Phil Wenneck: You’re not really wearing that are you?
Alan Garner: Wearing what?
Phil Wenneck: The man purse. You actually gonna wear that or are you just *****’ with me?
Alan Garner: It’s where I keep all my things. Get a lot of compliments on this. Plus it’s not a purse, it’s called a satchel. Indiana Jones wears one.
Phil Wenneck: So does Joy Behar. The Hangover – 2009
Hokay, confession time. I love my gadget bags. Call them what you will, man-bag, satchel, man-purse, murse , there’s nothing more useful when you’re out an about, even as a bloke. My three teenage boys give me hell over my satchels all the time, but I like the messenger concept as you don’t actually have to stop, take it off, get something out, put it back on like you do when you use a backpack. You can just swing it around to access things, even on the move. This is especially useful during photographic expeditions.
While I’ve owned bags by Crumpler, STM, Saddleback Leather and others, my currently used bags are all Timbuk2. But with 2 ( larger ) Medium Classics that basically do work duty and travel duty where I need that extra bit of space and one X-Small Classic which is basically my camera bag, I needed something a bit smaller. Something to just chuck my Samsung Galaxy Tab 7″, Kindle, Panasonic G2, Moleskine Cashier notebook, Fisher Bullet Space Pen, Leatherman Squirt PS4, Saddleback Small Wallet, Hohner Blues Harp ( in Key of A ) and HTC Desire Phone in when I’m out and about. I can also just throw the bag in the car ready packed so I can amuse myself while I’m waiting for the boys to finish their tennis, soccer, dancing, cricket, drama ……( the list just goes on and on ).
The Eula is a customised bag only, so no stock colours or materials. The Timbuk2 customiser works really well, and while it does cost a little more to do a custom build, you can personalise your own bag for that unique blend of materials and colours. It is worth noting too that most of the stock bags or products they sell are manufactured and imported from Asia, but any custom product you design and purchase is manufactured in their San Francisco factory.
With the Eula you’ve got a choice of 5 options:
- Front Flap Material and Colour
- Base Material and Colour
- Binding Colour
- Logo Colour
- Inside Liner Colour
While I know that ballistic nylon is the ruggedest and best-wearing material, in my old age I’ve started appreciating more classic materials like waxed canvas or leather. I really like the way that these materials “age”. My two medium messengers are in Olive Green and Dark Brown canvas respectively so I figured I’d go for the Black Canvas for both panels, with Potrero logo and Grey liner. Surely this will result in a nice neutral and ”manly” bag.
So how does the Eula differ from their standard X-Small Classic Messenger ? ( Click on the photos for larger images )
The Eula (on the left) is a bit more refined and looks a lot less “urban adventure” than their classic messengers primarily because there’s no clips or straps to close off the front flap. Size-wise the XS Messenger is 12.8″ X 8.9″ X 5.1″ compared with the Eula at 12.0″ X 8.5″ X 3.5″ ( W X H X D), so slightly smaller. It is worth noting however that the XS Messenger actually tapers width wise down to 10.4″ at the base while the Eula is consistently 12.0″. Why’s this important ? It means you can fit an A4 size magazine/pad/brochure ( 8.27 × 11.69 ) without having to bend the bottom edges like you do on with the XS messenger.
You can see the difference between the ballistic nylon (top) and canvas (bottom). To me the canvas is much more “old time” and appealing.
The strap doesn’t include their signature quick release buckle or memory-adjust True Fit cam buckle (on the right) and is made of a much lighter webbing.
No external pockets at all, and you can see here the closing mechanism…..more Timbuk2 Velcro heaven The bag has Timbuk2′s standard TPU waterproof liner ( my other bags have kept stuff like my camera gear dry even through tropical downpours many a time ), and this coupled with the flat bottom means the bag stands by itself even when empty. You can see here I’ve added the optional matching waxed canvas strap pad.
Inside the front is the Timbuk2 standard organizer, which by my count has 14 seperate pockets. A couple of them are also lined in a soft grey material to stop scratching. Great to organise all those little bits and pieces.
There’s also the option to have a center divider pocket built in. You can see that this gives you 3 discrete areas in the main bag ( albeit small discrete areas ) . In reality it’s just two additional pieces of fabric sewn in to create the pocket. Normally I use these to seperate out magazines, brochures or paperwork from the rest of the stuff in my bag.
Above is the stuff I’d normally carry around with me. ( Note: there’s 3 pieces of Saddleback Leather there…another of my obsessions….or if it’s leather should that be another of my fetishes ? )
You can see everything fits in pretty well into the bag. I was a bit worried originally given the smaller depth to the bag, but it’s pretty much perfect. The wallet, phone, notebook, pen, Leatherman, and harp are in the front pocket. There’s still quite a bit of room for a water bottle, small umbrella, or similar.
So far the bag’s done me well. It’s discrete, fits everything in it, and (hopefully) doesn’t look too girly
In terms of criticisms:
- It appears that the waxed canvas seems to catch dust and hair a bit, you can even see it in some of the pictures. My other bags don’t have this issue so it might just be the black. I’ll see how it goes as the wax coating wears down a bit more.
- Having only the Velcro closure may be an issue for some noise-wise but there’s not much you can do about it since it’s the only mechanism to keep the bag closed. On my other messengers I’ve used more Velcro to cover over ( at least one of ) the closures so you don’t get ( so much of ) that RIPPPPPPPP sound when you open your bag, but that’s fine because on the Classics you can close the bags with the clips. I think the old Velcro sound is something you either love or hate ( or at least tolerate ).Perhaps a magnetic closure might be better (or at least quieter).
- You can see in the photos that on the front flap you can see lines where the Velcro is sewn in underneath. I’m not sure if this will get worse as time goes on, but again just have to wait and see.
- It’d be nice if it had the single pocket organiser with Napolean pocket on the front like their XS Messenger so you could have some storage you could get to without having to open the flap.
One of the biggest “issues” for International customers is that Timbuk2 charges a flat $30 base rate for International Shipping ( then $5 per additional bag ) which can make it a bit expensive and often uneconomical if ordering single, smaller, and cheaper bags. But Australians ( and I’m sure other Internationals ) are used to this, and this time I ordered a few other things as well so the shipping “evened out” a bit. I realize that vendors have to use reliable and safe methods of shipping, but I’d be more than willing to wait a bit more time for a lower shipping rate. Using their standard UPS is fast and trackable, so you are getting extra value for the extra money. I must admit though that so far I’ve never lost anything on the long 12,500+ km trip from the US to Australia using USPS, which normally takes about 2 weeks, but then I’ve also had to wait up to 6 weeks for packages to arrive. ( Timbuk2′s UPS expedited took 4 days. ) :P
Just as a final note on Timbuk2 , they’re a small company that still has an old-fashioned philosophy of supporting the products they sell. I had an issue with my existing bags, and even though I’m 12,500 kms away, they managed to solve my issue to my satisfaction in a quick and timely fashion, at a ( not unsubstantial ) cost to themselves (that’s how I ended up with the Eula ). It really does make a nice change from the way a lot of companies treat their customers these days.
No matter how much I’m ridiculed by my kids and wife ( guess where her shopping normally ends up when we’re on holidays…yep in my ridiculous man bag ), I find the use of a messenger both convenient and useful and the Eula looks like it’ll be just right for my EDC. Anyway who knows, your satchel might just save your life one day when you have to free your hands of that stolen idol so you can run properly while a giant boulders comes at you down the tunnel
Edit: With the Eula I purchased a XS Snoop Messenger Insert to go with my XS Classic Messenger. The insert actually fits into the Eula as well. I can swap the insert between the two to give me two different camera bags