Thrux Lawrence Dispatch Messenger Bag Review – $450

For the past few weeks we have been reviewing the canvas and leather Dispatch messenger bag from Thrux Lawrence and are thoroughly impressed with its usability and durability. This bag is bringing serious competition to well established companies such as Filson and Duluth Trading. The Dispatch is the Thrux Lawrence model of a messenger bag. Thrux Lawrence large carry goods are all made with heavy 24 oz canvas and Horween leather.

Previously we have reviewed the Thrux Pack as well as a the Key Post from Thrux Lawrence.

Many thanks to Matt Leitholt for shooting several of these excellent photos.

aesthetic

The rule of thirds is a commonly known rule in photography and design. For some reason, things look good segmented into thirds. No one knows why but if you analyze the dimensions of an Aston Martin or a famous photo it will be designed in thirds. Much of the Dispatch design follows this rule of thirds, loosely, and consequently looks decently sharp.

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You can buy the Dispatch in sixteen different color variations between color options in leather and canvas. The colors are muted and tasteful and give a lot of style options. The dark burgundy leather looks more collegiate while the whisky color is more casual.

Tanden, the owner and designer of the Thrux Lawrence brand, has included some interesting visual details as well. For example, on each bag from Thrux there will be an original vintage photo slipped into a side pocket specially included for that picture.

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Each bag is marked with it’s generation number and batch number since they are manufactured in limited runs.

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functionality

Carrying this bag on a daily basis has been enjoyable because of it’s excellent style and functionality.

The Dispatch measures 13″ tall by 16.5″ wide by 5.5″ deep which lends itself to carrying quite a bit. Plus, the flexible canvas allows more room for goodies.

Here’s a picture of the Dispatch as it went with me to Philadelphia. As you can see I have quite a bit stuffed in. A DSLR with lens, an extra lens, 13” MacBook and charger, Saddleback Leather Moleskin Cover, iPad, paperwork folder, and various sundry items like headphones and pens. It is very full. The weight of the bag was a hefty seventeen pounds.

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One of the complaints with the Thrux Pack was a lack of individual storage compartments which basically forced everything into the large main compartment. This is not so with the Dispatch. There are six pockets to separate out your goodies.

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A zippered pocket in front sporting a #10 zipper from YKK. Plenty to hold small items such as keys and headphones.

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A pocket for your laptop charger. The main compartment which is obviously big enough for a large camera and an extra lens. The document pocket will fit a couple books or quite a stack of paper. Finally, the laptop slot will fit a 15” laptop nicely and even stretch for a 17″ laptop.

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While it will fit an enormous load I appreciated that the design looks great when not crammed full. Some bags slump and fold up if not filled to capacity and the Dispatch is not one of them thanks to the rigid double stitched leather base.

The leather handle is perfectly comfortable and is secured with four rivets and copious stitching.

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At first I was concerned that the gap between the side and the top flap would allow water into the bag but as soon as the bag is picked up the gap is pinched shut against the top flap by the shoulder strap.

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However, I do have one gripe about the shoulder strap. The snaps that hold the shoulder strap on the bag will suddenly disconnect if the strap is twisted when you pick it up due to the orientation of the d-rings pushing against the brass snap gate. Thankfully this only happens when you have a grip on the shoulder strap and only one unclips at a time so you have a chance to catch the bag before it falls on the floor with your expensive things inside. We did mention this flaw to Tanden and he is sourcing new hardware which will remedy this.

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Thrux Lawrence has replaced that hideous hardware with some killer clasps. These are unlike anything I have ever seen and are perposterously expensive, but so be it. They have a locking mechanism and won’t ever repeat the mistake of the first clasp i.e. involuntarily disconnecting when the bag is picked up.

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construction

Seventeen pounds is a lot to be carrying on one shoulder while marching through the endless corridors of the Minneapolis airport. Thankfully, one certainly doesn’t have to worry about the bag coming apart. It is built hefty. The base plate that makes up the foundation of each Thrux bag is double stitched and composed of multiple layers of leather. The leather base has a 600 pound pull apart strength, you know, just in case.

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The hardware is all brass, #9 solid rivets (these can break weak snips), the leather is a heavy 9-10 oz, and the 350 denier nylon thread was sourced from a top secret facility that restarted production just to supply Thrux Lawrence. The hand hammered rivets that are used pinch the leather all around it instead of letting the rivet hole take all the burden and potentially rip out.

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The chrome tanned leather is sourced from the well known Horween tannery which has been around since 1905. As well known and as high quality of leather that Horween produces they are not easy to purchase from. Because of the high demand for their leather it can take a while to be taken care of and I have personally heard from more than five leather companies that say wait times, shipping costs, and attention to detail is often lacking. But, the leather is good. Perhaps the recent surge of popularity in Horween goods will motivate them to improve their service.

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the Thrux Lawrence store

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Tanden just opened up his first store in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho and it is a visual treat. Literal bombshell light fixtures, a 1947 pool table, cafe motorcycles, an attached barbershop, and of course the Thrux Lawrence goods. It is worth a visit if you happen to be passing through Spokane or touring beautiful north Idaho.

BestLeather conclusion

At the $450 price point you have a variety of options in canvas and leather. Filson, Duluth, and Frost River come to mind. However, none of their materials compare with the heavy thread, #10 YKK zipper, lush Horween leather, 24 oz canvas (filson uses 22 oz and MUCH lighter thread). It is no contest if you are looking for a bag to serve you and your generations well.

Check out the Dispatch from Thrux Lawrence here.

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