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Being a messenger never looked so good.
Like all Filson products, the Dry Messenger Bag is built with durability and craftsmanship in mind. The outer is made of vinyl-coated polyester to ensure it won't be damaged by errant moisture. The top features a roll-top closure with hook-and-loop material to secure the contents inside. A zippered outer pocket allows for some organization so you can keep your important materials accessible at a moment's notice. With its adjustable shoulder strap, you'll be able to find the fit that's right for you.
- Vinyl-coated polyester fabric
- Roll top with hook-and-loop closure
- Zippered outer pocket
- Adjustable shoulder strap
- Made in the USA
- Item #FSN002F
- Q & A
& my Filson Dry Messenger Bag
and getting ready to roll out!
What The Filson
So let's see here, Filson's new Dry Messenger Bag just landed in my lap (thanks Backcountry!), and I am quite ecstatic to say the least. Let me note, the bag was missing a plastic side clasp, and what looks to be a tie strap (the thin horizontal one) when it arrived. Uncertainty aside, I've forged ahead and have been using the heck outta this bag for the last few weeks.
The Awesome Points:
It can hold a generous amount of stuff, from my laptop, to an extra pair of pants, and even a lightweight jacket. Heck, I've even lugged around a growler full of beer in the thing! Like I said, you can really pack it deep. So far, it's been through a few short rain rides, and it has kept my things dry. One of my favorite features, is its slick vinyl exterior. The slickness allows you to wipe mud and grime right off the thing (my commute has me riding down muddy roads quite often), and it'll be lookin' as good as new!
The Not-So Awesome Points:
It was missing an essential plastic clasp that keeps one of the sides locked down. I remedied this by tying it shut; however, that defeats the purpose of easily opening the bag later on. From a distance, this thing looks awesome, but once you get close up, you'll notice the welded seams, they kind of look atrocious. I am not sure what happened here, as it looks like it may have been rushed when it was put together. Furthermore, I can not compare it to any other Filson product I've ever owned as the craftsmanship of this piece just seems noticeably lacking.
Aside from keeping my stuff dry, I did get a substantial amount of water seeping down under the flap whilst wearing it riding my bike in the rain. It appears that water gets under the flap since it's not long enough to sufficiently drain/shield properly when hunched over on a bike. I suppose, if I were just casually walking down the street, this may not be an issue; however, If I was caught out in a downpour for more than 20 minutes riding, I wouldn't be surprised if the water makes its way into the bag.
Since I've only been able to test the Dry Messenger for the past few weeks, and it has only rained a few short times, I'll have to provide an updated review in the future. My current thoughts for now, Filson may need to rethink this one. This is not the Filson I am used to, and I hate to say it, but there are significantly better options out there.
- Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Pretty poorly designed and constructed. My first, and last, Filson product unfortunately, despite their reputation for quality goods.
I had been looking for a minimal, yet waterproof messenger style bag I could use for my daily commute to work, as well as the occasional utility/travel/camera bag. I had read a few good reviews of this particular bag checking a lot of those boxes. After about month of daily use, I must say I'm quite disappointed and believe those reviewers did not spend as much time with the bag as I have.
The quality of materials used on the bag are subpar, most noticeably the nylon webbing used for straps is pretty flimsy. This causes the main strap to twist and bend and dig into your body, rather than spreading the load evenly. Also, the webbing bunches at the plastic attachment points to the bag, creating bulky spots that will rub as you move and prematurely stress the material. I've noticed the webbing used around the mouth of the bag also gets caught in the velcro closure, causing it to pill and fray after only a month's use.
The opening of the bag is awkward. It's not easy to get in and out of fast due to the roll-top construction. If the bag is worn close to the body, unfolding the main mouth of the bag positions it at almost eye level, making it difficult to reach into, and near impossible to see in. Complicating the matter is the fact that the bag lacks a lining (I opted for black), the material reflects little light, and it is very dark inside. When it's time to close the bag, the stiff, coated material bunches making a clean fold down near impossible. Gussets or seaming in the side or along the flap could have provided a crease to help the bag fold closed cleanly, but these have been omitted. The only other quick access zippered pouch is located inside of the folded flap, making it actually more difficult to get to than the main pocket.
On the material, while being waterproof, it will transfer. I've removed my computer a few times to notice black smudges on it's surface. These seem to wipe off, but I can't imagine its good for the bag. Also, this bag is not lined, padded, or compartmentalized. Meaning whatever you put into the bag, you will feel through the bag. I opted for a sleeve for my laptop to provide some measure of protection and avoid the vinyl transfer.
The bag looks cool and has a big Filson logo on it which is basically all you are paying (a premium) for. If you are okay with that and don't expect too much. then this is an okay bag. However there are much better bags at cheaper price points you should consider.
very waterproof + simplicity-focused
- Familiarity: I've used it several times
I was super excited to hear that Filson and Backcountry were sending me some gear to test out. I've been putting this Dry messenger bag through the wringer in the form of NYC winter's gross, messy death knell. It was a pretty perfect environment for testing.
So let's talk about bags for a sec. I'm already a bit married to Mission Workshop's portage solutions, but it was really nice to experience and use a bag that approaches design from a different angle. At the end of the day, the following things really matter to me when it comes with bags:
Waterproof. A not-waterproof everyday bag is nigh-useless to me. I regularly carry a laptop and DSLR with me, and I want to know that my bag can, without question, protect my gear from the elements. It's a non-negotiable.
Useable volume: my normal setup consists of a laptop, charger, DSLR, moleskine, water bottle, pens, and a buttload of USB chargers and peripherals. I need a bag that can easily fit this stuff in and orderly way.
Compartments: a separate laptop compartment is important to me, as are smaller compartments for knicknacks. I'm not about everything getting mixed up in one compartment. It's a recipe for PANDEMONIUM.
Durability: I want it to last for a few years at least.
Stable strap system: I ride bikes and motorcycles a fair bit, so I tend to skew to a backpack configuration. If I go messenger style, I really like to see a stabilizer/chest strap included in the design.
So with that in mind, I found Filson's dry bag to be a simple, rugged, and waterproof approach to the traditional messenger bag setup. The bag is pretty much entirely made out of vinyl-coated polyester that is indeed very waterproof. How do I know? I packed it with dry clothes and left it out on my balcony overnight during one of our trademark ice/snow/rain storms. Wouldn't you know- everything was dry as a bone. so well done there.
The bag is a good size, and could in fact fit a laptop and a DSLR. However, with only two compartments, I do find myself missing additional compartmentalization. A separate laptop compartment would be clutch.
The bag sits well on my back, and while I haven't ridden it on a moto or bicycle yet, I find myself wishing for a stabilizer chest strap to ensure that the bag doesn't rotate while riding. In the next few weeks I'll take it for a test ride on my bike to see if the lack of a strap is an issue. The bag's strap system is great for walking around and commuting, though, so no worries there.
If anything, this bag was a really nice way for me to experiment with simplicity. I tend to be a gearhead and love functionality, so it was refreshing to wear a bag that is both minimal and constructed with durability in mind. This bag is ready to be beaten up, and I'm looking forward to putting it in my regular rotation. I don't think it'll fully replace my backpack setup, but as a weekend/walk about town setup it performs wonderfully.