday sales, when they reduce many items. For larger suitcases, duffle bags and trolley bags, Antler has a permanent sale section, or you could visit the travel clearance section at the Mountain Warehouse.
Searching for big discounts on a new party-ready handbag, smart briefcase or sturdy rucksack is easy with HotUKDeals. We seek out the latest bag offers from numerous retailers, and then publish all the details on our dedicated bag page.
Thanks would have just deleted the link as was just to let people know
The seller you posted didn't meet criteria to post on site, which is why it was deleted. You can say it is cheaper elsewhere but not put the link.
I'd say no. Damp/cold seaps through quite easily. Not thick enough to give insulation form cold wet grass. If you sit on a jumper or jacket it should be fine, but might be a bit damp afterwards. In other words it's not a proper ground sheet like you'd have in the base of a tent. Agree with the other post above about usage in beaches, parks, etc. though. We have 2 and use them often, lightweight, easily thrown in the bottom of a bag. Folds up and back in the bag easy enough too. Works well for marking off your spot on the beach, gives a good spot to leave things down so they don't get sandy, phone, qwater bottle, food, and so on.
Ok apparently you aren’t allowed to say that it’s cheaper and supplied by amazon if you look on the same page the get deal bit is on.. Sometimes I wonder about this site and why it has a comment section for deals.
24/05/2021Expires on 24/05/2021Posted 17th MayPosted 17th May
Yeah same here, been some great discounts on it lately though I’m just trying to work out if I want to pay the extra and get real leather :/
I like the brand but won't pay full price for the majority of their stuff as think it's nice but massively overpriced.
Definitely a valid point and not for everyone, but for someone who appreciates the brand and is looking for a more affordable entry point which they don’t necessarily expect to last more than a few years this could be a more than satisfactory option
Worth about a tenner then without a Ted Baker label
I have this one already (well, two actually, where one is the previous model with better pockets), but it’s not the Arrow isn’t it? (embarrassed)
I'm sure everyone on the tube will find your purchase highly amusing...smaller one here: https://www.hotukdeals.com/deals/berghaus-twentyfourseven-plus-20-litre-backpack-ps2199-at-amazon-3725208?utm_source=mappshare&utm_medium=referral&utm_content=3725208&utm_campaign=2021-05-16
Love the look of it, but bit too big for the city travels to work
Ah, I see. Yes, makes total sense- new things learned every day ;)
Physical frame of human not old skool 1960s metal outer frame