Review: Slappa's Transit Messenger Bag has a sweet design and an immense carrying capacity
Here’s a tip: Don’t carry Slappa’s Transit Messenger Bag unless you’re prepared to get a constant barrage of compliments, questions, and remarks from strangers. The first week I carried the bag around San Francisco, I got seven compliments on it— in one day— and I quickly lost count of how many people flagged me down at CTIA to ask what kind of bag it was or to exclaim on its design. However, the Transit Messenger isn’t just a looker, it’s also an ample bag capable of carrying a generous amount of gear.
Much like Slappa’s Jedi Mask gaming backpack, the Transit Messenger bag is not messing around: Made from a water-resistant poly coated 1680D nylon with a three gallon main storage section, a super cush padded 16” laptop compartment, and several zippered pockets with molded alloy zipper pulls, the Transit was able to carry everything I needed for four days at a trade show (no easy feat). The main section also has a zippered pouch to hold smaller items such as keys, flash drives, or wallets while the front panel of the bag has two large storage pockets ideal for tablets, power cords, books, or accessories. The front panel has a second zippered pouch which reveals small pockets useful for holding pens, cell phones, business cards, or personal items.
Like the rest of Slappa’s line up, the Transit features Slappa’s patented MASK technology, which enables the user to change the front flap of the bag between six custom designs created with help from NYC-based painter PESU. The front flap can be switched out by simply zipping one design off and another on; the front flap also contains yet another small zippered pouch which is ideal for keys, bus passes, and cell phones. (For the record, I carried the Tokyo Subway Map design).
The Transit carried all the gear and gadgets I needed for my trip; I had plenty of room to pack in all my necessary items and I was impressed by how much I was able to cram into the bag. The pockets and pouches made it exceptionally easy to organize all my smaller items like flash drives, pens, cables, and business cards so I could easily access anything I needed. The cushioned laptop compartment made it easy to carry and access my ultrabook— and is nicely concealed on the back of the bag, so there’s no obvious sign that you’re toting around an expensive laptop.
A few qualms however, the first being that Slappa makes big bags— great if you’re a six-foot tall bike messenger, however, if like me, you’re on the shorter side it can look a bit comical to carry a bag that is literally as large as your torso. It can also be a bit cumbersome: Even when the straps were adjusted, the bag didn't always sit entirely along my back but hovered a bit lower, near my waist. The padded portion of the strap had a tendency to slip around while I walked; I would have liked an option to secure it into one place. But my biggest issue was that after a week of moderate use, the lining developed a slight rip— pretty disappointing as the bag is otherwise solidly made and withstood a good amount of abuse. Slappa has assured me that this is not a common problem, but does sometimes happen when a seam is cut and sewn too close which causes it to pull out, something that affects perhaps one bag in a thousand. They also have a 180-day warrant that will provide a repair or replacement of any defective product, should you be affected. Despite that, the Transit impressed with its design and huge carrying capacity.
Things I carried in this bag during CTIA: one 13” ultrabook, one laptop charger, one Ethernet adaptor, three pairs of headphones, one sunglass case with aviators, one iPod, six pens, one package travel Kleenex, one promotional cleaning cloth in case, seven USB flash drives, two microSD cards, 23 business cards, three notebooks, one address book, two magazines (Rolling Stone, Bust), one pocketbook/wallet, one 7” x 4” make up bag, one DSLR, one DSLR manual for reference, one DSLR charger, one DSLR microUSB adapter, two smartphones (Lumia 900 and iPhone 4S), two smartphone charging cables with wall adapters, one handkerchief, one scarf.