“ Brand: The North Face / Type: Rucksack / Gender: Women / Capacity: 12 litres „
As a lot of you already know I am Box Secretary to the Llandudno Lifeboat Guild which means that I go to all the hotels, pubs, shops etc where we have collecting boxes and emptying them to then pay the money into the bank. As you can imagine sometimes the boxes are full of pennies and two penny pieces and so my bag gets pretty heavy!
I find it easier to carry the heavier loads on my back and over the years I have purchased many back packs all of which have eventually ripped with the constant weight carried - some lasting longer than others but nothing of any permanence. When my last one disintegrated Dave (hubby) suggested that I buy a proper ladies rucksack such as one might wear to go walking. He said that, if I bought a decent one, it would last better because it would be stronger and fitter for the job.
I needed a bag with numerous separate pockets or compartments as I have keys, a receipt book, a notebook, small money bags for change that can be bagged up on site, large money bags for all the loose change and that's just the things that I need for my box emptying! I have had bags in the past without separate pockets and I find that the receipt books get scruffy as things are pushed into the bag - apart from the fact that it is difficult to find anything!
So I knew pretty much what I wanted and I took a look online but of course I really needed to see the bags to make sure that the one I eventually purchased would be fit got purpose.
Living as we do in North Wales there are plenty of 'outdoors' type shops around so off we went to see what we could find. After a bit of searching we ended up in a little shop by the bridge in Betws-y-Coed where there was a very good range of bags.
I saw the North Face Electra Women's Day Pack and, after having a good look at it, I knew that was the one that I wanted. I have had the bag for about a year now and I can't remember how much we paid for it but, looking on the Internet, I can see that they are currently priced at about £30 to £35 - obviously you would shop around for the best price. Incidentally, when we were in the shop, Dave took a look at the best online prices via his phone just to make sure that we got the best deal. The price seemed high to me but, as Dave pointed out, I had been buying at least two bags every year for the previous five years, so this would pay for itself soon enough. Actually it was even better than that as Dave treated me to my new bag!
This bag comes in three colours - black, zinc grey or diamond blue - and has a capacity of 12 litres. It is 41cm by 25cm by 15cm so it is a good size without being huge and is weighs 900g when empty.
I chose the blue one and tried it on for size and comfort. It feels really comfortable to wear as it has a stitched foam back panel and the shoulder straps are also slightly padded and are of course adjustable. The details of the bag say that it has a 'women-specific, yoke-style shoulder harness' so now you know! There is also a hole in the top of the shoulder harness so that the bag can be comfortably carried by hand.
The bag has a large main compartment with small zipped compartment where I keep my keys, lip saver, emery boards (I can't stand snagged nails!), my tablet holder with my diabetic pills and my metal tape measure and you'd be surprised how many times that gets used too!
On the other side of the main compartment is what is called an organiser which is series of pockets of varying sizes for phone, pens etc. This is where I keep my small money bags, my mobile phone, my hand sanitiser and a few pens.
The main compartment is nice and roomy and I keep my big money bags in there together with my purse, gloves, folded shopping bag and a screwdriver. Now that's got you thinking hasn't it? Most of my collecting boxes are locked and so I need to use a key to open them but there are a few with a plastic stopper in the bottom and I need the screwdriver to prise the stopper out so that I can get at the money! This compartment is also plenty big enough to hold a bit of shopping too.
As you look at the front of the bag there are three pockets - one on the front face of the bag which has the North Face logo on it and fastens by means of an adjustable push in buckle affair. Take a look at the picture at the top of the review to see what I mean! Inside this pocket is a further mesh pocket although it isn't something I use. This pocket contains my receipt book, notebook, list of boxes with dates of their last emptying, my wet wipes and my trusty lifeboat plastic poncho in case I get caught in the rain.
There are then two further pockets - one either side of the front pocket - both of which are slightly padded and fasten with zips. In one of these I keep plasters and paracetemol just in case and in the other I keep my RNLI identity card so that it is easy to find in case there is anyone new who doesn't recognise me.
The final thing on this bag is something called a 'utility loop' on the front pocket which has a reflective stripe on it. To be fair this is so small that you wouldn't want to rely on it if you were out at night!
I have used this bag for well over a year now and it is showing no signs of wear at all. It is comfortable to wear even when it is full of change! It is easy to carry by hand too as the straps are all padded. I love the colour and the surface would be easy to just wipe clean if it got dirty. It is ideal for my needs as box secretary as I can carry everything I need easily and it is all to hand when I need it.
I would definitely recommend this bag and it has definitely been value for money. I bought it for use in my lifeboat work but now I have it, I rarely bother transferring bits and pieces to my handbag I just pick up the back pack when I go out. That way I know that I have all my personal stuff with me, I have the lifeboat stuff just in case I decide to empty a box or two and I have the choice of carrying my bag in my hand or carrying it on my back leaving my hands free. Oh, I almost forgot, it looks really classy too!