A while ago on Instagram I showed off my new Tagger bag. Then later I made a little video about it. Well, I kinda like it so I figured I'd write a blogpost about it as well. As you know, I'm now accepting requests for reviews and Tagger bags is one of the first ones to get this. So let's get to it.
A little bit of history
I found tagger bags through a website where as a blogger, you can write reviews and get paid for doing so. But I felt that I should approach them directly (the website isn't quite working out for me). So I did and I asked them if I could review their product; I thought they looked pretty cool and the concept is pretty neat.
Peter van Veldhoven created Tagger Bags back in 2005 after coming up with a concept that would allow anyone to create a personalized bag quickly. Tagger bags is a company based in the Netherlands and they make customizable messenger bags, and backpacks. Most build your own bag companies take weeks and weeks to finalize the product. Not Tagger! It took about 4 days for me to receive my bag, by any standards, that is fast.
Another aspect of the bags is that the customization is done through their website, so it's easy and quick to do, but the cool part about the custom parts is that much of the art on the bags is unique and custom made for the bags. It's inspired by graffiti artists (hence the name) and the choices of art on the bags is really great. Boring ol' me had to pick one of the simplest designs. Go figure. So let me tell you about my bag.
Notice I called it my bag, because this is truly my bag. Even though my choices for the customization weren't that outrageous, it still matches perfectly with me and the colors of the moment. You'll notice is matches my orange theme that I've got going on on my blog and on Twitter. I got the messenger laptop bag because it seemed like the most practical for me (in retrospect I would have liked to get a different one). I don't regret getting this one and it is pretty stylish, but my practical side tells me I should have bought one of the backpack style bags instead. Everyone I've shown it to thinks it's pretty cool and they like it, they want to know where they can get one, but it isn't until I tell them that they can get their own customizations on it that really sparks up their eyes. I gotta say, that customization thing is pretty cool. I wish that they'd let you use your own graphic though. I suppose that would add a significant cost and time delay to the production of the bags and I don't know enough about the market to tell you if people would even use that feature. I know I would but that doesn't mean anything. So what do I like about the bag... or rather what do I not like about the bag?
I usually start with the good when I tell people about a product I like and I try to downplay the bad stuff, but in this case I'll give you the downsides first. There aren't many. I could use a few more divisions in the front pocket, or more pockets altogether. The same could be said for the inside of the big compartment. The cover flap covers the majority of the opening of the bag, but there is no zipper or any other kind of closure to keep things from falling off if you were to accidentally flip the bag. The cover and the bottom of the bag are made of very durable tarpaulin, but in my experience, this material tends to develop creases that eventually may crack. This of course hasn't happened yet and I don't expect it to for at least a few years. Not really a bad thing in my book, but I thought I'd mention it.
Durable, this thing is going to last quite a while. The lack of many pockets and compartments actually simplifies the usability and I think will improve the durability. The quality of the materials and craftsmanship is top notch. It's unique and practical. I like having the bag with me when I go to meetups and to hang out at the coffee shop to relax over a cup of coffee, it's actually quite a conversation starter because it is different. Most people haven't seen this before, the choices are so varied that it would be hard to find two identical bags in the same vicinity.
It fits a lot of stuff. Despite my desire to have a few more compartments (mostly for organization), the bag can carry a pretty big payload. When I first got it I tried to stuff it with a few different things and I was surprised at how much I could fit in there. I actually had my 13" air, and two 15" macbook pros and some other things in it and there was still room to spare.
More details on the features
All the bags that Tagger carries are customizable. The messenger bag: crew has three parts you can customize, the strap, the bottom and the cover. When you build your own bag, you get to pick the various elements that you can customize and each bag has different parts that can be customized. You can do whatever mix and match that you want. You can buy additional components later too so you can customize it for different ocassions. I went with an orange strap and bottom and a matching cover. Turned out pretty cool if you ask me. But of course I would say that... I built it. If you build your own, you'll love it just as much because it's yours.
They also carry accessories, like containers that would fit in the big compartment and iphone and laptop sleeves, these are purchased separately and I did not get any of those.
The previous bag I was using and most of the bags I've had before always have a weak strap. The strap on this bag is pretty damn tough. I'm sure I could use it to climb down a window in case of a fire or something. It reminds me of heavy duty seatbelts. It's thick and will probably outlast everything else about the bag. The bag itself is made of two different materials.
The strap has a quick release lever system that allows you to easily adjust the length of the shoulder strap. It stays locked and secure once you adjust it to you, but you can (with a little effort) re-adjust it at any time. The strap can also be removed altogether if you wanted to, it snaps into place on both sides of the bag. You could for example switch straps. This is something else that is cool, you can buy the different components of the bag separately so you can really have one bag with multiple looks.
As you open the flap, you'll find a small outer zippered pocket. Big enough to put your cell phone, keys and other small items. This is where I keep business cards, cell phone cables and a couple of pens. Then as you move to the interior of the bag, you'll find a large compartment that is unobstructed by anything. It's a big rectangular space where you can fit books, magazines, binders or other large and bulky items. This is where I put things like my camera bag, power charger for my laptop and my ledger-style notebook that I carry with me everywhere and I could fit even more stuff in there. As you can see in the pictures, there's tons of space.
The last part of the interior is the laptop compartment. It fits my 13 inch Macbook air perfectly and there is a velcro strap to secure it from falling off, remember what I said about stuff spilling out if you were to turn the bag upside down? This little velcro strap will prevent your laptop from coming out accidentally. The padding that protects the laptop is not going to win any safety or ruggedness awards anytime soon, but it's thick enough and soft enough to save your laptop from everyday nicks and scratches and bumps. As long as you're not playing football with the bag, or tossing it across the room into a pile of rocks, your laptop will be pretty safe.
The wishlist & final verdict
I wish the main compartment was padded a bit too, at least in the bottom, but that's just because I'm weird and sometimes carry two laptops. I also wish there were a couple more pockets in the front and maybe even on the inside. From a consumer point of view, I wish I could find these at a retail outlet so I could browse through colors and flaps before buying them. The online thing is cool, but with a product like this the touch and feel aspect of it would be awesome.
So would I get the same bag again next time? No, I would like to try out some of the other bagalicious bags instead, the Phatpack comes to mind as being more or less what I would want. At their current price point, they are a little bit on the expensive side, but with the durability and uniqueness of the bag, I think the price is justified. So far the customer support has been tremendous and I even got to exchange a few emails with Peter, the founder. That's world class customer service and it's clear that customer satisfaction is at the top of the list for Tagger bags.
Tagger bags are also hip and sleek, and this culture doesn't stop there. The art work is really cutting edge, but also has a general appeal so nobody is left out. They have something for everyone. The website is pretty sleek too and it's easy to use and understand how you can create your personalized bag. Tagger bags has a blog but can also be found on Twitter, Facebook and there are quite a few videos on Youtube. And of course, you can find them at Taggerbags.com