I am not much into the messenger bag. Just not my style. I am going with the Handy Haversack from Offworld designs. Was going to use my laptop bag but wanted a bit more room for daily use when the con is over. We'll see how this goes.
I also use it when I DM D&D, and it holds everything I need (PHB, DMG, MM, campaign book). It's a great bag, zero complaints, perfect for gaming on the go.
For me, its currently a good shoulder backpack with a messenger bag IF i need more storage..
My wife got me this for Xmas last year and It was a major improvement over my old messenger bag.
But yea, I got clocked pretty hard last year by a guy that I think was carrying every magic card he owned in lead case deck protectors.
Its not funny, and I actually pointed him out to con security as this kid hit at least two other folks. Im a big guy in decent shape, and when you nearly knock me off my feet and leave a welt on my arm, you are doing something wrong.
I have a pretty good backpack I use for some events, but man I am so used to my one shoulder messenger bag, its my go to event bag.
I also bring heavy duty grocery bags to carry the really heavy games and gear I pick up at Gencon
Woohoo, hubby got me the smaller bag of holding that was so highly recommended in this thread! Now I just need to get fun patches to add to it!
Historically I will use a simple messenger bag (usually something from a prior year's Gen Con VIG bag). I love the SwissGear backpack you're referencing (and it's my day to day commute bag) but for long days with a bag full of books, a good messenger bag, worn cross-body, does really well for me (more specifically, my back).
One of the other advantages of the messenger bag is that, since it's usually very pliable fabric, once the books are *out* of it, it takes up very little room under my seat at a gaming table.
Lastly, it allows me much greater control over where the "heavy painful mass" of my books goes when trying to navigate through pedestrian traffic. I can hold it in close to my body, or slide it a bit so it's ahead or behind me, etc. And I like to think that the folks that I don't slam a 20-pound battering ram into thank me for it, even if they don't know they're doing so. :-)
I thought it'd be useful to show just how much can go into these things. Below are pics of how my bag is now packed for day-to-day lunchtime gaming...
This first one shows all of the games I have in the bag. The top part shows all of the game boxes, empty and on shelves at home, with the contents in those deck boxes below. Mr. Jack Pocket (upper, second from left) is the only game in the original box. I put all of the instruction sheets (upper right) in the back pocket of the bag. 18 games!!
Mr. Jack Pocket
One Night Ultimate Werewolf: Daybreak
Bang! The Dice Game
7 Wonders: Duel
Star Realms: Colony
Hive Pocket (not pictured...lent to friend)
Ascension: Apprentice Edition (lost original box...had forgotten about this!)
This is everything packed in there, iPad in the front compartment, Star Realms playmat in tube sleeve and dice bag (usually Hive Pocket) in side pouches. I also have the game boards for 7 Wonders: Duel and Biblios in this front compartment along with the playmats for Coup (you can kind of see them poking out).
Granted, I wouldn't do this for GenCon. I'd probably carry half or less of those games and possibly no playmat. I'd want water in a side pouch, portable power supply, snacks and meds, etc. But it does give you an idea of just what can fit in this thing with some decent planning.
I use Gen Con messenger bag BUT carry a couple of cloth grocery bags for my purchases. I have got to the point where I carry very little on me, just dice, iPad, notebook and pens.
My neck and upper back are shot (major car accident a number of years ago), so as much as I lurve the Convention Bag of Holding it's not a practical option, as I can't carry anything on my shoulder for long without pain and my chiropractor will be back in Canada.
So I will be bringing a backpack, but it's fairly small, it will be lightly packed, and I am very conscious of my turtle-shell, as I take public transit a lot and don't want to be "that person". *lol*
Agreed bpunkert .. as some of us"older and more broken " ..gamers have issues with the messenger bag type.
The good news about this is this usually makes us more aware of others in hallways:)
I have a couple of Timbuk2 messenger bags that I bring. I find them much more comfortable than backpacks and much more controllable. I have a larger one for times when I will be shopping and a smaller one if I know I won't be.
For gaming, carrying minis or laptop or cards, it's also great. Padded, with a lot of built in pockets. Plus you get it sized to fit you, so the padding hits you in the right places. You can load it down and it feels like it weighs nothing.
I'm planning on using it for a hiking pack on a trip in August, but I also use it for daily carrying of laptop and such. Can't say enough about it.
I recommend Fjallraven products.
The standard size is pricey, $75.00, but they are designed very well and have a lifetime guarantee. They come in a lot of colors and are water resistant. It saved my back on my last vacay to DC.
My .02 worth....
We purchase an Ogio Messenger bag a couple years ago and have been very happy with it. We find messenger bags easier to swing around and take off when sitting down at a demo table. Moreover, we are far less likely to clock someone behind us compared to using a backpack. Expensive, but we feel they are very comfortable and rugged thus making it a worthwhile investment.
As a side note, we cannot believe and despise the increased amount of people bringing in pull behind carts and wagons. More than once have I seen or come close myself, someone tripping over them because they cannot be seen.
I purchased the canvas Handy Haversack. Plenty of room for purchases so I don't have to carry two bags. For waterproofing, I just coated it with Neverwet (http://astore.amazon.com/neve09-20/detail/B0143FX0CW) and I no longer worry about it getting wet.
The best one I've had was an over the shoulder bag I got at IKEA. I think having a smaller bag is better for two reasons. One, you are less likely to hit someone with it. Two, it encourages you to minimize what you are carrying. I've stopped carrying books to RPG events as I very rarely had to look at them. Your feet will appreciate you.