My 5 Overused Travel Bags

What bag do you always use when traveling? I’m not talking about your check-in luggage or carry-on trolleys. I’m talking about the bags you love to use when exploring the streets or ___ of my travel destination.

Looking through years of travel albums, I noticed I tend to use the same baby backpacks and sling bags. I chose them not for the labels, but because they’re sturdy, anti-theft, flexible, and the design fits my personal fashion. They’ve become a significant part of my travel adventures.

1. Yadu Duffel Bag

Waikiki, Hawaii, circa 2010. I stuffed all my beach essentials in this Yadu.

I got this as a gift back in 2010 when Yadu was still located in Makati’s hipster joint, The Collective. Their eco-friendly, Filipino-made designs use upcycled materials, such as vintage clothes from thrift shops. I use it as my airline carry-on or day bag when I’m off to the beach or a exploring the city. It’s easy to roll up and stuff into my luggage when I don’t need it anymore. This bag has sunbathed in the beaches of Hawaii and endured cold Christmases in Tagaytay.

2. Tommy Hilfiger Canvass Tote

My weary Tommy tote and I cooled down at One Fullerton, Singapore back in May.

I purchased this for less than US $20 at an outlet store back in the early 2000s. Mama and Papa love taking us to outlet shops whenever we’re in the US—it’s a Filipino thing! This Tommy bag is worn out and has been washed so many times. Mama sometimes jokes, “That bag is so old!” But I can’t part with it. I’ve taken this to many places both in and out of the Philippines. It has a detachable sling, extra front pockets, and a collapsible boxy space. It looks small, but I can stuff my passport, wallet, travel-sized toiletries, scarf, raincoat, and a small umbrella in it—plus more!

3. Yadu Baby Backpack

My baby Yadu may look small, but it has many hidden pockets for stowing random items. Photographed at Talim Island, 2015.

This is the last Yadu bag I purchased before they moved out of The Collective. It’s even smaller than my Tommy tote, but it has so many pockets to help me segregate my travel essentials—toiletries like hand sanitizer and tissue go in the front pockets, wallet and important gadgets stay inside the main zip, and travel maps and ticket stubs are usually stuffed in the back slit.

4. Nine West Sling Backpack

North Cronulla Beach, Sydney, circa 2009

Papa bought this for me many years ago. It’s another outlet store find from the US back in the day, and my sister has the black version. And yes, she still has it, too! Oh, the stories this bag can tell! I’ve taken it to theme parks, malls, dates, long drives, and outdoor escapades. I can tell it’s at that condition where the fabric is ready to tear any time soon, but I’m praying that this baby will last me many more adventures.

5. Hand-painted Jansport Backpack

Kate and Kate the backpack overlooking the Sydney Opera House, circa 2009

The college girl in me never really faded away. When I attended a press junket for Jansport many years ago, they gave us writers classic Jansport backpacks spray-painted by graffiti artists. I didn’t like the generic floral design on mine, so I asked my artist friend, Paolo Icasas, to knock himself out and paint “something that’s me” on the bag. He took it literally. This bag scares my sister (Is it my crazy eyes?) but it has been my loyal travel buddy for years. In case you lose me at the airport or a crowded place, don’t fret. Just look for my big curls or this backpack standing out from the crowd.

Take a look at your travel albums for the past 5-10 years. Look at the bags you loved to use. Then look through your closet to see if they’re still there, gathering dust at back. Whip them out and see if you might have an old ticket stub or boarding pass tucked in one of the pockets. Enjoy the travel nostalgia.

October 14, 2015

  1. Those bags have real sentimental value. I also have some. I have a Montanara backpack which I bought with my stipend during college. I’ve been using it until now even thought it has a bit of pen marks at the bottom. I also have this kaila shoulder bag which is super light to being yet has enough space to store an overnight pack. And lastly, a Jansport backpack that I always bring to recent vacation. 🙂 Oh, I super love your personalized bag. I wish I could have one, but instead of my face, I want a drawing of our family. Mas mahirap nga lang yun. haha

    1. I looove disheveled backpacks! I love looking at people’s backpacks from high school and college—the more pen marks and tears, the better! There’s always a story behind those backpacks.

  2. Ms.Kate, I was trying since yesterday to subscribe with my gmail account but it always says there was an error when subscribing. Please try again. Anyways, I will try and try again:D

    1. Hey Jeremy! Sorry, but there’s a bug with my RSS Feed, and I’ve been trying to fix that. Please try the “subscribe” option on the upper right sidebar, which you can see while reading any of my posts. After entering your email address, look for the automatic email sent to your inbox, then click the link to activate/ verify. Let me know if it works! 🙂

  3. That was a great idea. Later, I will check my photo albums:) Your bags are so cool especially the hand painted jansport bag and nine west sling backpack. Those photos using them are so precious indeed. I wish I can travel to many places too:D

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