Review: Bagaboo Custom Workhorse Messenger Bag

To say that my Bagaboo Messenger Bag makes me smile whenever I wear it, is probably a good place to start this review...

Bagaboo is a Hungarian brand, which can be bought direct from the manufacturer at or from select UK distributors. It makes both fully prepared off-the-shelf bags; including messenger bags, rucksacks and shoulder bags; but more excitingly it also makes fully customizable bags which can be tailored in almost every aspect to your desired specification.

Firstly, the looks... I chose the internal tarpaulin, Cordura outer and trim to match my team colours; dark blue and yellow. I reckon it is a pretty damn good looking pack; fitting in well when I go to events, whilst also being a practical and classy colour scheme.

Second I customized a few other features; I had additional reflective strips added (see the large photo below), Airflow back padding for added comfort and I had an internal zippered pocket added for valuables.
You can take the customisation even further if you want to; with hidden pockets, preference of which side the shoulder strap is on, and you can even add a padded laptop sleeve and a U-lock holder!

The build quality of the bag is quite frankly outstanding; this pack really is a Workhorse through and through. The Cordura outer is robust and waterproof, the tarpaulin that lines the bag is the same as you find on commercial HGVs and adds a second waterproof layer, whilst also being incredibly strong.

Even without the customisations the Workhorse Messenger has plenty of class features; a zippered front pocket, pen pouches, then several large internal mesh pockets to hold large items and help to organise your kit. There is no risk of even the most organised traveller not having enough storage options.

The thing that really sets the Bagaboo Workhorse apart from its counterparts it the strap design though. The main shoulder strap is beautifully padded with thick 15mm foam. The straps are made of seatbelt material, so they are pretty indestructible and nice and wide. The Workhorse also has a secondary shoulder strap; a very welcomed feature that is superb for carrying heavier loads in comfort.

In addition to the two shoulder straps there are two side compression straps, which make the bag more comfortable when it is not fully loaded, as well as a few other neat features like a reflective patch on the base of the bag, and a light attachment.

I honestly cannot fault the Workhorse; the build quality is outstanding, the features well thought-out and incredibly customizable to the extent that I cannot imagine anyone will be left unsatisfied. This really is a bag to be used all day, every day; in comfort, style and safety.


  1. Thanks for the review.

    Do you find the bag stays in place on the move, and that you don't have to adjust the straps? Also, what size bag did you get, and what height are you?

  2. Hi there, the bag stays in place very well, with no adjustment of the straps. The double strap design is especially useful with bigger loads. I can safely say it is the most secure messenger bag I have ever used.

    The bag I have is a medium, which is pretty large when you look at what you can fit in it. I am about bang on 6ft for reference of size.

  3. That's helpful, thanks.

    Have you had any issue with the way the bag sits on your back? I read a review where this was mentioned, and attributed to the size of the bag, and implying bigger sizes work better. Review here:

    I like the bagaboo a lot, but as it's a little less mainstream (which is a good thing) it's harder to find thorough reviews of it.

  4. As I said, the bag stays in place very well, especially when full. I can only vouch for my height and my size of bag (medium), but the strap system is the best designed I've seen, and to be honest if you need a bigger bag than a medium, then you should be using panniers, not a messenger bag.

  5. I just bought this bag, size L, used, yesterday.
    Seems like a great bag, BUT

    There is just so many options for securing the bag and I really dislike all the straps hanging around when tightened. I taped some of them to avoid getting them tangled somewhere, but what can I say, it's still a minus for me.

    I have an old army bag that is too small but otherwise perfect. It has a shoulder strap and a kind of a belt type of thing that you put around your waist. It's great but too small.

    Sorry for bad english,

  6. i HAVE a Cocotte Alfredo pro messenger bag which is used by bike delivery people in Montreal and it is quite marvelous. It has a quick release shoulder strap and a sternum strap for under the arm to stop it swinging around when one brakes. It is universal - left or right. The cross strap on the Bagaboo looks good and appeals to me, but as llmari say's too many straps, too many options. I have in all weather, carried tons of stuff in this 34 ltr Cocotte bag, but its good to read other bag reviews and comments.

  7. I have one its a good bag but I tend to find the main problem is the straps get all scruffed and frayed
    rubbing against the velco bits which is sadly unavoidable

  8. Hey! for info, we just opened our Bagaboo shop in France !
    Bags done by hand, lifetime warranty.

    thanks for sharing the info !

  9. I bought one of the first Bagaboo bags about 15 years ago, before they even had a website I think. I'd tried several major brands up this this point, the other bags lasted lasted two years

    I was a messenger in London:
    I opened/closed the bag and loosened/tightened the strap approx. 80/100 times a day for 10 years. I changed jobs 5 years ago and still use it regularly. It never let me down and is still waterproof even with holes in the corners (it's double walled and the inner section is free-floating).

    I'm in the process of buying my second one now!

    Other major brands I tried were flimsy and wore out quickly by comparison, I don't know if they've caught up, but if your a messenger then this bag won't let you down.


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