- Buyer's Guide
Best Active Messenger Finalists :: Third Annual Carry Awards
You’ll see many a familiar face in this year’s Best Active Messenger category. Established brands, and Carryology favs, thinking more deeply about space and access, and others tweaking proven formulas with updates and blinged out fabrics.
There’s a few new faces, too, dishing up their own fresh takes on the slingers that, this year, stayed true to their cyclist lineage…
But nonetheless, new or old, be sure to throw down your votes on the active messengers who made the awesome happen 😉
Your voting form is latched to the bottom of this post. You have two votes to use as you will…
Allocate your 1st choice with 2 points
And your 2nd choice just with the 1 point.
Two Swiss designers based in Japan and working with a Columbian brand. You know the results will be interesting. The Carrera finds a subtly new form for a messenger, which combines the slouchy folds of bike bags, with the more structured forms of work bags. The details, fabric and components all work in harmony to make a versatile real world messenger.
Camera bags used to mean shiny black nylon with naff styling and a virtual target on your back (pick-pocket me!). The last few years has seen a flood of waxed cotton, leather and heritage styling move in, but often with the details a bit cheap or shortcuts a bit obvious. Not so with Filson, which give you solid piece of carry for hauling camera gear in a format that won’t draw attention, while offering protection from the elements and bumps and knocks.
Most messenger bags screw up their organising, stacking all the pockets in the same plane where they fight for space and access rights. When Mystery Ranch released their Outsider, it found new zones in a messenger to help you organise your oddly shaped items without squish or jam. The Invader brings these ideas into a smaller package, which is more manageable for the daily carry of many users.
Reclaimed truck tarps must be one of the hardest business models to tackle. You’re selling beat up old materials that are inconsistent, hard to guarantee supply, and not optimised for bags, and trying to get full price for your upcycling. The F152 seems to have navigated these challenges and come up with a dialed in pattern, really practical size, and nicely resolved details. This is a great update from one of the original upcyclers.
You may be noticing a theme with our heritage inspired nominees… they all bring something new to the traditions of old. Mercy Supply do just this, mixing heirloom fabrics with modern conveniences for a rather distinct look. This is tough, US made carry – diggin’ what these guys are doing.
Take a great pattern. Make it in bomber fabric, and then spec excellent hardware. Sounds like formula we at Carryology love…as does Defy – a carry brand who’s been nailing this type of thing for yonkers.
Made from the insanely resilient AC2 fabric, this messenger is weatherproof yet somehow still remains affordable. It’s a wide open shell, with minimal pocketing, but for some that works perfectly. Arc’teryx never fail to make the awesome happen, and this little beauty is no exception.
At first look this might seem like a strange selection, but once this bad boy leaves your bike, it switches to tote or shoulder carry. And the Knurled series has broken a lot of new ground, and deserves solid recognition for such. From the ‘knurled’ welds to the expressive daisy chains and innovative pannier system (finally, panniers ditch the hard bits!) This bag is the Arnold Schwarzenegger to every other pannier’s Danny Devito.
There are few brands we trust for water-tightness as much as Ortlieb. They’ve been at it for forever, take their craft seriously, and rarely produce a dud. So each time they release a more approachable product, we take note.
There are plenty of examples of brands screwing up classics when they mess with them. But there are even more examples of classics becoming dinosaurs when they’re not updated and made relevant to present day. Timbuk2 have expertly navigated this minefield, pimped their classic, and given this bag a whole new lease of life. Well done guys, it’s now an even better messenger.
This is a case of a bag being reinvented by a fabric, and it’s a really impressive fabric. This is Rickshaw’s most popular slinger, at only 1.5 pounds, the Zero is feather-like (well, kinda) when strapped to your back and bulleting down hills, great for urban environs.
*Voting closes 22nd Feb.