Yesterday, I got drenched in heavy rain. The kind with fat and unrelenting droplets, the streets sort of looking like a sapa with the amount of water spilling from the roofs and onto the road. At that moment, the journey from Harolds Hotel to school felt longer than it really was, and when I finally reached my destination, I was soaked to the bone in cold water and dripping all over the tiled floor. Not to mention that my shoes were squelching with every step I took. All in all, I was wet, disgruntled, annoyed, filthy, and – while my clothes were trying to dry themselves while still being on my body – uncomfortable.
Don’t get me wrong. I love the rain. I love playing under the rain. But what I don’t love about it is when I’m without an umbrella, I’m past the point of no return, and there are things in my bag that I really would rather not have damaged by the water.
A couple of hours after the rain, I was talking to a friend on our way home, and she asked about the state of my bag’s contents. Thankfully, they were dry. A tad cold, yes, but otherwise dry.
As a traveller, bags are very important to me. I don’t buy them often, but when I do, it has to be the right price, the right size, the right fit (on my posture), the right material… and most of all, it has to be waterproof/water resistant. In a country like the Philippines, rain comes unscheduled. Even on a sunny day, the skies may suddenly open up and surprise you with a downpour. And when you’re not prepared with an umbrella or a raincoat or a waterproof/water resistant bag, chances are your things will get quite the washing.
One of the bags I usually use is a plain sky blue JanSport bag, and yesterday was the most wet it had been (except on laundry days). It’s a decent bag, actually. Not too expensive, spacious, durable, and water resistant. I hang a 1L water bottle from the straps almost everyday, and after more than a year of using it, the bag hasn’t failed me yet. I’ve used it for several trips around Cebu and Leyte (as well as Shanghai), and I have no regrets, so far.
Another bag I like using is my National Geographic messenger bag. It’s medium-sized, light, has a perfect tablet pocket, and is also water resistant. Furthermore, it’s not very expensive, so it makes quite the catch, considering the brand. I’ve tried hanging my water bottle from it, but the bottle makes the weight of the bag skewed, so I don’t do it often. I first found out about Nat Geo bags while I was browsing through a camera shop here in Cebu, and I later saw a Nat Geo stall while I was in KL. I wanted a Nat Geo bag so badly, but the camera shop only had them for cameras and other equipment. Thankfully, Metro Ayala opened a stall near the JanSport area a couple of months ago.
My Columbia travelling backpack is also water resistant. My mentor/friend bought it for me as a Christmas gift last December 2013, and I’ve been using it ever since. I’ve been meaning to get a new one, though, but with all the saving that I’m doing to be able to go on my Post-Graduation trip, it will have to wait.
I can go on, and on, and on, about water resistant bags, but the bottom line, is this: invest in a good one. If you love travelling (be it local, national, or international), you and your bag will be the best of friends.