Review: Oberon Design Crosstown Waxed Canvas Messenger Bag

When Oberon Design, a company whom I’ve grown very fond of through my reviews, released their first messenger bag I was honored to be selected as one of the initial reviewers to lay hands on it.  As a matter of fact, I believe my review of the Laptop Messenger Bag was the first to be published.  I could wax on for a few minutes about how amazing that bag is, and believe me it is, but I’m a realist.  I realize that not everyone could afford, or even wants to spend $400 on a bag.  If you fall into that group I’ve got good news.  Oberon Design has released some new, more affordable options, in their messenger bag line and each brings the same amazing handmade craftsmanship that their more expensive cousins offer.  Every single product Oberon Design makes brings it.  That’s a fact.

In this review I’ll be taking a look at the newly launched Crosstown Waxed Canvas Messenger Bag.  From the street to the board room the Oberon Design Crosstown Waxed Canvas Messenger Bag looks like it’ll travel well to both, but how does the new canvas version of Oberon’s messenger bag really perform?  You’ll have to read my full review to find out.

Read on through for my full review and be sure to check out the video at the end for a more up close and personal look at the Oberon Design Crosstown Waxed Canvas Messenger Bag.

The Oberon Design Crosstown Waxed Canvas Messenger Bag comes wrapped in brown paper, sealed with an Oberon Design sticker.  While there’s nothing “extra” included, you shouldn’t expect anything, after all this isn’t a case.  Oberon Design does however place along with the bag one of their signature hand cast charms.  They do this with every item they offer.  I always place the charm inside whichever item it came along with and consider it good luck to have it along.

Here’s what Oberon Design has to say about the Crosstown Waxed Canvas Messenger Bag.

Sku: MBC13M18

Option: Removable, padded laptop pouch: Price + $23

Tree of Life M18
Round Celtic knot C03
Celtic Braid Trim C29
Cloud Dragon M55

Features & Dimensions

  • Holds a 13″ Laptop
  • Made of waterproof, domestically made, quality waxed canvas with leather details.
  • Bag measures 13.5″ Wide x 9.5″ Tall x 4″ Deep
  • Weight without laptop pouch: 1.9 lbs
  • Weight with laptop pouch: 2.7 lbs
  • Gusset double lined with canvas & ballistic nylon
  • Interior of Bellow Pockets 7” Tall x 6″ Wide
  • Durable ballistic nylon center divider with 2 large organizational pockets
  • Wide Back Pocket 12” Wide x 7” Deep
  • Cotton webbed adjustable cross body strap: measures 2″ across and 53” completely extended.
  • Optional 13” Laptop pouch dimensions: laptop size up to: 14.5” x 11” x 1”
  • Optional padded, removable laptop pouch made from ¼” wool felt covered in ballistic nylon.Leather loop and ring holders on exterior sides.
  • Front pocket buckle straps are adjustable plus easy access studs.
  • Bag is a wide mouth design providing easy visibility and access.

When it comes time to selecting you bag you’ll be able to choose from two different colors.  These include “Field Tan with Wine” (this is the color seen in this review) or “Charcoal with Black.”  Oberon Design does point out that since this bag is “bench made” from both leather and canvas the color of each bag will differ slightly due to dye lots and grains or texture.  This is what makes each Oberon Design bag personally yours and one of a kind.

There are also four different image options from which you can choose from.  These are embossed on the front flap of the bag and include “The Tree of Life” (this is the image seen in this review), “Round Celtic Knot”, “Celtic Braid Trim”, or “Cloud Dragon.”

The 13″ version of the  Crosstown Waxed Canvas Messenger Bag measures in at 13.5″ wide x 9.5″ tall x 4″ deep.  Note, if you are in need of a larger bag Oberon Design offers the same bag in a 15″ version.  You can check it out here.  The waxed canvas material used in the bag is waterproof and domestically made.

The front side of the Crosstown Waxed Canvas Messenger Bag is held closed via leather straps.  These straps are fully adjustable thanks to a belt style mechanism at the bottom of each which allows you to extend or decrease where the front flap sits closed.  Underneath the front flap sit two bellow pockets, which measure 7″ tall x 6″ wide.  These are perfect for storing smaller essential items you need to access quickly.

On the back of the bag a single long pocket runs the entire length.  This pocket is great for newspapers, magazines, folders, airline tickets, or anything else you want to be able to get to without having to open up your bag.

Also located on the outside of the bag is an optional webbed water bottle holder.  If you choose to add this feature you’ll pay an additional $15 but in return you’ll get a unique looking, leather water bottle holder, unlike any I’ve ever seen.  It looks so cool – like it was meant for Spiderman.

The shoulder strap is made from cotton and measures 2″ across and can it be extended up to a length of 53″.  It’s fully adjustable so that you can size it up or down until you achieve the proper length for your particular style of carrying.  The shoulder strap is permanently attached so you will not be able to remove it.  You likely won’t want to take it off anyway since this particular bag has no grab handle.

The inside of the bag features a what seems like a cavernous inner compartment.  For a 13″ bag it’s quite large it can surely hold a ton of stuff.  In my case I was able to place all of my “daily-driver” items inside the compartment and still had plenty of room to spare.

The optional laptop pouch can be added to your bag for an additional $27.  It will hold laptops up to 14.5″ x 11″ x 1″.  It’s heavily padded so that it’ll protect your computer while inside the bag or it can be used on it’s own outside the bag.  The pouch is made from wool felt that’s covered in ballistic nylon.  The pouch has a similar leather belt and stud style closure method as the bellow pockets on the front of the bag do.  It’s also adjustable so that you can snugly hold your laptop inside.

A leather key ring keep sits on the inside of the bag ready to accept your key ring.  This acts as the perfect way to insure you never misplace your keys or that you don’t spend 20 minutes digging through your bag trying to find them at the bottom.

If you’ve never experienced the look and feel and handmade quality that an item from Oberon Design brings now’s your chance.  The new Crosstown Waxed Canvas Messenger Bag is an extremely functional bag with tons of pockets, multiple color options and even a few custom add-ons.  But that’s not all this bag offers.  All that functionality gets combined with a process where your bag is put together by someone’s hands.  Look around you right now.  How many products do you see that you can say that about?  I’m guessing very few.  Until you’ve experienced what it’s like to own a handmade Oberon Design item you just don’t know what you’re missing.

You can learn more about the Oberon Design Crosstown Waxed Canvas Messenger Bag by visiting this page on the company’s web site.

MSRP:  $195+

PROS:  Handmade.  Custom options.

CONS:  No grab handle.

Original Author: Larry Greenberg

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