Messenger Bag Research

After a couple years with a Timbuk2 medium custom laptop messenger, I’m ready for a new bag. This one is about 1500 cubic inches, and is too big for me right now. I also have a much smaller Manhattan Portage that is only about 500 cubic inches, and most of my everyday stuff pretty much fits in there, so I am thinking I need something in-between the two sizes.

After much research – I’m pretty much obsessed with messenger bags and have collected link and info over the last 2 years or so – I have put together a spreadsheet of options from a handful of companies that I’m considering. So far I’ve ordered two bags to try out: a small Timbuk2 Command and a small Timbuk2 Commute. I’m not crazy about the colors (custom colors are not available for these bags), but they have lots of pockets, which I like.

I’ve been interested in Tom Bihn bags for a while now – their quality and pockets are legendary – but I just can’t find a bag that seems right for me. The Imago seems a little too small, saggy and shapeless, and the Id is a little too big and boxy, like a soft side briefcase. I like a more traditional messenger bag look, but with lots of pockets. I’d love to get a Tom Bihn but they might have to wait for a while.

I’m considering ordering two bags from Rickshaw… a medium Zero messenger and a Commute 2.0. I ordered a commute about 2 years ago and was really impressed with the quality. I returned it because it was too big for me at the time. I also remember thinking that it’s boxier than I would like, but the pockets, quality and organization tools look pretty great.

Some resources I’ve used in my research:

The Bag Collector Blog (bag reviews, industry news, and a list of 100 bag manufacturers)

The Gadegeteer (excellent bag reviews)


Below is my current spreadsheet of options. Click for a larger version.