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September 07, 2006



The textured zipper bag is a great idea. When I do events, sometimes I get a little scattered. Having a bag-by-feel would make it easy to locate those bookmarks, etc. when several things are going on around me and I can't think straight. My battle bag has gone from a nice leather one with compartments for everything to a canvas tote, the Left Coast Crime Bristol book bag. I spend less time finding stuff inside. With the other one, all the zipping, unvelcroing, flipping through dividers, and looking through pouches took forever since I can't remember where I put anything.

Dana Cameron

Yeah, leather is nice, but it's heavy. The textured bag works well in a darkened room, when you're hunting for something while talking, and, yes, on Day Ten of a Five Day Tour .

Hank Phillippi Ryan

Love it! I have a necessary bag, too (in addition to my purse, but that's another story.) I'm a tv reporter, and my bag is the topic of infinite derision from my colleagues. So a few weeks ago, my producer, my photographer and I were cruising down the Mass Turnpike, back to the station. Blam. Our tire blew, and the intrepid fotog, driving, carefully steered us to the breakdown lane. We called for the repair guy, since the tire was shredded and the rim was hideously bent. We're sweaty, we're cranky, we want to go home.
Grapes? I offered, pulling out a bag of fruit. Celery?
Everyone took some of everything. Salt for the celery? I had packets of it. Handiwipes so we wouldn't have to eat with dirty hands? Sure,got 'em.

Then my producer Mary, all slinky in high heels, had to go to the bathroom. And the only available bush was up a steep embankment by the side of the road. Flat shoes, your size? I offered from the bag. And off she went.
You know, they've never made fun of me and my bag again.
Carry on! (a little bag humor...)

Julie Herman


I love the tip about the textured zipper pouch. I've shopped for years for the perfect bag -- one with just enough pockets to hold everything within reach but not so many that I can't find things easily. Perhaps the solution lies in using zippered pouches with different textures/shapes for help identifying things while excavating deep down at the bottom of the bag. Thanks!



What a riot, Hank! You could start your own business selling stocked Emergency Bags. :)

Dana Cameron

I loved your story, Hank. Yes, it's hard not to purse one's lips smugly when necessity strikes and we're prepared. Again, a little bag humor.

Julie, I actually got the idea for the textured bag reading Gus Lee's excellent Honor and Duty, when the main character trains other cadets for night maneuvers. While stealthiness isn't an issue in archaeology (usually), it gave me a good way to distinguish tool sets without getting jabbed by something sharp. We occasionally work at night, and there are often low-light situations.

Jen W

I hardly ever carry a bag anymore. Now when I was in school I carried this medium sized purse with all kinds of stuff in it. Candy, money, a book, a bottle of Moutain Dew, pens, and bandaids (for the days I stupidly wore heels and wound up with blisters). I honestly do need to get into the habit of carrying a purse again because I'm always leaving home without my essentials!

Elaine Yamaguchi

Dana, you are indeed the modern day Sitt Hakim.

Dana Cameron

It's a tough call, Jen, whether to travel light or go loaded for bear. Clearly, I've come down on the side of overkill, but it's worked out okay so far.

And Gub...I'm honored beyond words.

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