Messenger Bags

Looking at messenger bags - wondering what you like, how you've customized it, and how you use it.

I ride bicycles so messenger bags are an EDC thing. Weekdays it carries bike stuff, water and coffee (elixirs of life!), and the daily misc things. Weekends I replace the bike stuff for pistols, mags, and ammo for trips to the range.

If I could design a perfect bag, it would be a cross between a Chrome Citizen and the Rothco "Jack Bauer" bag with the addition of integrated mag pouches (like a Snigel Designs bag).

Any chance you've seen something like that? I owned a Sneaky Bag (when they were still US made) and I'm not a fan. They work well as range gear but not as EDC kit.
I have a Timbuk2 messenger bag I have had since 2012

I really enjoy how it has the laptop section, and inside the laptop section there is padding in that section and two dividers with further padding with a central area for the laptop and two outer sections. Furthermore it has 2 velcro straps diving the nonlaptop portion into 3 sections.

I find its very convient to put a handgun in the middle potion of the bag towards the inside, ammo on the left and a small external battery, and an IFAK on the right. Add on a water bottle on the side drink pouch and its a pretty competent EDC setup

I recommend having the divided portion for the laptop and the regular bag because even if you don't have a laptop, 1. its good for documents, and 2. you can carry your EDC type stuff in there and carry your regular everyday stuff in the main pouch

Also I would recommend having a padded sling if your going to be wearing it for awhile with anything more then a couple pounds in it. On my messenger/laptop bag when using it as an over-night bag and carry on I have found it to be very useful, and that seat belt strap while it might be stylish on the Chrome citizen seems like a pain in the ass if you are carrying a bunch of stuff on it.
I guess it depends where you live. In some areas it might not stand out. In mine a backpack is far more common.

In terms of wanting more stuff on the Rothco type bag. It wouldn’t be too big of a deal to put some pouches on the inside either via Velcro or glue. Especially at that generally low price point if you are willing to play with it you could make something entirely yours (if willing to have a ghetto rigged solution).
I've been using a Mission Design Rummy for a bit (as in several years) now. Added a stiff panel in the main compartment with the soft stuff for the old BFG org pouches to stick to for some internal organization. Have a carabiner on the chest strap that both tends the tail when the chest strap is tightened down, and gives me a handle that makes it easier to grab and pull to tighten down. Love the fast tightening/loosening of the chest strap. No real way for super fast gun access without mods, but otherwise works great as a bag. Waterproof, can use as a rolltop if you need it to be bigger. Lacks full quick release if that is a requirement. Overall I love it though. Definitely doesn't profile as tacticool (because it ain't).


Regular Member
Chrome. Went to the Chrome store in The Mission (City of SF) with my previous (Tenba) bag and all my stuff, tried a lot of things, inserts, etc. Ended up buying off the shelf though they make them to order as well, but worth the playing with it in person. If you are in a city with a messenger culture, see if you can find a local dealer (or small maker) of whatever the messengers carry.

Now getting to 5 years old I guess, and it looks as new as when I got it. And I have totally not coddled it, been to several countries, rained on, had bottles of juice explode in it (and cleaned off then) and so on.

Not nondescript (I got it before they did the black buckles and that stands out) but no one asks what's in it. Even when badly overloaded with the camera and all. It's clearly my briefcase.


Regular Member
I have a laptop insert that clips in some odd way so you can secure stuff to the bag if you wanted, but since I got mine:
All new Chrome messenger bags have hook and loop mounting strips inside the bag to secure [stuff].
Not sure how big or where, but it's there. I'd think for the layout that a dapper panel (if you can find one the right size) would be a good choice.

The other thing is that my messenger bag has a long flat pocket in front of the main compartment, totally sealed when the cover is secured It is arranged so you can reach in gaps at either end and grab stuff; I have things like an Izzy in one end. But... in the middle it is held together with velcro. Such that it looks sewn, not like it comes apart.

If you had a moderately flat gun, I'd think about something akin to a pocket holster in there; I mean, a holster, but big and square and flat so it stays in place in there with no extra worries. Tear open the velcro, gun and stuff readily available.

Pat Tarrant

Custom testicles
Staff member
I've been carrying around a Hill People Gear Attache for about a year. Sized for a 15" laptop with a padded laptop pocket. The other pocket is lined with First Spear 6/12 for running pouches, cordage, holsters, etc. I keep a VG3 in it to hold a variety of handguns, an admin pouch, micro IFAK in a BFG Boo-Boo pouch, and a double 10-Speed pistol pouch with a spare G17 mag and flashlight.

It's relatively small, light, and not bulky at all. I usually slide it in front of my drivers seat (between the seat and my legs) in the car where I don't notice it at all. The laptop pocket can be used for a laptop, tablets, or whatever paperwork you want to carry around. Simple beveled rectangular shape, and comes in various colors. Bonus points is that it fits in (docks) with their larger backpacks easily.