3 Ways the Lowepro Highline BP 300 Bag Made My Commute Less Grim
George Carlin has a classic bit called "A Place for Your Stuff." In it, the acerbic comic rants about our tendency to acquire stuff over time, and how we can ultimately get down to the most basic stuff we can't be without if we find ourselves taking a trip to the beach. Sadly, a daily commute into Manhattan does not enjoy the simplicity of a day at the beach, and there is just some stuff I have at home that I want to bring back and forth with me to the B&H compound and corporate office bunker in Midtown. Here are three ways the Lowepro Highline BP 300 made a place for my stuff for a week, thereby making my commute a bit less grim. A little bit.
1. Two Become One
On any given weekday, I drag a set of gym clothes, including sneakers, with me so I can work out before work (hey, I'm not getting younger or better looking so I have to try to stay in shape). These items find their way into their own canvas tote bag, while I keep my MacBook and paperwork in a separate messenger bag, so they stay as funk free as the little town in Footloose. While keeping my MacBook smelling fresh as a daisy is a huge pro, I face the massive con of now dragging two bags with me on the train.
If you've never dealt with the subways and trains in New York, I'll give you the quick good and bad. On the good side, the system allows an average of 5.6 million people to get to and from the island daily, democratizing travel and allowing people broader employment opportunities. On the bad side, it's full of people. Obnoxious, tired, cranky, often smelly people who cram into train cars like so many sardines into a can. So the less space you take up, the better.
Switching to the Highline bag for a week, I could slim down from two bags to one. I managed to fit a pair of sneakers, shorts, shirt, socks, and my unmentionables in the main compartment. The internal zippered pocket opposite said main compartment includes a clear bag which fit my toiletries nicely. I could store my lunch easily in the large front compartment, while the rear laptop pouch, not shockingly, housed my 13-inch MacBook Pro. I concede having to take only one bag with me daily is not quite a miracle, but I consider it a mitzvah nonetheless. I'll never be sleek and aerodynamic, but now I don't have to deal with the wind drag of multiple bags.
2. It's all Within Reach
Aside from some gym clothes and my laptop, I carry a bunch of stuff you could file under miscellaneous. Headphones, sunglasses, a water bottle, your standard travel-size umbrella, my small pharmacy including aspirin, DayQuil, Tiger Balm, several bottles of anti-anxietals and, most importantly, my Star Trek insignia pin.
The Highline has this handy little pouch right at the top of the bag, which, like most pouches on the bag, is deceptively roomy. I've been able to stash my sunglasses (in their case), earbuds, woolen hat, gum, and still have some room left for keys and the like. The mesh pouches on either side handily store my water bottle and umbrella, respectively, conveniently enough since the week I reviewed the bag was a somewhat rainy one in New York City, so having an umbrella at the ready paid off.
3. The Weekend Getaway or I Always Think of a Third Thing
From my metropolitan weekdays to jet-setting to exotic weekend getaways "just outside of New York," the Highline proved its versatility. Swapping out my gym sneakers for another pair of pants and a few shirts, the Highline proved it could handle the duties as a good weekend bag, too. The fit was a little tight, but I managed to get all my toiletries in there, as well, for an excursion. It seems like a small thing, but being able to use the same bag for weekend trips and short getaways makes a difference; I know the pockets I have all my required stuff in (sunglasses, headphones, Star Trek pin) without having to swap anything is a convenience, and shouldn't you be looking to make your life more convenient with the bag you carry every day?
It should be noted that, while I reviewed the BP 300 to fit my 13" Macbook Pro, there's also the BP 400 for those of you with a 15" laptop. Spend a lot of time in and out of airports? Aside from calling your mother more often to tell her you landed safely (she worries!), check out the RL x400, which gives you the specs of the BP 400 with the bonus of wheels and a retractable handle.