Hello, I'm an undergrad college student looking for "the right" bag. The only thing I'm certain of is a shoulder bag. I do not want a backpack. That said, I've narrowed it down to the Courier Laptop, Seattle Messenger and the new SuperEgo. I like the Courier and Seattle, but they're not true "Bihn bags." I also will have a laptop but don't expect to carry it "often." My main purpose is books and some extra clothes when workout time comes. Also, water resistance is a plus too as I'm on one of the largest universities in the country and when it rains, it pours and it can be a long walk to the next class. I'm guessing the Seattle would be a perfect fit for me, but I'm looking for comments from owners of any of these bags. Thanks!!
While I am not an owner of any of the bags you mentioned, I do consider myself an informed commentator with 6 months of experience of talking to people about their bags and preferences. I do happen to be the proud owner of a Tom Bihn ID bag and wonder if perhaps it's too small to suit your purposes as compared to the Courier, Seattle Messenger or SuperEgo. If you are looking for a larger bag, I'd say you'd undoubtedly be pleased to be one of the first owners of the SuperEgo. As the older sibling of a college student, I'm well aware of the volume of "stuff" students routinely schlep around campus and am certain it would accomodate all that plus your laptop on occasion when paired with one of our Brain Cells.
As a Pacific Northwest resident who often carries her ID in the rain, I can say I've been quite happy never to find my valuable items the least bit damp upon returning home. I also know that all the fabrics we use here at Tom Bihn are treated to be water resistant and while not intended to be submerged in water or protect against such, they all do a fine job of keeping the rain out. If you plan to expose your bag to heavy rainfall over the course of time, we do recommend treating your bag with Nikwax after you've owned it for awhile and the beading of rain isn't as consistent.
If you feel like the SuperEgo might be too large to suit your purposes and the ID too small, my next recommendation would be for the Courier by Trager. It's made out of Tru-Ballistic, High Density Ripstop fabric and appeals to my own personal style sensibility more so than the Seattle Messenger. Overall, all the bags mentioned are high quality and have their own particular fanbase. As something you're going to carry with you every day for a long time, I'd say first consider the size bag that best suits your needs and secondly, follow your own particular sense of style in terms of which bag "catches your eye."
Teresa's advice is quite useful. First determine the size you need, and want to carry, and then look at the options. I am looking at an ID bag right now and it is quite large for a small messenger bag. You might also want to consider an Empire Builder if the ID is too small and the SuperEgo is not to your taste. I would not worry about Trager quality, but would suggest that you focus on the form and function. Their bags are designed a bit differently, but the quality is quite good. It would be ideal to buy just one bag, but you may eventually want a second bag of a different size when the need arises. Short of always carrying around a huge bag, it is almost impossible to always have one bag meet your every need. Good luck.
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