First Impressions – Rugged Material Messenger Bag

Recently I reached out to the good folks at Rugged Material. Having successfully funded and provided goods through a Kickstarter campaign, I expected great things. I think it is fairly understated to have the ability to speak directly with the founder of a staffed company as a first-time customer. I got that experience from Tyler Condie, the founder of Rugged Material. He’s surrounded by a great team of folks dedicated towards designing and making goods guaranteed for life, and proudly made in the USA. Tyler was kind enough to send in a pull-up brown messenger bag that I’ll be giving my first impressions on, with a long-term use review in the future.

The Rugged Material Messenger Bag is a merge between the classic messenger design with modernized, rugged construction. The exterior of the bag is constructed of four major pieces of full grained oil-tan leather, with additional belt straps and a front pocket which bears the laser-burned logo. A polyester thread is used that is UV-resistant and also resistant to breakdown from leather creams and conditioners. Nickel-plated brass hardware is evident in the rivets, d rings, and handle. The closures are constructed of matte finished aluminum slide release buckles. The outside dimensions of the bag are 16.5″ x 5″ x 13″.

While the bag is definitely rugged, it has some formal finishing. The rounded corners on the leather as well as the attention to detail played on the stitching of the entire bag and the handle make solid statements.

The strap is the epitome of ruggedness – substantial full grain leather with nylon webbing (think seat-belt) stitched to the backside to prevent stretching and sustain heavy loads. This webbing is also implemented in the d-rings for the shoulder strap attachment as well as the handle. Adjustment of the strap is simple using tri-glide keepers and the bag can be worn on one shoulder like a briefcase or cross body like a messenger. The width of the strap is 1.5 inches, not too thick to look overbearing on a person of smaller stature and expandable from 36” to 59”.

The interior of the bag is nicely lined on the front and back with a black pigskin leather. This adds rigidity to the bag as well as it is a durable, easy to clean surface in case of spills. I do wish that a piece of pigskin coated the bottom of the bag, but that may add too much construction/rigidity if stitched in. A removable piece of pigskin would be nice to prevent spills to the bottom as well as stash extra bills or small documents under. The pockets hold a cellphone, most 14 inch laptops, and a full sized iPad or similar tablet. The front pocket could easily hold document folders, receipts, and other small items.


After handling this bag initially, I can say that the Rugged Material Messenger Bag is one of the bags I wish I’d had to get through undergraduate and graduate studies. At $295 it is very competitively priced among bags of the same dimensions and quality. Being a direct-to-consumer company, customers are not hit with the additional costs associated with outsourcing production from companies that choose to only design their products. Going along with their motto, their bag is USA-made and guaranteed for life. The bag  is also set to handle the working environments I am in, so I am looking forward to giving it some long term use and following up on its durability and function.

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