WHAT: Crumpler Famous Wine Bar
HOW MUCH: $150
You don’t have to be a wine snob to enjoy the Famous Wine Bar bag from Crumpler. The FWB can carry a lot of stuff – two twelve packs alone easily slide into the 1,647 cubic inches of storage space in the main compartment. And that’s the best reason to choose a messenger backpack over a messenger bag; it distributes weight evenly across your back so bigger, heavier, loads are less burdensome.
The FWB also has two large flat pockets, one accessible from each side via long, industrial-strength zippers. The main pocket has not one, but two dividers inside it for storing additional flat items. I chose to keep all my tools, spare tubes and a pump in one side pocket and personal affects like a wallet and phone in the other. My laptop, a change of clothes, periodicals and camera got stowed in the main area. Twin side pouches are large enough to hold a PBR or iPod, but can’t be closed and are best left for weatherproof items.
Although the FWB is skilled at carrying copious amounts of stuff, there were some oversights that left me scratching my head. First off, where is the flashing-light tab? It’s an essential detail for commuters and is conspicuously absent. Also, the bag lacked closeable small pockets for change or keys. These oversights weren’t deal breakers for me; I just installed a seapost blinky light and resigned myself to fishing around for quarters in the bottom of the pack.
Though it’s made in China, the FWB is expertly constructed from several layers of water-resistant 1000D and 300D rip-stop fabric, including three reflective panels, and should withstand years of abuse. Its flap-top, secured by two cliplocks, adequately protects contents from the elements. One 45-minute ride through a windy deluge soaked me to the bone, but the FWB’s contents remained perfectly dry. But if you’re in need of a full on dry-bag, you might want to look elsewhere.
All in all, the Famous Wine Bar carries lots of stuff comfortably and should last quite some time. With the exception of a few quibbles, it got the job done swimmingly and has unique styling that stands out in a crowded sea of messenger bags.