Before the internet exploded in usefulness, reams of important documents got to their destinations in big cities inside a messenger bag. Yes, the internet supplanted even the venerable bicycle in some tasks. The messenger bag still lives on with the ever increasing number of people cycling to work. It is a great way to transport your own things and make your own personal deliveries.
What Makes a Messenger Bag Great
Why would you choose to use a messenger bag over a backpack?
- You can slide the bag around in front of you while sitting on the bike to reach in and grab something. There is little chance it will fall off of your shoulder.
- It is easy to pack any size load. If you have only a little bit to carry, it packs down well. If you have a large load, there will be a way to fit that too.
- It is easy to strap really large loads to the outside of the bag if needed.
- When properly loaded, the bag rests on your back, not on your shoulders (this does not work so well when you are walking with a messenger bag, though).
- Tradition. It is what people on bikes use. When you use one, it is like a secret handshake, especially if yours is really beat up.
Key Features of a Messenger Bag
There is a lot that separates a good messenger bag from a bag that happens to sling across your shoulder.
- A wide shoulder strap. It will distribute the load better than a skinny strap.
- A cross strap that holds the bag in place. It goes from the side opposite the shoulder strap to the shoulder strap itself. This keeps the bag from sliding around.
- Weatherproof. If you ride, you will eventually get caught in some bad weather. Whatever you are carrying should stay dry. How would a messenger look if they showed up with soggy documents?
- Spacious and without restrictions. The bag should not have too much structure that it can limit what you load into it. You want to carry a laptop and work clothes? That will fit. How about ten folding tires, ten tubes and ten water bottles? That will fit too.
Timbuk2 is one of the original messenger bag manufacturers to bring them to the masses. They are well made and should last for years. They make lots of different variations depending on your needs and desire for more structure. The classic is just that; it has all of the features you will need in a messenger bag without anything extra.
With responsible manufacturing practices and detailed craftsmanship in all they do, Patagonia’s messenger bag will serve you well for years. Again, it has a spacious design to carry all that you need, along with a highly waterproof coating and wide shoulder strap with cross strap.
Chrome’s bag has all of the necessary features of a good messenger bag with a bonus – the should strap has a seatbelt-like release buckle. Getting a bag up and over your head with an awkward or heavy load can be tricky. The buckle gives you a quick exit.
The Civilian is a burlier choice with a heavy exterior shell and liner to keep your load safe. It also is a bit larger than the others in case you need to transport a lot of your things at once.
This bag has all the features you should be looking for in a slightly smaller package and a much smaller price. It is not as flashy as the others, which is part of why it is less expensive, but it should get the job done.
Load it Up
Selecting the best messenger bag for you comes down to personal size preferences. Lots of companies produce quality bags with all of the right features. Figure out how much you need to carry to choose your perfect bag. Then you will be able to carry your load protected from the elements confidently.