Category: Purses, Packs & Pouches

Oct 10

Oprah’s got a good article on how to find and carry a handbag that doesn’t punish your back, shoulders and neck.

Some of today’s purses are so big and heavy they make you scrunch your shoulders to hold them in place, which pulls on a web of nerves from the neck down into the arm. And every time you sling your purse over your shoulder, it messes with the upper back muscles that stabilize the shoulder blade.

Marty was notorious for carrying heavy shoulder bags, but in her old age she’s narrowed most trips down to needing only a wallet, sun glasses and in winter the Carmex — of course. Cait carries a small shoulder bag that’s not very heavy but is packed to the gills for emergencies, semi-emergencies and non-emergencies. (That about covers it, eh?)

Click here to read Oprah’s article

Aug 23

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Cait & Marty are big on taking sturdy cloth bags to the grocery store to schlep home our produce.

Ya, it’s that virtuous “green” thing - trying to reduce our carbon footprint and save on the number of plastic and paper grocery bags we use once and throw out. But we also like cloth bags because they’re more comfortable on our hands.

Our friend Ken turned us on to these bags she (yes, Ken is a she) rolls up into a tiny pouch and stuffs in a corner of her purse.

They weigh next to nothing, have reinforced seams, can hold up to 44 pounds and the handle is easier to carry than a heavy plastic bag, which can feel like it’s cutting off your circulation. Each bag is 19.5″ by 16.5″ and can hold weight equivalent to two supermarket plastic bags.

The Envirosax company has myriad designs - some that men might even deem suitable for schlepping their groceries home.

Sep 20

The Zuca is a bag on wheels with a steel-construction frame. Designed to hold up to 300 pounds, the Zuca offers a seat while waiting for the bus, attending outdoor events, or waiting in line at the airport check-in.

ZucaThe retractable telescoping handle folds away flat and the Zuca features two sets of wheels - one set for rolling it on the ground, the second set to help navigate up stairs and curbs. The wheels, designed with skateboard noise-reducing technology, feature Magneto flashing lights for extra visibility at night.

The deep bag, which comes in a variety of colors, has one main compartment and numerous outer pockets. Resist the temptation to overstuff it and make it too heavy to maneuver easily. (So easy to do at the farmer’s market!)

While we found the bench seat to be rather low - better suited to shorter people - we did appreciate how solid the seat felt. The Zuca would benefit an ambulatory person who wants to sit now and then with access to a change of shoes, a packed lunch, a beverage and some good reading material.

See the Zuca Web site to find a retailer in your area. Pricey, but well made, from $150 to $275.

Aug 17

Gimpy people and parents of babies face the same issue - they need their hands free.

To that end, DadGear, a Denver-based company, specializes in clever bags and vests with water-proof pockets for bottles, diapers and snacks and cameras, cell phones and wallets.

Babies aside, we find DadGear ideal for other ingenious reasons:

Attachable Leashes: Each bag comes with fold-away double leashes to fasten the bag to strollers - or wheelchairs and walkers.

The Messenger Bag, which is our favorite, has a strap that loops over your neck and another that fastens around your waist to hold it securely.

Wet Wipes Access: Each bag has a clever front-facing pocket that opens to let you pull a wet wipe with one hand. Whether you’re freshening your face, wiping your hands after lunch, or doing some spot cleaning in a dirty car, everybody could do with an easy supply of wet wipes.

The bags comes in a variety of designs from elegant and sporty to get-down and audacious, including a skull and flames for you Gimpy Hells Angels.

Jun 28

Laundry is endless - always there, every day, and most often involves using stairs. Even when Cait lived in a wheel chair-accessible co-op, the laundry still was on another floor. Now Cait lives in her own house but the laundry still is down the stairs in the basement. C’est la guerre.

A laundry basket kept Cait from having a free hand for the stair rail, so she turned to IKEA, the Swedish Sanctuary, to find an answer. Every IKEA has these great, big, low-cost, strong, plastic bags with handles that you use to haul your IKEA booty around the store before check-out.

Buy one, or two, or six and give them away. They’re light, fold flat, hold an enormous amount and cost less than a buck. Use them to hold laundry on vacation or your picnic items for an afternoon.

At home, Cait easily can carry one fully folded with one hand while having her other hand free for the stair rail. They help her carry all kinds of things around the house. She’s still using the first one she bought 15 years ago and it shows little wear and tear.

The other struggle with laundry is to get heavy bottles of detergent home from the grocery store. Cait’s found All Liquid Detergent to be more concentrated than most. The concentrated All is good quality and actually does the number of loads it says it does. It also comes in an All Free version - free of dye, perfume and lower in phosphates for those with extremely sensitive skin.