Travel In Rugged Style With Journeyman Leather Messenger Bag [Review]



With a seriously rugged style, the Intrepid Journeyman messenger bag is nothing to be trifled with. The soft brown leather exterior enfolds the utterly solid yet flexible abilities of this cross-shoulder travel bag, which will become an asset in almost any travel situation.

Journeyman Messenger Bag by Intrepid Bag Co.
Category: Messenger Bags
Works With: Things you need to carry
Price: $369

Unless, of course, you need to carry a whole lot of things with you. In that case, the minimalist design of the Journeyman may not perfectly suit. What it contains, however, it contains well, and it meets an even more important criterion: how it carries.

A cross-shoulder messenger bag must be able to sit high up on your back without crushing your chest or killing your shoulders. You should be able to carry the thing all day long without starting to feel that mid-shoulder ache that a poorly fitting shoulder bag tends to invite.

The Journeyman was designed with this sort of wrapping fit in mind.

Ultimately, whether the Journeyman will work for you will be a function of two things. One, what do you need to carry with you? Two? What size are you?

Minimalist design.
Minimalist design.
The first issue is solved pretty easily. There’s a pocket on the inside which will hold my 13-inch Macbook Pro 13-inch snugly, with a smaller pocket on the outside front of the laptop compartment which can contain my iPad mini in its lovely case.

There’s a nice little pocket hidden away near the back of the bag that’s perfectly sized for a passport, a big floppy pocket on the opposite inner wall of the bag that can hold at least the brick part of an Apple Macbook power supply, a second, smaller pocket right next to that which can hold all sorts of smaller things, and then three little pen loops for holding your favorite writing utensils in snugly. The linen lining is nice, but it’s kind of a background feature, really–nothing to write home about. There’s a nice soft sueded material that hugs the Macbook partition, which is great to keep off the scratches.

The cover sort of folds over the top of all this in a boxy sort of way, and attaches to the outside front of the Journeyman with two well-stitched buckles. They’re fantastically strong, and feel like they’ll stay closed in almost any situation. That feature can also be kind of a pain: buckling and unbuckling them to get in out of the bag at the coffee shop or at home can feel a bit tedious.

Buckles are operated manually.
Buckles are operated manually.
Where the bag truly shines, at least for my six-foot-two frame, is in how it sits on my back. The strap is connected to the Journeyman in only one way. That is, there’s no way to spin the strap one way or another like other bags like the Timbuktu classic messenger bag. The way the Journeyman’s strap is stitched is how it will stay.

The end result, for me, is a comfortable, snug fit. I had to pull out the strap almost to the farthest point of expansion, and it then fit me like a glove, if I wore gloves across my shoulders and over my back. I was able to easily carry the bag around with me here in town, and I can’t wait to try it out at the next conference I travel to. The fit is tight but not movement limiting, and the high placement on my back assured a longer time of carrying before anything on my body started to hurt.

The soft yet rugged brown leather exterior of the Journeyman bag will become an asset in almost any travel situation.

Whether you’ll be able to fit the bag, however, will be up to your size. Too much bigger, and the Journeyman strap may not lengthen enough; much smaller and you’ll be trying to tuck away the excess strap. It’s a small design choice that luckily worked for my size and shape, but your mileage may vary.

Gaming mouse or power supply? You choose.
Gaming mouse or power supply? You choose.
All the pockets inside are well placed and nicely designed. It took me a few tries to get my gear sorted in the most effective way, but once I took the time to do so, the Journeyman bag has become an indispensable tool.

Traveling with much more than the minimal kit, though, isn’t going to work. There’s no space left after my Macbook, iPad mini, and assorted power cords to add things like, say, a camera, or a full sized gaming mouse (yes, I still carry one of those on occasion). There’s not enough give in the rugged leather itself to stuff more in there, so a minimalist travel bag it must remain. If you’re looking for more volume, the Journeyman is not your bag.

However, if you need a solid, rugged, stylish travel bag that will fit you well–provided you’re in the size range that works), the Journeyman is well worth the $370 price tag. This thing looks like it will last a lifetime, getting cooler and cooler looking with every scrape and bump.

DSC05221Product Name: : Journeyman Messenger Bag
The Good: Rugged, solid, fits me well (personally), provides style and substance.
The Bad: Buckles are a bit too fiddly, no room for expansion, size range for humans to use this might be limited.
The Verdict Ultimately, purchasing this bag will need to be a personal decision based on your size and the amount of stuff you need to carry around.
Buy from: Intrepid Bag Co.