By Guest Writer and Outdoor Enthusiast Roger Dawkins
I ride to work and I’m a bit of a whiner about it. It’s not that I get really angry about the cars clogging our roads or that someone chucked a super-size Coke at me the other day from their pimped out ride, but simply that cycling cramps my style. You see, I’ve got a bag fetish and the last thing I want is to be forced into carrying an unruly backpack or garishly ‘sporty’ messenger bag because I commute via bike.
I need a practical messenger bag that actually looks good. Ever since my mum used the word ‘practical’ to describe the bowl haircut she gave me in school, I thought ‘practical’ and ‘looks good’ were an impossible match. But then I heard about the Australian brand Crumpler. Initially impressed, I decided to test one for myself.
You can find my take after the jump.
Yes, these messenger bags look good. They aren’t a stiff square shape, they don’t have that ‘outdoors adventure’ style about them – meaning you don’t look like you just stepped off a hiking trail or out of a backpacker’s hostel, and they don’t have lame logos all over the joint. Subtle, sophisticated, and quality, that’s how I’d sum them up.
Still they’re not overpriced Italian shoes, meaning they’re about more than looks. My test subject was a Complete Seed Messenger Bag (a nice big one), and I’m telling you it worked better than anything I’ve used. My girlfriend has had a similar one for about ten years, so I can testify to their durability – no holes, no breakages. I wore mine in the bucketing rain and the heavy-duty nylon kept my gear inside toasty dry. We’ve even thrown hers in the washing machine and it cleans up like new.
There are some nice little details, too. My Crumpler has a Velcro flap with two adjustable buckles for bulky loads. There’s some reflective material on the front that’s integrated nicely into the overall design, preventing the bag from looking too sensible. You can also get the colors of some bags custom designed, which is great if you’re a bit of a visionary. Inside there’s a bunch of different sized pockets in the wall of the lining which keep your valuables safe without encroaching on the space of the main compartment.
It’s the effective design that really counts though. With the simple adjustment of a big plastic buckle, you can change the length of the padded strap so the bag’s nice and secure on your back; then, to stabilize it, there’s an extra little strap that holds the main shoulder strap in position. The result is complete stability and total freedom of the shoulders. I pack mine full of gear and it really feels comfortable.
Using the Crumpler has solved my cycling dilemma and, by providing me with complete functionality and credible style, it’s put a smile on my face. In fact, the Crumpler has even cleared up some childhood (Freudian, no doubt) anxiety too, allowing me to believe that practical good looks are possible and to forgive my mum for those rather obscene childhood haircuts. Thanks, Crumpler.
Cost: Complete Seed | $135