By: Will Marquez
One of the things that can make or break a ride is a bag. A bag that might be good for wearing on foot may not be comfortable while riding a bike. I’ve been commuting on bike for the past few months and have gone thru a few bags already. From a Quicksilver backpack to a messenger bag which I’m sure we’ve all seen a lot of cyclist use for commuting. Now some may think that a bag is just a bag, but I say it all depends on what your needs are for a commuter bag. If you are looking for the grand daddy of ‘em all, The Mission Workshop Rambler Bag is the one for you, Amigos!
Mission Workshop SF/CA is located in, you guessed it, the Mission District of San Francisco. Their workshop was created out of the need for gear that out-performs, while still keeping clean-looking, appropriate gear for cycling, travel, and the daily “routine”. With years of experience, Mission Workshop creates bags that can handle a lifetime of abuse and that can also withstand the worst weather.
Here I’ll be reviewing the Rambler bag made by Mission Workshop. I had thought about it for a long time before purchasing this bag for myself. Heck, Google Chrome knows me so well that when I type in “mis”, it brings up the Mission Workshop Rambler **link/url page** cause I’ve visited the site so much, although this time I finally hit the “buy now” button and boy oh boy, I couldn’t be any happier with this bag.
I received the bag within one business day since the Mission District is literally a hop, skip, and a jump from where I live. So, after a long day at work, I received a UPS email notification that it had been delivered and was waiting for me at home. I couldn’t wait to open up the box. First thing that I noticed is the pure quality of the bag. The material, stitching, even the zippers is unlike anything I’ve ever seen in a bag.
The Rambler backpack features a waterproof main compartment which can be used in either “roll-top” or in a traditional “flap-down” configuration. One of the best things about this backpack is that it can quickly double in size, from 22L to 44L, when you need to carry extra cargo.
Let’s breakdown this backpack even more. There are three compartments in this bag. The front zippered pocket fits most 13 inch laptop computers. If you have a larger laptop it can fit in the rear rolltop compartment. The middle compartment is where I store the majority of my things and is the largest part of the bag when unzipped and expanded. Keeping this bag together is a carbon fiber reinforced internal frame suspension system.
Ok, so now I’ve gone over some of the finer details of what really makes this bag a BAG, but it really all comes down to how it works on my daily commute. In one of the pictures below, I’ve shown what I normally bring to work: chef clothes, cookbooks and notebooks, a windbreaker (for the weather is a bit warmer), a cycling rain gear pack should the weather change to and from work, and finally a good ol’ book to read while on BART. Honestly, before doing this review, I was just stuffing whatever I needed into this bag without really think about the incredible amount of space! I’ve heard people use this bag to bike down to the grocery store and fill it up with five 6-packs of beer, along with tortilla chips and salsa! Now those are our type of Amigos!! There really isn’t anything this bag cannot do. I could see myself using this bag for overnight or weekend trips out-of-town, or even checking out a hiking trail!
After putting everything I need for work into this bag, you would think that it would be super heavy while cycling, but far from! The way Mission Workshop has designed the bag, it literally takes the “load” off your back. With an optional accessory, waist belt, which I did not purchase (yet), you can take the weight of your shoulders even more. There are two front straps that buckle to keep the bag from moving while biking. At times I forgot I even had it on.
This could possibly be the last backpack that I’ll ever have to buy. Again, with a lifetime warranty covering any defects, Mission Workshop stands by the quality of their work.
So, you’re all probably wondering what something like this costs, right? It’s definitely far from the price range of the Jansports we had back in high school, and at $249, it is not cheap. But, you definitely get what you pay for. I see it as an investment and something that I could use for years and years to come.
Thank you Mission Workshop! You’ve made one cycling commuter’s ride to work that much better!
5 out of 5 and a six-pack or three!