When I went out birding I used to always carry a backpack with my field guide(s), hat, notebook, tissues, extra batteries, etc. I also transported my bins and camera in the pack but when out walking these remained around my neck. Last spring I was starting to get sick of the backpack. It's especially annoying to have to dig into the pack (or ask a companion to dig) for a field guide while you're actually looking at the bird you want to look up. By the time I'd get the book out the bird would be long gone. I looked around for something more convenient that I could use to carry my field guide. There are a few different things I see my birding buddies using: vests with huge pockets, fanny packs (vertically oriented) or book satchels. I wasn't sure what I wanted to get until I came across a small messenger bag at a Columbia outlet store.
The Medium Azza Messenger Bag (note: link goes to newer model of this bag) measures 10" x 6" x 2.5" and fits everything I want to carry on a short outing.
The front flap of the messenger-style bag has a small pocket where I keep a pack of tissues.
Lifting the flap accesses the main pouch for books plus a small zippered pocket where I keep extra batteries, memory cards, a pen and a small notebook.
The back of the bag has another wide open pocket where I can fit my wide-brim floppy hat. This makes the bag a bit bulbous on the back but that's just some extra padding between Sibley and my hip. ;) This photo shows the empty bag with a few things I might bring with me on a walk. Everything fits inside.
I can carry more books if I want to, too.
Here's the bag in action. I really love the long strap but it's totally adjustable and can be worn much shorter.
I looooove this bag! Do you have a favorite birding bag? How do you carry your field guide? Do you use a backpack, a fanny pack, a vest, or something else? Or do you go commando?
I give the Medium Azza Messenger Bag four and a half Goldfinches out of five.