Colors for Bags, How to Choose

A definitive guide on selecting appropriate colors of bags.

What’s color bag should I get if I don’t really want to stand out because of my bag?

Almost universally I see comments from people on sites talking about the best or right color for bags — especially when the advice is geared towards ‘blending in’ — when people ask any ‘which color’ questions.

All these people talking about color choices are full of shit.

For one, and let me be clear on this: it doesn’t matter what color your bag is. That said, here’s how I think of the different color groupings for bags, but ignore me on this and you do you. Because the color of your bag is a statement, and any color bag will blend in when in a large enough populace — because bags simply come in all colors. And people simply don’t care that much about the color of your bag.

  • Black: it is not as stealth as you think. But still versatile and almost always acceptable. The boring, and safe choice, but if your bag has MOLLE/PALS it will up the tactical look of your bags. This is because of 90s movies. Thanks 90s movies. And if your bag isn’t tactical looking, then black will make it look cheaper if made from nylon than other colors will. I mean, cheap bags are always black bags, 90s tactical bags are always black bags. Simple math really.
  • Tans: (coyotes and earth tones, not brown) are generally more tactical than black bags, even if not tactical looking with MOLLE (this is because we’ve been fighting wars in environments which call for this color, so we associate it with war). The tan colors blend less than you think it does. Often tan makes the bag look bigger than it is — because it is highly visible in most non-sand environments. Thanks wars. I still love these color bags as they are legit. But yeah, wars have ruined this color bag among other things and should be considered carefully to downplay the color itself.
  • Grays: stands out because you don’t often see all gray bags. But still, doesn’t really make any statement. It’s just a gray bag, odd, but whatever. Nothing good, nothing bad. Just gray.
  • Whites: says ‘look at me’ and is best made to embrace a full Star Wars (Stormtrooper), or arctic warfare look (are there Multicam Alpine bags yet?) — you pick. This is a statement choice. These are rare and amazing unicorns. My god, a white bag just screams “I can manage to keep a white bag clean, look at me suckers”. At least I am pretty sure that’s what they mean.
  • Camo: if people can actually see your camouflage bag, then they likely will not care about your camo bag. Because for as much as people think this looks like a military bag, it does not. I see almost as many camo bags in offices as I do black ones. These days camo is more a fashion choice than anything else. That said, Real Tree and hunting camos that have natural looking items on them — those stand out. Don’t do that. I’m talking about Woodland, Multicam, and pixelated patterns — these are all great choices and I like them. I don’t have any at the moment, but soon. Comically, because camo actually does work (all joking aside), camo patterns will help make a larger bag look smaller in general.
  • Black Camo and other stupid variants: yeah, ok caveat to that last one about camo. There is ‘Multicam Black’ which is super popular right now, but also others like the late 90s “Urban Camo”, as well as red or blue themed camos. These are all terrible, look bad, and stand out. Black camo stands out simply because it looks like dirty, cheap, and faded nylon. I’ve heard more crude descriptions, but we’ll stick with those — my advice is to avoid Multicam black. It looks great in pictures, yes, but in person it looks gross and like you are too sloppy to keep a black bag in decently presentable shape. To be clear: I hate black multicam with a deep passion, if that was not already evident.
  • Greens: muted greens like Ranger Green or Foliage colors are simply undervalued. They are fantastic looking, blend in well, and feel nice. You can go too green, but a muted green is a really nice color for a bag. Like these are dope. Everyone needs a good green bag they work for everything and just are perfect.
  • Blues: if deep/dark and subtle these are nice. If bright: no. NO.
  • Bright Colors: this will make you look like someone who bought your bag from REI or one of those travel stores at the mall that doesn’t actually sell good stuff. Avoid these at all costs, unless you really want to stand out as the WTF person on the sidewalk. One time I saw a guy with a red hiking bag on a bus, I still remember how goofy that was. Don’t be goofy. Don’t be that guy.
  • Browns: uncommon for nylon, but overly common for leather. A great overall color. But the actual hue of it can make or break things. Brown is tricky with nylon. For canvas it is fantastic and the color of choice. Talk about a classic move. The best nylon brown colored bags I have seen are GORUCK’s ‘Java’ color — but I don’t own one specifically because I remain unconvinced.

That’s all. Carry on, and start buying more green bags so I get more options (Foliage is the best of the greens, followed by Otter Green from Filson, and then Ranger Green). Up that demand for all of us.

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