The ACME MADE Courier Laptop Bag Review

It is not often that I’ll spot someone carrying a bag which prompts me to ask questions about it, but that is exactly what happened at Digital Experience, when I saw Vincent carrying his black ACME MADE Courier. His bag looked sharp; it was stylish, not bulky at all, and I liked the way it conformed to his hip. Vincent flipped open the front flap to show me how much room the bag had and how the sections were laid out, which brought on something I have not felt in ages…bag envy.

Bag envy is an ugly beast; even after two months of abuse, the ACME MADE Courier is not

The Courier is offered in Chili Pepper red canvas, Italian Natural canvas, Telun Black canvas, Brown and Black Squares, and the Paul Smith Reverberating Stripes, which I received.

With a body composed of tightly woven ballistic nylon and a flap of dense, colorful polyester, this bag is happy and fun but also practical. The materials used will resist staining, and they are easy to clean when dirty. The bag measures approximately 11.25″ tall x 15.5″ wide x 3.75″ deep; this depth is deceptive however, as I would soon find out.

The front flap has a 9″ tall zipper guarding an approximately 11″ wide pocket. This is the natural place to store airline tickets when traveling, as well as other documents which you may need to easily access.

On the back of the bag is a lovely 12″ wide x 8″ tall zippered pocket. I can’t tell you how many times I have reviewed a bag that seemed really serviceable, until I got to the back side and realized that the maker had squandered a golden opportunity to make use of this valuable storage venue. Though this pocket may stay zipped 80% of the time, I truly appreciate its presence when I need to hastily shove a magazine or my kindle into it before boarding.

Worth noting though, is that there is no handle – not even a little one – on the back. I know this is a dealbreaker for some of you…


The flap is held in place by round magnets placed on the bottom corners which correspond to those placed on the bag’s body. Think about it for a moment…no Velcro, no straps, no buckles…but the flap will stay in place and yet allow easy access when you need to get inside quickly to grab your phone or a business card.

Chocolate leather trim is judiciously used to reinforce corners and edges all around the bag, and the end result looks stunning against the stripey flap and parts otherwise solid black.

Lifting the flap reveals an organizational panel with a 3″ wide x 3.75″ tall mobile phone pocket, Two leather pen loops, a business card pocket, and a zippered 7″ wide x 6.75″ tall pocket – suitable for holding small loose items such as memory cards, thumb drives, or items otherwise easily lost.


The leather ACME MADE tag is the only branding on the bag, and it isn’t just for looks. If you are one of those poor souls who still has to carry a pager, you can hang it from the label. While we’re looking at the leather label’s closeup, take a gander at the contrasting cream stitching, and tell me if that doesn’t look absolutely lovely.

It’s all about the details, my friends…

On the bottom of the bag, there are four leather feet as well as leather corner protectors, which help keep the bag from getting roughed up.


The shoulder strap is a fixed 2″ wide adjustable nylon strap, made from the same type material as a seatbelt. There is no shoulder pad, which is both good and bad; good because you don’t have to worry about one sliding up and down the strap, but bad because there is no extra padding if you are prone to bag overloading.


Inside the bag there are three main sections, each lined in either smooth polyester cloth or ballistic nylon. You’ll notice that the front organizational panel isn’t the only spot for your toys devices; inside the first section there is another pocketed panel, and this one is even more functional. This compartment measures approximately 15″ wide x 10″ tall x 2″ deep, but trust me – it can be much deeper.

From the left to right you’ll find a 5″ tall x 6″ wide pocket which can easily hold a portable GPS or larger PDA, a 4″ tall x 5″ wide pocket which can hold a digital music player or mobile phone, and a 5″ tall x 7″ wide pocket that I like to use for holding my power cable. Each pocket can be secured with a snapping leather tab. Across from these pockets is a zippered 8″ wide x 6″ tall semi-hidden pocket, which would be a good place to stash extra cash or ID cards.

Even with this bag fully loaded, and only because of this bag’s body’s soft ballistic nylon design, the cavernous area in this front compartment was actually able to carry my Canon 5D when I went to New York for the Vivienne Tam Fashion Week Event. Bear in mind that I also was carrying electronic doohickeys in each of the tabbed pockets, as well as the HP Vivienne Tam Mini 1000; impressive, right?


In the center there is an approximately 15″ wide x 9″ tall zippered compartment, the back side of which is padded because it makes up the immediately following laptop compartment. This center section is large enough to carry folders and files, but it is also a good place to carry a rediculously thin laptop like the macBook Air; in fact, that’s where I usually keep mine.


The very last compartment is the padded approximately 15″ wide x 10″ tall laptop compartment, which is perfectly proportioned to hold a 15″ MacBook Pro.


A leather tab on a 1″ wide elastic tether hides the one piece of Velcro used on the entire bag; in this case I can find absolutely no fault with the application.


One other thing worth noting is that on the left side of the bag, or the one that would normally be facing forward when worn on the right shoulder, there is a 6″ tall x 4″ wide pocket – perfect for carrying the iPhone.


So this is me, on a hellaciously windy day, wearing what has quickly become my favorite laptop bag…

For reference, I am 5’10”

I am really impressed with just about everything the ACME MADE Courier delivers. This bag is such a beauty; but it is also an amazingly light workhorse with plenty of pockets, compartments, and an impressive carrying capacity. If you are searching for a laptop bag that doesn’t look like all the others – and that doesn’t compromise function at the expense of form, then the Courier may be the bag for you!

The ACME MADE Courier is available directly from the manufacturer.

MSRP: $199.99 with free shipping

What I Like: Quality materials and excellent craftsmanship; very nicely organized pockets and sections; the leather trim makes everything look first class; nicely padded laptop compartment;  gorgeous and stylish

What Needs Improvement: No handle in the middle of the back may be a dealbreaker for some; no shoulderpad on the strap will made overloaders think twice

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About the Author

Judie Lipsett Stanford
Judie is the co-owner and Editor-in-Chief of Gear Diary, which she founded in September 2006. She started in 1999 writing software reviews at the now-defunct; from mid-2000 through 2006, she wrote hardware reviews for and co-edited at The Gadgeteer. A recipient of the Sigma Kappa Colby Award for Technology, Judie is best known for her device-agnostic approach, deep-dive reviews, and enjoyment of exploring the latest tech, gadgets, and gear.

14 Comments on "The ACME MADE Courier Laptop Bag Review"

  1. Joel McLaughlin | March 23, 2009 at 9:23 pm |

    This one looks cool. I think I am the only guy I know that loves bags more than most women! 😀

    Still searching for my perfect bag. I’ve come close, but not found it yet! I think the reason for that is what I carry changes.

  2. Chris Magnusson | March 23, 2009 at 10:46 pm |

    Ooh… They even have a Canadian site. $229 for one.

    My bank balance has seemed unreasonably high lately. Leave it to Judie to lower it for me!

  3. Heatwave316 | March 24, 2009 at 7:24 am |

    Judy, the bag envy is well deserved. Its an awesome bag, and I love the fun strip design!!! The only thing that bugs be is no shoulder strap, but I could get an after market one to slide on. Does the strap come unhooked in anyway?

  4. @Heather – There is no way to unhook the shoulder strap, but your comment jogged my memory that there are wrapping shoulder pads available from other companies. Take a look:

  5. Vaguely eminds me of the Solo Vertical Messenger bag I got for my new XPS 16. Doesn’t have the currently-in-vogue white overstiching though, and has a distinctly army-navy-surplus look to it, which confuses the local students to see someone twice their age with. But then I’m sure I don’t look as fashionable with mine as you do with yours anyway, Judie. ;^)

  6. @breley – I don’t have enough data, and I must see pictures of you with your bag to make that determination. 😉

  7. Hah, I’ll see what I can do. Though I’m definitely not going to be wearing any Mephisto-like sandals. 😀

  8. Judie,

    I’ve narrowed my laptop bag choices, alas only online, to the Acme Courier that you reviewed highly, but I wondered if you also have comments about the Acme Slim Cargo. Since I often travel via air with a dog in carrier and my computer, I have to stuff personal items in my laptop case in lieu of a purse. I would assume the Courier is a better bet for roominess. Any comments?


  9. Hi Diane, Unfortunately I don’t have any experience with the Acme Slim Cargo, but I can tell you that if it is anything like the Courier, it will be an extremely well made and good-looking bag. 🙂

  10. Thanks, Judie. I currently have an Acme for my 17″, but I’m downsizing. I think I’ll go with the Courier thanks to your review. 😉 Diane

  11. I bet that you will LOVE the Courier; they are even much less expensive than when I did my review now, too! 😉

  12. Got bag envy? Our Courier gets a review:

  13. RT @acmemade: Got bag envy? Our Courier gets a review:

  14. does this offer corner protection?

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