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Thread: The Super Ego: Any news on the new messenger bag?

  1. #1
    TOM BIHN Crew (we work here) Darcy's Avatar
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    Large Messenger Bag being designed...

    Tom is currently designing a large messenger bag to fit larger laptops and the 17" Powerbook.

    He's practically invented a great new feature on the shoulder strap that will allow you to carry a cell phone, MP3 player/iPod, Walkman, small camera, and any other small electronic.

    Anyway, we're always open to suggestions - any features in particular you guys would like to see on this bag?

    What about a zipper top without a traditional messenger bag flap? Or, if there is a flap, two buckles or one?

    And: have any suggestions on what we should call it?
    Last edited by admin; 06-02-2003 at 05:05 PM.
    Current Carry: Skookum Dog Citizen Canine prototype, Founder's Briefcase (every day carry), Small Cafe Bag (every day carry), Shop Bags (groceries, extra random stuff), Aeronaut 45 (travel), Synapse 19 (day hikes), Smart Alec (longer day hikes), Skookum Dog Road Duffel (Medium) (travel), Clear Organizer Wallet, Travel Stuff Sacks, Organizer Cubes

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    new bag

    The old NYC canvas messenger bags ( Global, Martinelli) had a buckle on them which allowed for a quick release w/o disengaging the strap. That was handy.

    A zippered split topflap might be nice for larger things with an elastic strap inside to help secure the bulky or long things (dozen roses, architects drawing tube, etc)

    name? vroom
    Last edited by xenicon; 06-11-2003 at 10:59 AM.

  3. #3
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    Maybe we first should say that we mean a "messenger style" bag, in other words a bag used/worn by us plebian masses, not by "real" messengers.
    That being said, there are certainly features & functionality that "real" messengers like that could be useful.
    So far, we've had mixed results using a quick-release/cam buckle on our bags: non-messengers mostly find them cumbersome and prefer a "set-it-and-forget-it" adjustment. Alternately, I've tried to make the quick release an optional thing.
    Regards flaps, I'm prototyping this first bag to have no flap, but instead rely on YKK's new Uretek more-or-less waterproof zippers. I like the esthetics of flaps, but their utility is sometime questionable.
    When you say eleastic loops inside, what do you mean? Where?

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    messenger

    What was great about the NYC bag was that it could be adjusted on the fly. Admittedly, messengers need to open and close their bags alot and the buckle rigged this way - with the bitter-end looped back and through-(vide jpg)- made it easy to pay out more of the strap. The loop simply got bigger. Maybe this is what you mean by a cam. The good thing about this buckle was that it could be used in this specialized way or not. Same buckle, different uses.
    The real advantage was tightening the strap (and easily) so the bag fit snuggly across the back while riding. Newer messenger style bags not having this kind of buckle solved the slipping bag problem by adding a strap at the waist but that was an inelegant solution.
    When I ride my bike (I ride it to a commuter train) I don't want my bag to slide off my back and swing down into my elbow. It's an annoyance and distracting aside from making the rider what the italians call "brutta figura." I've just got an Eclipse with the larger strap (for the office) and having it fit tightly is a little work at the beginning of each ride but that is better than having the 6 lbs of pb bounce around (which it does still a little bit.) I can deal.

    On occasion I found the flap had to stay open or half open because I had an awkward package and the closure straps were simply too flimsy to hold the package securely in the bag. When I shifted my weight on the bike, the weight shifted and the bag slipped. What I wished for was an elastic webbing that I could have draped and secured over the package so it wouldn't move. When I was a boy the tent, luggage, etc stayed on the car roof using what we called the "octopus" which was a ring with bungee cords attached to it.
    Maybe the top seam of the bag could have a couple of discreet D rings at the corners and center where an optional webbing could be clipped? The "D" rings might have a slight flap over them so the would be invisible and smooth when not used although they might have uses for hanging a small penlight or keys. If the net's gauge was small enough it could just be tucked away until needed. I might add that the webbing not only could keep things from coming out but could prevent unwanted things from going in.
    Maybe a version could be a very thin sheet of latex attached all the way around but cinched in the middle with an adjustable cord like a stuff sack? This might provide an additional barrier to water getting inside too.






    here's a link to a couple of shots of the old global:

    http://www.mocadc.org/press/global.htm
    Last edited by xenicon; 06-19-2003 at 07:02 AM.
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  5. #5
    TOM BIHN Crew (we work here) Darcy's Avatar
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    That bag looks a lot like the messenger bag I'd been using for years before I started working for Tom.

    FYI, I've just changed it so you can add pictures to your posts, as long as they're under a megabyte.
    Current Carry: Skookum Dog Citizen Canine prototype, Founder's Briefcase (every day carry), Small Cafe Bag (every day carry), Shop Bags (groceries, extra random stuff), Aeronaut 45 (travel), Synapse 19 (day hikes), Smart Alec (longer day hikes), Skookum Dog Road Duffel (Medium) (travel), Clear Organizer Wallet, Travel Stuff Sacks, Organizer Cubes

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    I liked the bag for its simplicity. I even liked the canvas even though it was heavy and absorbent. It felt good. Still, new fabrics, new styles work too and I wonder how many people in ten years (why not now?) will send in pictures of their first Bihns? There are some early bags around now aren't there?
    Thanks for the jpg upload feature-

  7. #7
    TOM BIHN Crew (we work here) Darcy's Avatar
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    I really liked the simplicity of my old bag too - it was actually a paratroopers bag I got from an army surplus store. I became so attached to it and used to it that when it turned from black to grey and the threads were coming loose all over, it took a lot for me to give it up.

    But I've had my Bihn messenger bag for two years now (it's a one of a kind bag that Tom sewed himself!- I'll have to take a picture of it soon) and it still looks new. So I finally appreciate good quality materials and construction...It'd be great to have one of those simply styled bags with quality materials.
    eWalker likes this.
    Current Carry: Skookum Dog Citizen Canine prototype, Founder's Briefcase (every day carry), Small Cafe Bag (every day carry), Shop Bags (groceries, extra random stuff), Aeronaut 45 (travel), Synapse 19 (day hikes), Smart Alec (longer day hikes), Skookum Dog Road Duffel (Medium) (travel), Clear Organizer Wallet, Travel Stuff Sacks, Organizer Cubes

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    What I would love on ANY bag larger than a purse...

    Mkay three things I would love to see on a Large Messenger Bag:

    1--separate compartment at the bottom for Stinky Gym Things that is utterly and totally separate from the rest of the bag--my LL Bean Big Easy Bag has this...it also has a fatal design flaw in the strap, which is why I hardly use it anymore, but I digress....

    2--External water bottle holder/mesh thingie

    3) MOST wanted feature--two loop fasteners on the bottom of the bag to attach an umbrella, document tube, or other unruly tubular/oblong object! Do you know how many umbrellas I've left on the subway because it was raining when I left the apartment but not raining after my day out?

    4) Okay, I lied, here's a fourth feature: A mesh stretchy back panel or front panel somewhere on the front of the flap for putting in Irregular Bulky Objects such as small boxes, cans of soda, odd-sized sports equipement, etc--stuff that is light but bulky and would otherwise hog exterior space in the bag. Bungee-type lacing an acceptable substitute here.

    Hope this helps...

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    Thanks - that does help. I can't promise all these features, but hopefully we'll be making a bag you'll love.

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    in or out?

    Well, that's really the whole design problem: do you add to the inside by compartments or to the outside with attached bags? I suppose it would be possible to design a modular system so that there is a basic bag which can be configured according to user. One wants an ipod holder, another a cellphone, a third wet clothes. Maybe a board can slide in the back panel that has different pockets attached to it (by zippers and/ or velcro?) So if someone used all the available pockets it would fill the board, but also someone could choose none and the bag would still work. Or they could have one pocket leaving the rest of the board open and just part of the bag (as support). Its a way of having the most flexibility of use without cahnging the integrity of the shape.
    I think a bag should hold everything inside it but that might be a narrow view of what a bag is.

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    Hello Tom,

    I also like xenicon's idea where you have a modular bay which can be customized.

    A feature I would really appreciate is the ability to have an expandable divider system like the Empire Builder. I am not sure what size the file pockets are for the Empire Builder, but it would be nice if it could hold legal as well as letter-sized files.

    Also, FYI- The biggest problem I find with most laptop bags out on the market is that even though most provide file space, once your laptop is in the bag it fits very few files, and you can forget it if you also need to stick a couple school books and binders in the bag.

    -Jay

  12. #12
    TOM BIHN Crew (we work here) Darcy's Avatar
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    Currently, there will be two sizes of this bag -

    One to fit larger laptops

    One to fit really huge monster laptops

    Either way, we'll make sure to make them just so big that you can actually fit other things in them besides your laptop

    The messenger bag is the next product on Tom's design list - so just a few months more, maybe.
    Current Carry: Skookum Dog Citizen Canine prototype, Founder's Briefcase (every day carry), Small Cafe Bag (every day carry), Shop Bags (groceries, extra random stuff), Aeronaut 45 (travel), Synapse 19 (day hikes), Smart Alec (longer day hikes), Skookum Dog Road Duffel (Medium) (travel), Clear Organizer Wallet, Travel Stuff Sacks, Organizer Cubes

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    Sounds great!

    Thanks for the update Darcy. I was wondering how far along in design they were.

    -Jay

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    More on messenger bags!

    Darcy and all...while you're at it, can you please include a lower level compartment for gym stuff? In other words, please go have a look at the soon-to-be-discontinued LL Beene "Big Easy" bookbag and just make it with a better STRAP--mine keeps breaking at the clip-ons--a sewn-on slider strap would be SO MUCH better. I'd keep my laptop in THAT--it has tons of room--but since the strap breaks so much, I don't dare...

    Thank you!

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    Aesthetics is an important thing for me when purchasing anything. If in designing this larger messenger bag you don't consider aesthetics enough, I think you will regret it. Add something thats eyecatching, but not a sore to the eyes. Make the bag a bit different from the run of the mill, but not so outlandish that you can't take it to work. Of course, it needs the requisite number of organizing pockets and compartments. Also, a seperately divided laptop compartment is a must, but it shouldn't be too padded, most of us will have a sleeve like the brain cell of course. Also, make sure access to the laptop is easy. There is no need for multiple zippers and velcro flaps. Other than that, the usual great Tom Bihn quality will do. Eagerly awaiting this bag.

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