It used to be that people in the Navy weren't allowed to wear a backpack or hang the strap of a bag over their shoulder. Whatever you were using to lug your stuff through distant airports or to meetings across town, you had to carry it in your left hand so that your right hand was available for saluting.
Thank goodness, someone changed the Navy's policy a couple of years ago.
We're now allowed to wear a backpack, but wearing both shoulder straps over your shoulders. Or you can sling the strap of a computer bag or suit bag over your shoulder, but it has to be your left shoulder so as not to impede saluting with your right hand.
Oh, and it has to be black or navy blue.
And it can't have any personalizations or markings or writing on the outside.
In spite of the restrictions on color and personalization (because you never know what some people would do if we didn't have those restrictions), I'm glad we're allowed to have a backpack or bag slung over our shoulder now.
Yes, yes, I know this isn't new news to most of you since the policy was changed back in 2004, but this hasn't been an issue for me until now. I need a gym bag to take my workout clothes and shower stuff with me to work. Plus I need a bag for my general shtuff - book to read on the bus, yogurt smoothie and granola bar for breakfast, umbrella in case it rains, car keys, kleenex, etc, etc. Gosh I need a darn purse, don't I? (No comments from the peanut gallery required on that one, 'kay?)
Yes, during my last shore duty in the DC area, I also needed a gym bag for my workout stuff and a book bag for my night classes and other schmootz. The difference was: I was driving to work then. I just took two bags - a gym bag and a book bag, and had both in my trunk.
Now I'm riding the bus to work, so I need to carry everything with me for the day.
GETTING TO THE POINT (I can hear the collective sigh of relief, "finally!")
I did some shopping around on line for a "gym bag" because I wanted something with a waterproof pouch to keep wet gym clothes and shower shoes separate from the other contents of the bag. In spite of checking multiple different websites, I was disappointed with the lack of photographs or adequate description of the bags offered for sale. I never really had a "That's it! That's the one!" moment.
My awesome wife did some searching and found this Under Armour Invasion backpack. It's not a "gym bag" so it didn't show up in my searches. However (comma) it's EXACTLY what I was looking for. It was one of those "A-HA!" moments [whoa, calm down their Caffienated Cowgirl, not that kind of A-Ha moment].
We've been big fans of the eBags website ever since we bought these awesome suitcases there to carry our scuba gear and clothes and stuff. Well, eBags had the Invasion backpack with a decent series of photos.
It's got a lined pouch on the right side for the wet stuff. It's got a large main storage compartment for my books and papers. It's got a felt-lined pouch for my MP3 player and/or my sunglasses. In the middle pocket it's got a clip to hold my car keys and wallet and stuff. The small outer pocket has an insulated lining like a cooler for my yogurt and stuff. Score!
They had a couple of other models of UA backpacks that had a mesh ball pouch and a matt that would roll out for you to sit on the grass at sporting events and whatnot. If you know me, then you know I have the athletic ability of a rock and don't really do sports, so I would rather have the extra storage space than to give some of that storage space up for a roll-out matt and ball pouch that I'm not going to use.
Anyway, I've been using the Invasion backpack all this week and I really like it a lot. It's very comfortable, it's got plenty of space and awesome functionality.
Many thanks to my wife for finding what I was looking for, and thanks to my mom for the birthday gift certificate that helped pay for it!