After my ill fated attempt to replace my aging Manhattan Portage City Lights bag with an Arc’teryx Maka 2, I asked for expert help in choosing a replacement for my larger Manhattan Portage Manhattan bag.
I’ve never really used the Manhattan bag that much. It sees use once or twice a year as a carry on bag (clearly not maximising my allowance), or if I have to take a few items to the post office; although a carrier bag does a much better job of the latter. Sometimes my wife borrows the Manhattan, but not enough for me to refrain from posting it on eBay, where it now sits. I also dislike the way my keys slip into the lining of the bag if I use the front zip pocket, on the bag’s flap. This happens whenever the flap is lifted up to access the bag’s contents. Not only is that annoying, but for a split second I always panic that I’ve lost my keys – before remembering the design flaw. In addition, like my original City Lights bag, I bought the Manhattan bag in the camo colourway and I’ve had it for so long that times and my tastes have changed.
So you may wonder why I’m bothering to replace the Manhattan bag at all, as it seems to be a size or format I don’t use regularly. Well, I think if I liked the bag, I would use it. The City Lights bag is perfect for fast and light summer EDC when I’m short on jacket pockets, for keys, wallet, phone, etc. However, I sometimes want to carry additional items like my Arc’teryx Squamish hoody. It is British summer, after all.
I mentioned earlier I asked for expert advice in this purchase and that came courtesy of my friend and ‘Metropolitan EDC’ king, Rob. Rob told me about Trakke and their Bairn Mini-Messenger. This seemed like a perfect fit, not least because a criterion for the new bag was that it should not look in any way tactical or too outdoors in a technical way. Much as I like airsoft and the outdoors, I like a bit of versatility in my wardrobe. MOLLE or dayglo technical fabrics don’t look great in a bag I may use for work.
I’d already received my new City Lights bag in waxed canvas – which warmed me up to waxed fabrics. My wife has also been wearing a Fjallraven Luhkka for the last two winters – made out of the company’s proprietary G-1000 waxed material – which had impressed me. Rob also likes his waxed kit, so when I saw the Bairn I knew he’d put me onto something he would consider buying himself. The Bairn looked perfect. It’s like two City Lights bags side by side, but a bit deeper.
I had a look around Trakke’s website and got the impression they have a bit of a fixie rider following and who better than fixie riders to know what’s fast, uncomplicated and light? I watched a video about Trakke and I liked what they had to say. Make something well and it won’t come back broken. Craft it out of the best materials (waxed cotton, Cordura and stainless steel Cobra buckles) and it will mature with the owner. Build it for the climate in Glasgow and it will take anything you care to throw at it.
Trakke bags are handmade in the UK and are sustainable through their longevity. One bag will last a lifetime – perhaps more. They are also designed to be timeless – to look as good in 20 years time as they do now, or perhaps better. This really appealed to me, especially after moving past the ‘fashion camo’ bag phase.
There’s a bit of a wait on these bags, up to four weeks. But I think the Bairn will be worth the wait.
Some awesome pics in this blog.