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Everyday Carry Bag Dilemma: Top Flap, Side Access, or Clamshell Opening?

Explore your options for everyday carry success.
Explore your options for everyday carry success.

Getting into your bag, choose pack-opening options that fit your needs.

The main compartment of your bag or backpack can have many options for you to get to your daily carry items. At Vanquest each way to get to your daily carry essentials has been designed with user-focused accessibility in mind. The opening style of the pack is chosen to help you get in and out of your bag while remaining convenient and secure. The opening style of the pack is chosen for easy access while ensuring convenience and security.

Each pack style has its own layout and opening method: side-access packs, similar to camera bags, provide custom organized access, while rapid clamshell opening is available for outdoor internal-framed backpacks and emergency medical packs, particularly useful in critical moments. The most common type of bag found worldwide is some form of a satchel; the modern messenger bag offers an upgraded urban carry option in a well-loved and trusted format. After your personal style choice of color and design, choosing a pack that fits into your lifestyle and needs is next.

Side access backpacks: Quick, customizable organization.

Starting with our original JAVELIN sling backpack design and continuing with the current TRIDENT backpacks, we have selected side access as the primary setup for our most popular bags. The zipper track on these bags is asymmetrical and curves like an “S” to provide the best side opening access. Both the daily carry-sized TRIDENT-21 and full-size TRIDENT-32 backpacks feature loop lining and padded removable dividers to create your own custom gear shelves like a camera bag. Combining quick side access with custom organization delivers a well-organized carry solution for the professional user since its release in 2014.

Our most flexible design, which allows either left side or right side access, plus ambidextrous carry options, is the JAVELIN-18 sling backpack. This adjustable bag gives you the ability to set up the pack as a backpack or single shoulder sling. In single shoulder sling mode, the pack can be swung from your back to in front across your chest, supporting the load and giving you free hands to get into your bag. This swing forward quick access feature is shared by all our side access bags.

Outdoor clamshell backpacks: Convenience meets quick access.

The ability to open a fully loaded pack while on the trail to retrieve your rain layers as it starts to drizzle can be a lifesaver. Most clamshell designed packs are found in outdoor and recreational bags used to carry and access specific clothing, equipment, and supplies needed for the trek.

The MARKHOR-45 backpack main compartment has a zipper track that opens like a suitcase, allowing the zippers to travel to any position on the track to retrieve the piece of equipment you need. When loading these packs, it is easier to pack properly for weight distribution, and it allows for a visual gear check before starting your adventure.

With sturdy internal frame ergonomic suspension, the IBEX-26 and IBEX-35 backpacks make excellent clamshell packs, offering useful organization.

These packs feature loop lining, mesh zippered pockets and a MOLLE panel in the main compartment to help arrange and store your essentials. Side compression straps are placed to limit zipper travel and can be tucked away to give users a full clamshell opening.

Medical clamshell pouches and backpacks: When seconds count!

The ticking clock from a major trauma or injury can start at any time, so we took the input of emergency medical professionals to design medical packs to help you prepare for success when seconds count. Taking advantage of its clamshell opening, the FATPack 5x8 first aid trauma pack can be deployed instantly with a single pull to reveal the lifesaving medical supplies inside. These trauma specific medical pouches are designed with proper staging and layout of your medical kit. Sized for a small personal kit, the FATPACK 4x6 fits most bags and places, or make a multi-person kit with the full size FATPack 7x10.

With the ability to get instant full access via the lay flat clamshell design,

inspired by our FATPack pouches, we created the FATPack-Pro Large medical backpack. The result is an organized, modular, and exceptionally durable trauma medicine bag perfect for a Mass Casualty Incident kit. With high quality training and a properly loaded out FATPack-Pro Small medical backpack,

anyone can make a family or home medical kit that can deal with the most common injuries and traumas. In most scenarios you will be the first responder, so get training and keep a good medical kit nearby to prepare for success.

Top flap opening packs: Trusty and versatile messenger bags.

A popular carry option for work and school is a single-shoulder messenger bag, featuring a purpose-built top flap opening for easy access to everyday items like laptops, folders, and notebooks. This simple form of opening provides protection and quick access; customers love messenger bags for their versatility in various uses such as office, school, photography, videography, or travel.

These bags blend well into daily life and come in different sizes for your devices. For messenger bags we include the largest laptop size each can fit in the name of the bag such as the ENVOY-13, GOFER-15, and ENVOY-17 messenger bags. They feature a padded main compartment perfect for notebooks, novels, work binders, as well as a dedicated laptop pocket. Plus, dual outside bottle pockets and rear rolling luggage handle pass through to keep you mobile. Take advantage of the loop-lined compartments and grab some Foam divider pads to protect and organize your camera and electronics gear. With various sizes to choose from, you can find the perfect messenger bag to suit your lifestyle and needs.

Final thoughts…

Selecting the right access method for your bag or backpack is crucial for ensuring the convenience, security, and organization of your daily carry. Whether you opt for side-access packs built like camera bags for customized organization, rapid clamshell openings for outdoor adventures and medical emergencies, or messenger bags for versatile urban use, each option caters to different needs and preferences.

Vanquest prioritizes user-focused accessibility in its designs, offering a range of options from asymmetrical side access to ambidextrous carry solutions. Whether you're a professional, an outdoor enthusiast, or a medical responder, the right access method enhances efficiency and readiness in any situation. Choose wisely and carry with confidence.