Messenger bag recommendations?

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So, my trusty Timbuk2 messenger bag has finally started to give up the ghost--it's literally coming apart at the seams, though the vinyl lining is intact. Since this bag survived about 8 years of fairly brutal daily use by yours truly, I'm got a fairly positive feeling about Timbuk2, but I'm open to being talked out of it. Anyone want to tell me why I should get a Zo, Bailey, PAC, or some other bag?

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I own Crumplers, which means that stylish people will immediately cease to use them. If you are entertained by a brand which names one of its bags, "McBains Lovechild" then Crumpler may be for you.

Crumpler produces some of the smallest, lightest, yet effective bags that I've found. Most of the bags come with padded laptop sleeves built in.

I use the Wee Bee, which weighs under a pound. It holds up to a 12" laptop (a Sony S series fits and a Sony T series has a lot of room. The front pocket on mine carries my iPod mini, my ER6i headphones in a pouch, the iPod USB cable, a cell phone, an international power converter for 40 countries, and a digital camera. The inside pocket typically has a spare laptop battery, a cell phone charger, a laptop charger, a hardback book, and a notebook. The zippered pocket in the flap holds pens, pencils, camera batteries, USB flash drives, kleenex, drugs, contact lenses, glasses and other junk.

Actually, I may have the Crippy Duck model. I can't remember any more. I know I've bought both, but I can't remember which one I bought and which one was aggressively attacked by TSA.

Crumpler also sells the Tube-O-Lager for attaching a beer to your bag or belt. What other type of accessories could you need?

I carry everything in plastic shopping bags. They're lighter than any messenger bag, much cheaper, completely weatherproof, disposable, and spectacularly compact when empty. They occasionally tear, but you can carry a replacement pair with you for such occasions. (I always double-bag.)

Of course, some plastic bags are better than others. Loblaws, the Canadian supermarket chain, has outstanding bags--I heartily recommend them.

I had a Timbuk2 bag long ago, but I replaced it with one from Courierware more than a few years ago and I've been very pleased with it. Mine is the large version of this one:

The only wear it shows is that the dark blue flap has faded some from UV. If it ever needs replacing, I'll get another of the same thing.

Dan: but you can't sling the shopping bags around your shoulders to leave your hands free, which is something I'd like to do when I'm carrying a bag for longer than 5 minutes.

I guess it's a matter of preference. Even when walking a fairly long time (up to a half-hour, or so), I prefer hand-carrying a bag to slinging it over my shoulder. The main discomfort for me is the constant weight on one part of my body, and I find changing hands much easier and smoother than changing shoulders. And if I need both my hands free--I just put the bag down.

A serious hike would be a different matter, of course--but then, I don't do those.


Remember that the intended use of a messenger bag is to hold stuff when you're riding a bike. That pretty much rules out bags you have to hold in your hand.

Don't buy Timbuktu again. I bought one a year ago and it just decided to dematerialize all it's zippers.

The Sagada Weaving Company (in the Phillipines, apparently), make bags which can survive, from personal experience, a decade of daily use. Also, they are all cotton, which is good

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