Some days, a backpack’s style just doesn’t cut it. The trouble is, you still need to carry around a laptop, a camera, your phone, and other assorted bits of everyday gear. The backpack is ideal, but there are very few out there that go with more formal outfits.
Now, there’s a solution to this problem: Moshi’s Tego Sling Pack Messenger Bag.
It has the exactly right classic streetwear look, while still being capable of carrying all your gear around, but you’re going to have to rethink the way you wear a bag in order to get used to it.
I took it as my companion on a recent trip to Japan.
Messenger bags are designed to be quite slim, having evolved from carrying only paperwork inside. That’s great for a laptop or tablet, but not for a bulky camera or clothes. A backpack isn’t a great option when you want to look sharp, which is where the Tego Sling Pack Messenger comes in. It’s a hybrid that has the capacity of a medium-sized backpack, the style of a messenger bag, and the wearability of a crossbody bag.
It happily envelopes a 13-inch laptop and charger, my Panasonic FZ1000 camera (which is rather bulky), a couple of phones, my wallet, passport, headphones, and a few assorted everyday items like sunglasses, mints, and hand cleanser. There are four pockets inside, but they’re not very useful as anything small placed inside often fell out into the main compartment. There’s a single zip pocket on the outside, which has RFID protection to keep your credit cards safe from skimming. It’s design to press up against your body to prevent anyone dipping into it without your knowledge. I also took the bag on a night away, so it had to carry a change of clothes and a small amount of toiletries, in place of the laptop and camera. It managed, but was near its bursting point.
The 1.6-pound bag has a single zipper that runs across the top and down either side. It’s hidden underneath a reinforced flap that ensures it doesn’t get wet inside in adverse conditions, and is harder for potential thieves to undo. Like other messenger bags, it has a single, long strap attached to either side by zinc alloy clasps. All the fabric sections are heavily reinforced, and even after filling it to capacity several times, none show any sign of fraying or wear.
It’s classier and more stylish than a backpack, and more versatile than a messenger.
The exterior of the bag is similarly strong and also weatherproof. Moshi also claims the material is cut-proof, but I didn’t go so far as to test this boast, as I rather like the bag. The bag in the accompanying photod has been on a very long, multiweek trip, and endured sun, rain, and even snow during that time. Since then, it has been called into action to carry my work gear to events for several weeks. It still looks almost new, with no marks on the fabric at all. It’s very well-made, and has withstood the rigors of daily life without an issue.
Moshi’s Tego Sling Pack Messenger is wider and deeper than a standard messenger bag, but when worn, feels more compact. There’s plenty of space for your everyday gear, and just enough for a short trip if you travel very lightly. However, the main benefit here is the design — it’s classier and more stylish than a backpack, and more versatile than a messenger.
It’s (mostly) impossible to wear a backpack incorrectly, and a messenger bag is simply slung over one shoulder, but the Tego Sling Pack Messenger is a little bit different. The bag is designed to sit against your back, not down at your side, and the padded main strap has a secondary one to secure it all. But it isn’t immediately obvious how to wear it properly.
I discarded the second strap almost straightaway. It’s there mainly for cyclists to hold the bag securely against them while riding — it’ll slip around to the front of your body otherwise — and is unnecessary in almost all other situations. At first, the bag feels quite unnatural to wear, especially if you’ve never worn a crossbody bag.
It hangs low on your back until you pull on a tab located on the strap, which hikes the bag up your back and tightens the grip. Once you get the position right, it’s comfortable, but you do have to experiment. When the bag is very full, it does bounce against your back when walking, something made worse by the elastic sections in the strap.
To take the bag off, there is a second quick release pull tab you have to tug. It’s all a bit of an operation at first, but it’s quick once you’re used to it.
I’ve already mentioned the bounce, which happens when the bag is stuffed full and is annoying when you’re walking. It does tug on your shoulder as well, when the bag is heavy. Unfortunately, there’s no other way to wear the bag to alleviate this issue. You could just put it over your shoulder, but it feels exceptionally odd and unstable.
The main zipper can also be awkward to pull open, especially from the side of the bag, as it doesn’t easily turn the corner.
While the design is stylish, it isn’t always flattering, as it pulls your clothes tightly against your torso, cutting you in two, and accentuating any hint of a tummy. It’s not an issue when you’re wearing a coa, but isn’t a great look when you’re wearing a T-shirt or polo.
Lastly, a laptop that’s larger than 13-inches will struggle to fit in the compartment neatly. I’d really say the bag is for 11-inch laptops, or very compact 13-inch models only. The problem isn’t width, it’s height.
You can buy the Tego Sling Pack Messenger Bag from Moshi’s own website, where it costs $150, although it can be found for a little less on Amazon. In the U.K. the Sling Pack Messenger is 150 British pounds. Moshi also makes the Hexa backpack, which is sleek and modern, avoiding the style problems associated with backpacks. It’s priced a little lower at $120.
The Moshi Tego Sling Pack Messenger bag is a versatile companion that doesn’t make you look like you’re on your way to school, or heading out into the wilderness. It served me extremely well as my only daily bag on a two-week international trip, and has continued to do so since then. While you have to “learn” how to wear it properly, it’s worth the few moments this takes. You’ll look sharp wearing it, and stand apart from the crowd too.