For reasons difficult to explain succinctly, I resisted the idea of getting a “man
purse” for several years. When I eventually did decide to get one, I had a hard time finding
the right one.
Not long ago, I attempted to explain my requirements in
a video. Briefly: (1) large enough to
hold the few items I always want to bring, so I don’t have to fill my pockets every time I
leave the house, (2) small enough to not seem like an overnight bag or briefcase, (3) not in any
way “feminine” in appearance — I really don’t care about this, but society
does, (4) practical in its amount/design of pockets, (5) not floppy — should be able to
maintain its shape when empty. I examined and passed on literally hundreds of other bags before
deciding on this one. My only worry when ordering it online was that it might be too small.
As it turned out, this one was very close to being the right bag. More on that later.
In addition to the requirements above, I didn’t want to spend much. In the past,
I’ve had a tendency to buy an item thinking I would use it, but then it gets relegated to a
closet or pile. I knew I would regret this less if I only spent a few bucks. This Zicac bag only
“The few items I always want to bring” include my phone (oversized smartphone), wallet,
and keys. These items have always gone into three different pants pockets. A multitool is worn on
my belt. If I bring my phone’s earbuds, they went into a shirt pocket, as did the
car-charger for my phone. The times I wanted to bring a small notebook or flashlight, they ended
up in the thigh pockets of my “cargo” shorts or pants. I had begun to be envious of
my wife, who never has to load up her pants pockets when leaving the house, or even consider the
number of pockets when buying a pair of pants. Everything went in her purse.
This bag holds these items — pictured above arranged around the bag. The notebook is
five inches wide by seven inches tall. It fits easily into the main compartment, along with the
multitool, flashlight, and wallet. Not pictured above, but also fitting snugly into the main
compartment are my sunglasses. The phone slides into a pocket on the back (hip-side) of the bag.
Everything else goes in the front pocket(s).
In short, the bag was the perfect size for what I wanted to carry. After upgrading my wallet
to a larger size, and after a few weeks of carrying this bag daily, it turned out to be a little
tight sometimes. Slipping my sunglasses into the main compartment wasn’t always easy.
Getting the main zipper to close over the top of the new wallet was not a smooth operation.
(I measured the bag as 8 inches tall, 7 inches wide, and 3.5 inches from front to back, which
differs slightly from the online specifications.)
The bag is made of canvas, with polyester lining in the front pocket. The canvas is stiff enough
so the bag holds its shape, but is still flexible. The stitching is neat and tidy. The
pull tabs on the zippers
were weightier than I expected on a bag of this low cost, and the zippers
themselves (six of them) pull smoothly. The snaps (three) give a satisfying snap when
that hold the detachable shoulder strap are thicker/stronger than I
expected. The shoulder strap is long enough for me to wear the bag cross-body, with the bag
at my left hip and the strap on my right shoulder, with several inches to spare for a taller
person (I’m about 188 cm, or 6’2”).
There’s a tiny zipper pocket built into the front flap, just large enough for my earbuds,
or perhaps spare change or folded receipts. That flap raises to reveal a double-zipper lower
flap that opens downward, as pictured at right. Two mesh zippered pockets hold small items
like folded tissues or the charging cable for my phone. There are two pen/pencil slots at right,
and wider pouches just behind them, one easily large enough for my phone.
The main compartment is just behind all this, and is unlined. On
the back is a two-snap flap
with a pocket large enough for either the phone or the notebook. Online descriptions say that back
flap can be used as a belt loop if the wearer chooses to forego the shoulder strap, and it very
well could work that way. I think the shoulder strap is more comfortable and more secure. And if
I wanted to wear a bag on my belt, I probably would have bought a fanny pack instead.
The shoulder strap is a
slightly different color — with a hint of blue/green, while the
bag itself is an uncolored medium-dark gray. The strap adjusts easily, and each end has an
easy-to-operate clip for detaching or re-attaching.
UPDATE, 2016.07.30: After two weeks of carrying the bag almost daily, some of the stitching
began to pull out near the rear pocket. I was able to repair it with my very basic sewing skills,
but I shouldn’t have had to repair a two-week-old bag.
As always, only time will tell if the bag is durable, but it feels like it will be. It is
the right size for me — any larger and I would be tempted to put more in it. The gray
color will match well with anything I wear.
The best part is that I now walk around with empty pockets, and don’t have to unload them
every time I come home and reload them every time I leave.
If you’re into that sort of thing, watch my video review below:
UPDATE, 2016.07.30: I’ve updated a few paragraphs above to reflect two things. One,
the “durability” did not last long; after two weeks, some stitching began to pull
apart. I was able to repair that. Two, the sizing was not quite perfect. While it’s
true that I won’t always bring the flashlight or multitool, my new wallet proved to be
slightly too tall for this bag, making it difficult to close the primary zipper. By the third week
of carrying this bag, I was ready for something slightly larger.
On 2016.07.30, I replaced my Zicac bag with a $25
Bronze Coin Bag (no brand listed)
from Earthbound Trading Company (I immediately removed the nine tiny bronze coins that hung from
the front of it), which is 10 inches tall, 11 inches wide, and four inches from front to back.
UPDATE, 2017.07.30: After carrying the “bronze coin bag” for a year, one of
its zippers broke. So went back to this Zicac bag, which had only been used a dozen times or so.
Immediately, the strap clips broke — both of them, under almost no weight. Fortunately, I
have saved straps from other bags in the past, and immediately went back to carrying this bag with
a new strap. It is still too small, so I’m still on the hunt for the right bag for me.