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Finding A Messenger Bag - Form VS Function

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 

The time has come for me to buy the messenger bag that I will use exclusively for the next decade or more of my life. I've long since outgrown my university Timbuk2 and am more or less embarrassed to have that draped over the shoulder of the collection of designer tops I've begun to accumulate in recent years.

 

Note: The last good messenger bag thread is now about 3 years old, so I figured I'd post anew instead of resurrecting.

 

What I'm looking for is something thin with clean lines made out of extremely high quality leather. But it seems like it is tough to find excellence in both form and function. I want something stylish, modern and minimal that will last until I'm sick of it with no need to fix, replace, or mend it. I'm self employed and have no aesthetic idiom to cram myself into, so I can go whatever direction I wish here.

 

I've looked at Saddleback, which is kind of in the lead right now. But their bags are a tad bulky and heavy.

Mulholland looks of good quality, but I'm not seeing anything particularly modern there. I like to hint at "classic" without embracing it. Krane looks great too, but is rather pricy. Can anyone attest to the quality?

 

I guess I'm looking for recommendations and am wondering if there are any new messenger bag specialists out there that come with high marks. We'll set the budget around $500. Let's discuss.

post #2 of 24
You're on the right track with Saddleback. You won't need to fix, mend or otherwise worry about destroying it. If you do you get a new bag for free. After 10 years you'll like the way it aged. Along the way you'll get a lot of affirmative nods and questions about the bag as well.
post #3 of 24
I have a Saddleback medium size Thin Briefcase that I use for school. It's big enough to house a laptop and a book or a book and a couple of notebooks. It scratches quite easily, but I don't mind...it adds to the aesthetic it has going for itself. I am usually careless with this bag, which I am not with my luxury branded bags that cost 2-3 times its price.

I've gotten a ton of compliments on the briefcase from both men and women.

The only thing that I kind of dislike is the pigskin lining which can be tough against your skin. There would be times where I'm putting things in and they fit tighly and I'm used to rubbing my hand against the lining to push things in/out. With this briefcase, you need to be aware of doing so because you might scratch your skin.
post #4 of 24
Thread Starter 

I thought I'd hear as much. Haha. So does anyone have pictures of a Saddleback bag in chestnut or coffee that's been broken in? If I do go with the thin brief, I'd pick one of those colors.

post #5 of 24
As heavy duty as they are, I'm just not a fan of saddleback bags. They're just too busy with buckles, straps, etc for my tastes. You may have decent luck finding an old used coach leather messenger on ebay for around $100, or a vintage leather postal bag. I'm in a similar boat, but not that urgent as my 12 year old timbuk2 bag is still going strong.
post #6 of 24
You've mentioned some of the best. I have a Krane messenger and find it to be very nice. It's good quality with decent leather. Billykirk is another alternative if you are looking for a lower price but quality.
post #7 of 24
id caution against fully leather bags - they can be very heavy
post #8 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Teger View Post

id caution against fully leather bags - they can be very heavy

What are we talking about really? A 2 or three pound difference from say a heavy waxed twill/leather bag and one made completely from leather? Most of the real weight complaints stem from what's in the bag. I remember a conversation about this a while back and a few people weighed their bags loaded up. If I remember right my 257 loaded up weighed over 20 pounds. Some other people had heavier bags than that.
post #9 of 24
Thread Starter 

C'mon guys. Let's see some pics of your favorite bags (esp if you're using Saddleback).

post #10 of 24
Probably to small for you though they make larger ones. Small satchel along with a few other things. I drag this thing all over everywhere. Recently I hung it on the railing of the porch and sort of forgot about it. It poured for 5 hours and not one drop of water made it inside. Moleskines, camera, everything was bone dry. It's about 2 years old and just starting to develop a patina. If you want to see more pics of these bags Saddleback has an affiliate thread here and they have tons of pics on their site.

FieldTools
post #11 of 24
Thread Starter 

Lovely bag. Small is good actually. I mostly just tote around my Macbook Air, Kindle, portfolio and a few widgets and doo-dads. Maybe I should get one in Chestnut to match my Rust colored 1000-miles.

post #12 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by BostonHedonist View Post

Lovely bag. Small is good actually. I mostly just tote around my Macbook Air, Kindle, portfolio and a few widgets and doo-dads. Maybe I should get one in Chestnut to match my Rust colored 1000-miles.

You might be able to pull it off with a large satchel. There is no way you'll stick the Mac in the small one. Kindle possibly. I picked this size specifically for use as a field bag that would hold essentials like notebooks, cellphone, compass and maps, small camera, some munchies and a small pistol with enough room to drop in the good points I find.
post #13 of 24
dbl post
post #14 of 24
you'll need shoulder op if you use the saddleback in urban settings (public transport)
post #15 of 24
263"
Here's mine. A terrible picture, but only one I have at the moment.
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