If you're like us, you get pretty frustrated trying to compare messenger bags by looking at some little dinky photos on your computer screen.We want to see big pictures, We want photos of the inside, of all the pockets - We want to as come as close as we can to feeling and smelling the bag.

So, from that thought we've tried to do the next best thing - test them ourselves. So we wrote all of these manufacturers and selected a good representation of bags to wear commuting, wear on trips around towm, and carry laptops and six packs and books and stuff.

What we've selected with this group of bags are generally bags around 2,500 cu in in a variety of colors and shoulder strap arrangements. Most of these bags will get used by 3 or 4 different riders and each will, no doubt, have a preference or two.

One of the most important things that we discovered in testing these bags is size - as in maximum size. A bag works best and is the most comfortable if the bag's length matches your back's size measured diagonally. Too big and any bag doesn't want to stay put, too small? Then you'll have limited capacity.

So grab a microbrew, hunker down over your screen, and find the bag that fits you the best. And if you still can't make a decision all of these bags will be at the Symposium so that you'll truly be able to feel and smell 'em.

Under The Weather (added August, 2006)

Model: Messential
Size: One size
Measurement: 16"x14"x8"
Capacity: 29L = 1,769 cu in.
Material: Multi-layer w/ tarp liner
Style: Angle Bag
Left/Right: No
Stabilizer Strap: Yes
Ext Pockets: 1
Int Pockets: 1 removal
Laptop Pocket: No.
Padded Back: Yes, option.
Extras: Padded back - $25 CDN
MSRP: $155 CDN - as tested $215CDN ($189 USD)

Manufacturer: Under The Weather
Address: Montreal, Canada
Website: www.under-the-weather.ca

Jandd

click on image to see review

Model: Hurricane
Size: Iniki (large)
Measurements: 12.75" x 18" x 7.75"
Capacity: 2,525 cu in.
Material: 1000d Cordura w/ laminated vinyl + Supertex.
Style: Shoulder Bag
Left/Right: Reversible
Stabilizer Strap: Yes
Ext Pockets: 2
Int Pockets: 3
Laptop Pocket: Optional
Padded Back: No
Extras: None
Weight: 2# 8oz.
MSRP: $87.95

Manufacturer: Jandd Mountaineering
Address: Vista, California
Website: www.jandd.com

Banjo Brothers

click on image to see review

Model: # 01050
Size: One Size
Measurements: 18" x 14" x 8"
Capacity: 2,000 cu in.(adv) looks more like 2,200.
Material: Coated Nylon Tarp
Style: Angle Bag
Left/Right: Left
Stabilizer Strap: Yes
Ext Pockets: 4 under flap
Int Pockets: 2
Laptop Pocket: No, but sleeve included.
Padded Back: No
Extras: None
Weight: 2# 9oz.
MSRP: $79.95

Manufacturer: Banjo Brothers
Address: Edina, MN
Website: www.banjobrothers.com

Timbuk2

click on image to see review

Model: Classic Messenger
Size: X-Large
Measurements: 26" x 14" x 9"
Capacity: 3,067 cu in.
Material: Ballistic Cloth - tarp liner.
Style: Shoulder Bag
Left/Right: Reversible
Stabilizer Strap: Yes
Ext Pockets: 2
Int Pockets: 6 on interior panel.
Laptop Pocket: Separate
Padded Back: No
Extras: Strap Pad $10.
Weight: 2# 13oz.
MSRP: $90.00

Manufacturer: TimBuk2
Address: San Francisco, California
Website: www.timbuk2.com

BaileyWorks

click on image to see review

Model: SuperPro 2000
Size: XLarge
Measurements: 19" x 13" x 9"
Capacity: 2,162 cu in (adv) we say 2,400
Material: Cordura shell, Ballistics bottom, truck tarp liner.
Style: Angle Bag
Left/Right: Reversible
Stabilizer Strap: Yes
Ext Pockets: 2 plus inner
Int Pockets: 5
Laptop Pocket: No
Padded Back: No
Extras: Custom options available.
Weight: 3# 0oz.
MSRP: $159.00

Manufacturer: Jonathan Bailey
Address: Portsmouth, NH
Website: www.baileyworks.com

Chrome

click on image to see review

Model: Messenger Bag
Size: Metropolis (Large)
Measurements: 26 x 14 x 7
Capacity: 2,548 cu in (adv) (we say 2,000)
Material: Cordura + truck tarp liner.
Style: Angle Bag
Left/Right: Left, rights available.
Stabilizer Strap: Yes
Ext Pockets: 3
Int Pockets: 2
Laptop Pocket: No
Padded Back: No
Extras: Standard bag.
Weight: 3# 0oz.
MSRP: $ 130.00

Manufacturer: Chrome Industries
Address: San Francisco, California
Website: www.chromebags.com

R.E.Load

click on image to see review

Model: DeLuxe
Size: Large
Measurements:
Capacity: 2,850 cu in.
Material: Cordura/Ballistic Base, tarp liner.
Style: Angle Bag
Left/Right: Reversible
Stabilizer Strap: Yes
Ext Pockets: 2
Int Pockets: 1
Laptop Pocket: No
Padded Back: No
Extras: Standard, many options available.
Weight: 4# 5oz.
MSRP: $165.00

Manufacturer: R.E.Load Baggage Co.
Address: Philadelphia and Seattle
Website: www.reloadbags.com

Bagaboo

click on image to see review

Model: Messenger
Size: Large
Measurements: 63cm x 31cm x 26cm
Capacity: 33L = 2,013 cu in.
Material: 1000d Cordura - tarp liner.
Style: Angle Bag
Left/Right: Reversible
Stabilizer Strap: Yes
Ext Pockets: 5
Int Pockets: 6
Laptop Pocket: No
Padded Back: No
Extras: Inner zip pocket 4 euro, Whirlwind Design 10 euro.
Weight: 3# 10oz.
MSRP: 70 euro

Manufacturer: Bagaboo Bags
Address: Budapest, Hungary, EU
Website: www.bagaboo.hu

Timbuk2

click on image to see review

Model: Pro Messenger Backpack
Size: Large
Measurements: 19" x 17.5" x 7.5"
Capacity: 2,563
Material: Dimension-Polyant x-Pac VX21
Style: Backpack
Left/Right: 2 Shoulder + Sternum
Stabilizer Strap: Waist (removable)
Ext Pockets: 1 small
Int Pockets: 2 flat zip, multipen.
Laptop Pocket: No
Padded Back: Yes
Extras: Waist Strap is optional.
Weight: 2# 15oz.
MSRP: $140.00

Manufacturer: TimBuk2
Address: San Francisco, California
Website: www.timbuk2.com

Jandd

click on image to see review

Model: Gabriel
Size: One Size
Measurements: 16.5" x 17" x 6"
Capacity: 3,044/3,470*
Material: Coated Cordura.
Style: Rear Hip
Left/Right: Either
Stabilizer Strap: Waist Strap
Ext Pockets: 6
Int Pockets: None
Laptop Pocket: Optional
Padded Back: Yes
Extras: None.
Weight: 3# 0oz.
MSRP: $94.95

Manufacturer: Jandd Mountaineering
Address: Vista, California
Website: www.jandd.com
* Jandd measures their bags by filling up everything with pinto beans and then measuring their volume. This bag has more external pockets than most of the others and a greater advertised volume.