What kind of bag does a man need? The answer is not a “man bag.” I mean, anything that must be prefaced by the word man can only be emasculating. So no, a man bag is not essential; but a bag is. It’s one of the pillars of human society: Hunting, gathering, even agriculture would have been impractical without a nice practical satchel. Bags perform a basic service to men and women alike: They allow us to carry stuff. And carry it you should. The bag should have handles that are sturdy and could be slung over your shoulder, but not across your back. We’re not talking about messenger bags here.
If utility defines its design, your bag will be inherently masculine. That’s not to say you have to shy away from luxurious details (far be it from us to suggest that). But your bag should be made of a sturdy material—canvas and leather come to mind, or anything rubberized. It should look better after it’s been beaten up a bit. It should be big enough to carry everything you need for a day, possibly even overnight. But the bag must be manageable. It must not get in yours or other people’s way.
I have a bag, man. It’s canvas, its bottom is re-enforced, and it’s blue. It’s a tote bag, and the handles go over my shoulder nicely. It’s from Woolrich Woolen Mills and I use it for everything, have been for a few years now. It’s big—I can get a week’s worth of groceries in there on top of my gym clothes—but not bulky. I can maneuver between fellow straphangers with ease. It doesn’t zip at the top, but that hasn’t stopped me from using it as an overnight bag on many occasions. It’s useful, it’s minimal, it’s classic, I can put it on any floor and throw it in any corner. It does everything a tool should do.