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  1. #1
    Forum Member bchaplin's Avatar
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    Maker's Bag and Security

    For years I've been using primarily my Co-Pilot as an EDC during the work-week. I've just switched over to the Maker's Bag, and I like it for its light weight, extra capacity, and freeform interior, though I definitely miss certain aspects of the Co-Pilot, including its compactness. I got the MB with the intention of taking it as my shoulder bag for an upcoming two-week trip to the UK. I want to pair it with a small duffel or backpack, so I'm carrying two medium-sized bags rather than one large one. But I'm having a few niggling doubts, which are not helped by too much browsing on the internet for travel horror stories.* For those of you who have done lengthy trips with the MB, how do you feel about the security aspect of it, given the lack of a zipper closure for the top?

    I'll likely keep everything important in a Side Kick that is carried inside. I realize that there are interior zippered areas in the back and in the front of the MB that are more secure, but I actually like having all my vital stuff in one smaller bag. Theoretically that should be fine; my only caveat is that I sometimes get careless or distracted during long flights and layovers.

    I'm moving around a lot on this trip, but when possible, my larger shoulder bag will stay in my hotel and I'll carry just the Side Kick. So my security concerns are primarily for "travel days" when I have to transport all my things.

    -----------------------------
    * Never mind that my home city is probably equivalent to the ones I'm visiting in the UK for risk of theft. I think it's just the potential consequences of losing my passport or wallet in an unfamiliar place where I don't have a support system that has me worked up about this.
    ----
    All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.
    Edmund Burke

  2. #2
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    Mateh Binyamin, Israel
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    I wish the interior zippered pocket had an o-ring; I'd feel much better if I could tether my important stuff to something inside that pocket.

    On a related note, the switch from D-rings to detachable shoulder straps also bothers me from a security standpoint. So easy to unhook a strap and grab the bag. I put zipties on mine to make them harder to remove.

  3. #3
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    Let's talk about Security in the UK. I'm spending the summer in London and will probably wind up spending about 100 nights in the UK this year.

    Fortunately, pickpocketing is not as abundant here as in other parts of Europe. More common are thieves on scooters grabbing phones out of people's hands and riding away.

    Even with that said, I don't use bags without zippers that can be linked together. A group of pickpockets tried to get in my EDC bag in Venice a few months ago but because I tied the zippers together with a cable key ring they weren't able to get anything.

    For maximum security you could put everything you want in the bag in pouches and smaller cubes and then use key straps to connect them to "0" rings. But if there are no 'O' rings, this is not a choice.

    I'm mostly concerned with losing my electronics. My passport, extra credit cards, cash, etc are in a hidden pocket under my clothes. I do have a wallet with one credit card, one form of ID (My passport card) and some cash. If I lose that, it wouldn't be the end of the world. When I cross borders where I will need my passport, I carry it in the Tom Bihn Passport Pouch.

    If you stay aware of your surroundings, you lessen the likelihood of having a problem. But then, I know a Rick Steves employee who was pickpocketed outside the Canterbury Cathedral.
    Editor--One Bag, One World: News, Reviews & Community for Light Travelers. http://www.1bag1world.com

    Aeronaut(2), Tri-Star(2) Cadet , Large Cafe Bag, Travel Tray, Travel Money Belt, Absolute Straps(3), Side Effect, Clear Quarter Packing Cubes (2), 3D Organizer Cubes (4), Aeronaut & Tri-Star Packing Cubes, Clear Organizer Wallet, numerous Organizer Pouches,, Guardian Dual Function Light, Vertical Netbook Cache, Nexus 7 Cache, RFID Passport Pouch, numerous Key Straps.

  4. #4
    Volunteer Moderator Alumni Badger's Avatar
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    For a passport and a few credit cards, would having a passport pouch (TB or other) you can wear provide some peace of mind? If you have other still-important-but-not-passport-important items in a flat pouch, you can use a long key strap to affix it to an o-ring outside the interior zipper pocket and then just zip up the pocket as much as possible. It's not elegant but it's still effective.

    Perhaps I am not very dexterous but I find TB detachable shoulder straps not impossibly difficult to remove, but not effortless either (I would have a very short-lived career as a brigand). The zip ties seem like a good idea, though.

  5. #5
    Forum Member bchaplin's Avatar
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    Thanks for the feedback!

    I'm not really worried about a scenario where someone would try to rip the bag off my shoulder or detach it. Sure, it could happen, but I think the probability is extremely low. Given the weight of the bag, I myself find that I have to sit down to remove it. I think it's far more likely that if I ever get something snatched it will be through the results of my being inattentive; I do get a little loopy and careless when I'm tired.

    In fact, I love the shoulder strap arrangement on the Maker's Bag. I use a third-party strap that is very comfortable. And the fact that it's detachable means that I can move it around from one bag to another throughout the trip.

    I may try a money belt or passport pouch. My personal history is that I always take something like that and never end up using it. I do pack a second wallet in a different bag with backup cards and cash though; I should start wearing that!

    A note about o-rings: the front pocket of the MB (the one underneath the flap) and the main pocket have o-rings. I intend to make use of those.
    Last edited by bchaplin; 08-23-2017 at 11:38 AM.
    ----
    All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.
    Edmund Burke

  6. #6
    Forum Member yeg780's Avatar
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    Last year I used my MB around Croatia, Italy, and Germany.

    Passport and wallet were kept in the inside zipper pocket.

    For added security, although not very secure, I attached a key strap on each end o-ring.

    For my needs the internal zipper pocket was enough security for me. The main compartment held much larger items like an umbrella, hoodie, and dslr.

  7. #7
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    Greetings,
    If I understand correctly, your concern is primarily security on travel days. It has been said that the most secure bag has a zip top that is covered by a flap. I've also heard that most secure way to wear a bag is cross-body, with the bag in the front and your hand on the bag.

    Since you have a Side Kick, double up the zipper factor on travel days. Put the Side Kick into a Packing Cube Shoulder Bag, then put it into the Maker's Bag.

    Anything of value that is not on your person should be inside the Double Zipper Safety Zone. When placing the Maker's Bag under the seat or in an overhead compartment, put the zippers in opposing positions. Let me explain.

    Place the Side Kick in the Packing Cube Shoulder Bag UPSIDE DOWN. Then place the Packing Cube Shoulder Bag into the Maker's Bag UPSIDE DOWN.

    For added piece of mind, tether the Side Kick with a Key Strap to the O-Ring in the PCSB. Then tether the PCSB to an O-Ring in the Maker's Bag.

    Securing the bag to a table leg or chair can thwart opportunistic grab and run theft in restaurants and cafes. If you have to put the bag in the overhead on a train, securing the bag to the rails might ease your mind. Just remember to get the bag down in plenty of time before your stop.

    I'm considering traveling with the Maker's Bag as my personal item on my next trip. All the ideas and tips here are making me more comfortable with the idea. Thanks! elisa

  8. #8
    Forum Member bchaplin's Avatar
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    Ha ha, I really like the Double Zipper Safety Zone concept. Particularly for going through security lines, and when I sleep.
    ----
    All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.
    Edmund Burke

  9. #9
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    Any decisions on carrying the Makers Bag, @bchaplin ? I'm waiting for a shipment this week but, of course, have been looking towards my next bag. I'd love to see a zippered top on the Makers bag or similar bag. And I'm wishing the Makers bag was just a little bit smaller...

    @darcy can you give us any hints of what's coming down the line??

  10. #10
    Forum Member bchaplin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Traveltech View Post
    Any decisions on carrying the Makers Bag, @bchaplin ? I'm waiting for a shipment this week but, of course, have been looking towards my next bag. I'd love to see a zippered top on the Makers bag or similar bag. And I'm wishing the Makers bag was just a little bit smaller...

    @darcy can you give us any hints of what's coming down the line??
    I do intend to try out the Maker's Bag on my next trip. I'll incorporate the tips above, and perhaps more importantly, have decided to stop reading scary stories on the internet of travel gone wrong. The Side Kick +/- the Packing Cube Shoulder Bag, which will be inside, will be my daily tour bag.
    ----
    All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.
    Edmund Burke

  11. #11
    Forum Member Pokilani's Avatar
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    Curious minds need to know, @bchaplin, did you decide on your second bag?

  12. #12
    Forum Member bchaplin's Avatar
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    I've been thinking about the Night Flight Travel Duffel. That would just be for my clothes and toiletries. Well, that's the plan, anyway.

    My packing usually starts out calm and rational, and in my last-minute frenzy of additions, ends up to be something like this:

    Maker's Bag and Security-backpack-jpg
    ----
    All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.
    Edmund Burke

  13. #13
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    Greetings,
    That's certainly one way to one-bag travel. Lol!

    I know you are an experienced traveler. Do you use a packing list? The One Bag website has a different take on the packing list. It changed the way I travel. Here's the direct link to the page about the packing list:
    https://www.onebag.com/list.html

    I used to go nuts with last minute additions, until I made a master packing list. A few pointed questions usually snaps me out of it.

    1. Do I really NEED this?
    2. Can I do without it for a few days/weeks/months?
    3. Did I survive before I had this?
    4. Is it easy to acquire or can I buy it when I get there if I decide I need it?
    5. Is the convenience of having it greater than the annoyance of not having it?
    6. Is it heavy or bulky? Can I find a replacement that is lighter or compact?

    And here is the final question:
    7. Did I pack this "just in case"? If the answer is yes, leave it home.

    However, a waterproof packable rain jacket always falls into the "need" category. Rain can be enjoyable if I'm dry and warm.

    There's lots of great tips and ideas that are genuinely helpful at the One Bag site.
    Here's the link to the One Bag home page:
    https://www.onebag.com/

    I'm interested in seeing your packing list, as I'm also trying to downsize my one-bag from the Synapse 25 to the Pilot or NFTD for a month long trip. I'll be carrying a ukulele as my personal item, so I'm not sure if I can really go smaller than the S25.

    Good luck! elisa

  14. #14
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    Let me add some more question to the mix....


    It is midnight and I need XXX. Can I wait until the morning to go out and get it or do I need it right away? (This is especially good for first aid kit items and OTC meds.)

    Is there one item I can take that will replace two or more items? (Example--if you have devices that are powered via USB, rather than take one charger for each, get a multi charger.)

    Once you have a master packing list, every time you travel, copy and paste it into a new document and name it for that trip. Some items on the master packing list may not be needed on that particular trip. You can then cross them out in the new document without taking them off the master list.
    Editor--One Bag, One World: News, Reviews & Community for Light Travelers. http://www.1bag1world.com

    Aeronaut(2), Tri-Star(2) Cadet , Large Cafe Bag, Travel Tray, Travel Money Belt, Absolute Straps(3), Side Effect, Clear Quarter Packing Cubes (2), 3D Organizer Cubes (4), Aeronaut & Tri-Star Packing Cubes, Clear Organizer Wallet, numerous Organizer Pouches,, Guardian Dual Function Light, Vertical Netbook Cache, Nexus 7 Cache, RFID Passport Pouch, numerous Key Straps.

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