The backpack is the new briefcase (the new messenger bag too, hipsters)

I left for the summer and returned a backpack convert, for both business and personal use. 

In today’s world there’s scant difference between the two. What we use for work we also use for play. The same items populate both spheres. 

Before the sojourn around the U.S. a messenger bag toted my mobile office.

(laptop, planner & notepad, pens, whiteout, toothbrush -n- toothpaste, gum, toothpicks, smart phone, microphone attachment, bluetooth headset, wallet, loose change, sunglasses, extra pens, nail file, several file folders, biz cards, spirit rock cuz yeah, gotta have one of those)

Before the messenger bag, a briefcase carted these tools, a hangover from my Wall Street days. The kind with a strap. I was fond of slinging it diagonally over my shoulder and across my back . . . like a quiver for a hunter-gatherer’s arrows. Only this held pens. This carry method made it an easy move to the messenger bag in the first place.

Before the briefcase, before moving into management, it was a backpack. I was in my twenties, dude. That was part of our dress code.

So it’s full circle. I’m back to the backpack. In my fifties.

Since my youth backpacks have mutated. Woah, have they evolved. They’ve splintered into purpose-driven tools for dozens of targeted uses. The number of subspecies and varieties of backpack put Galapagos finches to shame. 

Be you long-distance cyclist, be you weary world traveler, be you Fortune 500 executive, be you urban-suburban hipster, there are versions for you. They scarcely seem related. Like the house cat and the puma, they serve different niches.

Why, though? Why make a big deal about using the backpack for an entrepreneurial life?

The benefits boil down to a few key reasons:

Holding capacity: Backpacks expand generously, leaving their single-strap cousins in the dust when suddenly called upon to lug extra stuff. 

And — oh! — the compartments they have. Zippered and open, large and small, pockets and sleeves and pouches within pouches . . . backpacks rule.

Light weight: Backpacks tend to be made of durable lightweight materials. Meaning greater capacity for the same or lighter weight, especially when compared to briefcases. 

Balance: We speak a lot about balance metaphorically in this era. A backpack is the only carrying case that literally balances you.

The last is most important. Since returning to a backpack, the shoulder and neck and back pains that came from lopsidedness have gone away entirely. When I walk, I’m walking naturally upright, shoulders pulled back by the straps. 

I feel more agile, more nimble. At the same time it feels as though I’m getting a moderate upper body workout, rather than overstressing one side of my body or another.
So yes. Backpacks are the new briefcase. The new messenger bag too.
And if you’re still fanny packing it, nothing I say here will help. Fanny on.

For you —

Evan Griffith
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