Pages

Thursday, November 19

Wet shit/Dry shit

My new messenger bag will be on its way from Hungary, Budapest today. Although I woulda hoped that my last bag woulda been my last bag EVER I felt like it was time to let it go.

The Team Dicky edition bag has worn out to the point where I feel it's time is over. Sadly it will soon join a few others that I've held onto from the past to use for road trips and brocerie runs. Holes in the top of the flap have rendered the bag sieve-like on rainy days, and I just have a hard time handing people wet packages.

I have thrown a lot of bags over my shoulder since I ran my first job back in1996, but they all had to go for one reason or another. My first bag was an all black Timbuk2. My employer at the time (City Bike) required that we leave our bags at the office every evening after our shifts and pick them up the next morning, so obviously when I left that job I left that bag behind. My next bag was another employer supplied Timbuk2 that I quickly outgrew. I was carrying too much bulky shit around that wouldn't fit in the bag, so I ordered a bigger one. Enter the Timbuk2 Tag Junkie.

The Tag Junkie was a great, simple bag. After a few years it was showing the signs of use, and I had to take a needle and thread to it quite often. When I asked Timbuk2 how they felt about replacing the bag with their lifetime warranty they asked me if I felt I had got a decent lifetime's use out of the bag... in other words, "NO free bag for you". I asked if I could get a new Tag Junkie at a discount, but they let me know they stopped making the Tag Junkie since it was only something like 1% of their sales, and the only people buying them were messengers. Really. So I bought the next size down they offered at a discount, hated it, sold it, and used the money to buy a Chrome Kremlin.

The Chrome was HUGE, and had some great features. The inner liner was not sewn in with the outer layers of the bag, so water had a hard time getting into it. Unfortunately the bag had a coupla big downsides. It covered my entire back, and in the summer I ended up getting a sweet case of bacne (back acne). Also when the bag was fully loaded the phone holder ended up on the back of my left shoulder which made answering the phone kinda difficult. I used the Chrome until the liner started to fall apart and then upgraded to a PAC Designs.

I spent a shitload of money on the PAC, something like $250. It was the best designed bag I had ever seen, but all three layers (thick outer cordura, truck tarp liner, and inner cordura) were sewn together which pulled water into the bag via the shared seam. I ripped the inner layer out of the bag which reduced the bags capillary action, but increased the rate of wear and tear on the tarp liner. The PAC Designs bag lasted the longest yet, but once I got frustrated with wet packages I let it go, and bought my first Bagaboo.

I loved my Bagaboo for a whole bunch of reasons, but mostly because the guy behind the bags (Tamas) doesn't mind adding little custom touches. The Team Dicky Edition bag only lasted two years though, as the outer layer of cordura wore through (which is a first on any bag I owned). I contacted Tamas to give him some feedback on the bag, and he informed me that he had upgraded the outer layer to a "better, tougher Cordura". Since I was kind enough to send him feedback instead of anger and demands he offered me a discount on a new bag.

I took him up on it. Even though things at work currently suck, and my job is probably teetering on the brink as much as anybody's I decided it was worth the investment. I added a few new features to the bag, and got rid of the ones I found superfluous on my old one. The vanity plate flap is gone. I just couldn't justify the expense this go around, and I have to admit I'm kinda sick of myself being that I'm everywhere I look now. Instead I got some blinkie mounts where they make sense and an entirely incognito black color scheme so I can blend in at hipster conventions.

Gone are the long straps to keep the bag closed when loaded. They hardly got used, and they just kept snagging on hooked door handles causing an occasional clumsy exit from time to time. I've got a short piece of webbing that hooks onto any of the four D-rings to keep it closed if I need it. Once again I left off the main flap closure velcro as it stops working after the first year of real messenger use on any bag.

Last but not least.... an exterior water bottle holder since the Fastest Bike in the World has zero water bottle mounts.

I have to admit that in almost the same amount of time I've been working uptown Big Worm has had only two bags (that I remember). While our time in the bush only differs by a year or so, and he's brilliantly figured out a way to make full time pay with part time work for the last mess of years he's soldiered on with that same bag for over a decade. It looks more like a worn out blue potato sack with a piece of webbing stitched to it, but it is the oldest bag in the Queen City that has seen daily use. I asked him the other day how he keeps his shit dry, and he said "I don't". Dumbfounded by his smart reply I probably changed the topic of conversation to the war in Afghanistan or something less controversial. I must say I envy his conviction, but definitely not his wet shit.

9 comments:

Billy Fehr said...

closer to 8 months than a year...

cornfed said...

How do you feel about handling wet people's packages?

Big Bikes said...

Worst messenger bag ever — those Ortlieb monstrosities: they weighed more than most people's loaded bags while empty; they made your back hot as hell; they blocked your field of vision (when you looked over your left shoulder, all you saw was bag and more bag); and although they were kayak-waterproof, as soon as you dropped them on the elevator floor to open them (which you had to do due to the two strap design) all the outside water would poor inside...into the cavernous unsegmented abyss, creating a swimming pool for your client's documents.

Although I do have one fond memory of that bag: it was the bag I was wearing when some jaywalker talked some smack to me and I just patted my bag and said, "Hey buddy, I got a whole bag of shut the fuck up right here!"

Albeit a kind of crappy bag of shut the fuck up.

-t

Billy Fehr said...

Corn Fed-I have never delivered a wet person's package...

AdamB said...

I am now feeling guilty that I set up the KB-TD interview at SM100.
It is such a shame that you are sick of seeing your name everywhere... please forgive me and I forgive your wet package.

dicky said...

Tut tut BW...

Nine months with City Bike, three months with Holt...then throw in your sabbaticals...

I got a year on you rookie.

bentcrank said...

Imagine that, a messenger bag being purchased by messengers, humm.

Anonymous said...

I switched from Timbuk2 (uncomfortable and wore out quickly) to Chrome for a few years (way better strap system and closure options), but for the past two years I’ve been using the Ortlieb bag w/ the double-strap. I agree w/ Big Bikes that it adds a potentially deadly blind spot, but I’ve adapted, and I haven’t had the puddle-in-the-bag problem for some reason. Wet stays out, weight is distributed on both shoulders, and I haven’t had issues w/ space, ever. I needed a double-strap bag after getting hit by a car and developing back problems. This seemed to be the best option. It’s all about preference, I have a friend who hates it, but for me it works. Peace.

dougyfresh said...

I love my Baileyworks Super Pro.