Well here we are with our very first Review Monday. Today I will be reviewing my new R.E. Load bag.
I purchased the Deluxe Messenger Work bag. I wanted a nice big bag. I upgraded from my year old Chrome Metropolis bag, which is now solely my bike bag. Seeing as the R.E. Load bag was a little over $300, I am going to baby it for a while. Well I have now had my R.E. Load for 2 weeks to the day. I arrived at pretty much 6 weeks to the day (I ordered it as they closed on a Friday, and it came on a Monday 6 weeks and 3 days after I ordered the bag). I was told it was a 6 week lead time on custom bags, and it came exactly when they said, so A + there!
This bag is big, about 2800 cubic inches, as compared to my Chrome bag that is 2000 cu inches. Now the Chrome was a bit to small for me, and it seems the R.E.Load could be a tad big, but it has base compression straps so I can cinch it in when I am not in need of all that space.
All that space did come in very handy last week when I had to take a business trip for work. I managed to get all my my cloths, an extra hoodie, a pair of shoes, reading materials, water and snacks, my camera, a bunch of gadgets I have on me all the time, and a few other odds and ends (sorry I didn't think to take a picture). All of that and there was still a ton of room. So again I give this bag an A+ for capacity!
The strap. So far it is super sturdy, but super stiff. There are two D-Rings, one for loosening one for tightening. Right now they don't work so hot. But I an told they loosen up and work great with time. So I'll have to wait and see. I mean, it's not like I have a choice. Right?
The shoulder strap is OK. The pad is not super thick, but it does it's job. I do wish it was more like the Chrome strap. That being a little more padded and with a Hook and Loop (If you are confused that is what Velcro is, Velcro being a name brand) strip for accessories like a cell phone holder. I like having my phone right there, and I like to not have bulky things in my pockets. But over all I give the strap a B+. It seems like over time it will prove to be great, but right now in my mind, there is room for improvement.
Pockets. There are plenty. I wish one had a zipper. I am always afraid things like my check book, jump drive, iPod, ect will fall out. There is a very large inside hook and loop pocket with some pouches on the outside of it. I had some things there, but they tend to fall out into the bag. so they went inside the hook and loop pouch. there they got jumbled up.
So now they reside in one of the two HUGE outside hook and loop closer pockets.
The pockets are very deep and my fears of losing valuable are very low, but it would be nice. I do wish I had an option for a better inside set up, like Seagull Bags offer, but I bought a bag designed for working messengers. And I did know I was buying a bag for working messengers, so I knew what I was getting. If you didn't realize yet, I am not faulting the bag for this, it does exactly what it is designed to do. If I wanted a Seagull pocket set up, I would have bought a Seagull bag (I still may in the future, I have an addiction to bags). One more thing I have to knit pick and this I think the bag should have. A key clip. I could really use a key clip. It's not hard to put one in myself (and I plan on it), but it would have been nice for $300 they could have done it for me. I did opt for the FBI pocket, which is essentially a large hook and loop pocket on the inside back of the bag. As seen here:
So far the ballistic nylon base has proven to be very durable. It is much like the construction of my old Timbuk2 bag.
Now that bag is still holding up great after 7 years of hard use. Amy uses it now for school from time to time. The ballistic bottom is great for me dragging the bag and pushing it here and there.
For messengers it will work extremely well. Some of these features, double outside pockets, ballistic bottom, compression straps, messenger pad all come standard on the Deluxe model. But the standard models they are add ons for an additional charge. I did the math and after I added on the features i wanted, it was the same price, so it was just easier to order the Deluxe model out of the gate.
Now for the custom parts! Unless you order one of their pre-made bags you can choose your bag color, thread color, piping color and hook and loop color for no charge to customize it. For $10 more you can make the flap a different color from the bag. The best part is CUSTOM GRAPHICS! Mine seems to be embroidered by a computer, but it was a pretty easy design. Some of their more intricate graphic requests are Applique (spelling). Here is where the price adds up. But I love my graphic, so it was worth it. A+ on the graphic!
Comparison. As I said earlier, I had been using both a Timbuk2 bag and a Chrome bag. I bought the Timbuk2 in college. That replaced my older messenger bag I had been using sense High School (lost, but probably around this apartment some place). I used it all through college and for years after. I lost it for a while and purchased a Chrome Metro while in Portland last Spring to replace it. I was looking for a R.E. Load bag there and before I flew to Oregon from Philly. But super early flight didn't allow me time to stop at the R.E. Load headquarters to order one. So Papa Bear, being from SF, loved Chrome and talked me into one. I like it a lot. It is a great bag. In some ways better, in some ways worse. I am like all of you. Nothing made by someone else is going to be 100% what I want. I'll have to make my own (but I am not very good at it yet, that's why i bought these bags instead). Comparing all of the bags from 1-3 as of right now. Hmmmmm. I know the Timbuks2 comes in three. The major reason being, the flap. The flap is not over sized enough. The sides bulge enough so water could get in. It was better when it was newer and stiff, but now it is lacking. It is a beer bag for when I need to be out on the town and carry a case of nice cold ones on my back, and Amy's bag to use for school. It held up well, and is still going pretty strong. It is a toss up for one and two. Both have pros and cons, most not worth mentioning because they are personal things that I don't like/Love about each bag. The biggest thing I love about the Chrome bag is the two inside pockets on the sides. They work great for tools, drinks and lunch! But the R.E. Load bag has two HUGE outside pockets. I guess I just wish the R.E. Load had both. But the R.E. Load wins the coveted #1! I have wanted one for a few years, and now I have it. And if you know me, I love Philly, PA and the East Coast, so of course it wins! I like CA, but I am not from the West Coast and as of yet I have never been to SF.
To recap, 1) R.E. Load 2) Chrome 3) Timbuk2 4) my old Thrasher Magazine Mess bag. Hopefully I will have a Seagull to rub my face on too.
P.S. I have a Crumpler bag that I use for my lap top. It is a messenger bag style, and I used it as my daily bag for about 6 months, but it just wasn't big enough (well the model I bought) for daily use. So it is just for when i need my computer. So I didn't feel the need to compare it for this review.
Sorry for being so scatter brained. I started this at work, and finished it at home. It was longer than I thought.
That is all. Carry on.