True Utility Connect Everyday Carry Bag :: Drive By
When it comes to packing, I favor the everything-in-its-place approach. Zip pockets, slip pockets, clips, loops…I love having options to stash smaller items. So when the opportunity arose to test out the True Utility Connect Everyday Carry Bag, I jumped at it. Multiple stash points and compartments? Sign me up. The bag is part of True Utility’s Connect range and comes in black and green color options (as you’ll see from the photos, I went with the black option).
Who It Suits
Someone who loves multiple organization options for carrying small EDC, outdoor or travel items. A host of organization pockets and attachment points is one of the key reasons to get this bag.
This bag will also appeal to users who want carry options (it’s got a shoulder strap and belt loops), or an organizer pouch that can be stored inside a larger bag to keep smaller items tidy and quickly accessible.
It’s also well worth considering if you’re looking for a lightweight bag that isn’t going to weigh you down.
“A host of organization pockets and attachment points is one of the key reasons to get this bag.”
Who It Doesn’t
If you’re going for suave aesthetics, you’d be better off looking elsewhere. This bag is too casual in the looks department to suit very formal work environments, fancy restaurants or the like.
You have to be someone who appreciates lots of organization in your carry in order to get the most out of this bag. If you’re not too fussed about organizing your gear, you may prefer a more pared-back bag. There’s no point in getting a bag with a lot of features you aren’t going to use – and it’s worth bearing in mind that more pocket options means potentially taking longer to decide where to store things, or possibly forgetting where you placed items when you’re trying to retrieve them.
Nights out on the town. Roaming in the outdoors. Carrying out day-to-day errands with the essentials in tow. The EDC Connect has accompanied me on all of the above, and handles the diverse environments with ease. It’s compact and lightweight enough to not get in your way when you’re on the go, while still providing storage space for a host of items. Aesthetic-wise it’s fairly unobtrusive, so worth considering if you want low-key carry. As touched on above, you can use it either as a bag, belt pouch or an organizer pouch within a larger bag, and store everything from small daily carry to toiletries or travel items such as tickets, a passport and snacks.
“…you can use it either as a bag, belt pouch or an organizer pouch within a larger bag, and store everything from small daily carry to toiletries or travel items such as tickets, a passport and snacks.”
Organization and Access
Love dedicated storage space for all your small EDC? Dig quick access to individual items without worrying that others might make a break for it every time you open your bag? This little bag ticks those carry needs in a big way. There are two separate compartments, each offering a range of pockets. The first compartment opens flat for easy access and includes two slip pockets that reach to the base of the bag, as well as 12 elastic loops (6 on either side) for securing items in place. There’s also a swivel clip for keys or the like and a small adjacent paracord loop for securing an additional item. The second compartment opens to about half way down the bag, offering top-loading access. Organization-wise the second compartment includes two slip pockets (one mesh for visibility of the contents), a transparent plastic storage pocket for cards, and a smaller mesh pocket for earphones (more on this later).
A neat feature is the padding on both sides of both compartments to help protect your gear on the go (note there is no padding at the base or around the zip areas). The padding also plays a role in protecting the contents from the elements. I left the bag outside in the rain for over an hour, and although it felt damp inside, the kitchen paper I had placed inside as a test was still dry apart from a small section that connected with the base of the bag (there’s no padding here, so water was able to reach the kitchen paper more easily here). While I wouldn’t suggest leaving your Everyday Carry Bag in the rain with items in it, your gear should be fine if you get caught in an unexpected shower. Any time I got caught in the rain out and about, the interior of the bag remained dry by the time I reached shelter. Lastly, rounding off the interior features is a bright orange lining which helps boost the visibility of the contents. Plus, I just happen to like the color anyway, which was a bonus.
“A neat feature is the padding on both sides of both compartments to help protect your gear on the go (note there is no padding at the base or around the zip areas). The padding also plays a role in protecting the contents from the elements.”
On the front of the bag is an exterior mesh pocket which I found handy for storing quick-access items such as mints, a pen, and waste bags for use when walking my dog. The mesh pocket also has a handy magnetic button strap for convenient and quick closure. On the back of the bag is an exterior webbing loop at the top for securing the likes of a carabiner, and if you wanted to you could also hook items to the shoulder strap attachment rings on the sides.
“On the front of the bag is an exterior mesh pocket which I found handy for storing quick-access items…”
I found the zipper pulls easy to use (they’re just long enough to grab quickly without getting in the way), and I haven’t had any issues with the zippers.
The Everyday Carry Bag can be carried in two primary ways, either with the included shoulder strap, or by attaching it to your belt using the belt loops on the bag. The strap is adjustable and can be tucked inside the mesh exterior pocket or secured in place with the magnetic button strap to keep it out of the way in belt-carry mode. Alternatively you can remove the strap completely if you want to leave it at home or store it in one of the interior pockets. Additionally the Everyday Carry Bag can be easily stored inside a larger bag to serve as an organizer pouch.
The Not So Good
Getting back to the earphone pocket, there is a grommet on either end of the pocket that opens out to the exterior of the bag. I feel like they missed a trick here because the grommets aren’t big enough to fully pass a jack plug through (certainly none of the ones I own anyway). However, covering the grommets on the exterior of the bag are two corner flaps, and the design suggests you should be able to pass cables through. It would have been great if the grommets were larger so I could feed through earphone cables and listen to tunes while keeping my music player covered inside the bag. Alternatively bigger grommets would allow you to store tech devices in the exterior mesh pocket and charge them through a charging cable fed through the grommets to a powerbank inside the bag. That being said, I did find this small mesh pocket useful for storing a door key and lip balm, as it’s located high up on the bag, making any items inside it quickly accessible without having to expose the rest of the contents in the bag.
“Getting back to the earphone pocket, there is a grommet on either end of the pocket that opens out to the exterior of the bag. I feel like they missed a trick here because the grommets aren’t big enough to fully pass a jack plug through (certainly none of the ones I own anyway).”
This bag isn’t as burly as some similar-styled bags or pouches out there. This isn’t a negative point so much as something to be aware of. The bag is made from polyester with rotproof nylon stitching, which is perfectly fine for day-to-day and travel needs. Just don’t expect the durability of say a GORUCK Padded Field Pocket, which is constructed with 1000D Cordura and designed to take a beating in demanding environments. At the time of writing I’ve been using this bag for about four months, on average around four times a week in what I’d call undemanding use. I’ve noticed a little bit of fraying on the belt loop webbing and the interior – nothing that affects the functionality of the bag, but it’s there. However, more durable materials tend to be heavier and cost more – what the Everyday Carry Bag sacrifices in toughness, it gains back in weight and cost savings. The bag is very lightweight, coming in at 182g (including the strap), and costs around US$26 which I think is good value for what you’re getting.
“This bag isn’t as burly as some similar-styled bags or pouches out there. This isn’t a negative point so much as something to be aware of. The bag is made from polyester with rotproof nylon stitching, which is fine for day-to-day and travel needs.”
Connect Snaptrap and Connect Locklip Micro
True Utility also offers a variety of other EDC pieces in their Connect range, and they were kind enough to include a few along with the Everyday Carry Bag for me to check out. Their Snaptrap is a fairly standard double-gated clip that allows you to attach a variety of items to it, either as a standalone clip to keep items together, or as a means of securing items to a bag for instance. You could also use it as a link between two pieces of rope or the like. There were a couple of issues I noticed with the Snaptrap. One of the gates didn’t close flush, so I had to gently push it to the securely closed position. The other gate had a more springy resistance and closed flush, but wobbled a bit from side to side when open, meaning I had to ensure I was pushing it open head-on rather than at an angle or it would sometimes catch and not close properly. I may have just happened to receive a slightly faulty one (which, to be fair, could happen with any mass produced item). As long as I made sure both gates were closed flush, the Snaptrap worked fine.
The Locklip Micro claims to be the smallest locking clip in the world. I don’t know whether this is true or not, but suffice it to say it’s very compact and lightweight. It works on a spring-release opening mechanism, which can be a little finicky at first but fairly straightforward once you’re used to it. As with the Everyday Carry Bag, you can find similar items along these veins that are more durable, but they’re probably going to cost more and weigh more. The Snaptrap costs US$7.29 and weighs 24 grams, while the Locklip Micro costs US$4.16 and weighs just 4.5 grams.
I’m very pleased with how the True Utility Connect Everyday Carry Bag has performed so far. I think the variety of organization options are great and they really do make access to items quick and easy. I also think it’s very useful being able to alternate between shoulder and belt carry modes, both of which are comfortable. As I mentioned above, while it may not have the durability of some other similar bags on the market, you are saving on weight and cost. And besides, it’s not designed to be taken into demanding environments. It’s designed to store and provide easy access to day-to-day essentials – and I think it does its job well. If you’re looking for a compact and lightweight bag that offers flexible organization, is versatile enough to move between the outdoors and urban environments, and offers good value for money, the True Utility Connect Everyday Carry Bag is well worth checking out.