Friday, June 17, 2016

Things.... They Happen Every Day

So this blog has not had any consistency or format for some time now.'s been years sense this was a daily thing.  I really want to change that, but I can't seem to get into the groove.  I keep forgetting about it, or don't have a good idea.  So I need to revamp both my thinking and my topics here.

I would like to do some sort of exploring blog, and combine that with videos... but that takes time to go out and explore.  And as I say in the title, things, they happen every day.  One of those things for me is I have committed to run the TRC NYC Marathon on a charity team.  What does that mean, well it means a HUGE chunk of my time is being spent on training.  I have been running a lot and this year I have added swimming to my training.

In addition, I have been playing music with friends once a week for a while now.  MUSIC you say!  YES!  Indeed music, it's fun!  Am I any good you ask?  Heck no!  I'm not good, but it is still fun and I really enjoy doing it!

So why am I saying this to you... I am thinking I can use these two things to my advantage.  I am thinking I can track my training, and as I run further on back roads I can explore possible places to check out!  I have a few place I have seen over the years, and now I need to remember where they are at!

I would also like to add some music to the list.  I am thinking about ripping some of our songs from the PA system.  YES!  I will only post ones that fall on the OK side of the "how do they sound" scale. And as I crawl through the muck of YouTube, I am seeing more music that I am really liking.  I will try and share that here

ALSO!  A friend of mine is putting on the Be Kind Scranton event and asked me to give an inspirational message to her.  I know, I know.  Me be inspirational.  I'll admit at first I laughed thinking it was a joke.  But as I sit here typing, I think I can handle that.

That is all, carry on.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

The Sun, it Burns....

A little longer in the sky each day.  Yes Spring is here. No this is not an April Fools joke.  I am typing a blog.  About what?  I have no idea.  Let's just take a ride and see where we end up.  We might get serious, we might not.. who knows until we get going. 

So I have not been keeping up to my word of writing blogs more often.  But I suppose a few every month, or every few months is better than years.  I'll be honest with myself though, I know this blog doesn't get a lot of reads.  I don't care though.  I enjoy writing them when I can. 

I was thinking the other day to get a little more social mediaed up.  What the hell do I mean by that you ask.  Well I think I want to do more with this here blog and my YouTube channel.  But I would kind of need a topic, area of concentration or some schtick!  Lets see...what do I like that I can talk about and do videos on.  I like my dog, scooters, music, guitars, movies, books.....I run (but I really hate running)....nonesense.  I think nonsense is the best topic.  Then I can keep on doing what ever floats my boat on any day.

Speaking of boats, I would like to get a kayak this summer.  Well two of them so Mrs. Meepers and I can take to the waterways of the NEPA.  I will have to make a kayak side car for Oliver though.  One can not take to the waterways of NEPA without one's dog.
 I suppose I will also need a smaller one for Mrs. Meepers kayak for Miss Belladonna Took
Who is that you ask, well let me introduce
you to her.

Meet Miss Belladonna Took, the newest member of the Meepers household.  She has been with us now for a few months.  Oliver still thinks she is a black twirl, but he is getting better....slowly. 
Back to the boats!  I think a little something like this might work well.  Should be easy to get these into production by the end of the week and launch the new Meepers Aquatics line. 

Time to take this to a whole new level!  OK, I guess I'll leave you all to chew on that for a while.  I must get this new sidecar kayak into the works ASAP!

That is all, carry on.

Monday, January 5, 2015


So I have been pretty busy as of late.  Both with work and with not work.  I keep telling myself, "Tomorrow I'll do a blog."  And as you can see tomorrow kept becoming tomorrow. Well tomorrow finally has come.  I have two things to share today.  One is a personal folly that occurred this past Saturday afternoon.  And one is something that will interest musician friends of mine.

I'll start with this Saturday.  It was a pretty good day.  Woke up at 4:30 a.m. cause I couldn't sleep.  So me and the new cat, Belladonna Took, hung out and watch some Netflix for a few hours.  She was quite rambunctious, as her and Oliver are still on the "getting to know each other" phase of their relationship.  So she hasn't been able to run free down stairs too much yet.  We hung out until about 10 a.m. when Amy and Oliver got up for the day.  Once the family was up and dressed, it was off to walk around the woods for a while in the snow.

Amy, Oliver and I all took off to Fransis Slocum State Park for an hour or two.  Two flakes fell as we got into the car, the road was covered and getting slick by time we were heading home.  So we made it back without incident.  Amy had some things to do, and I had my wall to work on.  So we set off on our projects.  I completed the back wall of my bar and she took down Christmas.  We put all the decorations in the basement and I took the tree upstairs.  This is where it all went wrong.

We purchased a tree bag due to out tree box being destroyed.  This was the first time I was putting the tree away in the new bag and it was a bit awkward.  The tree goes upstairs in out attic.  Our attic, like many others out there,  is all ceiling joists and plywood.  Well I got the tree up the pull down stairs and set it on the plywood.   I was walking on the ceiling joists to get to the other side of the plywood when I tripped.  The result was disastrous.  My left leg came through the ceiling directly above my bed.   

 This here is the hole I made up close and personal.  The view
from above when it happened was terrifying.  Here is a bit of the view I saw from above, but from Amy's point of view when she walked into the bedroom (And me after I came down stairs and was so confused as to what to do next).  I was so baffled and angry with the situation, I literally had no idea what to do.  I was standing there for a few minutes before my brain finally said go get some garbage bags and the shop vac.  BUT FIRST,  I carefully went back up stairs and and pulled the insulation back up.  The rest of the mess you see is the blown insulation that fell with me and the ceiling.

This was such a mess.  It took for ever to clean up.  I had to go outside and dump the shop vac out because it was too full.  I also picked up some surprises.  A cork from a wine bottle blocked up the hose.  As well as several bits of wood that seemed to be randomly tossed into the ceiling before the blown insulation was shot in.  It took me over an hour to clean the room, and I found more insulation under the bed this morning.  This is not taking into account the time it took to shake out and wash all the sheets on the bed.  It was two or three loads of laundry.  Amy started that while I was cleaning up.

Once all this was done, I put up a piece of scrap 1/2" ply wood so there wasn't a terrible draft coming down from the attic.  It looks sloppy, but so was my footing!  It is doing the job for now, and I am getting it fixed tonight.  It really pays to have good friends, and friends who have husbands that are contractors! 

Now for the other thing.  I have been viewing these two chaps on YouTube for some time now.  And I find myself watching more and more videos ever day while on lunch.  They are supper entertaining, and I get to learn about guitar gear and also get free lessons!   Who are these two chaps you ask?  Well that would be Rob Chapman and Lee Anderton.  Rob is a musician and owner of Chapman Guitars in the UK and Lee Anderton is the owner of Anderton's Music.  You guessed it, also in the UK.  Rob does a ton of videos.

Here is but a sample of their combined awesome entertainment abilities: 
They both have their own channels, but when they team up to do The Captain and Chappers video's, they are so damn entertaining!  Please check them out. 

And here is a picture of Oliver, because why not.  He is awesome and deserves to be put in the blog every chance I can get.  

That is all, carry on. 

Monday, December 22, 2014

BOgear Custom Sindrome-Full Review

I posted my out of the box review of my new BOgear Custom Sindrome bag.  Well I am now moving on to my full on review.  I have had this bag about two-three months now and have used it daily.  Both commuting by scooter and car.  I have not used it on a bike yet, but I can tell right off the bat, the one handed strap adjustment will work great while riding.

I will be reviewing the Sindrome and comparing it to a few other bags.  Such as the Chrome Metropolis bag (the closest in spec to the Sindrome), my R.E. Load Custom Deluxe Pro Messenger bag, my very old, very loved and VERY used Timbuk2 bag and a Mission Workshop The Rummy.  For the record I do not own The Rummy, but I have been over one in person several times, and was close to purchasing one.  Please also reference my review from 2009 comparing my Chrome, R.E. Load and Timbuk2 bags.  

Now, lets get into this.   I have been using my Chrome Metro for years.  This thing is tough, and is still holding up and looking great, but it had been some time sense I purchased a new bag.  And with the bag addiction I have, this dry spell seemed like decades.  So I took on the argues task of looking for a new bag.  I hit up the heavy hitters, Chrome, R.E. Load, Seagull, Bagaboo, P.A.C, Mission Workshop.  I also hit up some lesser known companies, Blicks Bags, Trash Bags, Anchor, Burro... the list goes on and on.  All companies I have either heard of before, or currently own a bag from.  Most of which I either still didn't like, or companies that got bigger and now offer a lot less features and services.  I am looking at you Seagull Bags.  I was hoping to find something new and awesome, but it looked like that wasn't going to happen.  So I had pretty much narrowed it down to Bagaboo (been wanting one for years), Blicks Bags or Mission Workshop.  Seeing as I had my Chrome for years and it has served me well, it came down to a fight between the Bagaboo and Mission Workshop.  

While taking a stroll through some old bike forums I use to frequent, I found a post from a distressed cyclist.  Wanting a bag, but not finding anyone who had what he was looking for.  There was a reply from a guy named Dave from Brisbane Outdoor Gear.  Having never heard of them before, I took to Google, and stumbled upon the BOgear website.  Days of looking turned into over a week of looking.  My mind was almost made up.  But I had questions, and lots of them.  So I sent one email that turned into an email stream that is still going on.

Dave emailed me back later that night (Australia is 14 hours ahead of Eastern US).  Dave answered every one of my questions, and that only led to more questions.  Let me just say, Dave is a great guy. He is a man I never met, that lives halfway around the globe.  Yet he put up with my crazy questions and helped me to build the bag I have been wanting for years.  He took my out of the box feed back, and was very thankful I gave it to him.  It helps his business grow to learn what consumers want.  OK, into the review.

The Strap
BO Gear
The most important part of the bag is the strap.  And Dave's strap design is amazing.  Probably the most well thought out design I have ever used.  NAY, not probably, DEFIANTLY the best, most thought out strap design I have ever used.  Chrome offers a great strap as well.  
Super comfortable and fairly adjustable.  But Chrome has nothing on BOgear.  Please take a look at this video, and Dave will explain to you just how adjustable his design is

Now I know what you are saying.  The strap is only held on by two 1-inch pieces of webbing!  Nope, the strap is actually sewn into the back of the bag unlike the Chrome, R.E. Load and Mission Workshop straps that are sewn into the sides of the bag.  If you have ever ridden a bike or motorbike with a messenger style bag, you know how uncomfortable it is when you have a large load.  Dave figured this out and it works amazingly.  

Strap Adjustability
BO Gear
For one-handed use both the BOgear Sindrome and the Chrome Metro hold their own.  Both are made with seat belt type webbing, so it is super easy to grab the tailing end and pull tight against your body.  Where BOgear stands out here is the addition of a 1-inch webbing strip sewn onto the main strap webbing.  
BO Gear

This strip of added a little bit of rigidity and is also the strips that are used for both the hip and should strap adjusting  

The BOgear strap also slides a little more easily than the Chrome strap.  I tend to have to walk the Chrome strap a little to get it just right.  But that could also be that my Chrome bag has over 6 years of use and a lot of travel on it.  What do I mean by walking the strap, well watch this other video by Dave.  He not only tells you what walking the strap up is, but he talks about his strap design a little more.

Done watching yet? No.  OK, I'll wait.....  OK, hello again.  So you saw a little more on Dave's strap.  Then we will continue our talk on straps.  Another thing I noticed about is that the BOgear strap loosens much easier.  The D-ring used to loosen the strap works much better than the Chrome buckle set up.  The only thing I have to say bad about the D ring is that it is nylon (or some polymer).  Most others are metal, but seeing as most clips are nylon (or some polymer) these days and hold up for years, I don't really worry about failure.

How the other compare:  
R.E. Load
The R.E. Load strap fails at this terribly.  I know they offer a new strap these days, but when I purchased mine, they only had one.  R.E. Load is a very thick strap that takes two hands to adjust and it is difficult even using two hands.  R.E. Load utilizes two metal D-rings, one to loosen, one to tighten.  
R.E. Load
They do not work.  Even after years of use, mine is still super stiff and drops to the back of the pack here.  As for Timbuk2, they use a quick release plastic buckle that is easy to use, but also requires two hands to adjust.  But still much easier than R.E. Load.  So as far as these two go, there is not one-handed adjust ability and the R.E. Load does not even compare to the BOgear bag. 
For Mission Workshop, they are fairly easy to adjust, but I find the strap to be “flimsy.”  It can be easily removed for either right or left shoulder carry.   This seems like a weak point in the design though, as the strap seems like it can slip out of the metal clips on accident.  My cousin has not had any problems with this happening, but I did not like the design, and that was one of the original things that was pushing me more toward Bagaboo. 


Quick release
BO Gear
You were wondering if I was going to talk about the Chrome seat belt buckle.  Well I am.  I like it, a lot of people like/love it.  The reason being.... it is a novelty!  Yes I fell for it.  And yes, it is very useful, but a big chunk of metal in the face is not useful at all.  And yes, you will hit yourself in the face with it from time to time.  AND someone will think it is funny to press the seat belt buckle, effectively dropping your bag to the ground.  Hope you didn't have you camera in there.  Good news is, BOgear uses a quick release and it is not a deadly mace flying at your face!  BOgears is a heavy-duty nylon buckle.  It works great, isn't an open invitation for your friends to smash your belongings and I bet won't be nearly as cold to touch with bare hands in the dead of winter!  R.E. Load, Timbuk2 and Mission Workshop all lack quick release on their straps.  I don't use it all the time, but it is very useful to have when your bag is really full, or you are bundled up in several layers trying to keep out the bitter cold. 

Stabilizer Strap
All these bags feature a stabilizer strap.  All work well.  But they are not all the same.
One thing that stands out with both BOgear and Chrome is they have a system in place to hold the stabilizer strap when not in use.  If you are off the bike, motorcycle, scooter, or what ever your mode of transport is and you are walking around that strap can be a hazard if not being used.  Sure you can tuck it under the main strap, tuck it to something on your bag and hope it stays.  Or roll the dice and hope you don't get caught on something.  Go head, take your chances.... it won't be long before you are dangling on something, tearing your bag, pulling something over, or just stuck to something.  But why take that chance!

Both Chrome and BOgear figured this out and also stand out because of it.  But one is far better than the other.  Can you guess who?  You're correct BOgear.   Chrome uses and additional female clip sewn into the bottom front of the bag.  The clip does allow one-handed access to unclip on the go, if you were to say hop back on two wheels and forget to unclip it.  But it can be awkward and really hard to do with gloves on.  Where as BOgear has perfected this by sewing some loop onto the end of the strap.  This allows you to just attach the stabilizer strap to the hook used to hold down the main flap.  You can very easily grab this and pull it free one handed on the go.  No struggling to unclip it, with or without gloves.  

Secondary Strap

The icing on the cake for BOgear strap above all others I own... the duel strap!  Sure a few others make this.  Both Bagaboo and P.A.C. have been doing it for years.  But neither have the features that BOgear offers.  Now normally BOgear just leaves the male end of the second strap unattached on one end.  Dave informed me people just tuck the end under the blinky light loop on the flap.  I had sent him a picture of how Bagaboo uses an additional female clip to secure it to the strap.  Dave said "No problem" and tossed it on the bag FOR FREE!  Remember when I said he was a great guy. 

Because of the secondary strap being secured to the flap, it also allows it to act as a handle.  I use it as such when I take my car to work.  I normally pinch the top of the bag to move it over to my passenger seat.  This works fine when the bag is light or almost empty, but when it is full, the pinch...does not work so well.  The second strap doubling over as a handle is amazing.  And I found this out totally on accident.  I happen to notice I just instinctively grabbed it this way.  I conveyed this to Dave, and he liked the idea. 


This one is quick.  R.E. Load, has some, not enough.  Timbuk2, mine came with none.  Yup none at all.  Both Chrome and BOgear take this category.   BUT the BOgear pad is removable to wash when it gets to that point.  Chrome is not.  So for comfort as far as padding, they defiantly tie.  For over all ingenuity of the way the padding is implemented BOgear wins. 

OK, I think I have really covered the strap.  SO.  How does the strap on my BOgear Sindrome stack up to the big boys.  If it wasn't clear already, it is my favorite.  It blows R.E. Load, Timbuk2 and Mission Workshop out of the water.  By far.  I mean really, they don't stand a chance.  The Chrome Metro comes in close, but still takes second place here.  I mean Dave really thought this out.  The strap is the most important part of the bag.  Really, I'm not joking now.  You can have the best features, pockets, flap design.  But if you don't want to put it on because the strap sucks, it is a fail.  The whole bag is a fail.  So BOgear wins, and they win big.  

As far as grade level goes BOgear A++ (yes they get an extra plus, they deserve it), Chrome B (good design, but can be better), Timbuk2 C.  Mission Workshop is also a C and R.E. Load F (I am not happy with this strap at all).  So yes, BOgear defiantly beats these big boys. 

Shell  and Liner
The over all flap coverage design of each bag is great, excluding my Timbuk2.  They all have over sized flaps to cover and "wrap" over the sides of the bag.  This prevents water from coming into the bag.  My Timbuk2 does not have this.  They hopefully have changes this sense I bought mine around 1999-2000. Moving past how they keep water out and into how they function.
BOgear doesn't offer custom Applique like R.E. Load or Seagull, but I am not sure that isn't something they do if you ask.  I wasn't looking for this anyway, as I am very into patches these days.  And this is where BOgear really works for me.  
The BOgear Sindrome features a three-piece sew in liner.  This is the 1000D shell, recycled billboard material to make the waterproof liner and finally a 300D interior liner.  All of this is sewn together to create a waterproof bag with a fixed liner.  But some people, such as myself like to add custom flair to personalize their bags without going crazy with expensive custom appliqué.  The Sindrome, as well as other BOgear bags, come with a $5 upgrade to add a loop section to the bags flap to allow you to attach patches.  They also offer the service of sewing your patches to the bag, or sewing hook onto your patches if you send them to their HQ.  I like to switch it up, and am more than capable of attaching my own hook so I just added the strip to the flap. 
This is a great feature as it allows you to easily swap out patches as you get new ones.  The one qualm I have is that the blinky light loops are sewn into the hook strip.  I spoke to Dave about this, and did a mock up of the strip being just above the loops.  This will allow more room to attach patches without the loops being in the way.  I am not sure if that is a change he will make, but it was part of my out of the box review. 

As far as colors go, BOgear offers a ton, and a ton of options.  You can customize your exterior color, interior color, webbing and bartack (this is the stitching on the webbing of the bag).  Dave went as far to send me photos of the colors I was thinking about so I could see how they would actually look together.  Not some computer generated model on a web site, he took real photos and sent them to me.  So I could see the actual colors, not the way a computer takes a color code and thinks it should look.  How awesome is that. 

How the others stack up:
R.E. Load also offers an attached liner, but a two-piece design.  Constructed of 1000D exterior shell and a truck tarp liner.  Now as you can see my R.E. Load has a custom Applique on it.  That is because A) I wanted it and B) if I wanted to personalize my bag, this was the only option.  I could have sat there and painstakingly sewn only through the top layer of Corudra, but that would have taken forever and there is always the risk of poking through the waterproof truck tarp.  So unless you want to pony up some big buck, here is another area where BOgear stands out from R.E. Load.   R.E. Load much like BOgear offers custom colors to be added to your bag.  You can make the flap and body different colors for an upcharge.  But this is where the computer-generated model comes in.  So you do get an idea of what it will look like, but not images of the actual fabric.  

Chrome features a two-piece floating liner.  This means the 1000D shell and the truck tarp are only sewn together on the end of the flap.  You can see my Chrome bag has patches sewn onto the flap.  Why?  Because it is possible.  The floating liner allowed me to get behind to the Cordura and sew on patches without going through the waterproof liner.  BUT is not easy to get under with a needle and thread.  It is quite a pain in the behind actually, and it also makes sewing takes forever.  AND I just took all the patches off my Chrome bag and had to re sew them on because I added more and the original layout didn't work anymore.  Now Chrome also offers some custom colors, but way back when they did not.  They always had a ton of colors to chose from, but you had to go to bike shops to find them.  They never offered a lot on their site.  Being in North Eastern PA, there are no bike messengers within 2 hours of me, therefor at the time no one carried Chrome.  So I had no chance to get a cool color bag, unless I traveled.  And I did buy mine in Portland, OR on a trip.  

Timbuk2 features a two-piece system like R.E. Load, but they allow you to customize three shell panel sections.  It’s pretty cool feature.  They did this way back in the day, but offered much less options.  Still this design presents the problem of adding personalized touches.  But it is much cheaper to make the bag yours with out breaking the bank with custom art work. 
Mission Workshop…. Same two layer fixed design.  Offered only in limited colors, and the only personalization is the choice between seven buckle colors.  It does have a unique rolltop/flap design.  That allows the bag to be expandable in size.  But that is not enough to compete with BOgear.   So this drops to the bottom.  

So I will say this is a tie between BOgear and Chrome as far as the flap and liner go.  BOgear is so much easier to put patches on, but I have less space to work with.  Chrome offers me the entire flap to put patches on, but is a pain to sew them on.  You can also use the floating liner as a division between clean and dirty clothing or dry and wet clothing.  

In the end, both BOgear and Chrome get an A+. R.E. Load and Timbuk2 get a B for still being customizable, but only as far as you can get from the company or with a lot of extra money for custom appliqué.  Mission Workshop takes a B-  They have a great shell, and the rolltop/ flap design is great (and that is what kept the grade in the B’s), but other than changing the color of the metal buckle, it is essentially a Chrome bag, that isn’t as functional

The Insides Pockets and Such
The Sindrome features two pockets on the inside front of the bag.  They expand slightly into the bag when you stuff your gear in there.  This is a great feature.  Without the the little bit of give, you would not be able to fit at much stuff, or oddly shaped items in these pockets.  They are great for a tool kit, your breakfast/lunch and cough drops when you’re sick (yes I am sick), etc.  They span the width of the front of the bag and both pockets are the same size.   They lay nice and flat when not in use, allowing you to really use the whole inside dimensions of the bag if needed. 

You can also choose the color of you interior liner.  I went with light grey (don't mind the coffee stains.  I use this bag every day).  I recommend going with a light color or a bright color.  Yes it will get dirty quicker, but it makes it a lot easier to see and find smaller items in the bag.  Especially when it’s a little dark outside.  And who cares if it gets a little dirty, this thing is meant to me used.  Hell BOgear wants you to dirtify your gear!  They have a dirtification guaranteeSo do it!  Dirtify your bag!

How the Others Stack Up
Chrome, no divider pockets or organizers in the main pouch. BUT, there are two sleeves on either side of the bag.  They are technically inside the bag, but are in between the outer Cordura shell and the inner truck tarp.  They work great for a drink, or tool kit.  If the drink were to spill, it would not be inside the waterproof liner so your gear would remain dry.  See what I mean about the light interior.  Can't sere much in the black hole there. 

The R.E.Load has an organization pocket on the inside of the bag. 
This is probably the only area where R.E. Load stands out.  It has the best internal compartments.  BUT, it does lack a zipper pocket.  I like the zipper pocket for those few things you defiantly CAN'T lose. All our other bags feature at lease one zipper pocket to keep those good bits secure.  My R.E. Load bag also features an upgraded rear pocket.  It was an up-charge, and honestly not worth it.  If I had a do-over I would not bother spending the extra coin to get it.  I rarely use it and it isn't useful for much other than some folders or magazines.  Although R.E. Load stands out for their interior organization here, BO Gear Crushes them by having all this and more on the outside! 

Timbuk2 at the time had a large zipper interior pouch.  A few pen slots.  An ID holder.  BUT!  Came with one feature none of the other bags came standard with.  A KEY CLIP!  And I forgot to take a picture of it.  That is all there really is to say about Timbuk2 here.

The Outside Pockets and Such!  
Other than the strap, these features really set these bags apart.  The Sindrome has standard a nice large pocket that opens away from the bag.  This pocket also has it's own flap covering it to secure items inside.  Under this smaller second flap there is also a shallow pocket that allows easy access to smaller items such as wallets, phones, keys, etc.  This pocket is really nice because it is shallow enough to not swallow your belongings, but deep enough to not fear them falling out.  I currently keep a small notebook/journal in there.  Super easy to grab if I need to jot something down, or by chance inspiration hits and the words to my next #1 hit single pop into my head.  On the outside of this pocket, still covers by the flap, are pen slots as well as a small slit pocket.  I personally have some Sharpie's and pens in the slots and I use the smaller pocket to keep my work ID badge in.  This is the perfect place for me to keep it, as it is really accessible, is not much wider than my badge and I can clip my badge in so I don't lose it.  There is also a slot for a D-Lock and webbing to hold the lock in.  For an additional $5 Dave will add a zipper to this slot making it a full on pocket!  I obviously went with the zipper.  This pocket runs the length of the laptop pocket and can still be used to hold a D-Lock if you choose.  There are also two rows of MOLLE webbing on the pocket flap that allows for any number of things!  Right now I have some carabiners and some keys for work attached here.  But the possibilities are endless!  

In addition to the MOLLE webbing on the pocket flap, I also did an upgrade to add MOLLE webbing to the sides of the bag.  This makes this bag almost limitless as to what you can attach to it.  I have a Condor MA16 on one side.  This allows me to further expand what I can carry and how I organize my bag.  Another A+ for BOgear.  

The Sindrome in comparison to the others:  
The Metro has one slit pocket that is not pleated and does not really open away from the bag.  It is great for small flat items such as envelopes, a pocket planner and a check book.  It is just large enough to put in an 8" tablet, but add a cover to the tablet and it might be tight.  The Metro also features a very small zipper pocket, that is not good for much.  I kept a jump drive, my checkbook and some ear buds in it.  Not much else would fit.  The Metro also has a few pen slits and a small slit pocket much like the Sindrome, but these are much smaller and anything other than some stickers and my ID badge would not fit into this slit pocket.  No custom options were available at the time I bought my bag.  Though now you can customize the color options through the website.  I give a B-

The R.E. Load:  At the time I ordered my custom bag, there were plenty of options, just not as many as they have now.  I pretty much was faced with single or double exterior pockets, I chose double for more organizations,  the interior pocket organizer, which we spoke about already and compression straps.  They had things such as strap extenders, and reflective tails, but they didn't have the bottle pocket and rear inside pocket like they do now.  They offered a hook/loop closer rear pocket (and I upgraded to it) but it can be cumbersome and hard to get the hook/loop to close flat again.  As far as pockets and organization go, this bag has minimal.  Yes I bought the "pro messenger series"bag, but none of their bags at the time I good organization to them.  "Pro messenger series" was referring more to the bag size, than the features.  But they do offer better features now.  The internal organizer works OK, but the larger two outside pockets don't offer enough.  They are two large cavities to toss stuff in.  Each had a flap closer. I did find myself really looking through these pockets to find things.  I feel even a pro messenger would not like this set up.  Their jobs are based on time.  And when it takes time to find something they lose money.  There was also not exterior pen slots.  There are some on the inside of the bag, but this is an up charge.  A pro would need to have a pen handy to get a signature.  As far as the pockets and such go for R.E. Load, I give them a C.

Timbuk2....well there isn't much to say.  I honestly didn't know better back then.  Heck most of the companies out there now, where not around when I got this bag.  This is a very minimalist messenger bag.

Customization Options 

With BOgear it seems like your imagination is the limit.  Dave is a whiz at this whole creativity thing.  Sense I received my bag, I have been fallowing BOgear in FaceBook and some amazing things have been flying out their doors.  So really, if you don't see the options you are looking for listed, shoot them an email.  I am sure it can be done.  

Chrome now allows you to select your own color options.  As far as awesome customness, you will have to go to the very close Mission Workshop.  Same guys who started Chrome, just their new company after they sold Chrome.  There isn't much Custom you can do to the bags, but some models they make add on pouches and such.  I beleive these are mostly for the backpack models.  

R.E. Load has the second best options for customization.  And they will also work with you to add a few exra's to your bag.  But is seems very pricy to do such.  Very pricy.

Customer Service

Bar none the best customer service I have experiences from any product or service in my life had come from Dave at BOgear.  He answered everyone of my questions, even when the answered shot more questions his way.  He went above and beyond to add little features to my bag he didn't do.  He took my out of the box review, and picked my brain a little more about my comments to better understand what people want/need out of the awesome products he made.  He offered to make me a custom Love Handle to use as a bottle holder.  He even sent me some stickers and patches after I had already received my bag.  I really can't say enough about the help he gave me in building what is practically the perfect bag.  If you gave any questions at all about a BOgear product, shoot them an email.  Just remember, Australia is 14 hour ahead of the the US (EST). 

How the Others Stack Up

I bought my Chrome bag at a bike shop in Portland around 2008.  But I have bought from their website a few times.  I did return a bag to them once and that was a very easy process, but I never really delt with their customer service.  At the time I got my bag, they did not have custom color options, so I don't know how they are with custom orders.  

R.E. Load was pretty good with customer service as well.  They did call me after I placed my order to confirm the artwork I submitted. Had I not gotten custom applique, I am not sure I would h have gotten a call.  But all in all they were courteous on the phone to me.  I have no complaints about them. 

Timbuk2.  I bought this online 10000 years ago, I honestly cannot remeber what my buying experience was like.  But with just choosing three colors and the order they came on the bag, I don't think there was any need to converse with a person.  

SO BOgear again gets and A++.  Not only for having the best customer service out of each of these bags, but out of every one, in the world, EVER.  I'll give both Chrome and R.E. Load a B.  The guy at the bike shop was nice, and it was easy to return a laptop bag to Chrome.  I will go ahead and give Timbuk2 a Satisfactory. 

In conclusion...

My BOGear Sindrome is by far the best of the bunch. I really love this bag.  From stumbling upon the company, to getting my bag in the mail.  It has been a great experience. I got the bag I wanted, the bag I have wanted for years.  I have tried to make my own bags in the past.  I even made a few test shells I really liked, but I never got the strap right.  And as I have raved about above, Dave nailed it! 

This bag all around beats out the companies that have been around much longer.  If you are like me and wanted more out of your bag, or something different than you see on everyone else, BOgear is your stop on the train.  There are plenty of other bags they make.  Not only messenger style, but backpacks and duffles as well.  Heck I hope to replace my Kelty bag with a BOgear Spare Camel before summer. 

I might not be a bike messenger, but I sure use these bags hard.  And I feel the BOgear Sindrome is up to the task to be used daily over the next few years.  My Sindrome has been tossed around both at home and on the go.  I will be logging some travel miles with it come this spring.  Looks like a plane ride to Nevada, then a car ride to Arizona is in the works.  So some desert air and possibly some camping is in my Sindromes future.  I have NO doubts this bag will preform.  

Bag Specs

Here are the specs (or as close as I can get them).  We will start off with the bag being reviewed, the Sindrome

The Sindrome is made in Australia.  The bag is 32.5L or about 2000cu inches.  IT features an outer 1000D Cordura® shell.   Cordura® is a highly abrasion resistant material, which will hold up to daily use for multiple years.  A middle layer of reclaimed PVC billboard or truck tarp.  And lastly an internal liner of 300D weatherproof polyester, designed to protect the middle layer and stop things from snagging while grabbing on the go.  Specs taken from the BOgear website.  The Sindrome is waterproof, as far as messenger bags go.  And yes,  I tested this out myself. 

Moving on to the Chrome Metro.  MY bag is made in the USA in San Francisco.  This bag is also right around 32L or 2000cu inches.  And features a 1000D Cordura® Brand fabric.  Here is our main constructions difference, the Chrome bag features a floating truck tarp liner as seen above.  The liner is sewn into the bag flap and secured into the body with hook and loop on the front of the bag.  Also waterproof as far as messenger bags go.  This was also tested out on many an occasion by myself with this bag. 

Now the R.E. Load bag.  Also made in the USA, mine was constructed in Philadelphia PA.  It comes in in at a whopping 46.7L or 2850cu inches.  Again featuring a 1000D Cordura® Brand fabric.  The liner is an 18 oz vinyl-coated nylon.  Also waterproof as far as messenger bags go.  An again tested out by yours truly. 

I believe my Timbuk2 is now what they call their Classic Messenger bag in size large.  Mine was made in the USA, but I didn't look through their website enough to see if they are still US made or not.  It comes in at 28L or 1709 cu inches.  My outer layer is denier nylon, but I do not think it is 1000D.  They are currently making their liners with TPU, which is thinner and more pliable.  I believe this is the same liner that my bag sports.  I will say the construction is waterproof, buy my bag is not.  The flap is not over sized, allowing water to get into the bag from the sides.  And with the bag being more pliable (spelling?), the flap tends to fall where gravity pulls it.  Rather than stay firmly in place like all the other bags. 

Onto Mission Workshop.  Also made in the US in San Fran.  The bag I was most interested in, and closest to the Sindrome is the Rummy.  It comes in at 27L or 1650cu inches.  This is a little small for my taste, but the bag features a unique rolltop design in the messenger bag.  This allows it to be expandable.   I am not seeing the specs on their website, but I believe the outer shell to be 1000D and the interior to be truck tarp.  Seeing as these are made by the masterminds behind Chrome, you can see why they are very similar.  Per my cousin, this bag is waterproof.  He commutes via motorcycle to work and has been caught in the rain many times.  His Microsoft Surface has always stayed safe, sound and dry.  I believe the seams are heat sealed, creating an actual water resistance barrier. 

That is all, carry on.