From face masks to hand sanitizer to Tyvek biohazard bodysuits, the health-conscious among us are carrying more daily essentials now than ever. If you’re ready to graduate beyond a baseball-sized wallet and cargo shorts for your everyday carry (EDC), it’s time to invest in a compact carryall. Don’t worry if you still have hang-ups about carrying a “murse” or an 80s-era fanny pack. We’ve graduated to fancier “slings” and “crossbody bags” now. Here are our favorite minimalist bags to wrangle your pandemic-related EDC in this time of corona.
We dig everything about Nomatic’s design ethos, where a great deal of thought goes into keeping things simple. From slings to messenger bags to backpacks, every one of the brand’s bags is made to pack only what you need and nothing you don’t. The new Navigator Sling 6L is perfect for your EDC, especially in the time of coronavirus. The main compartment features four pockets, including an RFID-safe one for stowing your passport and credit cards. Around back, an additional pocket is large enough for an 11-inch tablet, and a water bottle pocket stows away when not in use.
For commuters who get around more on two wheels than on foot, Chrome just released its clever Urban EX Handlebar Bag 2.0. The creative design moves seamlessly between your handlebars and your hip. The rolltop not only secures the bag to your bike but also ensures the bag is expandable in case you buy a bit more at the bodega than you’d planned. It’s also lightweight, padded, and 100% waterproof.
Of course, minimal doesn’t have to mean “boring.” Mountain Hardwear’s new Road Side Waist Pack is streamlined and functional. But, the 90s-inspired color palette exudes a bold, confident aesthetic for those who like to stand out. The main compartment features a two-way zipper and a divider sleeve organizer to wrangle your smallest bits of EDC. It’s all wrapped in a 420D nylon shell with a special carbonate coating to ensure your essential gear stays safe and dry. Plus, it’s versatile enough to be worn on your front, side, or back — your call.
Arc’teryx has spent the last few decades making a name for itself with over-the-top — and often exceedingly pricey — outdoor gear. The brand’s Veilance line is the pinnacle of that pursuit, so it’s hardly a surprise the Nomin Pack is no exception. This ultra-streamlined EDC daypack is the most minimal on this list, but the interior offers two storage compartments with just enough organization to keep your gear in check. The exterior features a waterproof face fabric, taped seam construction, and watertight zippers. The only wrinkle? The $800 price tag.
For security-conscious travelers and anyone who totes pricey gear as part of their EDC, Pacsafe’s line of slashproof, theft-resistant bags is a godsend. The Venturesafe X Anti-Theft Sling Pack is compact at just 6L but roomy enough to stash your essentials. The design features a centered strap and zippers, so it works well left- or right-handed. A well-thought-out interior includes plenty of pockets to organize even your smallest bits.
Heimplanet’s Monolith Minimal Rucksack feels cut from the same cloth as Arc’teryx’s Veilance line, albeit at a fraction of the price. The streamlined aesthetic eschews any frilly ornamentation, so it feels equal parts sleek and functional. At 18L, it’s the largest on this list — perfectly sized for those who regularly travel with a 15-inch laptop in their EDC kit.
Everything in Fjallraven’s catalog balances design elements from throwback school bookbags, vintage (think external frame) camping backpacks, and a dash of European military chic. The Foldsack No. 3 is somewhere between a traditional daypack and a waist pack. It features a compact, six-liter design that’s roomy enough to fit the needs of most minimal EDC demands. Plus, it fits comfortably over the shoulder, whether empty or full.
For those who frequently head out without knowing just how much “stuff” they might come home with, Matador offers the utmost versatility. The brand’s On-Grid Packable Tote collapses down on itself to an ultra-compact, pocketable size but expands to a full 16L when needed. With a 100D, abrasion-resistant nylon shell, it’s waterproof and extremely durable — built to survive the rigors of urban travel. A built-in laptop sleeve, additional organization pockets, and hidden external sunglasses/key loop all keep your EDC well organized on the go.
For ultra-minimalists who roll with only the barest essentials, there’s Afterschool Project’s new Sacoche Grande. At roughly 10 inches by 6.5 inches, it’s only as big as it needs to be and, thanks to a removable strap, carries comfortably on the hip or over the shoulder. The lightweight, weather-resistant VX nylon fabric is perfect for urban commuting or more adventurous off-grid pursuits where a traditional backpack or rucksack is more than you need. We dig it in jet black or white, or you can opt to go undercover with the camo version.
The Everyday Sling represents the smallest carryall in Peak Design’s newly refreshed Everyday Line v2. Available in three capacities, the mid-sized Everyday Sling 6L is just right for keeping your pandemic-related goods in check. The 400D DWR nylon shell is weatherproof and made from 100% recycled materials to boot. Peak Design’s catalog has always been photographer-centric, so the Everyday Sling includes customizable dividers to format the interior however you like. They can also be removed entirely for a free-form approach to organization. Either way, the dedicated tablet sleeve and stretchy internal pockets provide ample protection for your EDC.
Mission Workshop has always had the “urban explorer” aesthetic dialed in. The Axis: VX — one of the brand’s smallest offerings — is a compact, modular waist pack designed to carry only the essentials. The weatherproof outer shell will withstand just about anything you can throw at it, while the interior features a floating liner construction. Inside, the 2.5-liter space is properly divvied up with zippered organization pockets for keys, a wallet, and a phone.
The design of Aer’s Day Sling 2 is sleek, streamlined, and perfect for stealth explorers. The top-notch materials include a 1680D Cordura ballistic nylon exterior and YKK zippers all around. An adjustable shoulder strap guarantees a comfortable all-day carry. Inside, there’s a pocket for up to a 7.9-inch tablet, plus multiple internal pockets for organizing small accessories. Plus, a hidden back pocket keeps things like credit cards, cash, or a passport close to the vest.
At just 2L, the Form Crossbody Large from Herschel Supply Co. is designed to carry only the essentials, making it the perfect size for pandemic-related EDC. A removable strap and belt loop provide for a variety of carrying options. The two-way zippered closure reveals a soft fabric-lined interior with an internal storage sleeve for keeping smaller bits right where you need them. Plus, 13 available color options mean you can dial in the exact look you’re after.
For those looking for pure function over style, there’s Mountainsmith’s Tour Lumbar Pack. The brand touts the no-nonsense pack as the one that “created the category 35 years ago.” The durable Cordura fabric shell is designed to take a beating, while the 9-liter interior is spacious enough for a sizable EDC stash. An expandable water bottle pocket will accommodate up to a 32-ounce Nalgene, and an integrated external sleeve will hold items as large as a helmet. An airy mesh back panel and a sturdy waist belt mean that it’s ready for all-day wear.
If your EDC calls for a bit more pack space, check out the best backpacks for men, from daypacks to commuter bags.
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