Skiing X Mission Workshop Rummy


The Mission Workshop in Waxed Canvas is actually a great skiing bag.  It’s softer cotton canvas wraps around your back better compared to the stiffer cordura material of the normal Rummy.  Because it’s a messenger you can easily swing it away from your back, around your chest when you get on the ski lift.  The waxed cotton canvas is good weather proofed material and will keep your items nice and dry in the snow if you’re dropping into deep powder or if you’re skiing while it’s snowing.

The rolltop function allows you to keep items that don’t need to be accessed frequently, in the main compartment.  When the main flap is rolled up, it frees up the front zipper pocket to be easily accessible.  This is actually a large area and can fit a 13 inch Macbook Air.  This is where I put my camera or things where I need to access quickly when I’m on the mountain.


Reproofing your Rummy Waxed Canvas the Right Way


I bought an awesome Mission Workshop Rummy Messenger bag made from waxed canvas last year.  Rode through many rainstorms with it strapped to my back with all my important papers, electronics and a 17 inch Macbook pro inside of it.  The contents inside never got wet.  In the last downpour I rode through, I discovered that it started to leak a little bit on the inside with the inner lining getting a bit damp.  Some of my papers were damp as well.  This was due to water penetration on the outside, through the cotton fabric.  But this wasn’t any type of cotton, this was a nice 10 oz. wax cotton from Mission Workshop.  This means that the cotton is impregnated with a type of parrafin/linseed oil wax that creates a water resistant barrier.  I didn’t quite know what to think of it but soon realized that the wax from the factory was starting to deteriorate and dry out over time.  This was probably due to the fact that the wax cotton fabric was sitting in the factory for a while before it was purchased and turned into a bag, or maybe because I tend to beat up my gear from heavy use.  Either way, I needed to remedy the situation fast because when it rains in the South…it really comes down hard.

Mission Workshop itself does not sell any prodcut for you to rewax their cotton bags so I had to do a little bit of research on the internet.  I came down to 3 choices.  Otter Wax, Barbour Wax or Filson’s Oil Wax.  From what I’ve read about Otter Wax, it comes in a bar and doesn’t go on very well even if you use a blow dryer.  I wasn’t so sure how well things would work by just rubbing a dry bar of wax onto a bag.  I didn’t want my bag to have a light coat of wax, I wanted that stuff to soak through the fabric and really get in there.  Barbour was an excellent choice, but it’s made in Britain, would take a long time to get here because multiple vendors didn’t have it and I just wanted to go with American made.  Filson’s was a bit of an anomaly.  I’ve never heard of Filson’s and the name “Oil Finish Wax” made me a bit reluctant because I was afraid their wax would give my bag a permanent oily touch, you know, like those old school wind jackets that sailors would cover themselves with back in the day that constantly looked wet even when dry.  After more research, I decided to give Filson’s a try just because they’ve been in the business for so long and they’ve been making all sorts of waxed cotton/ water resistant items since the 19th century.  I’m glad I did, Filson’s Oil Finish Wax worked like a charm on my messenger bag.  I would say that it went beyond “water resisting” the fabric, it waterproofed it.

That water stayed there for hours upon hours.  It did not seep through the fabric, that’s how great Filson’s Oil Finish Wax is!

I’m going to run through how you can reproof your waxed cotton once the existing wax has worn off.  It’s a very simple process but a bit time consuming because there are certain steps you must take in order to get the process right.


Here is the bag, a can of wax and a cotton rag.  If you can, take the strap off the bag in order to make it easier to work with and get into the nooks and crannies of the bag with the wax.  Give yourself a nice flat area to work with either on a floor or a nice big table.


First, you’re going to want to use some cold water to wipe the bag down and clean off any dirt or caked on gunk from your adventures.  You don’t want any abrasives on the bag while reproof it, the surface needs to be completely free of debris before you start.  Think of it like waxing a car, you always clean your car before you wax it!


Next you’re going to want to heat the wax in really hot water until it is completely melted.  What I did was place the tin of wax in a plastic bag and placed the entire thing in a pot of boiled water for about 20 minutes.  You want the wax to be completely liquid so that it can absorb itself into the fabric.  Preferably, the fabric should be heated to in order to really open up the pores and microscopic spaces within the cotton for even better absorption.  The pros at Barbour and Belstaff use a heated table heated  but who has one of those at home?   I simply used a hair dryer at semi close range and went over the messenger bag a few times to get it warm and toasty.


Now, dip your rag into the wax and start rubbing the wax into the messenger bag, a small section at a time in a circular motion.  Be sure to overlap because wax can’t really be spread easily once it’s in the fabric, you’ll have to overlap your sections in order to get every part of the messenger bag to absorb the wax.  This is the most time consuming because you’ll have to get the wax on and then also use a hair dryer to insure that the area you’re around is warm.  Liquid wax begins to harden very quickly.  Even after a few minutes of taking it out of its tin, the wax starts to become a bit creamy.  Even after I took the wax tin out of the bag, I kept it in a shallow bowl with hot water.  If you do this, be sure the water doesn’t get into the wax.  Keeping everything hot and liquid might be overkill, but I wanted the wax to really get in so that I didn’t have re-wax my bag every few months.  The fabric will become significantly darker  and look almost oily because of all the wax that it is absorbing.  This is completely normal and that dark wet finish will eventually go away after a few days of drying.


I was a little shocked at first by how oily the thing looked.  At this point I was thinking…man, maybe I should have gone with Otter Wax, ha!  When you’re done waxing, hang the bag up in a warm room and let the bag naturally air dry over 24 hours.  Immediately after waxing, the bag will be sticky to the touch and just overall, a bit gross but like I said, that is completely natural.  Don’t attempt to take it out immediately into the rain or drag it through the mud.


This was 24 hours after the bag has dried.  It still has a little bit of sheen to it, but it’s well on its way to drying completely and looking like how I got it from Mission Workshop…only a little better.  Filson’s wax will give your bags a slightly darker look to with a bit of sheen, like leather.


After a couple days, the bag will basically be back in brand new condition and fully weatherproof as before.


This is how good Filson’s wax is!  The wax is so strong that if this cotton material were larger, I could use it as a rain tarp for camping.  Before waxing, water soaked into the fabric after a few minutes, but now it just sits there.  These are 2 truly great products used with each other.  Keep in mind that for ultimate water protection, I don’t think anything beats Gore-tex or Cordura, these are just simply fabrics made with newer technology.  But if you have an appreciation for how things were done during days gone by, wax canvas bags and jackets can offer equally good protection as long as it is maintained properly.

Leave any comments if you have any questions about the re-proofing process. Thanks for reading!



Review of the Mission Workshop AP Rummy in Waxed Canvas with Arkiv Hardware

IMG_2496Here’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.

IMG_2044    IMG_2045

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.