Here’s an honest review of a great messenger bag…I spent a long time thinking about whether to go for this,the tried and true Chrome Citizen or the exquisite Trakke Mule. I decided to go with the Mission Workshop Rummy in Wax Canvas mainly due to its slightly more elegant design and price point. The Chrome Citizen was too ubiquitous and the Trakke Mule was far too expensive. So here are my thoughts…First off, I wanted to show this bag in its element, being an everyday carry that’s capable of withstanding the elements. Yes this bag does look pretty sleek in Mission Workshop’s official product photos because they probably lined it with filling to make it look more rectangular than it is.
This is a cotton bag, much different from its nylon “normal” Rummy counterpart. The waxed cotton is softer and much more supple. Because of that, it’s also less structured than the VX fabric or Nylon Rummys so it will pretty much take on the shape of whatever you put into it. In the above photo, it’s loaded to the brim with groceries, toiletries and some beer so now it looks more like Santa’s gift bag instead.
This bag can definitely hold a lot of stuff , 27 liters worth but it can probably hold more due to its roll top design. Simply unroll the top flap and you can literally fill it to the brim as I did here with laundry, books, etc, anything that you can think of. To keep it all secure and water tight, the VX hardware buckles that come with the Waxed Canvas Rummy can extend via 2 elastic bands that can reach all the way to the top of the unfolded flap as you can see here.
Yeah…not really what you see on Mission Workshop’s site anymore right? Well, this is the functional side of the bag. It can look quite snazzy with just a few books and a lap top inside, but it is equally functional with a load of dirty laundry when you’re making a bike trip to the cleaners. Oh, did I mention that it’s also a water tight bag? I’ve ridden through snow and heavy thunder storms and the waxed cotton combined with the inner waterproof liner managed to keep everything inside completely dry.
In its compact form, this is a handsome bag where you can use it in roll top mode or flap down mode. Aesthetically I like how it looks when the flap is rolled up and also because it allows for quick access to my bike lock, pen and notebooks located in the inner compartments. This was one of the big reasons why I chose this bag over the Chrome Citizen and Trakke Mule/Wee Lug. Instead of using a normal plastic clip to secure the flaps, the Rummy Wax Canvas shares the same hardware as the VX Rummy. It uses a metal buckle fastener which simply slides on top of a tab, this only requires a simple one handed motion to attach and detach the buckles.
Here is a closer look at how the buckle attaches onto the tab. It is a lot quicker to operate than the standard plastic snap fasteners used on most bags on the market, not to mention it looks really cool as well with its brushed steel.
I would say that the bag is quite comfortable, but that depends on how you load it. Because this bag isn’t as structured as the “heavier and thicker” nylon and VX fabrics, it takes the shape whatever you put into it. It also isn’t padded as well as the other Rummys for some reason…I think the ballistic nylon and VX fabric used in the other Rummy is also thicker. The best thing about the Mission Workshop Rummy bags is their strap. It’s very well designed such that it attaches to the outer edge closest to the rear of the bag. That causes the contents of the bag to push away from you when you begins to fill it up INSTEAD of INTO you which is painfully uncomfortable. The Chrome Citizen does that and that was another reason why I chose the Mission Workshop Rummy over it. So even if you put a big square box into this bag, it is still comfortable to ride with it because it’s resting on top of your back instead of digging into it. Another great thing about the Rummy is the fact that it can be worn over the left or right shoulder with the simple switching of sides of the strap.
Because this is a cotton bag and therefore not scratch proof, this bag will wear compared to its VX and Nylon Fabric counterpart. That is wholly up to you to decide whether you want a bag that looks sleek all the time, or a bag that will eventually look well worn, beat up and full of character…I chose the latter because I like how waxed cotton develops a certain patina, as it ages, that is unique to how you use it. I do have a gripe about how the top flap is wearing though…
There are some very wrinkly spots that developed after running the bag through some heavy rainstorms. I wasn’t expecting the cotton to wear like that and personally it’s a bit unsightly. I think it might have to do with how the black pieces were sewed onto the cotton. I’ve tried ironing them out but to avail, it stays wrinkly. If any readers have any advice about getting them out please leave a comment below.
Overall, it’s a great bag that can hold a ton of stuff. With all that shown in the above photo, you can also still fit a whopping 17inch laptop and charger in there as well. At that point though, it gets pretty heavy on a single shoulder so I’d recommend only doing that for short 1 hour or less rides or using the bag as a weekender. It keeps all your contents dry in heavy rain and even dust storms as there is no gap between the flap and the opening of the bag. It’s comfortable as much as a messenger bag can be with all that weight on one shoulder. The Mission Workshop Rummy tries to make it easy for the user by using a wide strap that can help disperse the weight. The only big gripe I have about this bag are the wrinkly parts that have developed on the top flap and the lack of padding or a laptop compartment. That makes carrying a laptop a bit dangerous as it is susceptible to bumps and drops as the cotton and inner liner, despite being waterproof, is actually very thin. I would also not recommend putting a small laptop or a tablet (unless it was in a protective sleeve) in the front compartment either since the fabric is also very thin there. I hope you enjoy this review, please leave any questions or comments you have below. I know choosing a premium messenger bag can be quite a process especially since these can get quite pricey so I am more than happy to answer questions or even take more photos for anyone who wants to know more about this bag.
I had been stressing over a new bag purchase for months now, and finally decided to dive head first into messenger bags. I went with this same bag, albeit in brown. I love the way it looks, the wear, etc.
I am having trouble figuring out the best way to pack the thing and have it still be comfortable. For instance, I have a large water bottle that I store in the main compartment and I can’t determine the best way to set it in there (with some books) so that it doesn’t feel like I have a big cylinder on my back. It must be about the same size as your shaker bottle, so I am curious as to how you pack it up.
It just seems to dig into my back, rather than sit on top of my back as you mentioned. Maybe I am being critical, as I have always used backpacks.
Thanks for any help or insight!
Hey Alan! Great choice on the bag, especially the color. I’m itching for one in light brown like yours so I may sell mine on Ebay. I bet it will wear beautifully.
The unstructured design of the bag has led me to call this the hobo sack. To counter act that, I always put books and laptops in the main compartment so that it says more so flat on my back. I put my blender bottle in the front compartment so even if it digs in, it’s digging into the books and the laptops, not my back. I’ll also slide it in the side of the large main compartment but only when I’ve fully loaded my books or laptop. The books or laptop will keep pressure on the water bottle placed on the side, preventing it from moving. Lemme know if you have anymore questions man! Enjoy the bag!
After seeing how sweet the olive looks after your re-waxing, I can’t wait for it to wear down!
I was previously reserving the front compartments for papers, small notebooks, and an iPad – I just switched it out with the water bottle today and its significantly more comfortable on rides. Thanks for the advice!
I was really sold on the Rummy, but was planning on getting the standard version. If its any consolation, the photography on your blog really sold me on the canvas!
great review, i just bought the Citizen Buran and after trying it at home I realized how nonfunctional it is. First, the laptop compartment is very loose and does not seem to protect a laptop at all. Second the bag does not allow to stretch or shape to what you put into it. My first test was to move everything from my Oakley backpack to Buran and it was terrible. I have a 15″ laptop, power supply, bunch of cables. Also I want to be able to carry my lunch which consist of 3 containers. I guess people dont carry that much food. Once you put that in Buran it pushes against the laptop and all compartments are tight. It just does not make any sense how it is designed. IT feels like no one put any thinking into it. Super cool clamp is not enough. So I will be returning it and i have two options: go with Metro citizen and laptop sleeve or Rummy. Have you looked at Metro? What do you think would be a better choice. I wish i could see in the store but in Chicago no one carries it. I want something that is versatile. I want to bike with it, travel with it,c carry to work, or just take it to the beach,
Is it possible to setup this bad in such a way that you just open it and have immediate access to laptop and internal compartment? I am not sure if i should go with cotton or nylon.
I’m gonna be super honest with you, the Chrome Citizen is basically an oversized Buran, it does not hold stuff very well either. The Mission Workshop is a slightly better option because the straps are attached at the rear of the bag, (not the front like the Citizen) so when stuff is pushing against the bag, it is pushing outwards, and not inwards into your back. With that said, the MW Rummy is still an unstructured bag so it will take on the shape of whatever you put into it. The good thing about the Rummy is that there are more compartments in the front (big ones) that you can fit in your rectangular lunch boxes without it pushing into the main compartment where you’ll have our laptop, cables etc. Definitely check it out!! The best bag I’ve used so far is honestly the TimBuk2 Especial cycling bag because it is partially structured and that helps ALOT to retain the form of the bag. The Timbuk2’s aren’t as stylish but they are more functional than the MW Rummy and the Citizen. Hope this helps and lemme know if you have anymore questions!
thx for you input. I went to the store and returned the Buran. I check the Citizen and Metro but they both felt like giant and not so functional bags. So definite “no” to Chrome. I do have their Niko bag for camera and I love it, but rest is just designed so poorly. I checked all their bags and they all are useless. The warsaw was probably the only one that was functional but just too big for my purpose. I went to timbuk store but had trouble finding something that works like my old Oakley bag. But I will check out the Especial again. Do you mean this one? https://www.amazon.com/Timbuk2-Especial-Cycling-Backpack-Black/dp/B00E1O36AC/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1465757291&sr=8-6&keywords=timbuk+especial
I even went to Oakley store and their new bags are not as good as old ones. Seems like there is a new trend now to make the bags giant cool looking no so functional pieces of work!!! I am considering http://missionworkshop.com/products/advanced_projects/ht500-messenger-bag.php as it is new material that is between hard and soft.
Never though that it would be so hard to find a bag!!!
I like the idea of the flap down and roll top but i believe you should be able to access internal compartment in the flap down mode and if you really need to extend the bag and put more stuff then you go into roll top mode.
Nah I meant this one: https://www.amazon.com/Timbuk2-462-4-2001-Especial-Messenger-Bag/dp/B00X9NXD2W/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1465792210&sr=8-5&keywords=timbuk+especial+messenger
I’m curious of the the HT500 MW rummy as well and am considering adding that to my collection. With the Rummy, it’s not too difficult to access the internal compartments in flap down mode, takes me about 20 seconds to lower the bag, swing it around, grab something, swing it around and readjust again. The buckle hardware of the Especial is much better than the MW Arkiv system because the Especial uses magnetic clasp that automatically lock when you hover the clasp together. It’s really fast and convenient.
Hi , am considering getting the waxed canvas or the VX rummy. Thing is, i tried rolling the main top flap for roll top closing, while at the store. And it was stiff as hell, because of the rails that serve as the latching points of the Arkiv clasps. So yes, it was more of fold-closed, rather than roll closed. Im wondering, over time and with wear and tear, will the rails soften up and thus make it easier to actually roll the flap closed? Thanks in advance.
yeaup they will soften up after just a few weeks of heavy use
I bought this in the brown colourway mainly thanks to this review. Use the bag everyday when biking to work. It’s great! And it just gets more comfortable to use and nicer looking the more you use it.
I tried the ’regular’ monty first but didn’t like the fabric nor the regular buckles. The arkiv-buckles are so much easier.
After 7 years, I’m glad my little place on the internet is still helping people choose this bag. Great choice, I still have mine and swap it out when I need to hold a ton of gear, I do wish it had more structure though, after all this time, that is still something that I’m not really use to. But materials, construction is top notch and that’s why I continue to use it!