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My murse

03/16/2005 UPDATE: Here's my murse on Flickr, with annotations.

Without shame I confess to being a purse carrier.  A man-purse, mind you, but a purse nonetheless.  For a long time, I kept trying to keep my load light, but I would invariably miss something when I didn't have my briefcase.  So I started stuffing pockets with the "essentials" but that got old quick, since I don't really like stuff in my pockets.  When I finally gave in to the murse, I took a little flak from my wife and friends, but they all seem to have settled down now.  After all, when they need a pen, who do they ask?  Me.  Some scratch paper?  Me.  You get the idea.

My murse is a 12-year old Mountainsmith lumbar pack that's been conscripted into a new life as a murse and retrofitted with a comfy Eagle Creek shoulder strap.  Mountainsmith doesn't make my pack any longer, but it's kinda like these.  The pack is pretty ratty looking, but the truth is, I'm way more comfortable with a ratty looking pack than some sleek leather thing.  And besides, I still use it as a fanny pack from time to time.  Mine has three pockets.  A medium sized outer pocket, a big inner pocket and a tiny zippered pouch inside the big main pocket.  The tiny pocket carries tea bags (Stash Moroccan Mint if you must know) and a couple of packages of Alka Seltzer.  When I lived in Korea, I carried an Olympus Stylus (film) in there--fit perfectly.  The other two pockets carry everything else.  Here's the list:

Medium sized outer pocket:

  • Palm Tungsten|C
  • Generic cell phone
  • Harmonica (yeah, I'm still trying to learn to play)
  • Parker Jotter (a little hard to find these days, but a great pen)
  • Fisher Space Pen (if it's not in the murse, it's in my pocket)
  • Cheap plastic card holder for credit/debit/insurance, etc cards (though I covet a nice Levenger travel wallet)

The large main pockets holds:

When I need to carry a laptop or more material, I use my briefcase--a sweet old Twin-O-Case (the patent office uses Quicktime?).

November 21, 2004 | Permalink


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I own a similar Mountainsmith lumbar pack. It's about eight years old...and I never liked it, so I use it as a starage for my home first aid kit.

Posted by: Joy | Dec 9, 2004 5:16:05 PM


Nice post. I'm now using a US Army Map bag as my man-purse and it works quite well. You can read a post about my discovery here:


And a sketch of my murse here:


It was only $12 at the surplus store, but each time I carry it along, I find it more indespesible. It's not constanly with me, but maybe 60% of the time.

Here's another funny post about the defense of man-purses:


Thanks again!

Posted by: Mike Rohde | Jan 28, 2005 4:31:54 PM

Hallelujah - another convert! See http://ganley.org/bags/bags.html.
A confession: My bag is mainly a summer thing; in the winter I usually put all that junk in the pockets of my leather jacket.

Posted by: Joe Ganley | Mar 7, 2005 4:19:04 PM

Timbuk2Designs man-purse owner here, with the same bag going for nigh on 5 years (and it was a promotional work freebie). Blew out the external pockets years ago, but the internal omni-pocket holds everything you need.

Posted by: HG | Mar 9, 2005 12:27:46 PM

I've had a Tom Bihn ID Bag (http://www.tombihn.com/page/001/PROD/200/TB0805) as a laptop bag for awhile now. I recently started carrying it all the time, just because I got tired of making sure my pockets were stuffed with all the necessities every time I left the house, car or desk. The Tom Bihn bags have a very nice laptop sleeve that snaps in and out for tons more space (and less bulk) when you don't need the computer. They have a lifetime warranty, IIRC. I got it as a gift, and when my mom called to place the order, she talked to Tom himself. How cool is that?

Posted by: JV | Jul 15, 2005 7:54:06 AM

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