Bags, Bags, Bags

I’m a bag person.  

I love a good bag–any kind: Tote Bags, lunch bags, pencil bags, nice paper bags, and especially backpacks of all sorts.  I have a deep appreciation for daypacks, book bags, tear-drop bags, extended-day packs, even full blown hiking backpacks, though I don’t have a use for one of those anymore.  

Bags are a weakness.  I can’t be sure, but I think it’s because I’m also a guy who likes to take his stuff with him, and I have a lot of stuff.  Going to school, for example, involves at least three bags on any given day. Fortunately, I have a good selection of bags to choose from. 

I’ve got my book bag with my computers and associated paraphernalia, as I’m an itinerant elementary-grade science coach.  I’ve got my lunch bag that’s actually a large tote bag holding my smaller lunch box (soft-sided) and my beverage bag.  That last one holds my thermos and my water bottle.  Finally, I’ve got another bag or two carrying whatever I need for my current project.  That might include cameras, microphones, lab equipment, or supplies for activities and experiments.

Bags are a major part of my hiking trips as well.  I know people have to wonder why I’m normally wearing a daypack on a trail that most folks hike carrying only a water bottle, if that.

Well, if you need water, of course I’ve got a bottle.  Again, most folks do.  But, what about a snack?  I’ve probably got one of those in my pack.  Lost?  I’ve got a compass, just in case I need to know the general direction of the trailhead.  My phone does the heavy lifting with navigation, but it’s good to be prepared.  

Want to see something small?  I’ve got a magnifying glass or two. Want to take a picture with a size reference?  I’ve got a folding meter stick.  Flashlight?  Of course I’ve got one, although I didn’t that time I finished a hike by the glow of a flip phone (it’s been a while). Need to start a fire or make a sling in an emergency?  There’s a lighter and a small hank of rope in my pack.  Sam Gamgee knew the value of a bit of rope, and so do I. 

Seeing me with a largish daypack, you might ask, “Why not a smaller bag?”

That’s where I cross the line, arguably, from need to want.  Coffee, anyone?  I’ve got either a thermos that’s full, or–if it’s a long day out–a small stove and the pot to boil water.  Those longer days require a small coffee press, so that’s in there, too.  Of course I’ve got all the fixings, as well as a few plastic sheets for my wife and me to sit upon.

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For better or worse, I think the bag thing might be genetic.  My wife and I gave our granddaughters daypacks for Christmas, and we’ve done our best to see that they have opportunities to use them. We gave them to the girls a few days early, and since then we’ve been on the trail twice.  

Yesterday we picked them up for a short excursion, and as we prepared, we gave them their snack bags (small drawstring bags containing a cup, a few pouches of hot chocolate, a spoon, a snack, and a napkin).  

The oldest said, “I’m not sure I’ve got room for that.”

With smiles on our faces, we opened her pack to find two stuffed animals and at least a dozen small plastic toys with their egg carton-like container.  This was all surrounded by a good amount of Christmas gift detritus.

“Are you sure you’re going to want to carry all of this?” It was a silly question, but it had to be asked.

“Yes.” Determination.

“Okay, but you have to carry your snack.”  As it turned out, there was room.  Not a lot–we had to strap her sweatshirt to the outside of the pack halfway up the trail–but there was room.

She was a trooper, and carried that pack on her seven-year-old back for more than three miles without a complaint.  I’m proud of her, though I’m sorry if I’m responsible for the bag thing.  

One of yesterday’s grins came as we were passing a family on the trail.  We were just getting started, and they were headed toward the parking lot.  A young girl, just about my granddaughter’s age, was leading the way, her arms swinging freely.  Her mother, though, was carrying a large stuffed animal that I suspect wasn’t actually hers.  My unspoken thought: “Shoulda given that kid a backpack, too!”

19 thoughts on “Bags, Bags, Bags”

  1. I really like how you explain what is in your pack and the LOTR reference too! Bags are not something that I think about all that much, but your post has me reflecting that I do have some nice totes. And I hate when one gets a tear or rips at the handle. I think a lot of times, we think about the things carried rather than the actual thing doing the carrying. I think these packs and excursions will be good memories for your granddaughters to carry.
    Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jonathan, thanks for reading and for your comments. As a teacher, I don’t know where I’d be without some great tote bags. We were out again today, and watching my granddaughters with their packs put a smile on my face–we’re all making memories!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I love bags! I carry at least three into school each day. I just got a new one to carry my teaching and writing things. While I might replace old bags with new bags, I can never seem to throw the old away. My new bag has tons of pockets to help me keep everything organized.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Heather, when I get a new bag, the thought of getting rid of an old one never crosses my mind! I love the idea of pockets on a bag, but never seem to get the hang of using them. Some things have a place, but most stuff just goes into the main compartment. Organization is a skill I’m still working on!

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    1. Pockets…yes! I recently discovered a line of trousers that has discreet cargo pockets (not all bulky or military looking. I love them! Their heavy weight fabric stands up better since I spend a good amount of time kneeling beside tiny little desks all day, so that’s a bonus as well!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Bags are the best! I need at least three for school every day & am constantly trying to explain to my husband why we can’t get rid of any of our bags. In fact, I’m thinking of making a new purse/tote from some old corduroy pants before we head back to school. I’m delighted, too, to hear that you have passed on your bag love to your grandchildren, and I agree that having a few stuffies on a hike is probably *very* important – just in case. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Making a bag out of old pants sounds awesome! Get rid of an old bag? Why–you might need it someday! (At least, that’s what I tell myself.) My wife and I were just discussing the importance of stuffies on a hike…I might have to find one for myself!

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  4. I am a bag person too and loath to part with any of them. For the last eon, I used a great backpack for school (purple Osprey, because I know you wondered), but last year when Covid hit I decided it made more sense to have bags I could stuff in a drawer during the day, so now I also carry three or so to school. I love the images of your grandaughter’s struggle to fit in her snack bag and the woman you met on the trail.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Erika, one of my daypacks is an Osprey, and I love it! Bags are such a part of a teacher’s life; what would we do without them? We went hiking today, and the kids both got their snack stuff packed, but only barely!

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  5. LOL! I am such a bag lady, so we are truly kindred spirits! I was so excited to go to Uganda in 2010 to volunteer with teachers and go gorilla trekking that I ran out and bought a frame pack at LL Bean. To my great sadness, my colleagues, who had been two years before, said, “Why did you buy that? You won’t need it.” 😦

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey, if I was going to Uganda, you can bet I’d have a frame pack! I had one until just a few years ago, and I still regret giving it away. I don’t backpack overnight anymore, but over the last few years there have been several Env Ed events where I was making my third trip to the car for supplies and thinking about that very pack.

      I love spending time on the trail with my grandkids. We’re currently working on some easy wintertime tree identification: Shagbark hickory and the eastern red cedar. Watching them forge ahead of us as if they’re on a sidewalk fills my heart with happiness.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Ha! There is so much I can relate to in this post, Tim! I like bags too. Although, my favorite thing to collect is coats! I have a lot of them! But, bags might run a close second. My affinity for bags has to do with the fact that I’ve always been an informal educator, taking my “classroom” and necessary essentials with me wherever I am supposed to be teaching. I used a lot of totes too. Thanks for sharing a fun and very relatable post! Happy New Year!

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