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Patagonia Messenger Bag

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Unlike designated notebook-computer bags, bike-influenced courier bags do not advertise the fact that there’s an expensive laptop inside. Yet many traditional messenger bags offer little padded protection for computers. Integrated laptop sleeves are a new addition to many messenger bags, including the Patagonia Half Mass Messenger Bag, which a Gear Junkie field tester, Lauren Klein, recently reviewed.

Klein, a former bike messenger and current PhD student who commutes 10+ miles daily in New York City, tested this bag and four others for four months. Out of the box, Klein was underwhelmed with the Patagonia design. It appeared “underbuilt,” she noted. But after some riding with the bag, Klein was singing a different tune. The Patagonia Half Mass Messenger Bag turned out to be the “biggest surprise in the bunch,” she said.

Patagonia Half Mass Messenger Bag

This spring, I put in a few miles myself with the Patagonia bag as well. It’s a great choice for riders who want a bag that doesn’t look like a hardcore messenger bag. With a nice handle, the Half Mass can almost pass as a canvas briefcase, but, alas, the big reflective strip gives it away.

Klein described the bag as “incredibly comfortable” and easy to “get the fit fine-tuned almost immediately.” Klein appreciated the reflector strip, the removable laptop sleeve, and the one-handed adjustment of the strap.

The Half Mass is built from recycled polyester, something Klein appreciated because the light fabric left her back “less sweaty” than other bags. It has about 28 liters or 1,700 cubic inches of capacity with a computer sleeve that measures 15.5 × 11.5 × 1.5 inches. The price is $99, which is a good deal in this product class.

If you need a versatile bag for pedaling, heading to the library or the office, the Half Mass could be a good fit.

—Stephen Krcmar has worked as a bike messenger in New York City and Boston. He currently lives in Mammoth Lakes, Calif.

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