Dear 100 Hour Board,
Alright, what kind of textbook carrying device do you suggest for a new freshman? Backpack, messenger bag, something else or none at all? What are the pros and cons or each? (I mean in relation to BYU, not generally.) How often do you carry books around campus?
- Rowen again
After about ten minutes, messenger bags really hurt my shoulders. I prefer a backpack with the waist strap--it takes sooo much pressure off my shoulders. Speaking of which, don't wear the backpack on just one shoulder. Bad, bad, bad. If the pressure in your bag is really awful, carry a book or two in your arms (unless it's raining).
And I carry books around campus every day that I have class. Why carry them around when I don't have torture sess... I mean, classes? (Well, I suppose for studying, but I tend to put that off until the night before, and then I'm studying at home in the living room while all the sane peeople sleep.)
Personally, I'd go for the backpack. Using anything that's not supported by both shoulders is just begging for back problems, no matter how stylish it is. Honestly, I don't care if messenger bags are in fashion (and it's not like backpacks are inherently unstylish) - if I'm going to be lugging my textbooks all over campus I want to do it with minimal bodily damage and maximal convenience and comfort. I really don't know of any pros that messenger bags have and backpacks don't.
Now, that being said, I also recommend a good backpack. Do not buy a Jansport. It's incredible to me how many people are loyal to Jansport simply because Jansport will replace (or repair?) your backpack if it breaks. Every single person I know who has ever owned a Jansport backpack has had zipper problems. It's uncanny. It's great that you can have your backpack malfunctions taken care of, but not so great if the malfunction is pretty much guaranteed. I myself have an Eagle Creek pack. It's about five years old and in perfect condition other than some wear and tear in one of the mesh side pockets (which, I might add, has been present for several years without developing into anything problematic). The backpack was a bit more expensive than your average Jansport, but it's lasted me nearly my entire college career and I expect it to hold up through several years more of graduate school. It's worth it.
Whatever you end up bringing, I recommend plenty of pockets for storing pencils, keys, umbrellas, water bottles, books, notebooks, wallet, and the like. It just makes toting your life around with you that much easier.
Oh, and I also recommend getting a locker in the library or whatever building you spend the most time in so that you don't have to drag everything around with you. I spent my freshman year dragging around all my textbooks and notebooks because I did all my studying on campus and therefore needed to keep everything on hand. Now I shell out about ten dollars a semester and keep my organ books in the HFAC, my textbooks wherever I plan to study that semester, and my gym stuff in the girl's locker room. Definitely worth it.
And hey, welcome to BYU!
I prefer the messenger bag type aparatus, but I dislike carting too many books around, so I always pack light on purpose. I like Jansport in general. Even though Leibniz has defamed the brand's name, I've had a Jansport backpack for years that still works great and my messenger bag is Jansport too. (Heck, my hiking pack is Jansport as well, and it's fine too.) I've had good and bad luck with Jansports. It seems the zippers are the part that goes first, but Jansport has a guarantee on their products. If the zipper does go, get it replaced.
-Benvolio, who owns packs from Jansport, Kelty, and Eastern Mountain Sports
Dear Rowen again,
Personally, I take most of my notes on a Palm Pilot and keyboard and thus do not carry a pack most of the time. The only time I do is when I am either working on a paper or when the class requires that I have the books with me.
Backpack. And as said above, don't carry it on just one shoulder. I had to go to the health center last semester because of back/neck/head problems that developed when I only carried my backpack on one shoulder.
I don't carry books to campus very often at all. Hardly ever. Unless the class requires it (religion, anyone?). I do most of my studying at home, and most of the materials I need for homework are online anyway.
I have a Jansport that has lasted me my college career (and possibly then some; I don't remember exactly what I was carrying in high school but it very well could be the same backpack). I've sent it back to Jansport two or three times to get the zippers fixed for free (well, you pay to ship it there) but they've been very speedy about it so I can't complain. That's the only problem I've had with it.
Echo of Pa Grape and FCSM. Get a low-end PDA to take notes. If you get a refurbished one, it's quite inexpensive. Don't take books up to campus unless you must.
-The Franchise, who has no backpack and usually took only a near-empty binder up each day.
Welcome to our wonderful institution!
I have a messenger bag and have been using it for about four years with no problems. Granted, I rarely carry text books in it so it's not usually very heavy. The reason why I chose it is because I like to have access to my things without having to lower a backpack and then heft it back up onto my back.
Both my messenger bag and backpack (a daypack with internal frame and hip support-thingy) are Eagle Creek and I've loved 'em both. General rule: the bigger the zipper the better. Material doesn't usually tear resulting in zippers being the biggest "breaking point" on a pack.
- Beemer Boy
P.S. It is wise advice not to wear your backpack on one shoulder! That, coupled with the ancient matress you will inevitably sleep on, will lead to back problems.