It seems that today’s traveling is all about minimalism and finding a shoulder bag to not only take as a carry-on at the airport, but also a bag that you can walk with for a period of time that is not too heavy, cumbersome, or restricting. The design of the Journeyman from Intrepid Bag Co. is purposely designed with the traveler, adventurer and minimalist in mind with its lighter-weight construction, fit, and function while maintaining a sleek and stylish appearance.
A two-year-old company based out of San Francisco, Intrepid Bag Co. sells just 2 leather travel bags–one for him and one for her with underlining themes of travel, comfort, minimalism and quality.
The Journeyman features a rich dark brown, full grain latigo saddle leather that is very soft and flexible and requires virtually no break-in period. The stitching is a marine-grade nylon thread. A herringbone fabric lines the inside of the bag, pockets, and shoulder strap. On the inside, the main compartment of the bag features a sewn-in 13-inch padded laptop sleeve with a leather pocket for an iPad or other accessory on the front. Behind the laptop pocket, there is another slightly concealed pocket for items such as a passport or cellphone.
A leather/herringbone divider features a large pocket with a leather flap and closure, another cellphone sized pocket and three pen slots. There are also two exterior pockets on both the front and the backside of the bag. Being a messenger style bag, the bag’s lid is secured with two buckle closures made from a lightweight steel. The shoulder strap is 2 inches wide and is reinforced with two steel rivets on each end. It can be adjusted for length with a free floating pad to tuck away the excess strap tail.
The dimensions of this bag are 15″ x 10″ x 3,” making it a smaller bag. In the world of the minimalist, this may be a good thing. Smaller bags force you to pack light and take along the very basics. That being said, the bag can hold an 11-inch or 13-inch MacBook Air no problem. A larger laptop may not fit in the designated laptop sleeve, not to mention with the power adapter and other electronic accessories. With a laptop and a power cord, there really is not much room left in the bag. A few additional books or magazines, a pair of sunglasses, a point and shoot digital camera and a passport wallet maxes out the space without the bag looking overstuffed and awkward when carried.
The shoulder strap features a cross body design that holds the bag flat and firmly against one’s back as opposed to the side. The bag also has a handle which is more tucked away in the back rather than directly on top of the bag.
The leather on this bag is rich and will most likely take on a lot of character with wear. A few scratches on mine already look great. With a name like Journeyman, a piece that acquires scratch marks and a patina contributes to the bag’s journeys and stories.
As mentioned previously, this is a small bag. While a thin laptop, a charger, and a few accessories can fit in the bag, there is not much room for more. This may not be a great bag for briefcase items such as larger notebooks, folders, or books. One may see this more as just a laptop bag with other every day carry items.
Empty, the bag weighs about 2 pounds. With a 11-inch MacBook Air, charger, point and shoot camera, 2 small notebooks and a couple small accessories, it weighed about 9 pounds for me. Anything more, I feel, would make the back bulky and heavy–thus defeating the purpose of the minimalist design.
I am 6’1″ and am about 180 pounds (on a good day), and the bag fits my frame well while only looking a tad small. I have been using it almost every day for a week and I appreciate the size.
Having always worn a messenger bag hanging to my side, the design of the shoulder strap was awkward at first since it only allows you to have it sit snuggly against your back. After wearing it a few times, I got used to it and it doesn’t feel like a burden when walking or riding a bike. This is what this bag was meant for (hence the name). Although it would be nice to have a different option with the shoulder strap (or even the option of removing it), it suites the theme and design of the bag quite well.
Although the hardware on the bag is lightweight, it appears to be of lower quality than most other leather bags on the market. I appreciate the lighter weight buckles, but I worry that they might not hold up getting banged around with travel and regular wear.
Another feature I thought was awkward was the handle. The handle is behind the bag rather than on top and seems a tad flimsy. After using it for a few days, I again realized that the handle being tucked back and hidden contributed to the minimalist design. Having a bulkier handle directly on top would definitely stick out like a sore thumb. Since one cannot carry a lot of heavy things in this small bag, I do not forsee any issues of the handle coming unstitched or ripping from the weight of the bag.
Lastly, the herringbone fabric lining the leather is a nice touch and pads the contents of the bag very well. Again, not being leather, I suspect it will wear thin and require extra attention to clean for it to stay in good shape.
The Journeyman Messenger from Intrepid Bag Co. speaks to its name. It is a smaller minimalist bag that is very comfortable to wear while walking long distances or even biking. The bag comes with a 10 year warranty which also makes me wary of the quality, but after using it for a week, the bag seems pretty durable and reliable. The price is what you would expect from a domestic made product with full grain leather and herringbone fabric. Being a new company, I am curious to see what other consumers think of the Journeyman and what other products lie in store for Intrepid Bag Co.