- Buyer's Guide
Mission Workshop Khyte Review
Mission Workshop is a brand known for their ability to create the equivalent of an impenetrable fortress in bag form; their weather resistance is without a doubt some of the best you will find on the market. Traditionally speaking, this incredible resilience against the elements has come at the cost of convenient access, but Mission Workshop has cooked up some new ideas for a tech messenger with the Khyte to address this issue. They’ve attempted to take the DNA of their tried-and-tested designs and infuse them with more of a daily carry and tech-forward approach. You can also see this new design language in the Khyte’s partner bag, the Rhake. As someone who’s owned and used quite a lot of messengers over the years, including some from Mission Workshop, I was very curious to see how the Khyte would perform in the real world because at least on paper, they’ve got a clever bag here.
- Name: The Khyte
- Brand: Mission Workshop
- Format: Messenger bag
- Measurement: 21″ x 14″ x 3.5″
- Capacity: 24L (1465 cu. in.)
- Weight: 2.62 lbs (1.19 kg)
- Zippers: YKK #8 AquaGuard
- Material: HT500 high-tenacity nylon, Cordura® or VX-21 fabric from Dimension Polyant®
- PriceUS$335–390 (depending on fabric choice)
Who It Suits
Anyone looking for a shoulder or messenger bag, but who requires quick access to their 13-15″ laptop and loves the idea of a modular bag which can be configured to their needs. It will also meet the needs of anyone living in wetter climates as the design of the bag prevents water ingress in most conditions and keeps your equipment protected from the elements.
Who It Doesn’t
If you require a pocket for everything or don’t like the idea of having to bring your own organization, this may not be the bag for you. Additionally, if you don’t like messenger bags, this will not suddenly change your mind.
Mission Workshop bags tend to have a very angular silhouette, this can be seen across both their backpack and messenger lines and the Khyte is no different in that regard. However, this angular design is what grants the user a very efficient use of space; the point being, you can fill a Mission Workshop bag with a lot more stuff than you would probably expect. The Khyte prominently features Fidlock buckles for quick interior access, a magnetic flap-covered valuables pocket, and asymmetrical PALS webbing on one side for attachments; all of which lends itself to being high-tech in appearance. You might even say it looks as though it came from the future.
To put it plainly, the Khyte is an overall well-made product. Mission Workshop has been making their bags in small batches in California from the start and that continues today. Each bag is crafted with care and it shows as you pore over the details. The stitching is very well done throughout the bag and the choice of using AquaGuard zippers is an added touch to emphasize their focus on weather resistance. I do, however, want to call out the included shoulder strap because it feels out of place on a bag like this, almost an afterthought which I found odd. The strap attachment itself is sturdy but feels far less premium than the rest of the bag. Swapping out for the Deluxe Messenger Strap (an optional extra) gives you better strap padding, a more traditional messenger bag position on your back, and overall better hardware befitting the premium nature of the Khyte.
Materials and Hardware
HT500 is a material custom-made for Mission Workshop, it’s a 500D Nylon similar to Cordura in texture but with their weather-resistant coating. Your other option in this case is getting the Khyte in VX which is a lightweight and extremely durable fabric with a unique texture on its exterior. All of the zippers are from YKK and the laptop compartment features AquaGuard seals to keep moisture out. Additionally, the exterior buckles are made by Fidlock and powered by science (magnets), which confuses the Insane Clown Posse. If by some strange event your Khyte were to fail on you, Mission Workshop has a policy of “Guaranteed Forever” and they’ll repair or replace your bag for the natural life of the product.
In my time with the Khyte, I appreciated Mission Workshop’s effort to add meaningful features to the bag, where their designs historically have been very minimal with a focus on extreme durability. To start, the rear-access laptop compartment is a great size for something like a 15″ MacBook Pro (it’ll fit the newer 16″ as well) and because it’s accessible from the outside you don’t have to open up the bag to get to your laptop. The main compartment, which is accessible by releasing the two Fidlock buckles, can hold quite a bit thanks to its 24L capacity. I also appreciated that it will collapse in on itself if you don’t pack the bag out to capacity, making it relatively slim on your back. On the exterior flap, there is a zippered pocket covered by an additional flap that features a magnetic closure, this is where you can stash your phone or wallet for quick access. I preferred to leave the zipper open and just use the flap to close the pocket, the magnets are quite strong and keep things secure. Speaking of quick access, I also appreciated the (admittedly somewhat hidden) small exterior pocket, which I found was a great place for clipping my keys.
On the front of the bag, there is a large zippered compartment that has an additional zippered organization pocket which can house plenty of small items. This pocket is pretty slim, but I realized that if I packed it out, it seemed to bulge outward rather than inward, which I thought was a positive because it didn’t eat into the main cavity’s capacity. On the exterior is where you’re going to find the three Arkiv rails which is what allows the Khyte to be modular, as you can easily add additional pouches or accessories to the exterior of the bag. These are completely optional and don’t detract from the functionality of the bag if you choose not to use them. While I do appreciate the potential expandability of the bag by way of the Arkiv accessories, if you were to add multiple ones, it does considerably increase the cost of this already expensive bag.
Mission Workshop bags are built to a very high standard and the Khyte is no different. Everything feels super solid in construction and using the bag evokes a sense of confidence that it will protect your gear. I do wish that the optional Deluxe Messenger Strap was the standard one because I felt that it distributes weight more comfortably once you start to load the Khyte up. At about 2.6lbs it’s not terribly heavy on your shoulder but thanks to its spacious capacity it can very quickly be loaded to a point that you might find it uncomfortable. I’m sure you’ve noticed a recurring theme throughout this review of “Built to Last” and that is intentional. The Khyte is a bag that will be with you for a long time should you choose to buy one.
While walking with the bag and my normal work loadout, I was pleased to find no comfort issues in covering my usual route. I only made small adjustments to the strap while walking but that is perfectly normal with any bag. It is worth mentioning that I was using the Deluxe Messenger Strap in this instance which does change the way the bag carries. I’ve mentioned this earlier, but given the size and expandability of the bag itself, it is very possible to overload it and while everything may still fit, you wind up with a heavy boulder weighing down on one shoulder which could force a trip to the chiropractor.
Mission Workshop is known for making weatherproof bags and the Khyte is no different. The most water-resistant option will naturally be the VX material but even in HT500, they have proven time and again that it is capable of withstanding the elements due to how their bags are designed and how the material itself is coated for water repellency. Though the main compartment of the Khyte does not feature a zipper closure, the folds of the material itself create a closed-off waterproof area to prevent anything outside from getting inside.
- Great overall size for EDC with a focus on tech / work carry
- Extremely modular thanks to Arkiv system (nice though not a “required” purchase)
- Easier tech access and more organization options when compared to MW traditional messengers (Monty / Rummy / Shed)
- Is almost certainly weatherproof
- Fidlock buckles are a nice touch
- Material is typical Mission Workshop quality
Not So Good
- Becomes a considerably expensive bag once you start adding accessories
- The included shoulder strap feels somewhat inadequate for the bag, almost necessitating the $50 Deluxe Messenger Strap
- Can get heavy if you overload it (a flaw of any messenger bag though)
Mission Workshop bags have never been budget-oriented, but what you do get for your money is a very well made product (and one that’s made in the United States if that’s something that matters to you). The Khyte is an expensive bag to be sure, but it’s also the first proper “tech messenger” they’ve made and you’re getting a well designed and expandable system.
The Arkiv accessories are usable across many of Mission Workshop’s bags, so they are still a worthwhile investment because of how they expand the usable nature of the bags they can attach to.
There is a lot to like about the Khyte when it’s in use, but this is definitely a bag that is heavily focused on tech carry and less on the “cargo hauler” nature that one might typically associate with the use of a messenger bag. If you’re after a weatherproof tech hauler, this could very well be an excellent choice.
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Space & Access
Look & Feel
Build, Materials & Hardware
Warranty & Support