Ogden Made Junction City Messenger Bag review

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I must admit. I really like having a bag. Whether a backpack, messenger bag, or sling bag. In high school I used three different backpacks in a school year. I own two large travel skate backpacks, both the same brand and model. I couldn’t choose between the color designs so I bought both of them. However, I did buy them used off of Ebay, so buying them both was like paying less than retail for a brand new one of them.  I must say that I got a pretty good deal. In addition to the travel backpacks, I own three sling bags and two messenger bags. And I still use them all. I just  switch out the bags depending on what I need them for. Now, I’m not claiming to be a bag expert but I know what I like. 

Right from the start, whether a backpack, sling bag, or messenger bag, that bag  has to catch my eye. A bag  just has to have that “it” factor for me. Everything from form to color to material and especially the number of pockets. I love compartments and pockets. The more the better. I’m about storage. It doesn’t have to have a ton of pockets but a fair amount.

The Ogden Made Junction City Messenger Bag looks like your typical messenger bag with its familiar large front flap but it does have an extra feature that I really like about it. But more on that later. Ogden Made bags started out as a Kickstarter crowdfunder project in Ogden, Utah and has grown since the start. Very cool. I will be reviewing the Medium size Junction City Messenger bag. There is also a Small Junction City bag however, there isn’t a Large size on their site.  One would think that the Medium would be the Large since there are only two sizes….

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And speaking of cool, when you visit their site you can customize the bag that you want with a large variety color combinations and have it designed for which shoulder configuration you will most likely wear it on, your right or left shoulder. I chose the Moonlight Silver On Moonlight Silver colors and selected my left shoulder as the side I would most carry the bag on. With all those  color combinations to choose from, you are bound to find at least one or two combinations you will like.

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The Ogden Made bag has some nice accents like the plastic buckles that hold the front flap down and the pull strings on the zipper . The pull strings, or cords, have a rubber sleeve around them for added strength. It feels like it would take a long time to wear them down and break. Plus it makes it easy to hold when you pull on it. The shoulder strap is wide and feels comfortable around my shoulder. The wider straps don’t feel like it is digging in to your shoulder after a while. The wider strap helps distributes any pressure over a wider surface minimizing the pressure point fatigue.

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However, when it come to pockets and compartments, I feel like the Junction City Messenger falls short of the desired number of pockets I look for in a bag. Don’t get me wrong, there are several pockets inside the bag itself, unfortunately, these pocket are less than what I expected. The pockets inside the bag are generic at best. There are two decent sized pockets that have smaller pockets or slots inside them.

I  have certain criteria for owning bags and having compartments and/or pockets that close somehow is an issue for me. Since I sometimes use my messenger bag as a photo bag I need know that I can lay my bag down and be sure that none of my gear will slide out of a compartments even from just the act of laying it down.

To sum it up, there is one main compartment and two smaller compartments. One side has two small mesh pockets and the other side has a small mesh pocket and several narrow pockets for items such as pens, pencils, stylus’, markers, etc. Also, on the front flap has a zippered pocket. The listed dimensions of the bag are 13″ in height by 15″ in length by 4″ in width.  I would have preferred some additional side pockets with this bag since I tend to carry a lot of stuff and need the space.

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The fabric material appears to be durable and sturdy but aside from the pocket issue I don’t think I would  use this bag for camera gear like my lenses, flashes, flash triggers or anything I didn’t want to get banged around. Have you ever shot photos in a pit at concerts? It’s really easy for you to bump into someone or even worse when they come knocking into you. However, I don’t think that is what this bag was intended for. So using this bag as an office bag or school bag to carry books, papers, documents and the like would be ideal.  However, if you plan to use this bag to carry photo gear at a nice calm place, like doing some nature or landscape photography or just anywhere that you won’t get your bag jostled, then using this bag to carry some photo gear would be okay.

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Remember the extra feature I mentioned earlier? Well, that extra feature that Ogden added is an extra strap that goes around your waist. I would call it a stability strap. This is an adjustable strap that goes around your waist and clips to a buckle on the bag keeping the Ogden Made bag close to you and keeps the bag from swinging away from you. This is very useful to have while you are riding a bike just like bike messengers do. Have you even ridden a bike standing up while trying to pedal  through traffic? Well, maybe you never pedaled through traffic on a bike but if you have ever rode a bike with a messenger bag slung around you, you know that the bag can slip and slide around you and can make it uncomfortable to ride. This is due to the bag flopping around because it is not secured against you. Having this stability strap helps secure the bag in place and prevents it from shifting around. Even if you don’t vigorously ride your bike in the street, just walking down the street with the extra strap can be useful. And who knows, maybe a little hip.

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Each handcrafted Ogden Made bag is signed by the artisan who worked on constructing the bag. They sign their name onto the tag of the bag. I really like that they do this because it shows how much faith they have in their bag that they would sign their own name and take responsibility for its quality. This shows how much pride Ogden has in their products.

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Nowadays, most products are manufactured and shipped without the knowledge of who is responsible for the quality made or the lack of. Most of the time, I’ve purchased items that just have a small sheet of paper the size of the fortune in a fortune cookie that just has the words Inspected stamped on it. Makes me wonder if they were actually inspected at all. Maybe there is a paper roll that just has the words Inspected on it and a manufacturer just throws that in with the product. Hmmm…..

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Although, at first glance, the fabric seemed rather thin to me, Ogden Made bags are constructed with Cordura fabric. This fabric felt tough and appeared to be water-resistant but I’m not positive on that. I didn’t see any notices or literature that stated anything about it being waterproof. However, the surface feels like it has that texture in some water-resistant bags I’ve encountered.

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The Ogden Made bag has a nice stylish look about it and the color combinations are nice and the extra stability strap  is a big plus. This is definitely a bag for work, school and play but not so much for carrying around fragile gear or contents that you don’t want sliding out of a compartment sleeve. Although, you can probably get away with carrying a small laptop in this bag just keep in mind that there isn’t a padded section inside. However, you could always get a padded sleeve and easily slip it into the main compartment of the bag. I wish it came with more interior and exterior pockets or at least have some kind of closing mechanism with the existing pockets such as a zipper, Velcro or even a button. However, this is definitely going to be one of my go to bags in my arsenal of backpacks, sling bags and messenger bags.

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For more info visit Ogden Made.


Product Information

Manufacturer:Ogden Made
  • Handcrafted bags (with signed signatures).
  • Quality buckles and accents.
  • Cordura fabric.
  • Wide shoulder strap.
  • Stability strap.
  • Large color combination.
  • Lack of exterior pockets.
  • Non-closing interior pockets

3 thoughts on “Ogden Made Junction City Messenger Bag review”

  1. Gadgeteer Comment Policy - Please read before commenting
  2. Nice review – thanks for this. I can always count on you to surface great products from companies outside the mainstream.

    Curious if you have ever looked at bags from Rick Shaw? Kind of a competitor to Timbuk2 – SF based company w/ a fair amount of customization possible. I haven’t bought one yet – but they do look nice and right up your alley as far as your minimum requirements.

  3. Oops – posted this and then realized I was searching your site for the wrong name. You do have a review up – for Rickshaw – no space. Sorry

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