Gear test: Nantucket Bagg

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There are few times or places when I’m not carrying tools and equipment of some sort. As a result, I’m constantly looking for more versatile and practical methods of transporting, storing and working with those tools.

There are few times or places when I’m not carrying tools and equipment of some sort. As a result, I’m constantly looking for more versatile and practical methods of transporting, storing and working with those tools.

 

For the past several months I have been using the Nantucket Bagg (canvas model No. 711), and it has become an integral part of my daily working life. Company founder and Nantucket Bagg designer Charlie Cirigliano, who has worked for more than 30 years as a carpenter in the motion picture industry, has created a unique product that that can be configured in a variety of ways and easily changed when the situation requires. It can be opened up as a conventional flat tool roll; zipped on three sides to transform into a tote, with all the tools and pockets on the inside and forming a large open storage compartment; or reversed before zipping for use as a tote, with the stitched pockets for tools on the outside and uncluttered storage inside. The bag also can be cinched closed at the top, carried as a knapsack, or tied as a tool roll.

The bag is constructed of 23-ounce No. 8 canvas duck, with a nylon zipper using a nickel-plated, double-pull head. It uses 1.25-inch-wide cotton webbing for the handles and knapsack mode, while 3/8-inch poly rope for cinching the bag closed is run through solid brass grommets. The Nantucket Bagg I have been using has 36 pockets, including a hidden bottom pocket. The pockets are formed by attaching pieces of canvas duck to the bag, which has been divided into sections using stitching. The pockets can be enlarged simply by releasing some of the stitching.

When zipped, the bag measures about 12 inches long, 6 inches wide, and almost 16 inches tall. The Nantucket Bagg provides better access to my gear, and because of its versatile configuration and practical size, it has taken the place of two conventional rigger’s bags that I had carried aboard boats for survey work. When I started using the bag, the tool pockets were fairly stiff, but after a few days with tools in place, the pockets had formed to the tools and held them in place while still allowing easy removal.

In what I call the “tools in” configuration, the bag is zipped with the pockets on the inside. This has been the most useful for me, as I can easily carry the loaded bag when working in close quarters. My rigger’s bags with tools on the outside are too intrusive, and I often needed to carry both of them. The large inside compartment measures almost 7 by 11 by 16 inches, and holds instruments, gauges and larger tools that don’t have a place in the stitched pockets.

The bag also can be partially unzipped, allowing better access to the contents without compromising the unobtrusive exterior of this setup. Carrying the Nantucket Bagg knapsack style and cinched up allows easy, safe vessel boarding and climbing of bridge ladders while keeping the bag’s contents secure.

The “tools out” setup allows quicker access to pocket tools, while still keeping instruments and larger tools handy inside. The bag can still be cinched closed and carried either as a tote or knapsack. Where space or work requires, it can be used as a conventional tool roll, laid out flat with all pocketed tools exposed for quick tool access and organization. When the job is completed, just roll up the bag and secure with the nylon cinch rope.

I have put the Nantucket Bagg through its paces for several months and am certain its material and construction will perform as designed for quite some time. As with any canvas product, the bag softens with use as it breaks in, while its natural coloring tends to darken a bit and soils easily. I find these traits part of the bag’s attraction. The only maintenance I found necessary is to initially wax the zipper for lubrication. Zipper wax is available in marine chandleries and sewing stores and should be applied periodically.

The Nantucket Bagg retails for $59.95, plus $9.95 for shipping. It’s practical, designed by a craftsman, and well-constructed of traditional materials. You can’t get a better value than that, in my opinion. Contact The Nantucket Bagg Company, Nantucket, Mass., at (508) 257-4682, or order online at www.nantucketbagg.com .