SNEWS® team members travel quite a bit and there is always a need for another tote bag it seems. We have grown to like bags that can fold up into themselves, making them compact to tuck into suitcases, purses, car trunks or wherever as that emergency carrying bag. Unfurl it and – voila! – you have a shopping bag, gym bag or around-town bag.
We’ve tried – and liked – quite a few, which all serve different purposes. Super lightweight ones are nifty for when every last fraction of an ounce matters – but they often lack some style and features in the course of slimming down. What we really liked about this Messenger version was, in fact, the added pockets and simple styling touches. Sometimes it’s nice to not stash stuff in one big cavernous compartment – or to look like a bag lady.
We tried the Messenger10 rePETe, which is 10 liters (there is a larger 12-liter version) with fabric made from 100 percent recycled PET bottles. (Recycling and lowering use of bottles and bags happens to be a huge personal mission of Chico’s founder – click here to see more.)
A couple of team members tossed the Messenger into a suitcase as they headed to Europe for both work and a short vacation. The bag weighs 5.6 ounces, which is twice the weight of some compact bags, and nearly triple that of others. But we felt it this bag offered a degree of style and was better suited for our walks in urban areas, so we figured it would be worth the extra ounces. In fact, the look was good enough that the male tester actually was willing to sling it over his shoulder too for shopping or just schlepping around books or water bottles.
The bag initially is folded into a small bundle that is about 5 inches by 6 inches, depending on how adept you are at stuffing. It has a zip closure, which—shazaam!—turns into a small inner pocket once you unfurl the bag. There are also long, elastic mesh bottle-size carriers on each end, which also work well for storing fruit, sausage or other munchies. Also, there is a long zip pocket on the front just under the flap. The bag even has a couple of small magnets in the front and in the flap so when you drop the flap down it stays shuts all by itself. Heck, the strap even adjusts! That’s a lot of features in a small bag.
We could imagine using it for a small gym bag when away from home or even a way to tote groceries. Camping? Sure. Shopping? Why not? Off to yoga? You bet. Let your imagination go wild.
The strap did seem to twist a bit on itself, and, if you overload the bag the magnets don’t align automatically to ensure that the flap closes properly.
But those are small criticisms. When an extra 3 to 4 ounces aren’t an issue, this will become a go-to item.
SNEWS® Rating: 4.5 hands clapping (1 to 5 hands clapping possible, with 5 clapping hands representing functional and design perfection)
Suggested retail: $24.99
For more information: www.chicobag.com