When selecting a messenger bag, especially to actually use on a bicycle like they were originally intended for, balance is everything. It’s important to maintain a proper balance between being big enough to hold your stuff and not too bulky to ride with. And the actual balance of the payload is critical. The Altego Lunar Mirror Messenger has it all!
If you’ve ever done any urban riding, you know that visibility is your best weapon against drivers who don’t exactly revel in the idea of sharing the road with two-wheeled commuters. So immediately I appreciated the bright yellow color and wide reflective stripe on the Altego Mirror Messenger. Even though I ride with a light on the front of my bike and a flasher on the rear, cars coming up from behind notice you a lot quicker when a flash of reflective material catches their attention in the headlights. Score one for Altego.
The ripstop material that the bag is constructed from seems extremely durable, and the straps are made from the same material used in automobile seatbelts. When loaded, the Altego Lunar Messenger is not as moldable to your body as some other bags that I’ve used, but that turns out to be a benefit, not a bug. With my regular everyday bag, I need to use an auxiliary strap to connect the shoulder strap to the bottom front of the bag to keep to from riding up on my shoulder as I ride, blocking my view over my shoulder from overtaking traffic.
However with the Altego, the bag maintains its rectangular shape and hugs the lower part of my back when properly adjusted. The back of the bag is padded with custom molding to cushion the payload, and I found it quite comfortable, even with a big laptop in the main pocket. And that laptop pocket is what differentiates the Altego Lunar Messenger from other bags I’ve tried.
The plaid padded pocket is designed to easily hold a 15″ MacBook (or PC laptop, if you must) plus it has an additional padded sleeve for an iPad or other tablet. Since these pockets are on the rear of the bag, they are accessible without having to unbuckle the front flap, plus whatever you stuff in the front pockets can also serve to cushion your precious cargo.
Also accessible without having to unstrap is a front pocket that is perfect for storing your phone or bike lock. While it does not have extra protection other than the durable material, it is awfully handy.
The unique Fidlock® magnetic snap buckles on messenger bag close automatically and can be opened with ease by sliding laterally, allowing for easy access with one hand. I worried that they wouldn’t be as secure as a traditional buckle, but I experienced no issues with them during testing.
Underneath the flap is an expandable main compartment with lots of flexible storage thanks to multiple zippered pockets and pen holders, etc.
The last really thoughtful option that I discovered were the two large zippered pockets that cleverly open to the sides instead of on top. This allows even more storage that is accessible without having to unfasten the flap and risk pouring out the items in the main compartment. If you use the Altego Lunar Messenger as a flight travel bag, which I definitely intend to do, this means you should be able to clear all the items that you might be asked to scan separately at the TSA checkpoint (laptop, tablet, toiletry kit, etc.) without having to ever open the rest of the bag. That’s a big plus in my book.
In fact, I may just retire both my commuter bicycle messenger bag and my onboard travel bag in favor if the Altego Lunar Messenger. Even though it may not be the most attractive travel luggage with its banana coloring, it definitely stands out. And I never really cared much about what my luggage looked like anyway…
The Altego Lunar Messenger bag is available at the company’s website for $74.99, where you can also find more of their durable products including backpacks and laptop sleeves if you’re not the messenger bag type.
Source: Manufacturer supplied review sample
What I Liked: Durable materials and construction. Highly visible reflective coloring. Innovative pocket placement and access.
What Needs Improvement: If you don’t have a 15″ laptop, this may be a little overkill for you.