Hands-on Gear Review
Compare messenger bag ratings side-by-side >
Street Price: $170
Pros: Very large, very durable, completely waterproof, comfortable strap can go on either left or right shoulder, easy to adjust buckle, comfortable and secure while biking, versatile roll top closure, easy access external storage.
Cons: Poor storage for pens, pencils, and documents; can be difficult to access bottom of main compartment; no grab handle.
Best Uses: People who need instant access to the bag's contents.
The Rummy is the Bentley of messenger bags. It's large, luxuriously comfortable, and surprisingly nimble. A cavernous 27 Liter main compartment swallows a computer, books, and packages like the champion of a pie-eating contest. The Rummy has several awesome features that compliment its capacity: 1) the strap, which is the easiest to adjust and most comfortable of all messenger bags reviewed here, can be fixed to either the left or right shoulder. 2) The roll top closure can be rolled up to provide easy access to the front pockets or folded down and buckled like most other messengers. This makes the bag more versatile. On the whole, the Rummy provides a great balance between comfort, durability, water resistance, and features. Our main complaint with the bag's design lies with the zippered accessory pockets, which can be difficult to access when the bag is full and store small items, like pens, quite poorly. Although we don't view it as a significant drawback, the Rummy does not have a built-in laptop case: you'll need to slip the computer into the middle zippered compartment or provide your own case.
One drawback: this is not available many major retailers, our top-rated bag that is widely available is the is the Timbuk2 Command.
The Rummy's extreme opposite is the Rickshaw Commuter 2.0 ($160), an equally well made and innovative office style messenger for people who carry books, documents, and computers directly to and from work.
Get a backpack if you don't need near instant access to the contents of your bag. Timbuk2 makes the Swig ($90), an excellent, comfortable, affordable, and versatile backpack that has great storage options and fits a variety of people. Those on the taller side or those who want more storage should opt for the Cilo Gear City Pack ($175), our favorite backpack for biking, grocery shopping, and everyday life on the go. Business types who want great laptop and document storage and the comfort of a backpack can't go wrong with the Arc'teryx Blade 24 ($175).
Compare top rated competitors side-by-side >
OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review
The Mission Workshop Rummy is a luxuriously comfortable, versatile, completely waterproof, and nearly indestructible messenger bag. A cavernous 27 Liter main compartment can accommodate everything from photography gear to odd shaped packages; the Rummy is the largest messenger bag we reviewed. It's also the only one with a roll top closure, which can be rolled up (making the bag completely waterproof and providing easy access to the front pockets) or folded over like most other messenger bags (faster to close). Being able to tailor your closure method to your load or to environmental conditions makes the Rummy more versatile than messenger bags we've tested.
In the front, the Rummy has two bellowed pockets that fit medium sized items like a u-lock, power cord, or sunglasses case. Behind those lies a haven of zippered pockets, which you access through a burly watertight zipper on the front face of the bag. In that lie two more zippers that run the width of the compartment. The rear zipper (that faces the front of the bag) houses a medium sized compartment for a small netbook or iPad, and the front zipper encloses three pockets of equal size. Pens, pencils, a phone, and other small accessories go in these pockets.
The best part of the Rummy, agreed our eight testers, is its incredibly comfortable shoulder strap and easy to adjust buckle. The most comfortable messenger bag is either the Rummy or the Chrome Buran, but the Rummy's aluminum buckle is by far the best of any messenger bag we reviewed. Adjusting the bag is nearly effortless. One tester even described it as fun. The result is an easy to use bag that fast to lower down and swing around in front of you. The Rummy's buckle epitomizes the quick access that messenger bags are known for. Furthermore, the chest strap, which holds the bag in place while biking, can be placed on either the left or right the shoulder. This is a unique feature.
The Rummy is available in five color options and the quick adjust buckle can be chosen in either silver (as we reviewed here), black, or bright orange.
There are dozens of styles of messenger bags. Along their broad spectrum, from bike messenger style to mere laptop cases, the Rummy lies much closer to bike messenger. It has neither a built-in laptop sleeve nor any padding along the back panel. The latter enables the bag to mold to your back while biking and the former is less of a disadvantage than we initially anticipated.
Going into this review the author and our testers assumed that having a built-in laptop sleeve was an advantage. Through testing sixteen bags we found that this is generally not true. A few bags, such as the Osprey Elroy and Timbuk2 Swig, have excellent sleeves, but most do not. We therefore did not penalize the Rummy for not having a built-in case (its rating in this category is the average of all messenger bags). This author's favorite laptop case, incidentally, is the ISIS Memory Foam Laptop Sleeve
Finally, since the Rummy has no padding or structure it's relatively bad for storing documents and loose papers. There's also no grab handle. The Rummy is a messenger bag, not a briefcase.
The Rummy is well designed and handmade in the USA of high quality materials. It's well worth the $170 price tag.
The Rummy is the middle child in a family of three. Mission Workshop offers a smaller 21L pack and a larger 35L pack that are essentially the same as the Rummy except for their size.
-Mission Workshop Shed 35L
-Mission Workshop Monty 21L
— Chris McNamara and Max Neale
Compare this product side-by-side to top competitors >
OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews
Most recent review: October 15, 2011
Related Best-in-Class Review
Helpful Buying Tips
Get More OutdoorGearLab
Follow us on Twitter, be a fan on Facebook!
Related Gear Reviews
Recent Best-in-Class Reviews