I want to be upfront about something, so I’m going to tell you a secret. Both my backpack and my golf bag were manufactured by OGIO, and I love both. Thusly, I had high expectations for this bag. That being said, I definitely wanted to be fair and pound out all the DOWNsides I could muster to even out all the UPsides I was confident I’d find. Fortunately for you, dear reader – I found both.
As I took the bag from the shipping wrapper the first things I noticed were the solid rubberized briefcase handle and the durable feel of the fabric the Messenger VP is constructed with. There were a few stray threads around the seams of the bag but I didn’t get the impression they were going to be an issue. I starting flipping the bag over in my hands and noticed the typical skid plates I expected to find on the bottom of were conspicuously absent. Ultimately this may not make too much of a difference, but surely the bottom will take more of a beating if you’re a city dweller and often put the bag down on the pavement while waiting for the subway or the bus.
The shoulder strap is both beefy where it clicks into place on the metal connectors, and comfortable on the pad where the weight of the bag is focused on your shoulder. There’s a pocket which snaps itself shut magnetically (but not quite automatically) when not in use, and cell phone pocket with a ‘lifter strap’ to easily (and easy it is) remove the phone when needed. The water bottle holder is large enough to hold the typical store bought half liter, but that’s not very green, is it? If you have environmentally friendly Sigg or Nalgene bottles the 1 liter size won’t fit anywhere but inside the middle storage compartment. There’s even room in there to fit books and 3 ring binders at the same time.
As with any good organizational tool worth its salt, there’s a zippered pocket with room for all the utility paraphernalia you’d expect: pens, PDA, keychain clip, etc. There’s also a zippered area with 3 vertical separators for portable filing purposes. The pocket for the (up to 17”) laptop was easy to access without necessarily needing to unzipper the whole thing. It’s even airport security friendly, flipping open all the way so you don’t need to remove it from the soft velour-lined love pocket if you choose not to. Oh, and if you ARE at the airport, make sure to take advantage of the airline ticket pocket – it’s easily accessible without having to de-shoulder the bag. This is a big deal if you’ve ever had to find your ticket while holding your jacket and your carry-on at the same time.
The verdict? All in all, I’d definitely buy one over the standard issue POS you normally see nowadays. There’s room for everything I use for school & work, and some convenient features for when I travel.
My high expectations? Met.
- Durable construction
- Comfortable to carry with a laptop inside.
- Plenty of appropriate storage; without going overboard.
- Cell phone lifter. MMM!
- No skid plates. Doh.
- No MP3 specific pocket. I guess with the convergence of phones+mp3 becoming more popular this is less of a big deal. Meh.
- Hydration pocket is too small for a typical reusable bottle.
Want one yourself? Available here for $100