Trager Courier Bag Critique
I've been looking for a new messenger bag for about two months now. I finally decided on a Trager Courier with a Brain Cell for my 15" powerbook.
I am very picky about things that I use everyday, and now that I have one in hand there are some issues I have with this combo. I would like to give this bag a try, but I'm afraid after a couple weeks of use if I am unhappy with it, and wont be able to return it.
Issues I have with the Trager Bag:
1. The interior Picture on the website shows two CDs in the front pocket, but a CD doesn't fit in that pocket, let alone two.
2. Cellphone pocket:
I have a small cellphone. When I put it in there it goes all the way to the bottom. I have a hard time getting it out since my hands are big. If I have gloves it becomes a whole lot more difficult. My old bag had a great cellphone holder. The sides were made of a thick spandex material which only covered parts of the sides, similar to the mesh on the braincell. That allowed for quick access.
3. Interior: I bought the citrus for two reasons. First I like color. Second I was hoping the interior would be all citrus. The contrast would make it easier to find objects in the bag under lower light. As it is the main compartment is very dark. To add to that, the section to hold the laptop and case, is attached to the sidewall and not the bottom, which means that things can get lost under the computer. Kind of like losing things under the bed.
4.Organizer pockets. I know this is a feature, but I hate organizers. Not just in this bag, but in all bags I find them annoying and usually cut them out. If there are too many pockets I can never remember where I put things. On this particular bag I have a couple issues. The clear ID holder. I have a wallet, I'm not going to take my ID out of my wallet and put in into the slot there. The pen/pencil slots are tight, which means that I cant slide them in without using two hands. The pockets in the main compartment also too loose, so when I put folders in I often get snagged.
Issues I have with the brain cell.
1. The handles are too small for my hands. Once again if I want to carry it with gloves on, it is a real struggle to move my hand in and out of the handles.
2. Velco top. I'm fine with velco, I just wish that the two flaps closed flush. The brain cell is a clean sharp bag, except for the top. This is just an aesthetics issue.
I know I'm just picky, but I have to use this object over and over all day. The only way I'll be able to tell if I like it is using it everyday. Maybe I'll get over the issues or find things I like about the combo that I can't tell now. There are things about this combo I like, for instance the quality of material and construction of both.
Maybe if I describe the idea bag for me, you can recommend a different bag that I have not looked at.
The things I want in a messenger bag are: (not in order of importance)
1. Protected space for laptop
2. One large main compartment that I can put books and binders. The access to the compartment should be as large as the compartment. Preferably with a light interior
3. One or two accessory pockets that also are large.
4. Cell phone pocket that is easy to get into.
My current bag from the Walking Company is no longer in production but has most of these things. I could send a picture if you wanted. I have modified the bag so that it closely fits my needs. I had to make a case for my laptop. But it has lived a good two years and is now falling apart and needs to retire.
I look forward to any suggestions.
If you're thinking about the Courier...
...have you given any thought to Tom Bihn's Empire Builder? I have been promising myself an upclose and anal review of the bag (complete with pictures)? It would appear to answer all of your desires listed at the end of your post, specifically the protected laptop space (Mine's a 12" iBook) and an organizer that is more thought out than a bunch of mesh poskets. The EB's outer flap covers an open pocket to the walls of which have been eight pockets of exact;ly the right size for PDA, MP3 player, pens, a pocket knife, b'cards and a bunch of other stuff.
The flap itself offers three flat pockets (1 each horiz. and vert. zipped) and an open diagonal pocket that is perfect for a celle fone. Better yet, the diagonal pocket has an opening about 5 inches wide, which allows me to shove my hand down into it.
Your "under the braincell" concern is a valid one, but I think the snaps (really more like clips) are sewn at the height required by the braincell you order. I just slid my hand down in the bag and pulled out a paper clip from under the cell but there not space for much else.
This review made a customer out of me
I'm awaiting my new 17" Powerbook, and have already returned the Brenthaven case from Apple. It was bulky and cheap looking. I have been reviewing bags for days and must admit to being quite confused.
I was interested in the Courier / Brain Cell combination, but was not sure it would meet my needs. This thread was well written by all and highlighted both the strengths and weaknesses of the combination. In addition to the conclusion that this is appears to be a great product, I was further encouraged by the fact that the people at the company were so responsive in the discussion, including the CEO. The willingness to reevalute design decisions based on a single customers feedback is also impressive. Customer service is a lost art in so many companies.
I'm going to go order by Courier and Brain Cell now.