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  1. #1
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    Truck v Monster Truck

    Can y'all help me decide between the Truck and Monster Truck? It's not for a single use, so it needs to be able to do a lot of things.

    • I spent a few months in China teaching English, for example, and I would have loved one for groceries. Going to the 'fancy store' that had imports was about a mile of walking and half an hour of bus riding. The local grocery store was about a quarter mile.
    • I teach school and might want to toss textbooks into it during the vast majority of the time I'm in the US.
    • When it's summer and I'm not teaching, I want to toss random things into it in my car.
    • I want to use it as a gym bag on occasion.


    As the proud owner of far, FAR too many bags I have an excellent sense of how big 25L vs 38L is when it's in backpack or suitcase form.

    I cannot get my head around what these sizes would be like as a shoulder bag. How many liters is one of those standard cheap grocery bags? 15L maybe?

  2. #2
    TOM BIHN Crew (we work here) Darcy's Avatar
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    I'd vote Monster Truck because of the textbooks and the gym bag usage: I mean, a fully loaded Monster Truck can be a workout in itself (be sure to squat and lift with your legs!) It's also what I use in the back of my car for random stuff.
    Have a question? @Darcy (to make sure I see it)

    Current carry: testing new potential materials in the form of Original Large Shop Bags.

  3. #3
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    If you have a car then youd probably get better use out of a Monster Truck.

    If you are in a situation like you describe where youre walking a mile and riding a bus, I would go for the Truck or even a Large Shop Bag.

    For reference, Im 57 and I am quite used to walking a mile and a half to the grocery store. I prefer my Monster Truck to hold things at home because if I have enough groceries to warrant such a large bag, its going to be too heavy to carry as a single item for longer than a quarter of a mile. I prefer to distribute the load in three bags: left hand, right hand, backpack. This week Ive gotten into a routine of using my Daylight Backpack and two Small Original Shop Bags because they wont bump the ground as I walk even if theyre full.

    I hope this helps! If you would like to see if your textbooks would fit in a Truck, Im happy to check.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Darcy View Post
    I'd vote Monster Truck because of the textbooks and the gym bag usage: I mean, a fully loaded Monster Truck can be a workout in itself (be sure to squat and lift with your legs!) It's also what I use in the back of my car for random stuff.
    This may be a different opinion, but I'd say that if I want to carry textbooks and groceries where I'm walking and not using a car (e.g., I'm assuming that I don't only transport the Monster Truck between the car and a door), that it's too heavy for me to shoulder carry all of this. I make more use of the Truck. If I were walking and bus riding in China, the Truck is a more manageable size to carry. However, if I'm trying to minimize number of trips to the grocery store by stocking up for a couple of weeks during the Covid-19 era, then the Monster Truck is the way to go. But I'd definitely need to be spending most of my time transporting things in a car as opposed to taking public transportation and walking or carrying this. And, although I'm not very tall, I don't have problems carrying heavy weights. I'd still find it hard to shoulder carry the Monster Truck unless the contents were pretty light (e.g. bulky boxes of cereal, but not as heavy as the general run of groceries). Of course, he may be twice my weight and have no problems routinely hefting that much around for groceris.

    If @BowTrek wants to see some pictures of books in the early, smaller prototype of the Truck that I tested, they're shown in this post. Remember that the pictures were taken of a bag that is smaller than the current Truck, but there are some comments there specifically about different sizes of hardcover books.

    HTH

    moriond
    Last edited by moriond; 11-19-2020 at 09:10 PM.

  5. #5
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    Thank you @Darcy !

    Maybe we keep different things in our gym bags though - mine has shorts, change of underwear, minimalist shoes, shirt, bottle of water. Could probably cram it into my 8L atom sling? Granted my work clothes going in after changing would be slightly bigger but what are people keeping in their gym bags that takes up space?!

    I'm most tempted by the Monster Truck for the reasons you list - but I'm like moriond too in concerns... still you've both given me tons to consider, thank you!
    Last edited by BowTrek; 11-19-2020 at 09:11 PM.

  6. #6
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    @moriond

    Thank you for the link!!!

  7. #7
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    A standard cheap plastic grocery bag is probably anywhere from 8-16L - so think Original Small Shop Bag (15L) size-ish.
    The Truck & Original Large Shop Bag are both 25L...
    The Monster Truck is 38L

    For the shear variety of loads and versatility, I'd get the Monster as long as you're comfortable with the potential weight of what you can pack into that volume, for whatever distance you're traveling.
    Given the size, if it's packed full, it's automatically an off-centered carry vs a backpack. That may or may not bother you.

    Specific to carrying groceries for a mile, I'd probably always go for a backpack just because I think it would be more comfortable - regardless of weight.

    ETA: I've used my 26L Smart Alec quite a few times for walking home with groceries - about a 2.5mi walk....note that I did this mostly for the fun & exercise, usually I'd be stopping on my way back from somewhere and use Shop Bags and my car.
    Last edited by G42; 11-19-2020 at 09:15 PM.
    I like all the blues and greys...and all the happy citrus colours too! My search unicorn is the Sapphire Dyneema original Small Shop Bag...

  8. #8
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    Thank you!

  9. #9
    Forum Member haraya's Avatar
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    The Smart Alec also popped immediately into my mind when I read "groceries" + walking... Big open carrying space plus exterior expansion options.

    I am not very tall and I have a wonky shoulder, so I would definitely not carry groceries in a tote for any length of time, much less in a Monster Truck. (I * might * carry two Small Shop Bags for a balanced load.) As an alternative, if grocery-schlepping was a regular occurrence - I might see if I could get a pre-loved A30 or A45, so that I could switch up carrying it as a backpack or with the Absolute Strap, to use different muscles as I walked. But the Smart Alec is my most comfortable TB pack to date (I haven't carried heavy loads yet with any packs that have the edgeless straps).

    Quote Originally Posted by G42 View Post
    A standard cheap plastic grocery bag is probably anywhere from 8-16L - so think Original Small Shop Bag (15L) size-ish.
    The Truck & Original Large Shop Bag are both 25L...
    The Monster Truck is 38L

    For the sheer variety of loads and versatility, I'd get the Monster as long as you're comfortable with the potential weight of what you can pack into that volume, for whatever distance you're traveling.
    Given the size, if it's packed full, it's automatically an off-centered carry vs a backpack. That may or may not bother you.

    Specific to carrying groceries for a mile, I'd probably always go for a backpack just because I think it would be more comfortable - regardless of weight.

    ETA: I've used my 26L Smart Alec quite a few times for walking home with groceries - about a 2.5mi walk....note that I did this mostly for the fun & exercise, usually I'd be stopping on my way back from somewhere and use Shop Bags and my car.

  10. #10
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    Hi @BowTrek ,
    I agree with @Cristina ’s assessment (just above my post). I’m shorter than @Cristina (just under 5’4”) but taller than @haraya . I’ve used both the large shop bag and the Truck for groceries, walking the specified distances. I’ll point you to two other posts/threads with pictures that may help you decide. I posted two years ago about using a large zip top shop bag during a two week period of travel to China and Europe. Especially when in Europe I had to do regular grocery shopping in conjunction with attending a workshop and work in sightseeing to museums. Although the Large Shop Bag is by no means as packable as many light weight shopping bags, I was able to fold it into the pocket of my light weight rain jacket, thus never having to check the empty bag I was carrying when I went into museums. I actually prefer the original (non zip top) shop bags for most usages, but since I arrived in China at the tail end of a typhoon, it was sometimes convenient to be able to zip the top shut.

    The other set of pictures that may help you are the comparison shots in The Truck family thread, where you can see the Truck and Monster Truck side by side.

    The Truck probably works better for your gym bag use than the Large Shop Bag. It also may work better for textbooks than the Large Shop Bag because of the reinforced square bottom in the central compartment, but the Shop Bags are not bad for this — the Small Shop Bag is probably a bit easier to use for this purpose as being better sized to match typical books. (the bottom of the bag is shaped well to carry books, even if not reinforced— testing the prototype Truck with books was motivated by the fact that this was something the Shop Bags did well with.) There are two side pockets in the Shop bags that I typically use to fit items like a half gallon of milk or juice — or other items. You can turn the Shop Bag inside out so the pockets are on the outside, which gives more carrying room since the “bulge” from the beverages pushes outwards. It’s also possible to do this with the zip top models, but the inversion is less gracefully handled.

    With both bags you take advantage of the padded poron handles to make carrying easier. I often pack a Shop Bag in one of my backpacks to take along, The Truck design doesn’t lend itself to the same sort of pack-up, but is convenient to carry by itself as a shopping option.

    HTH

    moriond
    Last edited by moriond; 11-24-2020 at 04:23 PM.

  11. #11
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    If your height and level of fitness are both medium, the Truck or the Large Shop Bag would be better .

    If you are an above 6 feet person who can complete an heavy cardio workout, without much trouble, go for the Monster Truck.


    I have all 3, I am 5 foot 8 inches, the Large Shop Bag in Halcyon was my EDC and carry on domestic U.S travel, until the pandemic came. It was always full and weighted between 5 and 10 pounds.


    I don't see myself carrying the Truck, let alone the Monster Truck full of groceries, for any length of time.

    Mine are used for linen and socks.

    Because I have a Large Shop Bag in Ballistic, the lighter weight one, I believe the difference is the material, this Large Shop Bag is perfect to carry large coloring books, and art paper from one room to another.


    I also feel that the flat bottom of the Trucks, is harder to conform to my body.


    Note that the Shop Bags and Trucks are the absolute best totes to carry, for any length of time. It is those padded handles and of course, the O-rings to secure items.

    I have a long history of shopping using buses and walking to go to the grocery store, the library and the laundromat. I wish I had visited Tom, in the 90's, when he was in a neighboring town, it would have saved me lots of shoulder and hand pain.
    Last edited by backpack; 11-25-2020 at 08:23 AM.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by backpack View Post

    I don't see myself carrying the Truck, let alone the Monster Truck full of groceries, for any length of time.
    @backpack , to be fair, my preference is to carry the smaller prototype version of the Truck (in 200d Island Halcyon) that I tested when I go grocery shopping, but I have also used the Truck in 210d Dawn Ballistic Nylon. I stocked up on the lighter 210d Ballistic versions of the Truck when they were available, both because of the brighter colors and the
    lighter weight. I'd be perfectly fine carrying a version of the Truck in 200d Halcyon. The Truck design works pretty well for going to farmer's markets, where I'm buying produce instead of cans, etc.

    HTH

    moriond

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by moriond View Post
    @backpack , to be fair, my preference is to carry the smaller prototype version of the Truck (in 200d Island Halcyon) that I tested when I go grocery shopping, but I have also used the Truck in 210d Dawn Ballistic Nylon. I stocked up on the lighter 210d Ballistic versions of the Truck when they were available, both because of the brighter colors and the
    lighter weight. I'd be perfectly fine carrying a version of the Truck in 200d Halcyon. The Truck design works pretty well for going to farmer's markets, where I'm buying produce instead of cans, etc.

    HTH

    moriond
    My Trucks are in Dawn and my Monster Truck is in a Recycled 630 Ballistic.
    Last edited by backpack; 11-25-2020 at 08:25 AM.

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