Finally, A Project That Doesn't Involve Trash

But it does involve free stuff.

Let's talk about my new bag. It was posted on Freecycle and described as "military style, but not camo, messenger bag." I can always use an extra bag or two and it was free so I figured "why not."

As soon as I picked it up I was pleasantly surprised to see that it was in good shape and not ugly - always a risk when someone gives something away for free. It's definitely on the military/utilitarian end of the style spectrum but that suits me fine for a day-to-day, not-going-out-for-drinks bag. As you can see it has a handle so that it can be carried like a briefcase.

It also has this handy wrap zipper thing going on so that you can keep it slim...

... or open the zipper and make it nice and roomy. I am all about organizational flexibility.

I kept thinking "Who wouldn't want this bag? Why was this free?" My answer came when I discovered that the clips for the detachable strap were missing. The previous owner had "solved" this by tying the strap to the bag with some sad little rusted wire. That just won't do. Luckily I know my way around a hardware store* so this would be an easy fix.
*That sounds dirty, doesn't it?

All I had to do was buy some new clips so that my strap, now freed from it's wire shackles, could be clipped to the sides for a messenger bag...

... or to the back to get some backpack action going on. Oh, and it's also missing a D-ring delta ring whatever that metal triangle is called. I can fix that too.

My original plan was just to replace the one missing triangle, but I couldn't find them anywhere. So I bought 6 old school D-rings (for 55 cents each) and replaced them all.

Let me tell you, that part was not fun. It wasn't impossible but it required almost more strength than my dainty little hands could muster. But I did it. Bonus: I got to play with 2 SETS OF CALIPERS. AT ONCE. Go me.

I also bought 2 new clip rings to replace whatever used to hold the strap to the bag. I didn't intend to buy something quite so bulky, but I also didn't want to drive to every hardware store in town so I bought the best option Lowe's had to offer.

You may notice the tag is still on that clip. That is because when I got home I found 2 of these guys that have a smaller profile and look less obtrusive, so the other ones are going back to the store.

After I got all my hardware replaced and my bag hung up to photograph, I saw one last adjustment that needed to be made. Can you spot it?

If you guessed the floppy strap, you win 10,000 gold stars.* I photographed the bag with one side as it was and one side fixed so you can see the difference.
*Gold stars not redeemable for cash, design services or anything of value.

And, just for fun, here's a shot with both sides fixed. Ahh, much better.

I guess the only thing I haven't talked about is what I plan to use the bag for. It's a little too rugged for me to use as a purse, but it makes a perfect laptop bag. The main pocket holds my neoprene laptop sleeve. The right front pocket is the perfect size for thumb drives, camera cords, etc and the left pocket holds the strap when I'm not using it.

What do you think? Not bad for a $3.30 bag, right?

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