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Mess Bag That's Functional and Profesh

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Mess Bag That's Functional and Profesh

Old 02-05-09, 12:00 AM
  #1  
vegipowrd
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Mess Bag That's Functional and Profesh

I've scoured this and the SS/FG forum, but can't quite find the advice I need.

I've been slinging my Patagonia messenger bag for 10 years. It's now held together with dental floss (stuff is strong). It's left handed, black, reflective and can almost pass as something a respectable academic/scientist would carry. Well, it did before the floss.

I carry a ton of paper clothes and a 15" laptop daily and sometimes a lock if I can't leave my bike inside. Other than that, I use it for groceries, as a weekend bag and for everything else that you can do with 1200 cubic inches.

My wife has a Timbuk2, but I can't ever get it adjusted right. It's a bit more square and a bit stiffer than my bag. By being more ambidextrous it never feels "dialed in" on either shoulder. However, the things are on sale for around $65 with a bunch of reflective junk that doesn't look too bad. That's cool.

I'd rather have a Chrome Citizen while on the bike, but I worry it will look a little junky when I'm not riding despite the much better fit. Perhaps others can convince me otherwise. I'm tempted by the Chrome Ranchero, but I'd have to order it blind as I've never seen or touched one.

Ideas? Do other companies do a better job bridging this gap in a similar price range (Seagule, R.E.Load, others).

My priorities are
1) Fit / Size (1200-1500 cube in)
2) Stability
3) Visibility (no blind spots)
4) Not get laughed at while riding or working
5) Price
6) Water proof
7) Visibility (reflective)

Thanks 'yall
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Old 02-05-09, 05:20 AM
  #2  
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Want professional? Brooks Barbican.

http://www.amazon.com/Brooks-Barbica.../dp/B001FX4MZK

You will pay dearly, though.
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Old 02-05-09, 07:09 AM
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Considered the best courier/shoulder bag by some

PAC designs ultimate oversize

http://www.pacdesigns.com/oversize.htm
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Old 02-05-09, 08:12 AM
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Left handed,as in you wear it on your right shoulder?

T2's are cheap on eBay,but you'll have to go with a righthander/leftshoulder strap. I wear my bags on my right shoulder,and it's not too bad to adjust. But Baileyworks SuperPros are awsome. Pricey,but they'll do everything you want(you will have to get a laptop sleeve). Best strap out there,weatherproof,super durable,lots of pockets. They have two big reflective strips,so you can dress down with a black or navy and still have some visability,or get a yellow if you want to stand out. A medium will give you room to spare without being rediculus.

edit: Timbuk2 does a sale of the day on their website. They'll have one bag for like 50% off. They've had a couple classy looking laptop bags and packs.
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Old 02-05-09, 08:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Schwinnrider View Post
Want professional? Brooks Barbican.

http://www.amazon.com/Brooks-Barbica.../dp/B001FX4MZK

You will pay dearly, though.
Looking a bit more technical, but thanks for the suggestion.
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Old 02-05-09, 08:41 AM
  #6  
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Originally Posted by dynaryder View Post
Left handed,as in you wear it on your right shoulder?
YES.

T2's are cheap on eBay,but you'll have to go with a righthander/leftshoulder strap. I wear my bags on my right shoulder,and it's not too bad to adjust. But Baileyworks SuperPros are awsome. Pricey,but they'll do everything you want(you will have to get a laptop sleeve). Best strap out there,weatherproof,super durable,lots of pockets. They have two big reflective strips,so you can dress down with a black or navy and still have some visability,or get a yellow if you want to stand out. A medium will give you room to spare without being rediculus.

edit: Timbuk2 does a sale of the day on their website. They'll have one bag for like 50% off. They've had a couple classy looking laptop bags and packs.
The sales on T2's site keep tempting me. A lot. I just can't help but think of them as being more clumsy than what I want. I'm stealing my wife's T2 for a few days to see if I can suck it up and get it to sit the way I want. That tends to be high as I can get without loosing visibility or digging into me.

I always forget about Baileyworks. I'd say the same about the PAC suggestion, which I have little experience with except by reputation. Both of these websites seem to offer less info than what I want, but I'll check the forums for each.
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Old 02-05-09, 08:44 AM
  #7  
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I have a Courierware bag I bought at their store just outside Harvard Square in 1996. It is still in great shape. I don't get into the city much anymore, so I don't even know if they are still around. Edit- I jsut checked, and they are still around: www.courierbags.com
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Old 02-05-09, 08:56 AM
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I have a Courierware. It's ok,but I don't wear it in bad weather. The seam on the top of the flap will leak in steady rain,and the liner is not 100% waterproof. I also had to rig up a sternum strap(which they now apparently offer). It's held up well,and I like the pockets,but there are much better bags for the price.
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Old 02-05-09, 09:00 AM
  #9  
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I got one of the Chrome Metropolis bags, used it for several months, and then "downsized" to one of the Mini-Metro bags back the middle of November and this one has turned out to be "just right" for my purposes. If you're looking at the Citizen, which is right between my two bags, you won't be disappointed. The Mini-Metro is what I use daily, and I swap out for the full-sized bag when I have to haul more stuff around. I've even used it instead of a suitcase for a weekend trip or two out of town...

Tom
North Little Rock, AR
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Old 02-05-09, 09:01 AM
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Originally Posted by vegipowrd View Post
The sales on T2's site keep tempting me. A lot. I just can't help but think of them as being more clumsy than what I want.
I have an older Commute bag that I use as a laptop bag. The strap on them is different,it has a cam buckle in the middle of the strap and can be used either handed. That said,some T2 laptop bags seem to be geared more toward suits than people riding bikes. I've noticed some of the newer models have external zippers for their laptop compartments that don't look too waterproof.

Originally Posted by vegipowrd View Post
Both of these websites seem to offer less info than what I want, but I'll check the forums for each.
http://www.fixedgeargallery.com/reviews/messengerbags/
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Old 02-05-09, 09:15 AM
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Originally Posted by vegipowrd View Post
...I'd say the same about the PAC suggestion, which I have little experience with except by reputation. Both of these websites seem to offer less info than what I want, but I'll check the forums for each.
Visit the PAC designs website at least. Almost everything is changeable/customizable.
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Old 02-05-09, 09:29 AM
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Originally Posted by dynaryder View Post
I have an older Commute bag that I use as a laptop bag. The strap on them is different,it has a cam buckle in the middle of the strap and can be used either handed. That said,some T2 laptop bags seem to be geared more toward suits than people riding bikes. I've noticed some of the newer models have external zippers for their laptop compartments that don't look too waterproof.

http://www.fixedgeargallery.com/reviews/messengerbags/
Those fixedgeargalery reviews are great. Thanks.
The insides of the Commute bag look great, but I'm nervous about straps kept on with plastic clips rather than being sown on. Has it worked well for you? Does it creak badly? Any problems under heavy load?
The T2 bags with zippers are strange. How a person would want a laptop bag that isn't waterproof is a mystery.
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Old 02-05-09, 01:52 PM
  #13  
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Greatest bags ever made: http://www.zobags.com/
Had mine since 1990

PAC's are nice though.
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Old 02-05-09, 02:10 PM
  #14  
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My Links

These are from my bookmarks for messenger bags. I can't rate them, as I decided it makes no sense for me to carry a bag while my bike carries me and my bag. I put my stuff in basket or rack and let the bike do the work.

Good luck.

Messenger Bags
http://www.reloadbags.com/
http://www.manhattanportage.com/
http://www.frostriver.com/
http://www.baileyworks.com/
http://www.chromebags.com/Messengerbags.html
http://www.under-the-weather.ca/
http://www.banjobrothers.com/
http://www.bagaboo.hu/
http://www.timbuk2.com/tb2/retail/catalog.htm
http://www.crumplerbags.com/
http://www.tombihn.com/
http://www.freightbaggage.com/
http://www.rickshawbags.com/
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Old 02-05-09, 04:00 PM
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I will throw a shill in here for seagull bags.

http://seagullbags.com/

Pros:

1. All handmade by some nice folks in ohio.
2. As weatherproof, if not more so, than the chrome line.
3. HUGE. Even the medium. The small may be the size for you.
4. They will make a custom for you however you want it.
5. Extremely reasonably priced.
6. It is not a chrome.

Cons.

1. It took about a month to get my plain black medium bag.


Great bags. And you are giving your money to a small business that only wants to make GREAT bags for bikers.
95$ SHIPPED for a medium black bag.
Not too shabby, considering all you get...

Last edited by crawdaddio; 02-05-09 at 04:26 PM.
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Old 02-05-09, 04:13 PM
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Originally Posted by vegipowrd View Post
4) Not get laughed at while riding or working
So what is it about my Chrome bag that causes people to laugh while riding or working?
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Old 02-05-09, 05:49 PM
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Check out one of the original messenger bag makers,
http://www.demartinibags.com/
i've used a large one for a few years;
sturdy, balances well on my back & not especially expensive.
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Old 02-05-09, 05:52 PM
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Here's a radical idea...you had a bag that lasted ten years, was the size you wanted, had the look and feel you wanted...why not buy another Patagonia bag?
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Old 02-05-09, 06:36 PM
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This is a pretty comprehensive list of mess bag companies: http://urbanvelo.org/sewing/

I have a PAC Designs Ultimate. I paid around $400 for it a year and half ago or so; worth every penny.

Chrome bags are probably the best value: damn good, but not as expensive as many. Also widely available, at least here on the West Coast, so you can try one out before you buy. Bagaboo and Cocette Equipment are also supposed to be good values.

Zo Bags is also supposed to be awesome, but I think you're out of luck unless you live in San Francisco.
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Old 02-05-09, 06:55 PM
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Originally Posted by MAK View Post
Here's a radical idea...you had a bag that lasted ten years, was the size you wanted, had the look and feel you wanted...why not buy another Patagonia bag?
They don't make anything even close to what I've got anymore. I wish they did.

About Chrome... I think they make great stuff, but I'm worried that their beefiness could get in the way off the bike. I'm looking for a bag I can take anywhere and I'm nervous that the Chrome may not be up to that. I think that by the third time I had to explain to my 60 something boss/coworkers that 'yes, there is a giant, red seatbelt on my chest' I'd crack. I would love someone to tell me I'm wrong about this, cuz I'd buy that thing in a sec otherwise.

The Seagull suggestion is one I've considered. Their black bag doesn't seem to have a small size right now, but I may email them and see if that's about to change. They look worth the wait for that price.

FWIW This is the no-longer-made Pataguici bag.

Flat like a pancake and still water proof after putting pins in it. Googly eyes FTW.


Asymmetric strap makes everything sit nice. Also note the floss.
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Old 02-05-09, 07:03 PM
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Seriously. Go with the seagull. They are a great company that I would happily support again if I ever need a bag.
They have a small in their custom bag...also $95

You can choose colors for free and add options for a little extra.
http://seagullbags.com/standard/
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Old 02-05-09, 08:02 PM
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Originally Posted by vegipowrd View Post
About Chrome... I think they make great stuff, but I'm worried that their beefiness could get in the way off the bike. I'm looking for a bag I can take anywhere and I'm nervous that the Chrome may not be up to that. I think that by the third time I had to explain to my 60 something boss/coworkers that 'yes, there is a giant, red seatbelt on my chest' I'd crack. I would love someone to tell me I'm wrong about this, cuz I'd buy that thing in a sec otherwise.
Just tell them that you are a huge safety advocate and that you would never think of getting on the road without first buckling up.

Remember, “Buckle up, it is the law”. The signs even say so.
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Old 02-06-09, 09:33 AM
  #23  
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Originally Posted by vegipowrd View Post
About Chrome... I think they make great stuff, but I'm worried that their beefiness could get in the way off the bike. I'm looking for a bag I can take anywhere and I'm nervous that the Chrome may not be up to that. I think that by the third time I had to explain to my 60 something boss/coworkers that 'yes, there is a giant, red seatbelt on my chest' I'd crack. I would love someone to tell me I'm wrong about this, cuz I'd buy that thing in a sec otherwise. .
Well FWIW, not one person has ever made a comment about the seatbelt buckle on my Chrome Kremlin. A couple of people have commented about the size of the bag, but with the amount of stuff I carry sometimes, I just couldn't go with a smaller bag.
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Old 02-06-09, 01:29 PM
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Originally Posted by vegipowrd View Post

About Chrome... I think they make great stuff, but I'm worried that their beefiness could get in the way off the bike. I'm looking for a bag I can take anywhere and I'm nervous that the Chrome may not be up to that. I think that by the third time I had to explain to my 60 something boss/coworkers that 'yes, there is a giant, red seatbelt on my chest' I'd crack. I would love someone to tell me I'm wrong about this, cuz I'd buy that thing in a sec otherwise.
I'd actually worry more about your friends releasing the seatbelt buckle when you're wearing the bag and distracted.
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Old 02-06-09, 01:41 PM
  #25  
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I've had my Baileyworks for a while.. I like it. Reflective strips on the back and bottom help me feel a little safer. Many pockets good for holding stuff. Strap is reversible. (left or right shoulder). No giant chrome buckle. Simple styling.
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