I have a new favorite bag for days when I travel light. If I only have my iPhone, headphones, an external battery, and either my 13″ MacBook Pro or iPad Pro with the ZAGG Slimbook I am currently reviewing, I take my gear along in the KNOMO Kinsale Soft Leather Messenger Bag. Its as gorgeous as it is simple!
The KNOMO Kinsale has an MSRP of $250 but I have seen it online for significantly less. (See the link at the end of this review.) The company describes this soft leather messenger bag as offering “Stylish Technology Organization.” I think that is a pretty good description. The leather used for the bag comes from the company’s Brompton collection. It is a luxurious full-grain leather. Soft and smooth to the touch, they claim it will age nicely. I’ll have to wait some time to see if that is indeed true.
The bag measures 10.5″ by 14.25″ by 2.5″ perfectly for my 13″ MacBook Pro. The good news is that is also fits my iPad Pro and the ZAGG Slimbook like a glove. In both cases, it leaves enough room for other items you might need for a busy work day.
It has a soft structure that holds your gear much the way fine soft leather driving gloves mold to your hand while still protecting them.
The lower corner of the front flap has a small metal plate with the KNOMO London name/logo. As you can see, the seams on the bag are precise and clean. Every aspect of this bag reflects quality craftsmanship.
On the side of the bag is a cloth panel. It is open at the top so you can stow papers and magazines.
The panel is held closed by a hidden magnet. It works well at keeping the items you place inside safe and secure.
The permanently affixed shoulder strap has metal hardware and ends in a leather anchor that is sewn securely.
One side of the strap is secured at an angle. This positions the strap in a manner that holds it perfectly against the swell of your back when wearing this bag as a messenger. (You can see how that is true toward the end of the video review.)
The strap has a metal adjustment that lets you set the length of the strap to whatever is most comfortable. Once properly adjusted it holds so you don’t have to readjust each time you put on the bag. The adjustment also has the KNOMO London name.
The strap is comfortable but doesn’t have any padding. Because the bag isn’t designed to hold a huge amount this doesn’t really pose an issue. Still, I wish it was there.
The inside of the flap has a label with a serial number. Register the bag with KNOMO and, if you lose it, the finder will be able to get it back to you.
Opening and closing your bag should be hassle-free, so the large leather flap is secured shut with wide, flat magnets.
Like the rear pocket, the leather flap is held in place with magnets. It is a clever mechanism that is as simple as it is effective. Lifting the flap reveals the various storage compartments the bag offers. At the front is a zippered pocket. Inside is a nice arrangement of organizational options. The pull is a refined metal with a texture on the back that makes holding on to it easy and comfortable.
Behind this first pocket is the main storage area. There is a nicely sized main compartment. At the front of this area are two small open pockets. Above it is a zipper that opens to reveal another secured storage area. Behind this pocket is a narrow pocket for a tablet or some papers. It has just a bit of padding.
The laptop area is at the back. It has a bit of padding on both sides. As noted in the introduction, it also works with tablets as large as the iPad pro.
Here’s our video review:
As you can see I really love this bag, but…
My biggest, and only, issue with this bag is the lack of a grab handle on the top. That means every time you want to pick up the bag you’ll need to pick it up using the strap. To my mind, that’s not optimal and was a mistake.
It is available in black and brown. You can learn more on the product page. Get it on Amazon for under $170.
Source: Manufacturer supplied review sample
What I Like: Perfect size for a 13″ laptop; Gorgeous leather glap; Magnetic closing system; A pleasure to carry and use.
What Needs Improvement: Lacks a grab handle.