Messenger Bag?
April 19, 2010 9:30 AM   Subscribe

What brand of messenger bag should I buy?

I'm a student who's current messenger bag is starting to get rather worn. The thing I love about this bag is that it has a laptop sleeve on the inside and it's pretty lightweight. The problem is that I'm sure I won't be able to get the same exact bag off the internet or another store since the university I go to handed it out to everyone. I've looked at the Timbuk2 D-Lux Messenger Racing Stripe and really like that, however it's slightly pricey. Preferably the bag will be about $50. Is it possible for me to find something like this or should I just be prepared to shell out even more?
posted by astapasta24 to Shopping (19 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Could you consider contacting the office of whatever program handled the giveaway of the original bag to see where they ordered them from? It's always possible they got the bags from an only-in-bulk kind of supplier, but it's equally possible that you could just track down the company and get another, or basically-equivalent bag that way.

Anecdotally, if that doesn't work, I'm very happy with my Timbuk2 messenger, and while it was listed for around $100 I found a great deal/coupon (listed on FatWallet at the time) and got away with it for only about $40. If you can wait a bit, keep your eyes open for promotions like that.
posted by Rallon at 9:34 AM on April 19, 2010 [1 favorite]

Love Timbuk2 also. I got it on sale at REI and it has held up exceptionally well.
posted by MsKim at 9:36 AM on April 19, 2010

I use an older version of the Ogio Hip Hop (horrible name) and it has been the best bag that I've ever used.
posted by mmascolino at 9:48 AM on April 19, 2010

I really like the chrome messenger bags. I've had mine for nearly 4 years and although it is a little grubby, it's still robust and waterproof. Two things I like about the design are the floating internal waterproof liner that is seamless, and the way the flap curls at the corner so when it is closed no rain can enter.
posted by a womble is an active kind of sloth at 9:56 AM on April 19, 2010 [1 favorite]

You might also want to try places like TJ Maxx, Ross and Marshalls. I've picked up 3-4 Timbuk2 bags and laptop sleeves over the past couple of years for less than 1/2 retail. Not always the best colors, but worth the savings.

I'd also try eBags or other resellers, you can often get them for less than purchasing @ Timbuk2 directly.

Lastly, do you know folks who work at large corporations? If their companies are anything like mine, they must have some kind of partner discount programs (Insider Advantage) where you can use employee discounts for great savings.
posted by SoulOnIce at 10:07 AM on April 19, 2010

You might like the flora major from sherpani--it has an interior pocket for your laptop and I've found it to be fairly lightweight. I have an older version I've used for a few years and really like. The only thing I don't like is the dopey floral print on the interior, but what can you do?
posted by mandymanwasregistered at 10:48 AM on April 19, 2010

If you don't mind the dark blue, eBags has the Thunder Messenger for $40 today only. The thing with eBags is the lifetime warranty on their house brand of bags. I bought a laptop backpack from them in 2005, the lining gave out two weeks ago, and they just sent me a new bag no questions asked (and even changed the color for me; I was getting sick of the dark blue after five years). That's now my standard for getting a bag-- will you just hand me a new one when I kill this one?

STM and Brenthaven have similar warranties; a friend of mine has been getting free bags out of STM for a few years now, and Mr. F just went for a Brenthaven for his iPad.
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 11:42 AM on April 19, 2010

Seconding Chrome. I used to have a Timbuk2 bag with a built-in laptop sleeve but have since discovered that that's actually a waste of space. I bought a separate sleeve for my laptop and love how the Chrome bag fits. The Timbuk2 ones, even if you get the strap sleeve, just aren't comfortable and they're about the same price. Chrome has this nice thick strap that keeps the bag from sliding around on your shoulder or cutting into your neck. It also has a few more pockets in the front. It's expensive, but will last. You could probably find a used one on ebay or craigslist. If you get one, DO NOT get the black lining. You will never ever find anything inside your bag again.
posted by Raichle at 11:57 AM on April 19, 2010

To clarify: Are you looking for a full on messenger bag for which to gad about town on your velocipede whilst ladened with laptop, books, and other sundries? Or do you just want a messenger style bag to carry your laptop in?

If the former is the case than I'll say that I've never much cared for Timbuk2 bags; all the ones I looked at felt kind of cheap and awkward to wear. I'll second Chrome for setting a kind of industry/scene standard. I currently ride around town (often with a laptop) with a larger Crumpler, which I've had for about 3 years now, with no complaints and much love. They have a line of laptop bags as well. You might want to check out R.E. Load as well (maybe this bag?). You could also check out this review of various messenger bags. Keep in mind that any good bag designed to carry stuff on a bike and last will run you about $100. Check ebay or craiglist. Also check your local artisans/crafty-people. I don't know where you are, but this woman made some bad-ass custom bags for some people I know.
posted by Panjandrum at 12:05 PM on April 19, 2010

I'm a Timbuk2 fan. After seven years of daily use, including bike crashes, rain storms, cat puke, people puke, and just generally not being treated very well, it is starting to look "well used." I'm another seven years I might have to buy another one.
posted by indyz at 12:53 PM on April 19, 2010 [2 favorites]

I love my chrome, had it for years, and I think it's tougher and more comfortable than Timbuk2 bags. Spend a little more money on your messenger bag and it'll last forever.
posted by craven_morhead at 1:19 PM on April 19, 2010

I have a Timbuk2 Messenger that I love. I've had it for 4 years now, and I use it every day for school to haul all my books and my laptop. I also use it as my carry-on bag for travel. I have absolutely no complaints. It still looks great and functions perfectly. In my opinion it was worth the price.
posted by gumtree at 1:59 PM on April 19, 2010

Get a Chrome. I've had mine for 6+ years and there is not a single stitch loose or any other kind of wear on that thing. I ride everyday, in the rain, throw it around, carry all my groceries in it, fall over drunk with it on, etc. and fully anticipate this thing to last me forever. You get what you pay for so I would just go with Chrome and be done with it.

I have friends who got Timbuk2's but they do not seem to be built to the same standard.
posted by bradbane at 3:21 PM on April 19, 2010

I will second the eBags branded bags. I've got the Thunder and another bag and they are both very strong.
posted by IndigoRain at 5:33 PM on April 19, 2010

You should post a sign offering to buy it from another student. I guarantee that plenty of your classmates have it hanging out at the back of their closet, unused, and would happy to part with it for ten bucks.
posted by beyond_pink at 5:50 PM on April 19, 2010

R.E.Load Bags are high-quality and well last 'forever'. They are a little more pricey than you want, but you can get them fully customized (including graphics!).

Highest recommendation.
posted by buttercup at 6:19 PM on April 19, 2010

I have owned laptop bags by both Timbuk2 and Chrome. The Chrome bag is way better in every way - design, build quality, comfort etc. Yes, they do cost more. But they last forever. I have put one of mine through quite a bit of abuse and there is literally not a single stitch missing.

Do you ride a bike, or are you just using the bag as a shoulder bag/briefcase?
posted by twblalock at 3:15 AM on April 20, 2010

To clarify, I'll be using it as both a bike bag and a shoulder bag
posted by astapasta24 at 7:24 AM on April 20, 2010

In that case, I definitely recommend Chrome over Timbuk2. Timbuk2 has become a bit of a fashion brand, and their bags are not very comfortable to wear on a bike - the straps are not easy to adjust while riding, and the bags tend to slide around. The Chrome bags have very comfortable shoulder straps and stay in place when you ride.
posted by twblalock at 10:49 PM on April 20, 2010

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