The Perfect Hybrid Backpack/Messenger Bag

All messenger bags are not created equal, but their differences are often subtle and revealed only through actually using them to carry stuff around on your body. The Switch from Bergans of Norway, though, sets itself apart right from the get-go, with a style and silhouette suggesting that it’s no common sack-with-a-strap.

Designed to serve either as a backpack or over-the-shoulder messenger, the Switch succeeds in its hybrid approach not by compromise but by perfecting each of its signal components. The structure, for example, more closely resembles a soft briefcase than a messenger bag. Its three zippered compartments are lightly padded, giving the Switch a gentle rigidity, a kind of skeleton that provides form even when empty—suggesting that it’s more baby boomer achiever than millennial slacker. As a backpack, the right shoulder strap can carry the load while the left goes unused, tucked neatly into a recessed groove on the padded back—the interior organizing compartments are even angled so you have quick and easy access to your stuff while it’s still hanging from your shoulder.

Want to turn it into a messenger? Unclip the top of the right shoulder strap to extend it long enough to go across the chest in traditional messenger carry. There’s no waist strap for stabilization, but I found that the semi-rigid nature of the bag keeps it in place even when you’re carrying it on a bike.

The Switch comes in two colors, black and a Mad Men-style charcoal, with a bright orange interior. It has two grab handles, carries a 15-inch lappie, and measures 11 x 16.5 x 6.3 inches.

$129 • BUY

Read more from Steve Casimiro at his blog, Adventure Journal.

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