Each day that we visit the parks is a day full of decisions: what park we’re going to, what clothes to wear, where to eat, etc. And one of the biggest decisions you’ll make each visit is what you’ll be carrying with you into the park that day and how you’ll be carrying it. This might seem like small potatoes in the grand scheme of things, but it can really change your day. For example, your child got a cut, do you have an adhesive bandage? Or maybe it starts raining, did you bring a poncho? Or you’re doing an Ultimate Touring Plan, did you remember some protein bars so you don’t have to stop to eat? A charger or extra batteries for your cell phone. Do you have enough room for everything?
The items we need in the parks are as diverse as we are, and so are the bags we carry them in. With the help of this past Sunday’s TouringPlans meet attendees, I wanted to touch on the variety of the bags that we take with us into the parks. Thanks to everyone at the meet who was willing to pose for me and show of their park bags, or lack thereof. You all earned your treats! Now lets take a look at their bags.
There are a number of reasons why a person might consider not bringing a bag into the parks. For some it starts right at the front gate with the security bag check points. If having a bag means going through security and having their stuff touched by strangers, then some people would rather go bagless. Others just don’t want to waste those precious moments at security when they could be halfway to their favorite attraction. But security isn’t the only reason for this, some people just don’t like the feel of the strap of a bag on their shoulder weighing them down. Or they associate the carrying of a bag with work or school and they don’t want to be reminded of either while on vacation. A little freedom from burden while traipsing through the parks can go a long way toward rest and relaxation.
Small & Simple
Maybe there’s just a few simple “must haves” while you’re in the park. These things may be too big and bulky for pockets, but would leave a larger pack mostly empty. Perhaps you don’t like carrying things in your pockets or you have no pockets at all. This can range from a small woman’s purse, to a small shoulder bag, to the infamous “fanny” pack. Or maybe just a camera in a simple camera case. The point is that there are things you need to have with you, but there’s not a lot of those things so you need something small and compact to carry them in. And because it doesn’t hold a lot, it also doesn’t weigh a lot. It’s almost the same as going bagless, but with the stop at security. Otherwise, these bags won’t slow you down.
Single shoulder courier bags (a.k.a., mailbags or satchels) are common in the parks and they come in varying shapes and sizes all their own. These generally have a sporty flip open front that has a securing mechanism of some sort for keeping the bag from opening at the wrong time. Underneath you’ll find anywhere from 1 to 3 slotted compartments that are great for carrying things like a notebook, netbook, or iPad. It’s the perfect bag for storing your Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World as the pockets will help keep it nice, flat, and protected. It’s also one of the easiest bags to work with while walking as you can just swing it around to your front to fiddle with the contents. These bags often have water bottle pouches on either end. If you love organization and convenience of use, this bag is for you.
In the days of the wild west, saddlebags were the preferred method of carrying items for those who rode horseback. Originally consisting of two bags connected together by a length of material (leather, wool, etc.) they would be slung over a horses back. More recently these bags have made a resurgence, but in a slightly modified form. Instead of having two bags, they now have one, and the length of material has been replaced with a shoulder strap. While the mode of carrying is very similar to the Courier, the storage structure is very different. Generally this consists of 1 or 2 very large and very deep, almost cavernous, pockets where you can just toss in your stuff quickly and move on out to whatever lies ahead on your journey. There may also be a smaller zipper pouch for a wallet or keys, and maybe even a pouch for a water bottle. When you’re on the move this bag moves with you.
This is your standard issue backpack, the kind you’ve seen a thousand times before. These come in all shapes and sizes but the thing that sets them apart is the straps, two – this allows for flexibility. You can use one strap if you need the quick grab and go feel of a Courier or a Saddlebag, or if you want to distribute the weight of a heavier load use both straps – one on each shoulder. These bags usually have 2 or more large pouches, 1 or more small pouches, and slots for 1 or more water bottles. You’ve got plenty of space for stuff, and plenty of places to organize that stuff into. The only downside is more space generally means you’ll carry and buy more stuff, and, if you do, you’ll be glad to have those two straps.
You have great pride in your pictures and love to take them – your camera is always at your side. With that camera can come a lot of gear: lenses, tripods, batteries, memory cards, etc. And you’ll need a place to store it all. These bags exist in all shapes and sizes, but often come with highly structured organizational compartments capable of storing a camera and all it’s accouterments. These bags aren’t just about storage, they also offer protection for the items stored inside as the compartments are often cushioned or foam lined. With one of these on your shoulder your camera will be well taken care of.
Proud Parent Packin’
You’re a parent, you’ve got your kid(s) with you, and in addition to your stuff, you need their stuff as well (diapers, bottles, food, snacks, etc.). And most importantly, you need a place to put all of it and them. For you, a stroller is the only way to travel. And I’m not talking about the ones you rent from the parks, oh no. I’m talking about the ones that are a veritable bonanza of storage space. They’ve got pockets on the top, baskets on the bottom. Cup holders for the “driver”, and ones down below for the kids. Any bags you’ve got can get stored underneath, hooked on the push bar, etc. It’s amazing just how much a stroller can store. I don’t have kids, but when I see strollers I get jealous of the respite they bring from slinging around a backpack.
So as you can see, the bags we carry into the parks come in many different shapes and sizes according to our needs. What about you? What are your needs? What are those essential items you must have with you? What sort of bag do you carry into the parks? Are you looking for a new bag? Thanks for reading!
The post is part of the Sixth DisMarks.com Disney Blog Carnival; click on the link for more great Disney articles.