You’re on a bike. You’re carrying your MacBook Air and your iPad with you, when it starts to rain. Do you: a.) duck under the nearest bridge to wait it out (and maybe play a few quick levels of Angry Birds); b.) Panic a little, but carry on, hoping that your crappy messenger bag holds up; or c.) laugh out loud, and turn left instead of right at the next stop and add another few kilometers to your trip. After all, riding in the rain is fun, right?
If your answer was “c”, then you probably already own the new Chrome Lieutenant Rolltop Messenger Bag.
If you want a bag to be waterproof, you give it a roll top. I have a roll top backpack and panniers from German bagmeisters Ortlieb, and they can even survive a quick submersion and remain dry inside.
Chrome, the messenger bag company, has taken a regular-style messenger bag and swapped the flap for a roll. This not only makes the bag rainproof but also makes it a lot more useful for large loads: unroll the lid and you get extra vertical room for oversized objects.
The bag is lined with truck tarp and split into two compartments for carrying wet and dry gear together. It will fit a 17-inch MacBook Pro, and has extra front pockets for iPhones and so on.
It also has Chrome’s trademark seatbelt-buckle fastening on the strap, and a chest strap for stability. And like all Chrome bags, it is monstrously heavy, at 3.4 pounds.
I have a regular Chrome messenger bag and I only use it when I’m in Berlin. It’s heavy, but gives fast access to my iPad when I’m lost (again), and the weight isn’t a problem when you’re hunched over the handlebars and riding.
Why only Berlin? Because the bag covers most of your back and in Barcelona, where I live, this makes you sweat horribly. Berlin (which I visit often) never gets quite so sticky.
The Rolltop Messenger is available now for $170. Pricey, yes, but it’ll last you forever.