Mission Workshop Rambler Backpack: 1 Year Review

When I landed my current job and realized I was within commuting distance, I figured I’d need a bag serious enough to get my work attire/lunch, etc to and from work without, well, really annoying me. Having used messenger bags all through college, I was quickly growing tired of the all too common ‘everything slump to one side effect that the big single compartment messenger bags tend to do, especially when not packed to the gills. It seemed more and more companies were starting to produce quality cycling oriented backpacks.

Photo from Mission Workshop

What drew me to Mission Workshop was, in all honestly, the quality of their website. It’s super clean, and very design oriented. It looks a lot more like a designer clothing brand than a bike accessory company. That design aesthetic goes a long way when convincing a super frugal guy like myself to drop $250 on a backpack.

Yes, that’s a lot of coin for a bike bag.

Yes, after a year of use I can say I don’t feel as though I spent the money unwisely.
Here’s why:

Every single stitch on this bag is perfect. My girlfriend (formerly of the cult of high end designer purses and SoCal ridiculousness), always used to say how you can tell a knock off by the stitching. Let me tell you, there’s something to that. Every inch of this bag is perfectly constructed.   

While I’m not the most die-hard commuter, I have on occasion braved a stupidly rainy day just for the sake of doing so, and when I got to work, my clothes were still dry as a bone. Every zipper is coated in urethane, and all of the external materials are waterproof. I saw a YouTube video of a guy wearing his in the shower,   nothing got wet (except him).  
The Rambler has a few configurations. I fly to the west coast usually twice a year. I hate suitcases, and am somewhat of a minimalist packer. Since buying the bag my suitcase has collected dust and I’ve never once use anything but this bag to travel with. Its large main compartment has a secondary zipper under the main one, which allows the bag to open up to this massive canyon of storage. Two cleverly placed clips keep the bag in shape even while stuffed beyond belief.

This also makes it great for trips to the grocery store. I can regularly fit two gallon jugs and a ton of groceries in the bag with no issue. 

Obviously, it fits all of my polo gear no problem. 2 mallets, a bunch of balls, Bern helmet, gloves, hoodie, and food…whatever.

All of that great storage goes to shit if it’s uncomfortable. Admittedly, even my old messenger bag could fit a ton of groceries. The problem was you’d never want to wear the bag again after loading it full and then lugging it home on your back/shoulder. The Rambler’s straps are nicely padded, but not overly so, and the chest strap keeps the bag right where it should be.The shoulder straps also have adjustable retention, so you can really fit the bag perfectly with little effort for even the most diverse loads.The backpack breathes fairly well while loaded, and while I still get a bit of sweaty back after longer rides, its to be expected in my opinion.

Bottom line, if you want to treat yourself and splurge on an overly nice bag for your biking needs, check out Mission workshop. It’ll probably be the last bag you NEED to buy in a long time. The Rambler goes for $249 and comes in Black, grey, and lime green, and has a bigger brother named the Vandal if you are in the Keg delivery service.

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  1. Trace says:

    I too am one of those frugal commuter types, but you sure do make that expen$ive bag sound nice. The only downside I can see is that with a backpack you lose the ability to swing the bag over your shoulder and access keys or what not like you can with a messenger bag.

    Thanks for the review.

  2. Horse says:

    This is true. Though I’ve found the trade off between quick accessibility and comfort well worth it. I’d also question the True need to be able to swing your bag around and access…anything. That being said, my keys are typically on a carbiner.

  3. irishvelo says:

    I.thought this was a bike polo.blog! F_ing hipsters screw everything up! :)

  4. Horse says:

    This bag is for sale. $130 obo. like new condition.

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