My search for a new daily bag continues. I like the Timbuk2 Freestyle quite a bit, but it’s just a bit too small for my needs. My Red Oxx Metro is a great bag, but I’m looking for something with more of an urban, hipper vibe. With that in mind, I’ve been looking mostly at messenger bags, and assembled a short list of manufacturers. Most of these companies are (as Timbuk2 started out) small firms run by and/or started by bike messengers.

Bagaboo (Based in Hungary. Genuine bike messenger bags; custom designs available.)

BaileyWorks (Neat website. Made in the US. Narrow product line.)

Cocotte (Very cool bags from Canada; check out the “Fred” model.)

Dank Bags (Like the website, the bags appear basic and functional.)

PAC Designs (Made in Canada; serious duty messenger bags.)

Push The Envelope (Hmm… website appears to be a work in progress. Not much info here.)

ReLoad Bags (Made in Philadelphia. Good looking bags with plenty of options.)

Under The Weather (Featuring line art illustrations, this site doesn’t inspire.)

Timbuk2 ( Some feel they’ve sold out and are now more of a marketing company. Custom bags are made in California; off the shelf stuff is out of China.)

Tenba (Aimed at the photography market, but very messenger bag-like)

Thule (Messenger bag from the famed athletic carrier manufacturer; looks good, but appears to have some limitations.)

Know of any others? Please share by commenting.

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23 Comments on Messenger Bag manufacturers

  1. Matt Fusfield says:

    Take a look at Tom Bihn. I own a few – very high quality and well designed.

    Also very friendly staff and I believe everything is made in their factory in Seattle.

    Matt

    [Reply]

    Kevin Reply:

    Matt,

    All the Bihn stuff is indeed made in their facility in Seattle. If you search the site, I’ve reviewed the Tri-Star, Aeronaut, Western Star, and Co Pilot; wonderful products. The Tri-Star is a particular favorite. I probably ought to consider the ID bag from Bihn, although it may be a little larger than what I want.

    [Reply]

    Matt Fusfield Reply:

    I thought I’ve read reviews of their stuff here :-)

    I recently added the Ristretto to my collection as my everyday bag. Holds my laptop (Lenovo X201), iPad, wireless mouse, MiFi, Moleskin notebook, a few pens and assorted cables. Works pretty well for this.

    [Reply]

  2. David Gutwirth says:

    I found this site the other day while doing a search for basic laptop sleeves/bags.

    I don’t have any personal experience, but some of the bags look interesting.

    http://www.boblbee.com/us/default.asp

    [Reply]

  3. Frank II says:

    I just switched to a messenger bag and wanted something that would fit inside a Tristar.

    For international travel, I wanted a bag with a little extra security so I got a Pacsafe Metrosafe 250.

    For everyday use, I’m I’ve been using an old Rick Steves Veloce bag but I’d like to replace it.

    [Reply]

    Kevin Reply:

    Hey Frank,

    Good to see you here, and thanks for the comment. Although I’ve used the Metrosafe 350 quite a bit, I’m not familiar with the 250; I’ll have to check it out.

    [Reply]

  4. Garrett says:

    I visited Tom Bihn’s factory when I lived in Seattle. His bags are indeed top-notch, and Mr. Bihn himself was there for a brief chat. That said, I find the aesthetics on his bags don’t match my own, though they’re perfect for Seattle’s vibe.

    As a young graduate student the Timbuk2 Commute 2.0 is the perfect bag. I had a 2007 model that I lost just recently, but it had taken a lot of abuse and never showed any signs of breaking or tearing. I ordered a new one to replace it after some research. But again, I would not take the Commute into a professional meeting. My previous bag was a Brown/Black/Brown pattern, which was staid but still light-hearted, but even my new one which is Black/Black/Black shouldn’t be used to interview with important persons. For that I invested in an inexpensive leather briefcase.

    [Reply]

    Kevin Reply:

    Garrett,

    Thanks. The Commute 2.0 is definitely a beautiful bag. I could see using the T2 bags (in triple black) just about anywhere except a board room or interview. Thx again.

    [Reply]

  5. Dan says:

    I have a Chrome bag that I really enjoy on the bike.
    http://www.chromebagsstore.com/bags.html

    Others I’ve seen

    Cima Coppi http://cimacoppi.ca/bags-and-accessories

    Zugster: Mostly custom (and a huge wait), but stock pops up from time to time.
    http://www.zugsterbags.com/store

    Seagull Bags http://www.seagullbags.com/

    Mission Workshop http://www.missionworkshop.com.....messenger/

    [Reply]

  6. reeder says:

    Freitag, Rickshaw in SF, Waterfield, and Incase also come to mind. Nau also makes a few nice looking bags and dedicated to using sustainable materials.

    [Reply]

    Michael W. Reply:

    Thanks for the tip about Rickshaw Bagworks, as a result I’ve visited their factory and am now using an xpac small messenger as my daily carry ….

    [Reply]

  7. Eric says:

    I’d throw in the line of messenger bags by Osprey. I’m using the Veer as my to and from work bag which is just big enough to carry my lunch or camera gear and a few extras. They have the Warp, Veer, Astro, and Elroy. I like the cross shoulder design and small waist belt to keep the bag in place when running to catch a bus or riding bike. Not quite cottage gear but still a quality pack.

    [Reply]

  8. Kevin says:

    WOW! Thanks to everyone for your suggestions… this’ll keep me busy for quite a while!

    [Reply]

  9. Paul Z says:

    Manhattan Portage, Trager, Brooklyn Industries, Crumpler, Chrome.

    [Reply]

  10. Garry says:

    Check out J and D Mountaineering. http://www.jandd.com for their Hurricane Messenger Bags

    [Reply]

    Kevin Reply:

    Thanks. Here’s a direct link to their messenger bags: http://bit.ly/kF98rN

    [Reply]

  11. Brian says:

    I’ll put in another recommendation for Tom Bihn’s bags. If you’re looking for larger than the ID, you should consider either the Ego or the large Super Ego. My Super Ego with the Q-AM shoulder strap is my main commuting bag. Very easy to deal with in crowds and on the bus.

    When I need something more business style I switch over to my Empire Builder.

    [Reply]

  12. Nathan says:

    Jack Spade. Style + Function.

    [Reply]

  13. ChoCho says:

    Timbuk2 claims to make the bags in SF but that’s a stretch, really kind of false.

    The pockets and all other features are pre-sewn in Asia and only the last few minutes of sewing is done in SF to be able to provide different colors etc. They claim to be able to make your custom bag in 15 minutes but that’s because it is practically made already when it arrives at their SF facility.

    It’s a common practice, totally fake practice to be able to sew a “Made in USA” tag on it.

    I haven’t seen a mention of Lazymonk bags yet check them out.

    I’m not sure they would get a good look from here since we are rating the bags by their websites.

    [Reply]

    Kevin Reply:

    “Assembled in the U.S.” or “Manufactured in the U.S.” might be more technically accurate. In any event, this seems more a technicality than anything else; the bags are sewn in San Francisco. Is it wrong for Tom Bihn to use Japanese Dyneema? For a GM plant to use offshore components?

    I’m always curious when someone bashes one manufacturer, and turns around and promotes another. Do you have a connection with the bag supplier you mentioned?

    …and I’m not sure I understand your final comment.

    [Reply]

  14. Frank says:

    As mentioned, Mission Workshop is my messenger of choice. The medium size can accommodate a laptop in the front small compartment. You can also customize the hardware combination at no charge (I got a Navy bag with bright orange aluminum hardware).

    Another interesting messenger is the Tenba photography messenger. It features a removable foam camera frame, without that, it becomes a pretty normal and feature-filled messenger.

    [Reply]

  15. Lee says:

    Hi,

    Does anyone know where I might find a decent bag manufacturer to make custom wholesale bags. Preferably in the UK or Europe?

    Thanks,

    Lee

    [Reply]

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