ID Messenger - updated review after a few weeks and a cool discovery
I've had my ID Messenger bag for three weeks now, and wanted to post an updated review now that I've had a chance to put it through its paces. So far it's logged a few thousand miles on airplanes, a couple weeks of daily train commuting, and one long driving trip.
Review summary: I love this bag, and will seriously consider hurting you if you try to take it away from me !!
My typical load is an 11.6" Acer laptop in a brain cell, laptop charger, a pair of Sennheiser noise cancelling headphones, an old style I-pod, an I-phone, a Kindle, a Blackberry (for work), car keys with a SecureID token, and various other 'stuff'.
Soon after I received the bag I ordered two of the Ballistic Nylon Organizer Pouches - a small and a large. I've since discovered the real genius of the Tom Bihn bag is the modularity that comes with adding the accessories. Match those up with the o-ring straps, and everything has its place. It sounds mundane, but it really makes a HUGE difference in being able to find what you want quickly.
In the large pouch I have medicines, vitamins, and various other little odds and ends that come in handy when traveling. I clip this pouch in the front (non zippered) compartment, along with pens, pencils, business cards, and the Kindle.
The small pouch rides next to the Brain Cell, and holds my passport,a Verizon Mifi hotspot, and 3 USB drives. The headphones in their hard-shell case also ride in the zippered main compartment with the laptop.
I'm using a zippered mesh bag that I got on a trans-pacific flight to hold chargers for the Ipod and the Mifi. It's sort of an improvised Snake Charmer but a bit smaller. It rides in the zippered compartment on the front of the bag under the flap.
In my original review, I stupidly dinged the bag a nit point for the pouch on the flap - it seemed to me like it was only 2 inches wide. Duh. Within an hour of posting that review I realized it was just scrunched together, and of course that pocket goes back into the bulk of the flap. This is where the boarding passes go.
The I-pod and I-phone ride in one of the soft-sided front zippered pockets, and my reading glasses ride in the other.
The open pocket on the back of the bag is where I keep random papers, and travel itineraries.
The water bottle holder on the side was a must have for me, and so far it's swallowed anything I've tried to throw at it.
I also really like the weather sealed zippers on the outside of the bag. It poured on me Thursday morning, and the bag's contents stayed nice and dry.
I got the Absolute strap, and I must say it's very comfortable. Easy to carry either over one shoulder, or messenger-bag style slung across the neck.
The bag fits easily under the seat on an airplane, and again having the pouches makes it easy to pull out just what you need while in the tight confines of an airplane seat.
The cool thing I discovered on accident on my latest trip:
I carry a rollerboard suitcase (sorry TB luggage aficionados - I need wheels to pull that thing - it's way too heavy to carry !). With the waist strap of the ID bag secured and tight in its 'out of use' position, it makes a perfect 'seatbelt' to slip over the retractable handle of my rollerboard so that I can pull them both, without the ID bag falling off. This was awesome on yesterday's run through BWI trying to catch my flight home !
I typically put at least 60,000 miles a year on my bags, and I can tell that this one will last the test of time.
Thanks for listening !