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    Moving on from the backpack

    Hey my fellas, long time reader first time poster. I recently finished my PhD and am about to start a teaching position at a big Midwestern state university. As a grad student I've always been pretty aligned with the dappered aesthetic (chinos, buttondowns, sweaters, the occasional sportcoat though more normally a chore coat or something) and I'm planning to keep adapting that as I move on to the faculty part of my life, probably putting a heavier emphasis on the sportcoats. As a concession to practicality, throughout grad school I've usually used a backpack, currently this one, to cart around my laptop, books, and gym gear. I don't really want to be the fresh-faced junior faculty member still wandering around with a brightly-colored backpack, though, so I'm on the hunt for a reasonably priced non-backpack option with a reasonable amount of storage space. I have this old Knomo Raleigh 15", which works aesthetically, but it's nowhere near big enough - if I have my laptop in there, there's really only enough space for one large book and some papers. Any suggestions?

    #2
    Adding gym gear (particularly with shoes) and large books may put you in the small duffel or flight bag category. Aside from Herschel and Filson, you could look at Frost River or The Transit Duffel from Mission Workshop. Not cheap, but now you have a durable carryon bag for a 1-3 day trip. You may want to add a laptop sleeve. I think you'll have trouble finding a suitable briefcase these days due to the omnipresent internal dividers. There are also Reddit groups that focus on everyday carry bags.

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      #3
      Thanks! Not sure about how gym gear figures into this yet. I might be driving to work most days in which case I could probably have a separate gym bag that stays in the car, or I could rent a locker and keep my shoes there. So I'd probably also be open to some kind of messenger bag solution, but it still needs to be big enough to keep several books + computer. The Frost River duffels do look nice though unf

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        #4
        Congrats! I finished my PhD last year and it sounds like we have similar preferences in terms of daily uniform.

        I have a Mission Workshop Monty that my partner got me a few years back. I was a die-hard bike commuter for a good chunk of grad school, and I could fit my 13" macbook, a few folders, a change of clothes, lunch, water, coffee, etc., and ride with it all comfortably. It is absolutely bulletproof, looks as good as the day I got it, and I could probably shower with it and not have my things get wet. That said, it's kind of a beast and I do not think it plays nicely with a sportcoat. It is a true messenger bag, and is designed to be tightened down with a massive shoulder strap, carried high on your back.

        Sadly, my commute these days is a 40 minute drive. If I were in your spot and likely commuting by car, I would definitely recommend separating out gym clothes if you can, and opting for something smaller from Filson, Frost River, LL Bean, etc.

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          #5
          I am a huge fan of the Filson Zippered Tote. https://www.esquire.com/style/mens-f...g-endorsement/

          Holds a deceptively large amount of stuff. Includes a secure key clip. The two end pockets each will hold a water bottle. The only downside is lack of laptop padding, so you will need a separate laptop slip case. They are pricey, but I bought mine on sale for half price.
          Mark

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            #6
            Originally posted by zelozelatus View Post
            Hey my fellas, long time reader first time poster. I recently finished my PhD and am about to start a teaching position at a big Midwestern state university. As a grad student I've always been pretty aligned with the dappered aesthetic (chinos, buttondowns, sweaters, the occasional sportcoat though more normally a chore coat or something) and I'm planning to keep adapting that as I move on to the faculty part of my life, probably putting a heavier emphasis on the sportcoats. As a concession to practicality, throughout grad school I've usually used a backpack, currently this one, to cart around my laptop, books, and gym gear. I don't really want to be the fresh-faced junior faculty member still wandering around with a brightly-colored backpack, though, so I'm on the hunt for a reasonably priced non-backpack option with a reasonable amount of storage space. I have this old Knomo Raleigh 15", which works aesthetically, but it's nowhere near big enough - if I have my laptop in there, there's really only enough space for one large book and some papers. Any suggestions?
            Congratulations on the new position!

            I agree, you might want a separate canvas or poly duffle for gym clothes, just because when they're used they might stink up your nice bag.

            I got a soft leather briefcase from this Etsy seller and was very happy with the construction and the quality of the leather. Lots of colors.
            https://www.etsy.com/shop/TheFlorenc...g_id=955046915

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              #7
              Thanks for these suggestions guys!

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                #8
                Check out Fossil Buckner Convertible Backpack. It can be converted to a messenger or briefcase.

                Or if you don't want to completely rule out backpacks, maybe consider a leather one in tan leather. Looks a lot more grown-up.

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                  #9
                  Congratulations on the new gig! I've been on both sides of the academic job search, and it's rough out there. Well done.

                  While I never like using a backpack for classes or teaching, I did like using a messenger bag in grad school and that's carried over to my professional life. I echo the Filson bag suggestion - those are really nice (if pricey). Living in Colorado where things are more casual I've enjoyed using Timbuk2 messenger bags (they're weather proof and tough). Here's an updated version of the one I currently have:

                  https://www.timbuk2.com/products/371...31166680432682

                  Holds laptop, books, notebooks, etc. I use a separate gym bag for my workout gear (but I drive to work, so that helps). I also have a leather briefcase I use for conferences (gift from the in-laws when I finished my PhD). Come to think of it, I need a new gym bag -- anyone have suggestions?

                  Good luck with your new job!

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                    #10
                    Congratulations on your new job!

                    Former STEM professor here. I'll note that a lot of junior faculty carried backpacks in my department and it went without notice. Would it be possible to wait until you arrive before you commit? On the other hand, new bag = new start!

                    For a few years I carried a Timbuktu messenger bag (as Hemspring also mentions); it was a little casual compared with what senior faculty carried but a step up from a backpack. Much later, after trying out various options, I went with a big, kinda pricy leather bag from Duluth Pack. I liked it. Even later, though, I realized that I only needed the capacity at certain times of the year (stacks of paper exams, mainly) and most of my reading material was online, so I downsized to a smaller, thinner leather bag from Gustin, carrying another bag when necessary.

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