Missionaries wearing backpacks has been an image in the mind of many people for many years. It had become almost as iconic as a nametag or white shirt and tie. That is why we were surprised when the rules changed and we found out that Missionary bags were no longer backpacks. We quickly re-grouped, re-loaded and came up with a list of Missionary Bags that are now approved and Mission Worthy. When considering which backpacks were good enough to be considered for GiftsforMormons.com, we considered the following criteria:
1). Durability: You want your missionary bag or shoulder bag to last for the duration of your mission. When I went (Over 10 Years ago) I bought the cheapest JanSport bag that was available at Walmart. After carrying heavy books and materials around for about 1 year, the shoulder strap completely tore off. I was stuck in Russia without a bag. So, I went down to the Rinok and bought another one of the cheapest bags that I could. After two months it broke again. My next bag was an expensive leather shoulder bag with an American logo. I wasted way too much time and money on cheap bags. So, you will want to look for a leather, cotton canvas, or ballistic nylon that will last throughout your mission.
2). Functionality: You don’t want stuff to fall out of your bag. So, you need a bag with good deep pockets and strong zippers. On your mission, your bag is going to be flapping all over the place. It is going to upside when you ride your bike, it is going to be all over the place as you try to squeeze onto the bus and it is going to be neglected as you rush to transfer all of your belongings. The LAST thing you want to worry about is having all of your materials, pencils and books falling out while riding your bike or while in the bus.
3). Comfort: Find a bag that sits comfortably on your shoulder and hip. Most bags have the ability to adjust sizes which will be necessary for the bag to rest neatly on your hip. A skinnier shoulder strap may not be as comfortable as a thicker one.
4). Looks: You want to look good. Or, depending on your personality, you may want to look a little different than what everyone is doing.
5). Price: Getting ready to go on a mission is expensive, just ask your parents. ;}. So, you don’t want to break the bank when considering a missionary bag. However, at the same time, don’t make the same mistake that I did. The least amount I would spend on a missionary bag is $50.00. The most I would spend is $80.00.