Perhaps a bit of an odd request, given our shared love of organizational features on bags, but I'm in the market for a messenger/laptop style of bag that does not have a ton of pockets.  I take my bag into a secure facility daily, and if I inadvertently bring even a single round of ammunition into work, I lose my job.  It pays to be able to quickly search my bag for contraband daily.  I've been carrying a Vertx EDC Principal Briefcase to work daily for just about two years, and I love it, but... too many pockets.
 
Here's what I need to be able to carry in the bag:
  • 32oz Hydroflask
  • .750mL Thermos
  • iPad 10.5"
  • Packable rain jacket
  • IFAK/booboo kit
  • Gloves
  • Standard 1" 3-ring binder

 

Aside from that, it'd be nice to have dedicated pouch into which I can dump my pocket-carried items to speed up processing through our security checkpoint, and maybe a little extra room for odds and ends I occasionally bring to work.  I'd like to have purpose-built bottle holders.  A bright interior color would be nice to make it easy to see the contents.  I do not care if the bag looks tactical or not.  I like a loop field for patches, but that's not a dealbreaker.  So far, I'm liking the look of the ITS Tactical Messenger, as the current version seems to have  very simple layout that would be quickly searched.  What else is out there?

Joined: 2JAN2004

Location: South Florida

Original Post

I ordered a Timbuk2 Classic Messenger bag in back in October and it's been holding up pretty well. They're able to be color/fabric customized and are made in the USA - at least the customized ones are. MSRP is $150, but they run sales from time to time. I think I paid $140 shipped. I carry a 14" Thinkpad and got a Medium sized bag for a little extra space. Included in that $140 was a grab handle, matching shoulder strap pad, and their "crater" (read: padded) laptop sleeve so it was a pretty nice discount.

Personally I like that Timbuk2 does not look like a cool-guy bag. When I was shopping I also looked at the ITS messenger bag as well as 5.11's offerings but they would stick out in my environment and to be honest I thought they were too expensive for what they are. For your needs, you could probably get away with a size small, but I like that I can stuff a jacket or other items into mine and it's not bursting. From time to time I'll use it as a weekend bag with toiletries and a change of clothing.

link to their site: https://www (DOT) timbuk2.com/pages/customizer#/product/18-custom-classic-messenger-bag/size/4/customize

Some photos of mine. The exterior panels are "nautical" and "surplus" and the liner is "gunmetal". NOTE: The blue isn't as bright as the pictures make it seem. It's also waterproof. 

This is with my 14" laptop and a small Magpul Daka pouch. The expansion and compression of the bag based on what you're carrying (or not carrying) is pretty impressive.

 

Regardless, if you don't get it on sale, a custom bag that's made in the USA for $150 is hard to beat - even if you're like me and don't ride a bike 

--

 

Joined: 12/29/09          Location: California

+1 on Filson, I've read a lot of good things about them.

Other notable mentions are Herschel ( https://herschel (DOT) com/shop/mens/messengers ) and Topo Designs ( https://topodesigns (DOT) com/collections/briefcases )

--

 

Joined: 12/29/09          Location: California

@Ross A. are the bottle pockets inside large enough for a 32oz Nalgene-sized bottle?  That one is kind of a dealbreaker for me.

Joined: 2JAN2004

Location: South Florida

Look at Chrome.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

So low speed, i'm in Park.

"I could stand to hear a little more.." Jayne

Training is brief. Death is forever. PAY ATTENTION.

Joined: 6/14/03 1:02 PM

Casey posted:
@Ross A. are the bottle pockets inside large enough for a 32oz Nalgene-sized bottle?  That one is kind of a dealbreaker for me.

I'm able to squeeze one into the mesh pocket on the top of the photo, but it's a very tight fit.

--

 

Joined: 12/29/09          Location: California

Would the Arcteryx 15L messenger bag do the trick?

“They were two douchebags who met in the normal course of being two douchebags.” - Sully, Third Watch

Last edited by ggammell

I'm a fan of messenger bags and recently went through a lengthy search to find one that could replace my Osprey bag.  

I found Helikon-tex and it turned out to be EXACTLY what I was looking for.  

If you haven't checked them out, its worth a look....available on Amazon too...

This guy did a better review than I ever could:

Helikon Tex Messenger Bag

and some pics direct from their site:

Helikon Tex

 

99superduty posted:

I'm a fan of messenger bags and recently went through a lengthy search to find one that could replace my Osprey bag.  

I found Helikon-tex and it turned out to be EXACTLY what I was looking for.   

Thanks for the link.  The large version of this bag looks like it will be close to perfect for my needs... they have some neat products, and they're not crazy expensive, either.

Joined: 2JAN2004

Location: South Florida

Arc Leaf Courier 15 seems to fit the bill. 

https://leaf.arcteryx.com/ca/en/shop/courier-bag-15

and a much better overview than I can provide

https://www.carryology.com/tra...leaf-courier-bag-15/

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
-We are the sheepdogs, bad people looking out for the good people by killing worse people
-Don't get PTSD, Give PTSD. Make the taliban wake up screaming in the night because he fears Canadians are coming to Kill him.

-Location - Canada - Joined - 2006MAR19

I really like the Timbuk2 bags but I'm also cheap.  I found an REI bag probably 3-4 years ago that meets every one of your requirements and was around $70.  

Blessed be the Lord, my rock

who trains my arms for battle,

who prepares my hands for war.

 

Psalm 144.1

Missed the edit window...

 

I really like the Timbuk2 bags but I'm also cheap.  I found an REI bag probably 3-4 years ago that meets every one of your requirements and was around $70.   It's been my daily to work bag for that long. I carry a couple pens, couple small pouches (tool kit, batteries, etc), phone charger, tablet, a magazine or book, and small IFAK. The pouch on the flap has a G43 mag, VG2 for G43, and TQ.  I have enough room to fold up a uniform shirt, pants, and undershirt easily in it also.  Works perfectly.  Biggest draw back has been the durability of water bottle pockets. One carries a bottle and the other my radio. One wore through from carrying a bottle in about 2 years of use.   Overall, very happy with the bag. I actually wish it had more pockets.

Blessed be the Lord, my rock

who trains my arms for battle,

who prepares my hands for war.

 

Psalm 144.1

I have been running an ITS bag in waxed canvas that has been great.  Has 4 pockets on the outside that are pleated with snaps so you can have them tucked out of the way.  That being said it is in the Filson price range but they do have sales (got mine on a Black Friday deal).

They are heavy but any waxed canvas deal will be; but the ITS is all velcro lined so pretty quick to swap your pouches out from office to travel to blaster bag.

csivret posted:

Helikon Tex is great value for money combined with some really interesting designs. I have a bunch of their stuff as I sell it in NZ.

Check out their bushcraft satchel also, it might be a bit basic for you but the bottle pockets will hold nalgenes.

https://www.helikon-tex.com/en...hel-bag-cordura.html

+1 on Helikon-Tex.  I have their nifty little Groundhog pack.

It is better that they do it imperfectly than that you do it perfectly. For it is their war and their country and your time here is limited.

 

                                                                                                                        —T. E. Lawrence

 

 

POSREP: Central Florida

I would like to purchase your Vertx EDC Principal Briefcase if you still have it. I have been searching for one for quite some time. 

CAE5 posted:

I've heard good things about Filson.

I picked up their original briefcase last month the day after I received my retirement orders.  Found it for $185.  Not the most tactical looking thing and that is why I like it.  Purely a civilian transition bag.  I don't plan on using it for a few months, but it will be perfect for my post military rent a house, move, buy a house, file a VA claim, or whatever.  It feels and looks bombproof.  Their are dozens of great reviews out there and Reddit seems to love it too.   

https://www.filson.com/rugged-...070256-fco-000971913

I saw a decent review for Eberlestock's Undercover Brief and may have bought one of those if I could find a non military color.  Their blue has been sold out since I saw the review.  While it is meant to carry a firearm, it SHOULD keep it consolidated to one specially designed pocket.

https://eberlestock.com/collec...riant=16875776704563

 

Peace has always been the realm of mediocrities, and pacifism the bleating of a herd of sheep which allow themselves to be led to the slaughterhouse without defending themselves . -Larteguy The Centurions

My mind keeps drifting back to the classic "map and dispatch" or "fag bag"... but a 32oz nalgene won't go well...

------------------------------------- "A True Warrior knows neither Left or Right"  Looking for a doc who can fix my allergies.. Stupid People and IED's...

I don’t know how much you’re wanting to spend, or if leather is even an option for you, but if you want to drop serious money on a serious bag check out Gfeller Casemakers. https://gfeller.us/

I have their notebook covers and belt, they are excellent. 

David Reeves posted:

My mind keeps drifting back to the classic "map and dispatch" or "fag bag"... but a 32oz nalgene won't go well...

Pretty much the direction I have gone. I have the "Indiana" bag by Saddleback Leather Co. Waxed canvas and leather. The whole back side is thick full-grain with a top slot for thin items.  Great for airline tickets. I store a pair of hinged cuffs flight inside that leather slot. The bag has an internal sleeve that's iPad/Galaxy Tab size. In the main compartment I can fit a little medical pull out bag, mags, and room for a nice fat search warrant affidavit when heading to see the judge. Great slim bag for taking on a plane. Holds one of those slim stainless steel yoga pants bottles no problem. No room for 32oz Nalgene, but I like to go minimal. A container like that is too cumbersome for me anyway.

Sorry for the thread drift. But I totally love this bag.

 

 

Adversity is another way to measure the greatness of individuals.  -Lou Holtz

Casey,

Check our Baileyworks.  They make rock solid messenger bags for professional users. The pocket setup is fairly minimalist but works well.  That’s if you’re still looking a year later 😉 

Last edited by dont_tread_on_me

If you don’t need it this week have one made. 
greenroom 136 .com   Out of Malaysia

Top shelf all the way, I have 3 of their bags and I’d put them next to any gear maker you can think of. 
Prices? Cheap man!

owner is super cool and responds fast to questions 

look at the wild card section 

Last edited by doomonyou

A quick tip that has been a game-changer for me. Anything that isn't security area friendly doesn't go into my main bag compartments. I have smaller bags and pouches that will contain all of that stuff that I can drop into the main bag. I use a small remove before flight flag on the pull tabs for those pouches which hold items that are bad. Since I've been doing this, no magazines, ammo, knives, etc get put into the main bag and I've greatly sped up my bag sanitization ritual. 

geronimo posted:

A quick tip that has been a game-changer for me. Anything that isn't security area friendly doesn't go into my main bag compartments. I have smaller bags and pouches that will contain all of that stuff that I can drop into the main bag. I use a small remove before flight flag on the pull tabs for those pouches which hold items that are bad. Since I've been doing this, no magazines, ammo, knives, etc get put into the main bag and I've greatly sped up my bag sanitization ritual. 

Having personally investigated or been knowledgeable of dozens of instances of individuals inadvertently bringing guns to work in the 10 years I've worked in my current industry, in every single one of those situations the individual put a gun in his bag and then forgot to remove it because of some distraction from normal routine.  The only foolproof means of preventing this from happening is never—not fucking ever—putting a weapon or other "contraband" in the bag to begin with, plus thoroughly searching said bag any time it's been outside your positive control.  Something as innocuous as a single bullet in my bag would end my career.  Not taking that chance!

Thanks to everyone for the recommendations.  The search continues.  And no, the Principal Briefcase is not for sale!

Joined: 2JAN2004

Location: South Florida

One other suggestion...

If you have a dedicated "secure workplace" or "getting on an airplane" traveling shoulder bag " briefcase".. make sure that it looks and feels entirely different than any other bag you have.

I have been lucky as for a while I had a pair of Black Canvass Lands End bags that were identical. One was "working away from the house" one was an o-shit go bag.

Guess which one ended up between my feet on a flight to Texas.. with a G20 and a dozen or so loaded mags...

I never thought I would sweat soak a commercial airplane seat..

------------------------------------- "A True Warrior knows neither Left or Right"  Looking for a doc who can fix my allergies.. Stupid People and IED's...

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