When I was a teenager in the mid 90’s I had an old MTB, back when V-brakes and front suspension had only trickled down to the mass market bikes. Back then, I thought bike couriers were uber-cool – the way to be uber cool like them in my mind was to have bags like them. They all had these super bright messenger bags made by Crumpler, so I went out and bought one.
Fast forward about a decade and a half to the present and I am still using this bag. Now, the subject of this review is a messenger bag by Australian company Brisbane Outdoor Gear.
Brisbane Outdoor Gear (BOgear) makes a range of messenger bags as well as toe straps and other accessories. Their messenger bags start at the hip pouch sized Love Handle and go up to the absolutely mammoth Elephantitus. The linings of the bags are recycled from old billboard signs and truck tarps, this gives each bag a unique print on the inside as well as making them waterproof. The outside is constructed of a black textured nylon with the straps made from recycled seatbelts and buckles. In fact, for all of their messenger bags, Brisbane Outdoor Gear incorporates parts using recycled materials.
The model I have tested over the past month is the mid range model, the Papermunky. It’s inside capacity is rated at 8 bottles of Bundy according to the website. This is about enough to fit a laptop, some clothes and books in the main compartment. Directly behind the flap there are little pockets for pens, wallets and other small items that would otherwise get lost in the main compartment. The flap is closed by velcro strips which run vertically on the bag, this means that even if it is stuffed full it’ll still be able to close securely, a nice feature. The flap also secures with a pair of buckles so you can be completely sure nothing will fall out whilst riding.
These buckles also feature little velcro tabs on the ends so once you have buckled the flap down tight and have cinched the straps you can velcro the ends onto the bag itself – this means you don’t have little straps flapping about when you ride.
The main strap is unpadded which is fine unless you’re holding something particularly heavy over a longer ride, the larger bags feature padded straps however I would probably prefer it padded on this model as well. Single shoulder strap bags typically rotate around the body whilst riding, typically this is a problem with the bent over position on racing style bikes. To prevent this the Papermunky has a second strap which wraps around the waist. This ensures the bag stays in place, even when fully loaded. The waist strap needs to be undone if you want to either take off the bag or rotate it around the front to get something out.
The bag has some loops for attaching lights, the only suggestion I have is that maybe a few reflective stripes could be useful for visibility on the bag as well. During the review period I rode several times in the wet and my cargo remained bone dry. The secondary strap meant the bag always stayed in place whilst riding. The stitching is top notch and the quality of the material is also high quality, I generally get the feeling this thing will last a long time. This is great value for an Australian made and environmentally conscious bag, built for day-in day-out work.
The Papermunkey comes in a range of designs and retails for $125 direct from Brisbane Outdoor Gear. For $15 extra can be delivered throughout Australia, order online: www.bogear.com.au