Posts filed under Bag Review

Doughnut Denver Messenger Bag Review

Doughnut Denver Messenger Bag Review

(Sarah Read is an author, editor, yarn artist, and pen/paper/ink addict. You can find more about her at her website and on Twitter.)

If there's anything I love as much as my pens and notebooks, it's the bags I carry them in. I'm always looking for the perfect bag, and always hoping I never find it--because then I wouldn't have an excuse to try more bags. When I first saw the Doughnut Denver Messenger Bag, I got a little concerned. Is it The One? Is the search over already? It sure looked promising. Fortunately, great as it is, I have a few nitpicks that allow me to say no--this is not the one perfect bag. It came close. But I'm free to keep looking. (Thank goodness.)

This messenger bag solves so many problems that it creates new ones. I now understand what the kids at my work mean when they say something is "extra". I suspect what it really is is overdesigned. I love so many of the features individually, but together they become overwhelming.

Doughnut Denver Messenger Bag Review

This bag has a lot of pockets. Twelve of them! I've joked before that you can never have too many pockets--but, hey, you totally can. There is the main large pocket, which is very high capacity. It can hold up to B4 size paper. Inside that pocket is a mesh zipper pouch, a Velcro compartment, and two side compartments for water bottles/umbrellas/cables, etc. This compartment has a volume of extra fabric at the top zipper so taller items can fit inside. I did use that feature once or twice, but mostly all that extra fabric got in the way. I was constantly pushing it aside to get to things in the main compartment.

Doughnut Denver Messenger Bag Inside

Behind the main compartment, there is a padded laptop/tablet pocket that can be accessed from the main opening, or through a waterproof zipper at the back of the bag. It can hold items up to 13". I used this back zipper more often than the main one, to avoid having to get past the jellyfish of fabric. I could reach most of what I needed through that back zipper, though it was difficult to see items toward the front of the bag.

Doughnut Denver Messenger Bag Internals

Below the main top zipper, there's an A5-sized zip pocket. It has a Velcro pocket and two smaller pockets inside. On the front of that pocket are two horizontal zipper pockets for fast-access items. Though these are all mostly covered by the flap, the vertical zips allowed access to these pockets from the side. They were very handy--though I found that if the bag was very full, not much would fit in these pockets.

Doughnut Denver Messenger Bag Back Pocket

The flap folds down over the whole front and secures both with Velcro and with a slide buckle at each strap for extra security. I rarely used the buckles. They were just another thing between me and what I needed. But when the bag was stuffed, they kept the flap from springing open, so they were handy at times. There are also two leather snap straps for securing things to the front of the flap.

Doughnut Denver Messenger Bag Strap

The strap is a soft seatbelt-like woven band. It does not swivel, which was often irritating. It is a bit too flimsy for this bag, I think. It kept folding and twisting so that it was uncomfortable to wear but annoying to constantly straighten. I think this strap was my main complaint about the bag. Every other nitpick still had its good points, but I think this bag really needs a more substantial strap.

Part of the reason it needs a hefty strap is because it is a BIG bag. It doesn't look it, but it feels massive and carries a boatload of gear. It's 17.7 x 11 x 5.3 inches. When filled, it gets quite heavy. When not filled, it is difficult to find things in its multitude of cavernous compartments.

Doughnut Denver Messenger Bag Handle

For everyday use, this is too much space and too many features for me. I think for travel it would be great. I could also see it making a good bag for a commuter who needs a bag to hold their whole day's worth of stuff. But I don't think it's ideal even for day outings, as it gets heavy and the strap doesn't support its weight comfortably. It did make a pretty good purse/diaper bag combo--and the compartments allowed me to keep the kiddo's gear separate from mine. That was probably the best use I found for all its features--but the strap was still a bother.

Ultimately this is a fairly ingenious bag, where the designers thought a lot about what people might need, and then managed to fit it all on one (large) bag. Honestly, I think if it had backpack straps, or just a better strap system in general, my bag quest would have been in serious peril. I like what Doughnut is doing and I hope I'll get to nitpick more of their bags in the future.

(JetPens provided this product at no charge to The Pen Addict for review purposes.)


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Doughnut Messenger Bag Buckle
Posted on October 18, 2018 and filed under Doughnut, Bag Review.

Stationery Packing List for a Writer's Conference

Writer's Conference

(Sarah Read is an author, editor, yarn artist, and pen/paper/ink addict. You can find more about her at her website and on Twitter.)

If you're going to a writer's conference, you're probably planning on writing. Or maybe not--maybe you're taking a break from writing to socialize. But you might write... What if ideas start filling your head? Best to be prepared either way. Use this list to pack for your next writer's conference! Note: to use this list for a pen show, double the numbers.

1 large satchel. No, larger. Worried it might be too unwieldly? Perfect. Make sure it has a ridiculous number of pockets, then add a bag-in-bag for yet more pockets. Partition everything for ease of locating tools in its depths.

Satchel

In the satchel, pack the following.

Paper:

X number of pocket notebooks where X = Z + 5 and Z = the number of friends you're trying to win over to the analog life.

3 large notebooks, ideally each in a separate case. One for the project you're currently working on, one for the project you wish you were working on, and one for the project you're supposed be working on. Add additional notebooks in the last category as necessary.

3 (or more) notebooks for planning and organizing the above projects.

1 planner for organizing everything else.

1 small notebook for writing down all the brilliant, intrusive ideas that don't fit into the above categories.

1 small notebook for taking conference-related notes on panels, speeches, workshops, etc.

Notebooks

Pens:

3 pens for everyday writing. One with high ink capacity for text, one in a contrasting color for notes within the text, and one with a fine point and bright ink for proof marks.

X number of additional pens where X = Y + 3 and Y = however many fit in your case(s).

2 (or more) pen cases, one for bulk storage and one more portable for just the essentials. Fill to capacity.

A handful of Stranger Danger crappy pens to hand to people who ask you for a pen, which will happen approximately every 30 minutes. More can be obtained from around the hotel, or from bystanders who no doubt have dozens of dubious pens marinating in granola dust at the bottom of their bags. These pens can also be used for bar and coffee receipts.

Spare ink refills--cartridges and sample vials--in case you manage to write enough to run out.

Pens

Other essentials:

As few electronic devices as possible and their chargers.

Headphones

At least one pencil.

A fidget, if that helps keep you in your chair writing.

Water

Something to read that isn't your own writing for when you get sick of your own writing.

Directions to the nearest stationery store. For emergencies. Or for the fun of it.

If your satchel does not fit these essentials, obtain a different satchel. Optional: a small pack animal, such as an alpaca, for portage. Enjoy your conference knowing you are prepared for any writing scenario.


Enjoy reading The Pen Addict? Then consider becoming a member to receive additional weekly content, giveaways, and discounts in The Pen Addict shop. Plus, you support me and the site directly, for which I am very grateful.

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In the bag
Posted on May 31, 2018 and filed under Pen Shows, Backpack, Bag Review.

Doughnut Macaroon Backpack Review

(Sarah Read is an author, editor, yarn artist, and pen/paper/ink addict. You can find more about her at her website and on Twitter.)

Be still my bag-loving heart, but I do love a good backpack. And the Doughnut Macaroon is a good backpack!

It's made from Korean twill fabric--nicely sturdy with a smooth texture. I like the feel of it more than Cordura, and it has stood up well to some serious abuse. It stayed water resistant when I carried it in a light rain, with the water beading on the surface. Nothing inside got wet at all, and the water was easy to wipe away. The seams appear very durable, and the brass buckles and leather straps give it a practical and attractive ruggedness. All the fun colors make me want more than one backpack, and I've got my fingers crossed that JetPens will consider carrying some of their other products (don't look at the Doughnut website unless your willpower is strong).

Both the padded shoulder straps and the front pocket bands are adjustable. The bands have functional buckles, but the pocket actually operates with two snap closures located at the top of the straps. Please don't ask me how many times I unbuckled the pocket to open it before I discovered the snaps. But I was delighted to find them, because nobody has time for actual buckles. There is also a snap-closure loop around the top handles, so they can be joined to make a nice top-carry handle. The shoulder straps stay comfortable even when the bag is stuffed to capacity with books.

The front pouch is roomy. It fits plenty of fast-access essentials, though it is just one compartment--so I have lost some time fishing for items in there. The side pockets are designed to fit narrow items like umbrellas, cords, or a small water bottle (wider bottles will likely not fit).

The main compartment is accessed by unzipping the front panel of the backpack. The flap that covers the zipper is a little obstructive. It's stiff and very deep, so folding it back to access the zipper is an extra step to opening, and almost requires both hands. The zipper itself is sturdy and the leather pull tabs are really nice.

Inside the main compartment is a padded laptop/tablet sleeve that will fit an item up to 13". Along the front panel of the pack are smaller pockets and pouches, some with zipper closures, and one with Velcro. Because this front panel folds down when the pack is fully opened, you have to be a bit careful that items don't fall out of these pockets, especially as the weight of the items will pull the top of the panel down. I started leaving one side of the panel zipped to keep this from happening. I think these pockets could have been better placed to avoid spillage. I think they'd have been particularly useful if placed in a separate zipper pocket on the front of the bag, so they could be accessed quickly without diving into the main compartment. That intermediate pocket is, I think, the main thing that this bag is missing.

The main compartment is quite large. I'm currently using the backpack as a diaper bag/kid kit, and I can fit everything I and my toddler need for a day out--and a spare of everything. And on top of all the baby gear, I can still fit my big planner in its over-stuffed case, my Traveler's Notebook, a pack of pens, and my knitting.

The pack is spacious enough to serve as an overnight bag or travel carry-on, and would make an excellent commuter bag. It's great for getting items from point A to point B. I don't think it's ideal for an everyday bag--it needs that additional medium front pocket and better access to smaller items for that. But it's definitely the bag I'll grab for travel, or trips to the library, zoo, or anywhere I know I'm going to need everything (and a spare).

(JetPens provided this product at no charge to The Pen Addict for review purposes.)


Enjoy reading The Pen Addict? Then consider becoming a member to receive additional weekly content, giveaways, and discounts in The Pen Addict shop. Plus, you support me and the site directly, which I am very grateful for.

Membership starts at just $5/month, with a discounted annual option available. To find out more about membership click here and join us!

Posted on March 30, 2017 and filed under Doughnut, Backpack, Bag Review.