Ducti High Voltage Messenger Bag

Ok boys and girls, gather round because it’s time for another gear bag review! I am a total gear bag freak, so I never tire of trying new ones. The latest one to grace my shoulder is the Ducti High Voltage Messenger Bag. If you’ve not heard of Ducti, they are the same company that brought you the now famous duct tape wallets. The High Voltage Messenger Bag isn’t made of duct tape though, it’s a multi-pocketed canvas bag with an urban style.

The urban styling comes from the Orange and Black shoulder strap with the words HIGH VOLTAGE emblazoned on it. It certainly is eye catching! Other versions of this bag include ones with a Yellow and Black strap with the words DO NOT CROSS POLICE LINE, and one with a Red and Black strap with the words DANGER.

The front flap of the bag has no pockets on the outside or underside, and is held closed with one snap magnet. Yay, no Velcro here! The adjustable strap is constructed of a mesh material, with a soft vinyl outer layer stitched to it with the print.

This bag has a 10″ x 13″” x 2″ inch vertical orientation and is comfortable to wear slung over one shoulder, or bandolier style. The back of the bag has a grab handle (a feature I personally want in all of my gear bags), with a large strip of Velcro directly below it. I’m unsure what the reason is to have Velcro in this area, but hey, whatever. The only problem I can foresee, is that if you would wear this bag while also wearing a soft sweater, the Velcro will most likely become attached to it.

On each side there are 3 tubes (for lack of a better word). These tubes have open bottoms, which I find odd. I suppose that you could use them to carry items that have a strong clip, like a flashlight.

If you flip open the flap, you’ll see the arrangement of pockets. This bag has 7 pockets not including the 6 tubes. On the outside of the outermost pocket, are 2 metal attachment points. There is a flat slot thingy, that you could maybe use to attach something with a belt clip. The other attachment point is a metal loop that you could hook your keychain on.

Let’s take a pocket tour. The main compartment is big enough (10 x 14 inches) to hold a whole stack of full sized magazines, and even my 12″ Powerbook. Of course this bag doesn’t make a very good laptop bag, given the fact that it has only very thin padding in the back wall of the main compartment. I suppose you could put your laptop into a protective sleeve first though. The flap and back wall of the main compartment are lined in nylon.

Sewn to the outside of the main compartment, is the next biggest pocket. It’s actually a large pocket with a divider that separates it into two 9″ x 5″ x 2″ inch pockets. On the back wall of this cavity there are thick canvas loops. There are two loops per pocket. All I can say is that Ducti sure likes loops!

In front of that pocket is a similar pocket configuration… a smaller pocket that has been divided into 2 separate pockets that are about 4.5″ x 5.5″ x 1″ inches in size.

But wait, there’s more! Three more flat pockets are located on the outer layer. The two outer pockets are 2″ x 4.5″, and the middle pocket is 3″ x 4.5″ inches.

In the picture above, I have most of my everyday carry items installed into this bag. The main compartment has my 2 Waterfield pouches. The next 2 pockets have my blood glucose monitor and a Waterfield iPod pouch. One more layer up, we have my Waterfield wallet (hmmmm, are we noticing a trend here?) in one pocket and my Treo 650 in the next. Finally in the outermost pockets I store little stuff like my Cardo Systems scala-500 Bluetooth headset.

When the bag is all loaded down with gear, it is still comfortable to carry on your shoulder as I’m doing here. And even though the shoulder strap is not padded, it is comfy and doesn’t seem to slip around as you walk.

The Ducti High Voltage Messenger bag is a trendy styled bag that can accommodate a good sized pile of gear, while remaining comfortable to carry around for an extended period of time. If I could improve this bag, I would add some extra padding to the main compartment, swap the loops on the sides for actual pockets, and maybe add a thin pocket for papers and magazines to the outside of the back wall.

This bag will not replace my current favorite everyday bag because it’s not quite large enough for all my extra stuff. It’s also not quite my style since I’m no longer a teen or even a 20 something ;o) Ducti needs to make a plain one for us old fuddy duddies :o)

 

Product Information

Price:49.99
Manufacturer:Ducti
Retailer:FractalSpin
Pros:
  • 7 pockets and 6 slots
  • Comfortable
Cons:
  • Slots have no bottom
  • Main compartment lacks padding
Posted in: Gear

{ 7 comments… add one }

  • Julie August 4, 2006, 3:06 am

    Post your comments on the Ducti High Voltage Messenger Bag review.

    http://www.the-gadgeteer.com/review/ducti_high_voltage_messenger_bag

    Just click the POST REPLY button on this page.

    1
  • moldor August 4, 2006, 3:22 am

    I want one of these with Police Crime Scene tape on it….

    Actually, I have a roll of it at home – I used it around the garden a few weeks ago when I was doing some digfging and the neighbors almost had heart failure !

    Jon

    2
  • scribe54 August 4, 2006, 7:25 am

    Kudos on your close for this review, Julie! If they stopped trying to be so trendy with the strap, and just came out with a great bag that didn’t shout, it might actually be trendy!

    And even before you said it, I saw that distinctive pattern of the Waterfield cases! I have everything from the wallet to my (prehistoric) third generation iPod case to several other cases. Wouldn’t leave home without ‘em! (And no, I don’t work there!)

    Scribe54

    3
  • bonmot August 4, 2006, 10:24 pm

    Thanks (as always) for the review Julie. One thing to note — I went to the Ducti site and the version they are displaying has a strip of silver Duct tape (or something that looks like it) as an accent on the front flap. I personally prefer the style w/o the silver on the front. See http://www.ducti.com/handbags.html for a picture of alternate model.

    I was so inspired by your review that I called a distributor of the product to see if they could tell what version they had. The CSR actually went to the stockroom and checked their inventory. No silver. I ordered one (the black “danger” bag).

    Mike

    4
  • Julie August 4, 2006, 10:27 pm

    bonmot:

    I also noticed the silver (duct tape perhaps?) strip on the bag images on the Ducti site. FractalSpin is the company that sent the bag to me to reveiw, thier pictures don’t have the strip. Strange…

    Let me know what you think of the bag once you get it. :)

    5
  • gremlin_591002 August 4, 2006, 10:28 pm

    Fifty bucks in a lot of money for taking the cheapest canvas tool belt on the market, dropping a flap on it and adding a nifty shoulder strap. That’s why it has the tubular loops, it’s for good rubber handled screwdrivers. And the little metal bit is for putting your tape measure on it. My tool bag looks almost exactly like it, of course my tool back weighs almost 60 pounds and allows me to take apart anything that might catch my fancy. :wow:

    6
  • bonmot August 5, 2006, 12:25 am

    gremlin,

    I see where you’re coming from. Fans of the show 24 are clammoring for a canvas book bag similar to Jack Bauer’s man bag on the TV show 24. Check this out: http://thesatchelpages.com/where-to-buy-jack-bauers-24-hour-messenger-bag/. Now this really is a bargain. Unfortunately, nobody has one available due to its popularity. I doubt Ducti has added enough value over the $25 Jack Bauer bag (which is also canvas) to make it worth the price from the perspective of materials cost.

    Here’s an alternate perspective, though. True messenger bags (which admittedly are larger and truly waterproof) can cost anywhere from $85-200. The preferred material of choice in real messenger bags is nylon, but these Ducti canvas bags offer much of the same functionality and cost a lot less. Your tool bag was a steal in comparison.

    See some of the products here http://www.messmedia.org/messenger-bags.html. For me, the hardcore details in fabric and long-term comfort on a bike are less important than # of pockets and a flap, as I’ll be walking with the bag, not riding with it. Manhattan portage offers a bag with similar dimensions for a little less http://www.manhattanportage.com/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=95, but I think the distinctive style of the Ducti gives it the nod. I also lust after the Chrome Mini Metrohttp://www.chromebags.com/minimetro.php, which offers much greater capacity and a seat buckle clasp on the strap. But from what I’ve read on discussion forums, while it is very comfortable for bicyclists (where the weight of the bag is on top of your hunched-over back), it is not a good choice for pedestrians. Regardless, the look of it is freakin’ cool.

    I’m glad that the gadgeteer reviews a wide variety of bags so that every consituency is represented. I’m probably paying too much for what I will get, but everyone does that from time to time.

    Mike

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