- Buyer's Guide
Trakke is a brand that needs no introduction. Based in Scotland, the small team has been producing some of the best heritage products on the planet and quickly rose to the top of the best carry brands out there thanks to incredible materials, impeccable build quality, and timeless aesthetics.
I was fortunate enough to try out some of the brand’s products, such as the Kelso sling and Bannoch backpack, and was very impressed by impeccable craftsmanship, the materials, and simple utilitarian design. Today I would like to shine more light on the Wee Lug – a messenger bag that has just received an incredible upgrade with AustriAlpin Cobra buckles.
Read on to find out what makes this bag special.
Who It Suits
- Anyone looking for an EDC messenger bag
- Those who appreciate heritage aesthetics and timeless, durable materials
- Minimalists who prefer simple, functional bags over something jam-packed with features
Who It Doesn’t
- Those seeking the lightest bag might find the Trakke Wee Lug Cobra on the heavier side. But this is to be expected from superb materials and best-in-class hardware used on the bag.
- Handmade in Scotland with the best materials and hardware out there comes with a hefty price tag.
About The Bag
Price: 250 GBP
Dimensions: 30 x 54 x 17 cm
Weight: 1.4 kg
Interestingly enough, the Wee Lug has been part of the Trakke product line since the very inception of the brand. The idea of a simple messenger materialized in a two-pocket bag built in a living room from reclaimed materials (as with all the Trakke products back in the day). That was 2010. Since then Trakke has been meticulously perfecting this bag, taking it through a wild journey of different designs, shapes, and materials.
In 2012 the brand made big changes and shifted from reclaimed materials to British-made waxed canvas that has become synonymous with Trakke. It is then the MK1 version of the Wee Lug was born with a complete redesign centered around local bike messengers, following with MK2 in 2016 and finally MK3 in 2019.
Every version of the Wee Lug has gathered critical acclaim and won awards as the best messenger bag. So changing things up is a risky endeavor. Why fix what isn’t broken? But Trakke, being Trakke, managed to find a way to take an already iconic bag to the next level by upgrading the standard metal buckles to AustriAlpin Pro Cobra buckles.
At first glance, it does not seem like a big change. Sure, it adds 100 points to the badassery of the bag. But in reality, this upgrade is far from just cosmetic. Cobra buckles are very easy to open and when you close the buckle there is no better or more satisfying “click” known to man.
The Trakke Wee Lug Cobra offers a wide, robust strap that does not have much padding but manages to be quite comfortable. Of course, inherently messenger bags are less comfortable than backpacks simply because the weight is not distributed on two shoulders. But as far as messengers go, the Wee Lug is damn great. My typical loadout includes:
– MacBook Air M1
– Remote Equipment org kit for cables, dongles, and chargers
– Tom Bihn Side Kick for documents, passports, wallet
– 32 oz Nalgene bottle
– Uniqlo Ultra Light Down jacket for unpredictable weather
With all these things inside, the bag sits comfortably on my body and is a joy to carry.
The top grab handle is very cleverly implemented. Instead of sticking on top of the bag like a sore thumb, it is sewn on the back of the bag, which adds to the clean aesthetics but does come with a small trade-off – the center of gravity shifts when picking up the bag.
One thing I found missing however is the stabilization strap. Sure, they are still available for purchase on the Trakke website but with messenger bags in general they are a must and should be included out of the box. The Wee Lug’s design always had bike messengers in mind and if you’ve ever ridden a bike with a messenger bag you know how it tends to shift its position to the side. Securing it with a stabilizer strap becomes a necessity and I feel like it’s an omission not to add this strap as part of the default configuration.
Design and Features
What I love about Trakke is that there are zero gimmicks with their products. The team focuses on the essentials and perfects them to make everyday interaction a joy for many years to come.
The design and features complement each other perfectly. The clean lines on the outside work well with a simple internal layout.
The concealed grab handle is great and sits pretty flush against my back, I don’t even notice it.
The front flap conveniently covers two quick-access pockets with vertical zips. These are barely noticeable but can be reached when slinging the bag to the front.
The bright orange liner is simply gorgeous and quickly became my favorite ever. Unlike most of the companies that put a cheaper material on the inside, Trakke has spared no expense and made the inside of the bag equally durable, high quality, and gorgeous as the outside using the same dry-waxed canvas they are famous for.
The standout feature of this version of the Wee Lug is of course the AustriAlpin Pro Style Cobra buckles. These are simply the world’s strongest, most durable and I dare say the most badass-looking buckles known to man. Made in Austria, their original purpose is to ensure the highest safety for mountain climbers. But I am glad these made their way to bags. Is it overkill to put on a messenger bag? Most definitely. Is there cooler hardware you could use instead? Nope. Even Fidlock magnetic buckles (that are more convenient in day-to-day use thanks to magnets) bite the dust compared to Cobras.
My Wee Lug came with a whopping four Cobra buckles – three 25mm versions (two on front buckles and one for securing the stabilization strap that Trakke was kind enough to include with my unit) and one 45mm for the main strap. Warning, the distinct clicking sound of the Cobra buckle is addicting!
Materials and Organization
Trakke is using some of the best dry-waxed canvas on the market. As a result, the look and feel of all their products are second to none. With a distinct heritage vibe, yet unmistakably modern these materials are a joy to use and interact with on a daily basis.
As mentioned already, Trakke has used the same materials both on the inside and outside of the bag, which is a testament to their commitment to quality. Not only do they look damn cool and are extremely durable and pleasant to the touch but waxed canvas also offers excellent water resistance, so your precious items are safe from the elements.
The YKK AquaGuard zippers prevent moisture from seeping in. They are black, stealthy, and smooth as butter. The zipper pull is the black metal ring feature on most Trakke products. It reminded me a bit of Barbour metal rings, though definitely lighter and thinner.
Coupled with the Cobra buckles every single material and hardware used on the Wee Lug is simply outstanding. I honestly can’t imagine it getting any better than this.
The organization is simple and effective – technically inside the bag, the two front pockets under the flap are accessible from the outside.
Inside there is:
- A long zipper covering the laptop compartment, it’s quite generous and I imagine it would fit a 16-17 inch laptop depending on the model
- Medium-sized zippered compartment for valuables such as a wallet, passport, etc.
- Two water bottle pockets that could be used to hold anything from a laptop charger to a small umbrella. When not in use they can be quite flush and unobtrusive
- Generous cavern of the main compartment
It might not seem like much, but this type of minimalist organization is my favorite. There are no excess pockets and the bag perfectly fits my existing selection of pouches and organizers. Simply put, I would not have it any other way.
- Absolutely incredible build and materials – the Wee Lug is a clear example of what the best of the industry has to offer
- AustriAlpin Cobra buckles look amazing but it is the daily use that is most impacted. Compared to the stock metal hardware Cobra buckles are almost effortless to open and with some practice can be closed one-handed.
- The gorgeous bright inner liner is something out of this world. When most of the companies generally put cheaper materials on the inside, Trakke has cut no corners here and put as much love and attention into the inside as on the outside of the bag.
- The simple, thoughtful organization is just enough to keep yourself organized while not being overwhelmed with pockets and numerous compartments.
Not So Good
- The stabilization strap is not provided out of the box and has to be purchased separately. Perhaps not all backpacks need a sternum strap, but the stabilizer on the messenger is a must and I find it odd that it’s missing in the default configuration.
- Metal Cobra buckles, waxed canvas all over the bag, and robust construction mean that the bag is on the heavier side, with similarly sized synthetic alternatives weighing half as much.
- Waxed canvas would require some maintenance to look clean, especially if you choose a black color. Don’t expect your bag to look pristine if you plan to use it often. Dust and lint will, unfortunately, follow you around.
It’s one of those things that most of us dream of but few can afford. Anyone would absolutely be delighted to own the Trakke Wee Lug Cobra or have it gifted. It has a timeless look that equally suits a college professor, an engineer, or a top manager – the Wee Lug is beyond categorization to a specific group of people. It is simply an outstanding product that would spark joy in daily use for decades to come, a piece I would love to pass down to my son when he grows up. Not many material things out there inspire me to share with my son and the Wee Lug is a rare gem that I hope stays in the family for generations to come.
Considering this, the asking price of 250 GBP is more than fair and reasonable. At the same time, this is unmistakably a premium product that is worth every penny you invest in it.
I can highly recommend the Trakke Wee Lug Cobra as the ultimate everyday messenger to any demographics, profession, or lifestyle. And frankly, I’m very curious to see how the Trakke team would take this bag even further with future iterations. For now, I can say that I’ve found my perfect messenger bag.