Posted May 17, 2019 in Gear Reviews by Patrick Pitman
Messenger bag review
I’m not taking a vacation this summer.
But soon I’ll leave the heat of Texas to wake surf on lake water in Georgia. Afterwards I’ll doze in a chair on the dock and burn. Then I’ll duck inside the house to find aloe vera and my laptop.
Some time later I’ll drive north up the Blue Ridge Parkway for cool shade in the tall trees of North Carolina. And I’ll logon when I find wifi at a vinegar BBQ joint.
For today’s entrepreneur, I don’t know of another way to vacation. Are you feeling this way, too?
Work accompanies my travel, it’s only the duration that shifts with the season or holiday. So the bag in which I carry my laptop does become my every day carry (EDC) — even when on vacation.
There is not a ‘work’ bag apart from an adventure travel bag. Not for me, not in 2019.
The messenger bag style suits me best. I like its cross-body single strap. Its wide, rectangular main compartment feels easy to pack and pick through; better than a backpack. It’s wide shape is perfect for a laptop and cords. So that classic fold-over flap bag is my EDC.
It’s the bag I take as my airplane carry-on.
It rides shotgun in the rental car to the Airbnb.
It goes to the deal-making dicker, then to the resort.
(I confess to hiding this work / play bag behind the far side of the bed in a hotel room whenever wife joins me. If it’s too often in sight, she wrinkles her nose. As holder of my laptop, she knows it might distract my late night attentions).
With all this activity, pounding here and there, do you understand now why I need something durable? Something that will outlast my laptop? Something the opposite of "disposable"?
Luckily, I’m friends with Jim, CEO at Red Oxx. As a parachute rigger in bygone days, he insists on a built-to-outlast sensibility. He hires designers who embrace functional ruggedness. And they do it in 12 colors.
For a couple years I’ve hauled around a secret prototype messenger-style bag made by the A-team bagsmiths in the factory.
As much as I liked the CPA Laptop Briefcase that I’d packed for the prior decade, I kicked it to the curb when offered the messenger prototype. No loyalty, I switched out in a minute.
Maybe it was the cool Mariner blue over the Forest green.
Maybe it was the fantasy of feeling lighter in my step, not carrying a briefcase.
Maybe it was the satisfying click of the double buckles on the messenger’s big flap. Snap-snap.
I was in love.
Don’t get me wrong, I still kept the CPA briefcase bag. After 10 years, its only flaw was an accumulation of dirt in the corners. So I picked it off the curb to which it had been kicked. Reverentially I tucked it near my desk. Sorry CPA, you’ve been retired from Every Day Carry to periodic holder of audio / video equipment for my customer service training network.
Old Red Oxx bags don’t get trashed, they get pastured like a beloved mare. We nicker to each other now and again. Kcck, kck.
So, I’ve been loving on my prototype messenger bag for a couple of years now. Whenever I’d return to Billings to strategize about ecommerce world domination with Jim, I would share gripes and wishes. Sometimes the bagsmiths would smile. Sometimes they’d listen and frown.
Now jump to the present day 2019. To my delight, I just opened a package shipped from the Billings factory. Inside was the new limited edition C.C. Rider Messenger bag. Thanks go-to chief designer Lacy for hooking me up the week before it went public.
Now I’ve got my hands on it and migrated from the prototype to the real deal. Watch the video here that describes that repacking process.
In my favorite Mariner blue, this best business bag has my gear tucked in every pocket. It’s the refined prototype born into the world. It’s the bag that evolved after my comments and those of other testers like me. It’s what grew in the bagsmiths’ minds after their frowns turned into raised eyebrow ideas, turned into fabric patterns, turned into a bag ready for the wide, some say flat world.
This is the best messenger bag of 2019. The timing of its arrival means its going on my next work-cation (sorry, honey).
If she gets disgruntled, I won’t remind her that my team is remote! We work across 9 time zones and three continents. I won’t remind her that remote teams are the future of work. But I digress. After 23 years, she’s heard it all before.
If you watch the video, you’ll see how I move my stuff out of the prototype and into the real deal, ready-to-order bag. I find a place for everything. The panel pockets, the zipped pockets, the mesh pockets.
But there is one pocket that doesn’t quite fit, not for me; watch it to find out which….
As I describe in the video, my travel as the Ebusiness Coach takes me all over, from London to Phoenix, preferably on non-stop flights. In the airplane, my messenger bag sits under the seat in front of me always, never in the overhead bin. I want my phone, water bottle, and headphones within reach without standing up.
Here’s the breakdown of what goes in my messenger bag:
Since I made the video, I’ve learned there is another place to tuck in a pen. It’s on the outside between the two side panel pockets. It’s perfect. It’s like a little secret you discover that’s been in front of your eyes the whole time. (Go watch the video demo from Lacy where she explains this feature.)
This perfect pen place is a small example of a bag that wasn’t rushed through a design process to meet some over-hyped Kickstarter deadline. It’s a mature bag from a mature company that’ll keep surprising me with its simple, clever touches.
Now go buy it before it’s gone. Or subscribe to the Red Oxx Field Report email Newsletter to be notified of its possible return.
~Patrick Pitman, ebusinesscoach.com
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