A little more on versatile bags and pouches

· 672 words · 4 minute read

Right after my post on the search for an EDC bag went live I went down to the living room to dig out a spare strap and a second Peak Design Field Pouch in my motorcycle backpack.

“Oh,” I thought to myself, I bet it’s the v1 I demoted to tool pouch when I got a v2.

Turns out I had it backwards: The first pouch I found and wrote about was a v1, and the one I’d just found was a v2.

“Huh. Well, I bet it’s better!” so I started the process of moving things over from the v1 to the v2.

It also turns out that the v2 moved backwards in a few ways that are important to me:

  • There are storage pouches in the main storage area and they’re more shallow.
  • There are more pouches in the zip area, but they’re even more shallow and narrow, fit for little more than memory cards.

The problem with the former is that the main pouches in the v2 are too shallow to clip in a multitool or flashlight. They barely work with my tiny Space Pen and they definitely won’t hold my Magsafe battery. From the color stitching, it’s clear they’re meant for camera batteries.

The problem with the latter is that what extra partitions there are won’t help with anything I’d put in them.

It seems likely Peak Design decided to push the Field Pouch in the direction of a more narrow photography use case. Maybe, with the advent of the Tech Pouch, it made sense to specialize it a little more. I don’t know.

Anyhow, I would not recommend the Field Pouch v2 as an EDC bag.

North St. alternatives 🔗

But, you know, never identify a problem without having a solution on hand, so I’ll happily offer an alternative: The North St. Pioneer with a few accessories.

A small, square, green bag

North St. is a bag company here in Portland. They make a lot of bicycle-forward stuff, and they make a line of hip packs that come in 8, 9, and 12-inch-wide sizes. The nine- and twelve-inch models can accommodate small, velcro-backed waterproof zipper pockets with internal pouches.

The Pioneer 8 is a little too small for my tastes, and the shoulder/waist strap is sewn on. That doesn’t work for my own use case of wanting something I can carry standalone or drop into a bigger bag of some kind. If you just wanted to carry a battery, a tool, and a few other small things it could work really well.

The Pioneer 12 is a little large to fit in a backpack gracefully, but it can hold a lot.

The Pioneer 9 hits the sweet spot. It is about the size of the Peak Design Field Pouch and is only a little more thick, so anywhere you’d put the Field Pouch you can put the Pioneer 9. You can order it in a waterproof material and it has a rain-sealed main zipper. You can also order a handlebar carrier or shoulder strap for it. It also has a front pocket that’s great for stowing a few things you want to get at quickly without rummaging. I put my Machine Era wallet in it.

Walking around with them you can use them as a waist pack, a cross-body bag, or a tiny sling, and with one strap you can flip between those modes easily. The clips for the assorted straps and carrying attachments are fiddly, but one solution for that is to add small ‘biners or Peak Design anchors to the strap eyes.

I still give the Peak Design Field Pouch v1 a bigger nod:

  • It seems more durable.
  • Its internal storage suits my tastes.
  • It’s more expandable.

But the North St. Pioneer can be ordered in nicer colors and has more versatile carry options.

Either way, I’d stay away from the Peak Design Field Pouch v2. I love Peak Design and I’ve bought more of their v2 stuff than is seemly, but the second generation Field Pouch was a rare regression.