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Crossbody messenger bag

After 11 years, my messenger bag has made its last trip. I'm looking for a cross body, flap top preferably with a zipper, lightweight and big enough to hold a couple of file folders (I'm still a paper girl, but trying to learn to use my phone for something other than calling people), and deep/wide enough to hold Nikon Coolpix B500 (roughly 4 inches). After working my way through six pages on Amazon, LLBean, Lands End, ebags, and other sites, I have hit on the Tom Bihn's Maker Bag. Problem is the price (huge difference with the Amazon bags). Does anyone own this bag and can you review it based on the above-listed parameters?

Posted by
5044 posts

DH has one that he uses both as his personal item when flying and as his day bag when out and about on our travels. It has held up beautifully for over 10 years. He originally started using it because it was big enough for his laptop. Now he likes it because of the multiple compartments, so things don't get "lost" in the bottom of just one big compartment (if that makes any sense) as happens with his old nylon backpack.

Posted by
6839 posts

I have a number of Tom Bihn bags, and used to have the Maker Bag. I eventually gave it to my sister, because she needed something like that for her work, and I was not using it as much by then. But Tom Bihn bags have always been my favorite bags - they are extremely well built, and very useful. I think the Maker Bag would be more than sufficient for what you are looking for. I didn't use mine for travel but more as an EDC bag. It holds a LOT and as I said, TB bags are very resilient and long-lasting.

The company was sold a couple of years ago by Tom Bihn, who wanted to retired, but I've bought bags since then and have not noticed any lessening of the quality.

ETA: Their bags are expensive but I think they are worth it, and I like knowing I am buying something that is made here in the states.

Posted by
16716 posts

If you buy a Tom Bihn, make sure to choose a color and style you like, as you are going to have it for a long time!

Posted by
697 posts

I LOVE my Maker’s bag! It goes on every trip with me. It’s an overnight bag for day or two trips and my personal item on the plane for longer trips. I’ve had it for 5 years now and it looks like new; currently traipsing around Greece with it.

My daughter calls it my magic blue bag because it holds everything, no matter how much I need to stuff in there. Kind of like Mary Poppins. 😂.

On this trip, it is holding:
— my day bag (a Kipling bag) with all its contents (wallet, passport, emergency meds, sunglasses, chapstick etc)
— collapsible water bottle
— electronics organizer (Tom BIHN Handy Little Thing pouch)
— medication pouch (TB 3D organizer)
— binder that I use for paper tickets, itineraries, etc
— lightweight sweatshirt for the plane
— pouch for snacks
— small first aid kit
— iPad mini
And there’s plenty of room for more.

I do keep important things in pouches and leash them to the O-rings inside, just to make sure I don’t lose anything when I stuff the bag sideways under a plane seat. But nothing has ever fallen out, even though the top seems suspiciously loose. It’s not; I find it to be very secure.

You won’t regret the investment.

Posted by
912 posts

Have you looked at Timbuk2 bags? I've had a few and liked them; only problem is that they rarely have a zipper for the main compartment. You can order online to get the color combo you like, or (I think) REI sells them.

Posted by
772 posts

It seems that TB has an army of fans, so I feel a little better about the cost. I will also look at Timbuk2 bags, as that's one I didn't consider. Thanks guys.

Posted by
9780 posts

I was just gonna suggest Timbuk2, so I am glad to see it finally got a mention.

Posted by
4574 posts

Though Timbuk2 doesn't have a zipper, they do have a clever design to slow down inquisitive fingers.

Posted by
82 posts

You might also look at Red Oxx for any bags that might work. They are expensive as well, but will last a life time, too.