We only have it "in the bag" if the bag doesn't have any holes.
July 24, 2013 11:18 AM   Subscribe

I need to find somewhere to purchase hard wearing messenger bags that my co-workers won't destroy.

I work for a small office (8 people), and we are currently using these cheapo briefcase/messenger bags that get destroyed pretty quickly (3-6 months, tops). The bags are inexpensive enough that it's not a huge deal, but it's wasteful and a pain when the bag self-destructs mid business trip.

We would *LOVE* to order Timbuk2 command laptop bags, but the minimum order needed is higher than we have full time employees.

We like Timbuk2, Jansport, Manhattan Portage. We would like to have the bags TSA compliant, because we travel a lot. We would prefer to spend less than $150 per bag, but if we spend that much, we would like that price to include one color screenprinting or embroidery of our logo.

Can anyone suggest somewhere that does small corporate purchases? Thank you in advance!
posted by bibliogrrl to Work & Money (29 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Do they have to match? Why not oddlots from an auction site or something? I got one of those bags as a freebie from a hardware manufacturer.
posted by tilde at 11:22 AM on July 24, 2013

Sorry if this is obvious to some, but the minimum order for those Timbuk2 bags you linked to seems to be 1... Is it getting a logo on there or something that is a requirement?
posted by brainmouse at 11:22 AM on July 24, 2013

Minimum order? I just threw one in there and it let me get pretty far in "buying" it.
posted by tilde at 11:23 AM on July 24, 2013

Response by poster: Not to threadsit - The pricing on the Timbuk2 is high enough that we are seeing if there are other options. We like them a lot, but to get the custom embroidery done (locally) on top of spending $140 is prohibitive.
posted by bibliogrrl at 11:25 AM on July 24, 2013

Sorry brain cloud acting up again.

we would like that price to include one color screenprinting or embroidery of our logo

Get odd lots, get logo on a bit of cloth, attach cloth to bag.
posted by tilde at 11:25 AM on July 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

Actually, now that I think about it - get whatever you want from Timbuk2.

Get your logo etched on a bit of leather or metal plate with a couple holes in the end.

Put THAT on the flap, and on the revers of the leather or metal logo plate, a spot to put the person's ID information "If lost or stolen, return to" to compliment the regular (company logo'd) luggage tag.

(all links random search)
posted by tilde at 11:27 AM on July 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

Also consider:

I can't comment on custom orders from any of them, but they're all great bags (personally, my BaileyWorks is going on 10 years of traveling around the world with both me and my wife on archaeological digs and is still like new).
posted by The Michael The at 11:29 AM on July 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I had an L.L. Bean messenger bag that I used almost daily for 10 years, and which I ultimately got rid of because it was in fact getting shabby looking (not breaking down). LL Bean has a direct-to-business site that looks pretty easy to use and offers custom embroidery, with no minimum order size. The same 100% satisfaction guarantee they offer to retail customers apparently applies to business customers as well.
posted by drlith at 11:30 AM on July 24, 2013 [2 favorites]

Timbuktu all the way. I have 3 of their bags and the build quality with waterproofing is excellent.

I also have a Chrome bag and I find that the cool seat belt closure is heavy and kind of a pain in the ass.

also, I second adding your branding to a laser etched piece of wood of getting custom patches and sewing them on yourself.
posted by bobdow at 11:33 AM on July 24, 2013

Chrome bags are pretty much indestructible. If there's a store in your area they will also make any necessary repairs for free.
posted by mlle valentine at 11:34 AM on July 24, 2013

New timbuk2 bags are made like junk, honestly. My old one from 2003 or so is still going, but I've seen plenty of ripped up new ones and upon looking closely at them they just don't feel great.

You want any of the brands recommended above, but especially chrome. Those things are tanks. And the materials/quality/design hasn't done anything but improve over the years. What makes them so good is that they're essentially two bags inside of eachother, kinda like a thermos, which makes them exceptionally weatherproof.

My friend worked at a large software company that special ordered all the employees bags from chrome with a certain logo embroidered directly on them. They turned out great, and still look great a few years later. I think they also got a break since they got >20 and they weren't all that much more than the normal price.
posted by emptythought at 11:35 AM on July 24, 2013

I came in to recommend BaileyWorks. They are made by hand in the USA - I've dropped into their little factory workroom in NH. They are indestructible. Got mine in 2004, and though it's picked up some dirt and gotten worn in, it has no holes, is still really waterproof, has not ripped or torn along any seems, is still reflective. It's just a lifer of a bag. I've realized if I ever want another bag I'm just going to have to forcibly retire this one, because it's not going anywhere on its own.

Comes in a lot of colors and good sizes, too. The largest one is GIANT. I have the medium (253 Courier) which is actually huge - I use it for my 14" laptop and can still fit books and stuff around it.
posted by Miko at 11:36 AM on July 24, 2013 [2 favorites]

What about Rickshaw bags? I've seen them do custom corporate stuff.
posted by oneear at 11:40 AM on July 24, 2013

Best answer: Lifelong LL Bean Customer here (I grew up in Maine; it would have been so. weird. to buy a backpack that wasn't from Beans.) That 100% satisfaction guarantee is no joke - I've seen the customer service reps go pull catalogs from the 60s or 70s to try and find the item a person is trying to return and figure out what the modern day equivalent is so they can get them a brand new replacement. My LL Bean luggage has worn really well, but if it ever develops problems I know I"ll be able to get a hassle-free replacement.
posted by hungrybruno at 11:43 AM on July 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

Alternately, buy a minimum order so you have future replacements.
posted by Heart_on_Sleeve at 11:44 AM on July 24, 2013

I used to love the Timbuk2 bags, but I tired of them being so heavy, even empty.

One day shortly after moving to Florida I walked by a bag display at a Marshall's and noticed a Timberland messenger style bag. It looked lightweight and sure enough it was. Still had a little padding but nothing that would weigh the bag down. It's been great - looks good, travels light and so far it's taken all my beating.

It is not TSA compliant, but I find it pretty easy to travel with any way. And it's about $50-60 most places.
posted by FlamingBore at 11:46 AM on July 24, 2013

Nthing Chrome and Rickshaw. They both make incredibly well-made bags, and, being small businesses themselves (as well as just plain all-around good folk, from everything I've heard), they may be sympathetic to the needs of another small business.
posted by rhiannonstone at 11:49 AM on July 24, 2013

I don't think Tom Bihn does custom corporate logos, and they might be out of your price range, but I hear good things about the bags themselves (and some bags are TSA-compliant).
posted by Vibrissa at 11:51 AM on July 24, 2013

Ask courierware?
posted by rmd1023 at 12:01 PM on July 24, 2013

I agree with the above person who said the newer Timbuk 2 bags aren't up to the older ones in terms of quality.

I have stuff from Rickshaw Bags and Seagull Bags and would recommend both. The latter is a small shop in Columbus, OH, and they are willing to do more than what is just on their site in terms of customization. They also have a "tune up" program to repair, rather than replace, older bags.
posted by pixiecrinkle at 12:02 PM on July 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: My LL Bean bag is 20 years old. I still use it every day.
posted by COD at 12:06 PM on July 24, 2013

Seconding Courierware, I have a bag that's 13 years old this year and the waterproof-ness is amazing and the bag still looks new-ish. Daily hard use for 5 years of those 13.
posted by fiercecupcake at 12:24 PM on July 24, 2013

posted by humboldt32 at 12:50 PM on July 24, 2013

Freitag bags are very heavy, and likely way off the OP's budget.

Toronto couriers seem to be split between PushTheEnvelopE and PAC Designs. They are extremely expensive, but indestructible.
posted by scruss at 1:55 PM on July 24, 2013

Bailey Bags of Portsmouth, NH. They will outlive you and the cockroaches, too.
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 4:48 PM on July 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

I recently got a Crumpler messenger bag and am pretty impressed so far. They generally seem pretty durable, judging by the bags I've seen around for years, and they offer a lifetime warranty. Originally Australian, they've expanded into the US as well. I don't know about the TSA-compliance thing (to be honest, am not sure what that means apart from being a marketing ploy) but I bet you could email them and ask them.
posted by Athanassiel at 4:49 PM on July 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

Also voting for Courierware. My first one saw about ten years of daily use, and I only replaced it because I wanted a different color after all that time. A tip is to get them without velcro closures -- the velcro is the only thing on them that wears out in less than a lifetime.
posted by ngc4486 at 11:39 PM on July 24, 2013

Aerostich makes high-end protective motorcycle apparel in Duluth, MN. They also make a range of courier bags that are equally bomb-proof.
posted by workerant at 6:40 AM on July 25, 2013

Response by poster: The suggestions for LL Bean are perfect. They still may not end up being what we need, but they are in the price range and are someone I wouldn't have thought of. Thanks!
posted by bibliogrrl at 7:46 AM on July 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

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