Today I'm reviewing the Rothco Vintage Messenger Bag. The first thing I noticed about it was that it was something that had multiple uses. It's called a Messenger Bag and it certainly fits the bill there with its wide, comfortable and sturdy shoulder strap and flap style closure. It also has uses that include day trip bag, school bag, airplane carry on, and even daddy diaper bag. Yes, you read that right. I'm sure it isn't something most Monkey's might think about, but let’s face it, we're at the age where we are having kids and we either a) give up our outdoor hobbies or 2) find a way to include the munchkins, keep them safe and haul all the necessary gear about for you and them. The Rothco Messenger Bag fits that need as well.
I will have to note that it was at this point of my brainstorming session with my husband that he tried to hit the brakes. He insists that the Monkey is a camping site, not a mommy blog (no offense to the mommy blogs, they're great). Okay, so he's right, but I insist that our Monkey's aren't all guys. There are plenty of girl-monkeys out there who might prefer to hear about this aspect of the bag for themselves or their husbands. There certainly is a trend, I've noticed, toward more masculine diaper bags and I would even say this bag is far superior to the vinyl type available. It definitely has more longevity. What are you going to use the pink and brown polka-dot vinyl diaper bag for after your kid is out of that stage? Exactly. Nothing. This bag can transition seamlessly from diaper bag to trail bag in a blink of an eye. Besides, I know personally that I went through no less than 5 bags between my two children. The Rothco Messenger Bag would have lasted, no doubt.
I first used this to carry my tablet and notebooks and binders for my monthly gaming group (insert nerd-jokes here). No problems accommodating my gear and I had extra room for my husband's overflow. He has tons of gaming stuff and I could easily take his extra folders, dice bags and books. The thick carrying strap allowed me to carry the extra weight without becoming encumbered. (gamers, you're snickering aren't you?) So while it has no weight reduction properties, it does allow the weight you are carrying to be distributed nicely. I carried all my gear without a problem. Also, since I usually carry my bags over one shoulder, I should note this bag is probably meant to be carried in true messenger style: across the body. I did this as well and it is now my preferred carry method. My hands are free to do other things. Another detail Rothco added to this bag is a leather strap for carrying a water bottle, thermos, newspaper, or your jacket. I had no idea what the strap was for at first; it hangs off the side of the bag, but after my husband enlightened me, I thought it was a brilliant addition I've not seen on other bags.
The next time I used the bag was for my kid’s clothes for a visit to our friend’s home. We always wind up staying past bed time, so I threw in PJ's and when it was time to change, their day clothes were easily accommodated. (My girls are 9 and 5 so their clothes wouldn't take that much room anyway) I have also thrown a change of clothes for myself in the bag and they fit just fine as well.
One of the few drawbacks I could point out was the Velcro closure, which I don't like simply because they constantly get stuff in the hook part. I know Velcro is practical and functional, but it drives me crazy. For now it secures just fine, but I think a snap or magnet might have been a better option. Also, the bag has nice leather strap which prevents you from being able to toss this in the wash. Actually you probably could, but I wouldn't want to see the bag or your washer afterwards. These are certainly not points that would prevent me from using this bag. I think it's a great item.
Aside from its everyday carry uses, this bag could quite easily become a day hike bag. There is plenty of room for a small (or medium) sized first aid kit [another use: it could be a first aid bag], trail snacks, sunscreen, pocket tools, compass, or whatever it is you Monkeys bring into the woods. There is an outer zipper pocket on the bag that I use for my keys, phone and other items that I need to get to quickly.
The bag retails on the Camping Survival site for $84, and I've seen it available online at other sources as well. I think that this is a great pick for a bag that is practical, comfortable, stylish and has way more than one use. Whether this bag is used for clothes, computers, books or hiking gear, the Vintage Messenger Bag gets two thumbs up from this pink wearing, first-aid using, trail hiking mommy (who games and has to lug her husband’s stuff too).
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