Gear Review -- Messenger Bags 2007

I’ve been testing three messenger-style bags as of late, including an outdoorsy model from Gregory; the techy Ruckus by Pacific Design; and the large and strange Urban Backpack from SealLine.

Here’s a quick overview of each. . .

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SealLine Urban Backpack
This roll-top backpack provides watertight protection just like those whitewater boating bags you’d trust with your camera gear on a river. But the Urban Backpack has a harness and a padded back, letting you lug it like the backpack that it is. Made of PVC-free coated polyester, the pack can hold about 2,200 cubic inches of capacity, making it large enough for most any urban task. It measures about 10×14.5×23 inches. It’s water tight when sealed up, and there is a small zip pocket on the front for grabbing need-now items like your cell phone, a wallet or your can of pepper spray.

Price: $119.95
Contact: SealLine, www.seallinegear.com

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Gregory Mountain Products Brodie
Of the three bags in this review, I’ve used the sturdy little Brodie the most, as I like its pseudo-outdoorsy aesthetic, which passes muster with business types as well as a bonafide backwoods crowd. It features one large main pocket, a small zipper pocket, and a stiff Hypalon bottom to give it some shape. Has about 900 cubic inches of capacity. Measures 17×10 x 6 inches. Simple and effective.

Price: $79
Contact: Gregory Mountain Products, www.gregorypacks.com

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Pacific Design Ruckus
The Ruckus Laptop Messenger Bag has the most nooks and crannies of all tested here, with a padded pocket for a cell phone or MP3 player, a molded-rubber headphone port, a clear ID pocket, pen holders, three slots for a wallet, an AC/Cable zipper pouch, a water bottle holder, and a semi-transparent, water-resistant front zipper pocket. It swings the urban/techy aesthetic more than anything, and it’ll fit most computers with 15.4-inch screens and smaller (widescreen or regular). Its dimensions are 16×12 x 4 inches. To boot, it’s the least expensive of the three reviewed here, at about 60 bucks.

Price: $59.95
Contact: Pacific Design Ltd., www.pacificdesignstore.com

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