Mission Workshop is a sister company to Chrome, another company that makes gear for cyclists and city folk.
At Mission Workshop, they’ve zeroed in on style and coolness, while maintaining the utility that made them famous with Chrome.
The Monty Bag, specifically, feels like they’ve aimed for the sweet spot between versatility of use and focused design.
Reviews of the Monty Messenger Bag from Other People
I agree with this review from Steven Yau’s Blog:
When the bag was delivered, I initially had comfort concerns as the back and bottom of the bag was not padded. I managed to mitigate this with an old laptop sleeve (one of those that you can supposedly drop an egg on and it won’t crack) which also gave me a ’slot’ to slip my laptop into.
It also felt heavier than I expected (1.35kg) due to the waterproof lining all around the bag but it didn’t matter too much after the bag was on my shoulder as the strap took must of the weight and spread it across my chest.
In terms of organization, the two front pockets were roomy enough to fit all my loose tech accessories such as USB cables, chargers, batteries etc and also my pens and notepad. I also found that there was more internal organization than I thought as there were two zipped pockets that I don’t think was mentioned in any review I have seen.
Here’s my take:
The Monty Bag’s Specifications and Features
The outer material is made of black 1000d Nylon and has held up exceptionally well for the past two years.
After 2 years of commuting by bus, train, and bike there is no visible tears or discoloration on the outer material.
Dimensions: 16” x 10” x 5”
Internal volume: 1,300 cu. In.
Laptop Fit Size
The main pocket could easily fit a laptop up to 15 in.
Number of Pockets
There are 4 pockets total. 1 main pocket is covered by a waterproof flap, 2 are velcro covered
cargo style pockets, and 1 zipper pocket with 2 inner sub-pockets.
Best Features of the Monty Bag from Mission Workshop
The seatbelt style strap allows the wearer to easily transition from a snug morning commute to casual comfort.
All of the pockets are easily accessible. Plus the pockets are positioned in such a way that even on a crowded train, you can still access all your gear.
Most importantly, the plastic lining the inside keeps the main pocket–normally where a laptop is virtually waterproof.
And finally, the bag is fully customizable, very easy to style, and looks good with virtually any outfit.
After owning the bag for 2 years, the seatbelt material is starting to wear down from the constant
use of the buckle.
However, the wear is minor and does not affect the performance of the bag whatsoever. The outer nylon wrap is flawless: no holes, rips, discoloration.
This is a fully customizable messenger bag. Everything from the color of the buckle, to the fabric and zippers, are all customizable.
Also, the strap can be switched from the right side to the left in order to accommodate left handed folks much more comfortably. There are two ways to close the bag: the standard fold over and the roll down.
This is undoubtedly the best looking bag I’ve seen in this style. It’s urban, sleek, and pairs well with almost any outfit–regardless of the level of professionalism.
The bag is clearly organized for simplicity and they are definitely making the most of what
they’ve decided to include in the bag.
The main pocket is clearly meant for a laptop, books, and larger items. The two cargo-style pockets in the front have been mostly used for smaller items like sun/reading glasses and chargers.
I use the zipper pocket to house all of my school supplies. Since there are two additional sub-pockets within the zipper pocket, it’s much easier to divide up pencils from things like a stapler and post-its.
Biking with the Rolltop Messenger Bag
Alongside the amazing seatbelt strap, the stabilizing strap that fits under the armpit acts as
a support to the main strap and keeps the bag from sliding around my back.
Both straps can be tightened to be very snug fitting and keep the bag even more secure on those longer trips. One thing that needs some serious upgrade–cushioning.
It needs to be added to the rear side of the bag (where it sits on the wearer’s back) since it can get very uncomfortable on longer rides.
Taking the Bag on Public Transit
The bag can be compressed using the two closing straps on the front, making it very convenient to fit into smaller spaces on the train.
The shoulder strap can be loosened and the bag can be brought to the front where it fits comfortably on my lap, still secured across my shoulders.
The waterproof inner lining is spectacular at keeping the rain out. I have full confidence that my things will remain dry if it begins to rain during my commute.
Again, the lack of padding inside or outside the main pocket is the biggest drawback to the protectiveness of this bag.
The outer material is somewhat resistant to water, but the real muscle of this bag is the waterproof lining. This inner plastic lining blocks water from entering the main pocket and I cannot stress enough how crucial this is to the value of this bag.
This inner plastic lining helps keep water from entering entering the main pocket and I cannot stress enough how crucial this is to the value of this bag.
It’s basically impenetrable and has saved me (and my laptop) more times than I can count. Spectacular.
The only functional padding anywhere on the bag is on the strap, so this requires the wearer to manage his/her load since it could easily get too uncomfortable where the bag rests.
That being said, the padding on the strap is perfect and in the next iteration of this product, they should put that same padding on the rear of the bag.
Back Sweat / Perspiration
The way that the bag is situated on the wearer makes it less prone to massive back sweat. This is due to the space that naturally forms between the bag itself and the wearer’s back when it’s formed in a normal manner (unlike a secure fit for biking).
That being said, it can get very hot and sweaty when worn for biking but it is not abnormal considering that it is an intense exercise.
Downsides of the Backpack
The main drawback to this bag is that it could be a lot more padded. That way you’d ensure that comfort is not sacrificed for utility and style.
Also, there is no space to easily house a water bottle alongside a laptop in the main pocket. It would be preferable if the bag featured easily accessible pockets designed for “constant” items like water bottles, phones, wallets, keys, etc. A minor gripe is that there are no reflective strips anywhere on the external surface.
It would be preferable if the bag featured easily accessible pockets designed for “constant” items like water bottles, phones, wallets, keys, etc. A minor gripe is that there are no reflective strips anywhere on the external surface.
Who does this backpack suit? What type of person?
This bag is definitely made for urban bike commuters. Why? Well, real life urban bikers at Mission Workshop designed this bag for students and young professionals to bike around the city. Also, functional and style-conscious folks would find use in this bag.
The way the bag rests on your back makes it ideal for bike commuting and provides easy access to all your essentials. Also, functional and style-conscious folks would find use in this bag.
Also, functional and style-conscious folks would find use in this bag.
Who doesn’t this backpack suit?
Someone carrying several textbooks (or generally heavy loads). The size of the bag and the way in which you carry and distribute the weight wouldn’t be ideal. If you have to carry a substantial amount of stuff on the daily then you should consider a different backpack model.
If you have to carry a substantial amount of stuff on the daily then you should consider a different backpack model.
How comfortable is this backpack?
Comfortable for shorter trips under 2 hours. If you need to use this bag for longer than that, you might run into a bit of discomfort and even back pain.
But for those shorter bike rides through the city, the Monty bag is ideal as long as you don’t overpack your bag.
My Overall Experience
I take the bus every morning to school. On a normal day, I stuff my bag with a handful of notebooks, my 13” laptop, and a baseball hat. This usually weighs around 15 lbs and after a while of walking around my campus, the bag starts feeling pretty heavy on my back.
Walking around school, people will often ask me what kind of bag I have, where I purchased it, or just
toss me a compliment about it.
Sometimes when I have the weekends to myself, I will bike into downtown with the bag. It performs better than any other bag that I’ve used in the past. I think it has to do with the strap system on this bag; it’s spectacular for keeping it secure.
However, it will start to hurt my back after a long ride and my main gripe is this lack of comfort.
Warranty and Support / Customer Service
All of their products come with a lifetime warranty. And when it comes to repairing your bag, it’s a breeze.
After a biking accident, I brought my bag into one of their stores for a buckle replacement. The employees at the Mission Workshop location replaced the buckle immediately.
Overall, excellent in-store customer service.