I need my very own Bag of Holding.
October 15, 2011 11:37 PM   Subscribe

Have any of you purchased ThinkGeek's Bag of Holding messenger bag? It seems perfect for me (huge capacity, neutral color, numerous pockets, ever-so-slightly geeky) but so many Amazon reviews mention that the zippers break or come apart easily. If not, do you have recommendations for a similar bag?

I'm looking for a sturdy messenger bag with a laptop pocket, large storage capacity, and numerous small pockets for storing an mp3 player/headphones, pens, notebooks, etc. I'd like the main compartment to be secure (preferably zippered) and large enough to hold gym clothes in addition to the other items I carry.

The Bag of Holding sounds great, but the reviews about the zippers seem like a red flag. How sturdy is this bag? Can the zippers be replaced or repaired? I'd rather find a similar bag instead if this one's going to fall apart.

So, what are your recommendations for a sturdy yet simple canvas messenger bag? I'm looking to spend about $50, and don't want anything really sporty looking, colorful, or patterned.
posted by cp311 to Shopping (31 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
It's a little higher than your stated price range, but my partner has one of these, which we refer to as the Bag of Holding. It fits everything and is sturdy as fuck. The main compartment is not zippered but the flap is secured with those butterfly clip things and I've never known anything to fall out of his.
posted by corvine at 11:55 PM on October 15, 2011

Chrome Citizen or Metropolis. Sturdy, lots of room. I found that the Metropolis is large enough to hold a five year old child (neither the bag nor the child was harmed, and no, we didn't go on a bike ride). You can order it in muted colors like black on black or black on grey.
posted by zippy at 12:06 AM on October 16, 2011

though I just saw your budget - both of these bags are well over. If you can swing it, they're worth it. I think I'm on year six with my Metropolis.
posted by zippy at 12:08 AM on October 16, 2011

Seconding Chrome bags. Their stuff is pricy but is built to take abuse. You'll know where the money went.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:12 AM on October 16, 2011

My timbuk2 bag has been utterly bomb-proof. It's 6 years old and has not one frayed thread. Worth the extra money.
posted by Devils Rancher at 12:19 AM on October 16, 2011 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: I appreciate the suggestions, but I'm on a tight budget so price is really the most important constraint.
posted by cp311 at 12:37 AM on October 16, 2011

I bought a MUDD messenger bag.. same dimensions but most of the pockets were found UNDER the flap. Outside cellphone pocket and built in key holder with easy release.

I am a girl and I love a good messenger bag.
posted by TangerineGurl at 12:37 AM on October 16, 2011

No personal experience with the Chrome bags, but if you want a good quality bag under a price constraint, what about purchasing a used bag on ebay? A quick search reveals 3 Chrome messenger bags currently priced below $50 (though of course there are days of bidding left, so who knows where they'll end).

I'd also suggest search around on ebay for Booq, WaterField Designs as well.
posted by arnicae at 2:11 AM on October 16, 2011 [1 favorite]

I have this Jansport bag, which I bought for $35. It has been my everyday bag for more than five years; and all the pockets are intact, zippers and clasps all work, and there aren't any holes or rips. It is small, though.

My previous bag was also a Jansport and much larger. It easily fit books, folders, a computer, and a sweater. I had it for...I think at least five years, and only switched (it was still all in one piece) because I wanted a smaller one.

Jansport isn't exactly some fancypants bag manufacturer, but they're cheap and, in my experience, extremely durable and multi-pocketed.
posted by phunniemee at 3:53 AM on October 16, 2011

I was given the Bag of Holding for Christmas about 4 years ago, and all the zippers are fine, if you want a positive anecdote. The strap is starting to fray a little on the edges, but I use the bag everyday, and take it with me when I fly as carry-on luggage (about 3 times a year). I've been very happy with it.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 4:12 AM on October 16, 2011

I received a Bag of Holding from my spouse for Christmas about 4 years ago. I fell apart within months. I then got this bag from LL Bean. It's lasted 3 years so far.
posted by stevis23 at 5:56 AM on October 16, 2011 [1 favorite]

I've got an LL Bean backpack and bag that are both over 20 years old, and both still in fine shape.
posted by COD at 6:01 AM on October 16, 2011

I got the same LL Bean bag that stevis23 linked to 5 years ago from a goodwill and have used it every day since then. With the exception of the strap slipping and having to be knotted (very easy fix), it is still in perfect condition. It doesn't have a TON of organizing capability, but it is very large.
posted by marylucycraft at 6:21 AM on October 16, 2011

I can recommend Jansport, too. I've had one of their laptop backpacks for 6 years now and it looks new. Don't know if they make messenger bags.
posted by altolinguistic at 6:30 AM on October 16, 2011

I love my Manhattan Portage laptop messenger bag. Minimalist, no gaudy colors or patterns. Huge. Lots of pockets. Super durable.
posted by erstwhile at 8:07 AM on October 16, 2011

The Yak Pak Renton Deluxe messenger sells for $20, lasts forever.
posted by RogerB at 8:14 AM on October 16, 2011

Medium sized Timbuk2 messenger bags are selling for @$65 on Amazon. (I just bought one.). If you can afford the extra $15 it's worth it to get a bag that will last for years and years.
posted by gnutron at 8:30 AM on October 16, 2011

Another unhappy Bag of Holding customer here. Main zipper seized and broke. Replaced it with a Manhattan Portage bag. Thanks for reminding me... time to go throw that POS Bag of Holding away.
posted by jdfan at 8:58 AM on October 16, 2011

Like COD, I have a 20-year-old bag from LL Bean and it shows zero wear. If you get one, pick the color carefully because you'll have it around for a long time.
posted by Houstonian at 9:12 AM on October 16, 2011

I bought the Bag of Holding and it's been pretty aces for me, haven't had any problems yet. But I don't use it as much as some people, so it may just be a matter of time.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 9:14 AM on October 16, 2011

If you have something like a TJ Maxx around, check their bag selections. I found my Timbuk2 messenger bag at one for $35 (usually $100) and it has been absolutely bulletproof.
posted by ndfine at 10:25 AM on October 16, 2011

I've bought all my laptop, backpack, etc bags from thrift stores. They tend to have a ton, and a lot of them are barely used, and a lot of them are expensive, high-quality bags for just a few bucks. Take your laptop along and try putting it into various bags, and see how it fits and how they feel (that's something you can't do online!) and I bet you'll find something awesome that will leave you with plenty of money left over.
posted by The otter lady at 10:34 AM on October 16, 2011 [3 favorites]

Don't worry about the all-in-ones and just get a laptop sleeve and a regular messenger bag.
posted by rhizome at 11:32 AM on October 16, 2011

Also recommending a Chrome even though it's out of your budget. I see them for sale cheaply all the time on a local bike forum, so check Craigslist or ebay or whatever. I have had mine for 7 or 8 years now and have abused it daily (I don't own a car) and there is not a single loose stitch on it. They are worth it.
posted by bradbane at 12:15 PM on October 16, 2011

There are lots of Timbuk2 bags available at Sierra Trading Post. If you sign up for their DealFlyer or "like" them on Facebook, you will likely get 20-30% off which could get you to around $50 on a bag (likely over 50% off full price).
posted by cushie at 12:26 PM on October 16, 2011

Mountain Equipment Co-op (the store brand) bags never die. Seriously, long past when you want to get rid of it, it'll still be going strong.

I had one of these all through my undergrad and it looked brand new when I got rid of it ten years later. And I've had one of these for about twelve years and it appears totally untouched by time. I don't use it any more because I just don't need to lug that quantity of stuff any more, but it's in such fabulous shape I can't bring myself to get rid of it. I figure I'll give it to my kid when she goes away to university in ten years...

Like the LL Bean ones, make sure you get a colour you like, because I have a friend who is still carrying around a greeny-teal and purple MEC backpack from 1992. It won't wear out and it's totally hideous.
posted by looli at 1:40 PM on October 16, 2011

Buy the bag you want, buy an industrial-strength zipper, and pay $10 for a local alterations person to swap them out. If you don't know where to find an alterations expert, start by asking at your local dry cleaner.
posted by KathrynT at 1:45 PM on October 16, 2011 [1 favorite]

I have a BoH. I love it, it fits tons of stuff, and I've never had a moment's trouble with the zipper. The whole thing is, to my mind, very ruggedly constructed - thick canvas, wide metal zippers, very hard to kill.
posted by badgermushroomSNAKE at 1:58 PM on October 16, 2011

I have never used a messenger bag, but I can vouch for the affordability and durability of Jansport backpacks. The zippers have always been great, durable, smooth operation. I did have one strap that frayed on me several years ago, and I thought about getting it fixed, but they sell these bags so cheaply at Target that it was just easier to replace the bag. They are about $30 to $35. Have lots of pockets. Lots of internal space. The zippers are covered to keep out the rain. All around, extremely satisfied with Jansport backpacks. I have another three backpacks from Jansport and they are all going strong after many, many years of service. My main bag gets tons of heavy use and has held up like a champ for about four years now.

If I were looking for a messesger bag, I would go with Jansport based on backpack experience with them.
posted by marsha56 at 5:04 PM on October 16, 2011

Id like to second the suggestion the check eBay. I bought a few used Timbuk2 bags for less than $30 each. I think it was a good but less, but i can't remember any more. The one I'm still using was very heavily used when I got it (and at least 5 years old based on the fabric) but it still looks exactly the same 3 years later. Those things are tanks.
posted by duien at 7:29 PM on October 16, 2011

Another happy Manhattan Portage Bag owner here. I've had mine for 11 years and it hardly seems to have aged a day.
posted by MasonDixon at 8:33 PM on October 16, 2011

« Older No Love For You!   |   Does Wordpress support English and East Asian... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.