Messenger bags are a simple concept. You have some sort of pouch-like item attached to a shoulder strap that you wear over one shoulder or across your body. Pockets, design, color all add to and change the basic idea, but they’re all similar at the end of the day. It’s the details that make a bag go from eh to WOW, and Toffee nails that with their Osaka Satchel.
The Osaka looks simple at first glance. It’s a vertical bag and not very big, with no external pockets on the front or side, and one phone size pocket in the back. Inside there’s a small zip pocket in front, then a large main area with a tablet sized pocket along the back. It really does not sound all that special on paper, but in person, it comes together to make a truly excellent everyday bag.
I used the Osaka for all sorts of errands and trips and found that it handled light duty as well as being stuffed to the gills with ease. On most days, I had my tablet, my wallet, and keys, and my son’s Epipen in it, with maybe a few random papers we picked up along the way. I could wear it all day without any discomfort, and it was very easy to pop open the front buckle and access the contents one-handed. The real test came earlier this week when I used it for a trip into the city to see my son’s allergist. In that case, it had a tablet, two books plus an oversized activity book, my wallet, a water bottle, a phone charger, and by the end of the day a thick folder from the doctor’s office as well. It looked like it wouldn’t close, but the adjustable front buckle really did help the bag swallow all that stuff without bulging. The real selling point for me was that I was able to carry my son on my back (he’s 4, so imagine carrying a small, talkative, sweaty monkey on your back) while wearing the Osaka. Not only did the strap and shoulder pad absorb the extra weight I’d packed in, the bag stayed put so well that it didn’t bother me while juggling the kiddo. Not many bags can do that!
Style-wise, the Osaka sneaks up on you. At first glance, it’s a simple beige bag with a leather buckle. But when you look closer, you can see the quality of the canvas is top-notch, the stitching is excellent, the buckle is solid and the strap is quite sturdy. Plus, the inside has a striped lining, making it feel bright inside without resorting to neon or using a solid white or gray which can turn dingy looking quickly. I am usually a backpack type of girl, but when I don’t need to carry an excess amount of stuff, I find myself reaching for the Osaka more and more for the convenience, comfort, and style. You might glance at the specs on paper and say, “$99.95 for THAT?”, but when you get the chance to really use the bag, it becomes “ONLY $99.95 for all that?”
There are a few small quibbles I have with the Osaka, but they aren’t deal breakers so much as things I miss from other bags. The big one is a water bottle pocket. I know by skipping one you get cleaner lines and a more streamlined appearance, but it’s super handy to have. Second, I wish the strap was removable. I like it a lot, but I always feel like straps are a high-stress point for bags, and being able to swap it out can extend the life of a bag immensely, as well as give you a way to customize it or adjust the look of the bag to your needs that day.
Overall, though, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I’ve enjoyed the Osaka. It looks nice enough to scale up to a business casual situation but is relaxed enough to go well with a t-shirt and jeans as well. Best of all, it can function as a fully stuffed bag or as a lightly packed gear bag, and it will make you look good either way!
Source: Manufacturer provided review sample
What I Like: Excellent build quality; comfortable to wear for long periods; holds an immense amount of stuff while keeping a slim profile
What Needs Improvement: No water bottle slots; shoulder strap not removable