The term man purse is usually meant as a joke, and that’s a shame. Thanks to masculine insecurities, some guys don’t feel like they can carry something the size of purse, because it makes them seem weak or too feminine or for some other bullshit reason.
When men head out on the street, we’re supposed to carry a pack or just stuff our pockets. Backpacks are often too big, and our pockets don’t hold enough. But a purse, small bag, whatever you need to call it, is usually the perfect size for all the essentials, like your phone, wallet, keys, sunglasses, water bottle, camera, and maybe an extra layer. It should be an essential part of your kit.
My favorite in this category is the cross-body Bellroy Sling ($99) At seven liters, it will carry all the gear listed above and organize it in a way that you’ll quickly come to love. There’s a lined pocket just for your glasses, so you never need to worry about scratching them. A ring ensures your keys won’t slip out when the main compartment is open. And thanks to a gusseted design, the Sling compresses when it’s not packed but expands when you need to stuff it full.
It carries well on my back if I’m wandering around a city or on a short trail. The nylon strap is slender but doesn’t dig into my shoulder. It can also be cinched down tightly to keep the bag from bouncing when I’m running to catch a plane. If I need to access something, I slide it around to my chest instead of taking it off like a backpack. When I do take it off, there’s a magnetic clasp on the strap that can be unclipped with one hand. The Sling isn’t waterproof, but it’s pretty damn water-resistant, thanks to a tight-weave polyester, so you don’t need to worry if you’re caught out in a storm.
Fashion-wise, man purses are starting to catch on. Stroll the streets of any major city, walk through a big outdoor concert, or ride public transportation, and you’ll likely see a couple guys carrying them. Fjällräven and Patagonia also make nice versions that can be worn as slings or fanny packs. I hope the trend continues. (Women have had the right idea all along.) But even if it doesn’t, I’ll still be rocking my bag.