Ortlieb are known for their much loved panniers for cyclists. Today, I want to take a look at their messenger bag.
You could be forgiven for asking why anyone needs a bag so big, you may also wonder if I look a little like Quasimodo after a fortnight of carrying this on my back. The truth is this bag has surprised me in more ways than one.
Here’s why I love it and I think you will too.
The first big surprise: How much it carries
Today, I took the 08.20 from London to Manchester. I rode from my North London home to Euston. Pictured below is a list of things I took to Manchester:
- Baby blanket for my sister’s baby that was due yesterday.
- Waterproof trousers- unsurprisingly it’s chucking it down in Manchester.
- Laptop – always working.
- Clothes for tomorrow
- Shoes for tomorrow
- 1 litre flask of tea (they can’t make a decent brew on the Virgin trains)
Needless to say the capacity of this bag is excellent.
Big surprise number two: It doesn’t even hurt
You would expect the Ortlieb Messenger Bag to be crippling, considering the amount of things it can carry on your back whilst riding, but it’s not. I don’t know how the Germans do it (Ortlieb is a German brand in case you didn’t know), but they have pulled it out of the bag (metaphorically speaking) again.
Masters of great design, the bag somehow cradles your back to the point that you barely notice it is there. Strategically positioned pads rest against your back and miraculously distribute the weight. Many moons ago I used a ‘regular’ rucksack for commuting, come the end of the week it felt like my shoulders and back had done 10 rounds with Tyson – none of those qualms with this bag.
Extra features on the Ortlieb Messenger Bag
A handy roll top Velcro fastening removes the risk of burst zips (pet hate). It’s fully waterproof, it has adjustable and nicely padded shoulder strap. A clip fastened waist belt helps keep it secure and high visibility printed panels on the side come in handy. One final thing of note is that it has been crafted in the some super tough material which makes it difficult to rip and tear.
- You can carry loads of stuff
- Everything is kept dry
- It is easy on the back and shoulders
- This one is bright orange and helps keep you visible on the road
Not so great points
- 10 minutes digging around for your house keys in the rain
- Strangers taking it upon themselves to say “oooh what a big bag, what are you carrying?” I am tempted to respond to these nosey inquires with “armed weapons”.
Should you buy?
This bag is a great option for those who don’t have a rack. It’s everything you would expect from a brand like Ortlieb – practical, understated and considered.
The RRP is £92.00, but it is currently available on Wiggle for £69.00. As it’s nearly impossible to break this bag, I think that’s pretty good value.
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As seen on The Guardian, BBC and The Independent.