Burley Transit Review
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|Bottom Line||A rugged and weather-resistant bag with three options for transporting up to a 15" laptop, and ample space and pockets for organizing your kit for the daily commute||A weatherproof, rugged, and user-friendly messenger bag with tons of pockets, comfort, and space for up to a 17" laptop||Short wonder this weather-resistant bag is so popular, it carries a ton for the weight and strikes the balance between affordability, simplicity, and durability||Great for carrying minimal gear while commuting, traveling, or going out on the town, with excellent features for bike commuting||With thoughtful features and burly weatherproofing, this bag is comfortable, lightweight, and ready to go|
|Rating Categories||Burley Transit||Chrome Buran III||Timbuk2 Classic||Chrome Kadet Sling||Arc'teryx Granville 10|
|Packing & Organization (25%)|
|Ease of Use (15%)|
|Wear & Tear (10%)|
|Volume to Weight Ratio (10%)|
|Specs||Burley Transit||Chrome Buran III||Timbuk2 Classic||Chrome Kadet Sling||Arc'teryx Granville 10|
|Measured Weight||1.85 lbs||2.71 lbs||2.02 lbs||1.20 lbs||1.15 lbs|
|Measured Volume (purported volume)||13L (12L)||22L (24L)||18L (21L)||7L (9L)||10L|
|OGL Volume/Weight Ratio (bigger is better)||7.03||8.12||8.91||5.83||8.70|
|Dimensions||19 x 13 x 3 in||21.25 x 12.25 x 7 in||14.6 x 12.2 x 7.1 in||17 x 8 x 4 in||16 x 10.5 x 5 in|
|Number of Compartments||3||2||2||1||2|
|Number of Large Pockets||2||1||2||1||1|
|Number of Small Pockets (i.e. sleeves for pens, thin items)||5||8||5||3||1|
|Number of Zipper Pockets||3||4||3||2||2|
|Reflective Material?||Yes||Yes, on bottom straps||Yes, on bottom straps||Yes||No|
|External Side Pocket||Yes||Yes||No||Yes||No|
|Sleeve For Laptop?||Yes - 15"||Yes - 17"||Yes - 15"||Yes - Tablet Only||Yes - 12"|
|Stabilizing Cross Strap||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Available Sizes||One size||One size||XS, S, M, L||One size||10L and 16L|
|Size Tested||One size||One size||Medium||One size||10L|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Burly Transit offers minimal but adept features for bike commuting to work. The style of the bag is understated enough for professional settings but well-equipped and rugged enough for riding a bicycle or travel.
The Transit has a small padded shoulder-protector, which offers minimal protection and comfort — especially when the bag is heavily weighted. However, given the minimal structure of the bag, it does conform to the body slightly better than some other bags in this review. Still, we found it to be one of the least comfortable bags overall.
Packing & Organization
The Transit provides intuitive packing and organizational features that make it rank among the best in our review. We appreciate the easily accessible zippered pockets on the outer flap and the sideways oriented zippered pocket under the flap. These pockets are great for your phone, wallet, keys, bike light, or passport — in other words, for everything you may need to access quickly and regularly.
The inner compartment of this bag features a large storage area for things like clothes, as well as sleeves for pens, a book, and other essential sundries. The large zippered front and rear pockets allow for versatility in deciding where to store your laptop and are spacious enough to accommodate whatever you may need to throw at them. Then, on both sides, there are four-way stretch fabric holsters for a coffee mug or narrower water bottle.
We love the versatility of electronics storage in the Transit, which is why it performed favorably in this category. Given the proliferation of large padded pockets, you can store a 15" laptop in three different places — in a padded zippered pocket up front, a padded zippered pocket in the back on the outside, or on the inside back position of the bag, if you're concerned about weather.
In the back electronics pocket, there is also a padded sleeve for carrying your tablet in addition to your laptop.
Ease of Use
The features on the Transit are — for the most part — pretty intuitive to use. The only reason it didn't earn more points in this metric is that the closure system takes some getting used to, and it is such a soft bag that it can be slightly more difficult to pack and unpack than some of the more rigid bags in our review. The latch system releases with the press of a button, but the button is hidden in a fabric keeper, which makes it slightly trickier to use (though, to be fair, is good for the sake of security). The webbing on the latches also doesn't cinch down or release as easily as we would prefer, but this will likely break in with use.
We appreciate that this bag comes with two removable attachment straps that make it compatible with the Burley Travoy trailer. There is also a luggage pass-through sleeve on the back of the pack, for mounting it on the plastic trolley handle of your wheeled luggage while traveling. Finally, this bag has the easiest system for switching the position of the straps between your left and right shoulders.
Wear & Tear
The Transit has water-resistant, and seemingly abrasion-resistant fabric and a tarpaulin bottom, as well as beefy zippers for ensuring it will last for years to come.
Volume to Weight Ratio
To determine this ratio, we don't just take the manufacturer's word for anything. We weigh each bag as soon as we receive it and determine the actual usable volume by filling ziplock bags with 1-3 liters of water and seeing how many will fit in each bag. The Transit weighs 1.85 pounds, and the measured volume was 13 liters (one more than advertised). This positions it in the middle of our tested bags. This means there are other bags in our review with greater capacity for the weight, but there are several others with less capacity for the weight as well.
The Transit is among the more affordable messenger bags in our review. While it wasn't our favorite, it does have a number of features and a great deal of flexibility that make it ideal for the right bike commuting professional.
The Burley Transit is a thoughtful messenger bag designed by and for cyclists, offering the essential features for commuting to and from work. While it isn't the most comfortable, it makes up for this in affordability and sensible features and it is compatible with the Burley Travoy trailer.