Nerve Black messenger bag will trigger an impulse to buy [Review]

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booq Nerve Black messenger bag
The Nerve Black messenger bag by booq delivers some serious attitude.
Photo: David Pierini/Cult of Mac

Best List: Nerve Black messenger bag by booq

Most messenger bags would look out of place slung over the shoulder of a leather-clad Harley rider. Not the Nerve Black by booq: It exhibits a transcendent cool, whether paired with a business suit or motorcycle chaps.

There’s no cowhide on this bag. Yet the water-repellent tarpaulin flap looks a lot like leather and makes a striking first impression.

Catching the eye becomes a top priority for accessory manufacturers, especially those that produce messenger bags. These versatile bags flood the marketplace for good reason: Most make a good case for being your everyday commute-to-work bag.

A certain type of consumer (like me) will use a messenger bag or backpack until something else catches the eye. As I’ve mentioned in past reviews, I don’t judge my wife’s closet full of purses.

But in striking two nerves — the needs for style and function — the Nerve Black looks likely to stay on your shoulder beyond the typical honeymoon period.

booq Nerve Black: A badass messenger bag built to last

booq Nerve Black
Waterproof materials, discreet fasteners and a generous amount of Velcro will keep your gear secure.
Photo: David Pierini/Cult of Mac

The Black is an upgrade from the booq Boa Nerve (released in 2014), which boasted the same durable ballistic nylon minus the tarpaulin surfaces.

The Nerve Black’s handsome flap is thick and feels storm-proof. A waterproof, vertical pocket on the flap is one of five zippered compartments, each offering space for various items. Two on the back open to create a trolley pass you can secure to telescoping handles on luggage carts.

In case you enjoy the ripping sound of Velcro, the Nerve incorporates thick strips on the flap’s underside. Even if you decide not to fasten the plastic clips on the bottom edge of the flap, the generous amount of Velcro will secure the bag’s closure.

Once open, there’s more tarpaulin for weatherproofing along with two stealthy zippered pockets on the top and side.

booq Nerve Black messenger bag
The Nerve Black offers two roomy and well-padded main compartments.
Photo: David Pierini/Cult of Mac

Two densely padded compartments protect your gear from abuse. One of them can safely hold a 15-inch MacBook or 16-inch laptop. In front of it, you’ll find another cushy pouch along with two pockets for accessories like pens, notebooks, a mouse or any other small essentials.

The padded strap, made of seatbelt-grade nylon with a magnetic-release clasp for quick adjustment, feels comfortable on the shoulder. A stabilizer strap makes things easier for cyclists.

booq bags: low profile, high quality

booq Nerve Black messenger bag
A magnetic clasp on the Nerve lets the user make quick adjustments.
Photo: David Pierini/Cult of Mac

Common features show up across booq’s wide variety of shoulder bags and backpacks. These features, such as familiar shapes and lines to accommodate discreet zippered pockets, turn up over and over.

The dark colors of booq’s materials, especially black, skew masculine. The Nerve Black (or a number of booq’s other bags) might not work for those desiring a more colorful carry. But the recurring features, to me, signal a firm belief in a low profile and a high expectation of functionality, no matter the size or shape of the product.

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Cult of Mac received a review unit from booq for this review. Read Cult of Mac’s reviews policy.