Friday, November 7, 2014

Out of the Box Review of a Custom BOgear Sindrome Messanger Bag

So not to long ago I was on the hunt for a new messenger bag.   If you have been reading my blog for a while, you may have remembered a few years ago I did a review on a few messenger bags I had gotten.  Well I haven't gotten a new bag sense that time (And seeing as I am kind of addicted to bags, I am surprised it's been years sense I got a new one).  My Chrome bag is still in great shape, and I have lugged it all over this country and then some.  But I had a hankering for something new.  I had been looking at Bagaboo Bags from Hungry for years, and was ready to pull the trigger on one (still might one day), but I wanted to do my due diligents first.  I wanted to see if anything new was out there for me sense I hadn't got a new bag in years.  I started by hitting the big boys up, Chrome, R.E. Load, Seagul, Bagaboo, Mission Workshop (Founders of Chrome stared Mission Workshop a few years after they sold Chrome), PAC, Timbuk2... the list goes on and on.  I was pretty disappointed in many of these companies as they don't offer nearly the customization they had in the past. 

Seagull Bags were a particular disappointment for me.  They are from Ohio, and me being from PA I felt some kind of East Coast connection to them.  WHAT ABOUT R.E. LOAD!? You say.  Well, I have a R.E. Load bag already.  It was very expensive and not at all what I thought it would be.  Back to Seagull.  They use to offer plenty of options and would work with you to create something new if you needed it.   Now you can pretty much choose your colors.  If you contact them, they will probably work with you, but there are no upgrades listed on their site like they did in the past. 

My cousin has a Mission Workshop bag and has had it for about a year now.  I checked his bag out a few times, and really liked parts of the bag, and disliked others.  I had it narrowed down to Mission Workshop and Bagaboo, UNTIL!I stumbled upon BOgear!  And I am very glad I did. 

I was making my way through some bike forums and found an old post by Dave from BOgear.   He was telling someone asking about bags that he could make him what he was looking for.  So I went and Googled BOgear and BAM! I liked what I saw.  I checked out their page, scooped out every video BOgear had on YouTube, I began reading their blog and checking out their features. After a few days I had figured out what I wanted from their features and what I wanted myself out of a bag.  Then it began... The emailing back and forth.

So I shot over about 10000 questions and a day later (Australia is 14 hours ahead of me in the East Coast of the US).  A day alter Dave emailed me back and answered every one of my questions.  Which only lead to another 10000 questions.  Dave again replied to me and answered every thing I shot at him.  After about a week and a half of emailing back and forth Dave helped me to get the perfect bag.  Dave added some features to my bag that I was looking for and he didn't offer, and pointed me in the direction of some other features I didn't even think about. 

All in all this was an amazing experience.  Dave has, by far, the best customer service I have ever experienced in a company.  Big or small.  He always replies to my emails, even now that I have bought and received my bag.  I shot him an email after about a week or two of out of the box use.   I am including me email, as well as Dave's response to my email.  I am just copy and pasting, so this will be word for word of our conversation after I got my bag and used it for a short time.

Hey Dave,
I just wanted to give you some out of the box feedback on my bag so far.  I have 4 things to touch on quickly.  First off, and this is my fault and something I always look for in a bag.  I can't believe I forgot to ask you about this.  An attached key ring sewn into the bag.  I have been sewing them into my bags for over 10 years, and I bought one from you, so this is a simple fix for me.  I am including a photo of where I am going to attach mine for reference.  This can be a simple up charge for you, if you were to offer it, and can be sewn in under the bags pipping to hid the seam.  For me is is necessary as I am a corporate videographer and have keys to photo/video studios at two separate buildings.  I don't like to keep the clutter on my key chain, so I always leave my keys hooked into my bag (that I always have with me) so I have them handy when needed and don't forget them at home or need to go searching through my bag to ind them.
 (The photos I attached to the email to demonstrate what I was talking about)

Secondly is the strip of loop for the patches to attach to.  I would attach that on the flap just above the light loops.  As it allow more room for attaching patches.  I have also included two photos to illustrate my point.  I can fit two patches on fully right now (more if I get slim patches to circular patches to add on.  And I do have plenty I am going to sew hook backing onto so I can switch them out).  If you look at a standard 3" flag patch on the end that I used, it over laps the webbing for the light.  Not a big issue, or really an issue at all for me, as I can always cover the webbing up with a larger patch and pull the patch if I need to attach something to the webbing.  It's just something to look into.

Now the next two are praise!  I promise.  I'll start with the D-Lock zipper I had added in.  I was about to put a bit of paracord on the pull to make it easier to use, then I realized, this is almost invisible!  Which I love!  I generally keep my check book with me, because I usually pay my bills while at work.  And it is perfectly secure and hidden in there!  This is awesome!  Thanks for this pocket!
(no photo added because he knew what I was talking about)

And lastly is the second strap.  As it got cold this week I have taken my car a to work the past few days and find myself tossing my bag on my passenger seat.  I normally pinch the top of the bag and put it on the seat.  Yesterday and today I noticed myself grabbing under the second strap as a handle to make it easier to grab the bag.  I have a touch of arthritics in my right fingers and this makes it much easier for me to grab.  I never even thought about the usefulness of a handle on the top of a messenger bag.  Now I love this bag even more.  With the extra clip you added to secure the strap to the flap for me, I feel confident grabbing my bag here without the strap flying up.  I will also include a photo of this for you to see.  

I don't want to sound like I am complaining about any aspects of my bag, especially after only a few days use on it, because I really couldn't be happier.  The key ring (again my fault or not asking about this earlier) and the loop section on the flap comments are merely meant as some things for you too consider in the future to offer and possibly modify.  Sewing in a key ring can net you a few extra bucks as an add on to your bags.  My placement might not be ideal, and you may have a better idea.  But for me this is good spot to keep my keys handy, and I can sew into the bag without going threw any liners.  I am also working on a webbing sleeve for my coffee thermos that will work with the side webbing.  I hope to have that done this weekend (if not tonight).  

Again, I can't thank you enough for your help and patience with my relentless questions.

Daves reply to me (He took about 2 days to reply, but again with the 14 hour time difference it was more like one day.   I will add my responses to his questions in red.)


Apologies for taking so long to get back to you. I've been swamped yet again, which is a nice feeling! Good news is I have just sent you a little care package. Should arrive within the next 7 - 10 business days. Enjoy!

Now, BIG BIG thanks for that feedback. Truly do appreciate it! Feedback is our life blood and keeps us getting better, so thank you for taking the time to be so detailed.

1. Keyring
I know exactly what you mean, and what you are trying to achieve. I think this is something we are going to have to offer standard. Do you feel that a "keyring" alone would be enough, or would a mini-clip work better? Just trying to see what people would use most. Me personally it would be a keyring, but if you need to remove the keys from the bag a clip might be best.
I also personally prefer a standard keyring or a D ring.  I don't like the clips because I use small carabiner's on just about all my keys.  As an example, the photo I sent last time are my photo studio keys that are always in my bag.  A carabiner with a clip is very bulky.  Also I find the plastic clips to break over time with a lot of use, and the metal ones seem to eat up a bag over time.  I see how they can be handy though for those not utilizing a carabiner or something similar on their key ring.  You could always offer it as an option for people to choose, or possibly a nominal up charge for use a clip, as they will cost a little more for you to purchase over standard key rings or D rings.  I also think it is really cool you are thinking about making it standard, as most companies charge a ridiculous up charge for it.  And they normally use the plastic clips which I don't like.  Or better yet!  you can do a standard key ring and toss a small carabiner on it.  You can purchase those in bulk for a similar price as plastic clips and I think they will be just as reliable as the plastic clip.  Best of both worlds and adds more options for the end user of the product.  But if that isn't an option, standard keyring is my vote.

2. Velcro
I know exactly what you are talking about. I played around with mounting the velcro higher or lower, but it didn't look right. Once in place I though maybe we shouldn't put the "blinky light webbing" on top (what you attached the karabiners to) but then we do this standard. I considered putting the webbing lower or higher, but again it didn't look right. I am sorry that it isn't enough surface area for you. How would you do it? Remove the two strips of webbing? Love to know your ideas, so I can get it right next time.

I would defiantly keep the blinky light loops.  They not only look cool on the bag, but are super useful.  I haven't used them for anything yet, but I already see them as being invaluable on the bag, not only for their intended purpose but as an attachment point for many other things.  I would jsut move the velcro up 2.5 cm (1 inch) and attache it directly above the loops.  I don't think it will look odd and it leaves both the velco and the loops to be fully utilized. 

3. D-lock zipper
Without paracord it does indeed act like a hidden pocket! I was umming and aahing whether to put that in for you. I thought that by not putting the paracord on the zip might get lost; but on the flip side it makes for a secret pocket. Glad you like it! I was seriously debating long and hard on that one.
Speaking of secret pockets, can't remember if I talked you through it or not, but have you found the secret pocket?? ;)
I love it being a hidden pocket!  I even tuck the zipper pull into the flap more so you don't know it is there.  BUT!!!! There is a second hidden pocket!  I searched my bag over this morning and I didn't find anything.  I am sure I will be looking over it several more times today.  And now it is the weekend so I need to wait two days to find out if you are pulling my leg, or if there really is a secret pocket I can't find.

4. Secondary Strap as a Handle
This is genius! I've never put a buckle on the flap before for the secondary strap, so have never had anyone comment about this to me! So good to hear it makes a useful handle! :) Love it!
I found this totally by accident.  I normally just pinch the top of my bag and put it on my passenger seat.  I just instinctively grabbed under the strap and as I was setting the bag down on my passenger seat I noticed my hand was grabbing under the strap like a handle.  It works so perfectly, I didn't even know I was doing it. 

Anyway, thank you again for all the kind words, I truly do appreciate it. And taking the time to write your thoughts and feedback, seriously is gold. MUCH MUCH appreciated!

Have a fantastic weekend mate!


Dave is a great and super helpful guy.  He really went above and beyond to help me get exactly what I wanted out of this bag.  He even went as far as to email me pictures of the color combo I was thinking about before I ordered. 

I highly recoded BOgear for anyone looking to get a new bag.  They do much much more than just messenger bags.  In fact I am very interested in their Spare Camel bag as well.  Maybe after the new year I will be adding one to my bag collections. 

This was just my out of the box review.  I have put some miles on my bag, and will continue to do so for another week or two then I will have a full on review and comparison to my other bags. There will be a lot more photos in the full review!  I will also share my full review with Dave and see what he thinks.

That is all, carry on. 


  1. Incredible!!!!!, i have been thinking of getting a custom bag from these guys too! and it looks like i will be now, the bag i have now is way to small for uni and the sorts, i need it to carry A3 sometimes too, and having it custom made would be awesome !! how did you find using the other strap for carry on you sholders / can you remove it?

    1. I find the secondary strap to be extremely useful with larger loads. My let shoulder is pretty beat from 20 years of using messenger bags. So the second strap really helps me out. It might feel a little odd the first time you use it if you have never used a cross strap (X-Strap) on a messenger bag before. You may feel like you are being choked, but a little adjusting of the bag on your back and it is perfectly comfortable.

      The quality of B.O. Gear is hands down the best I have ever used and seen. I did a full review and comparison to some major brands in another review here:

      If you would like to see how my bag held up and compared after daily use. And after several more months of daily use and traveling all over the US for work, I love this bag even more.