It's not easy to find one perfect bag that can get you through an airport, museum, national park, theme park, and around town—but that doesn't stop us from trying. After testing dozens of options, here's a collection of terrific bags for all kinds of trips.
SPIbelt Expandable Messenger Bag
Need a bag that's always just the right size for a day in a theme park? This expandable Spandex cross-body bag will expand to easily hold a wallet, water bottle, towel, snacks and even most tablet computers. There's also a smaller pocket on the shoulder strap for your smartphone, keys, and smaller items. Hand washable.
Chums Downriver Rolltop Bag
Whether you're going kayaking, whitewater rafting, or hiking in the rain, reach for the stylish and 100-percent waterproof Chums Downriver Rolltop. Your phone and essentials will stay dry in the waterproof main pocket with roll top closure, while sunglasses and lip balm can go in the front pocket with its YKK water-resistant zipper and drain holes for quick drying.
You'll find yourself reaching for Tom Bihn's ultralight Daylight Backpack again and again, whether you're going on a hike, or to a museum or theme park. There's plenty of room for a tablet or laptop as well as a light sweater, water bottle, snack bag, and any other key essentials.
The problem with most messenger bags is a lack of organization. One of this bag's best features is the angled front zippered pocket for stashing your car keys, sunglasses and smartphone. Under the velcro flap, there's one main compartment large enough for a tablet or laptop and two good-size pockets for your wallet, a paperback, and anything else you need.
From Tom Bihn comes the ideal gift for the everything-in-its-place person in your life. The Synapse 19 has about a dozen zippered pockets in addition to a main compartment that's large enough for a laptop, so there's no fumbling for keys, wallet, pen, camera, sunglasses, diapers, wipes, or any other essential item, ever.
This backpack is a multi-tasking camper's best friend. Toss your dirty clothes inside with a bit of laundry soap, go for a hike, and return with your clothes spanky clean. The secret is an internal washboard that gets clothes cleaner than handwashing.