Very rarely does tri gear do double duty well. The Messenger Bag from Rocket Science Sports, however, does this with style. Part messenger bag and part transition bag, you won’t feel compromised using it en route to work or T2.
Whenever I see a product that claims to play two roles, I have that nagging worry that it will play neither particularly well. This isn’t the case with this bag. Rocket Science Sports has used a heavy durable material for the exterior and a lighter, quick drying material for much of the interior. Not only is it both a messenger bag and a transition bag, it moonlights as a backpack with sturdy straps that nicely tuck away when not in use.
As a transition bag, the Messenger Bag has some especially nice features aside from the expected. It has a compartment for running shoes and one for cycle shoes, a helmet net that stows away when not in use (see main photo), a snap-in wet bag, and a few smaller compartments for sunglasses, a heart rate monitor, and goggles. One noteworthy feature is the soft (red) inner lining of the closing flap on the bag (see below). When fully zipped open, this lining serves as a transition mat and a way to easily identify your spot in the transition zone. You may still want a towel if you’re putting on socks, but if your feet are going straight into your shoes, then the lining should be sufficient to dry the bottoms of your feet.
Things get a little tight when packed with two pairs of shoes, a helmet, a wetsuit, and race-day nutrition, but for a bag you can use on a daily basis, that’s saying something. The outer material is waterproof, so if it’s raining on race day, one of the flaps on the bag can easily be folded over your shoes to keep everything dry.
As a messenger bag, this one isn’t for the professional bike courier, but if you cycle to work occasionally or want a versatile bag for travel, car or transit commuting, this bag will serve you well. Like many other messenger bags on the market, you can access the contents either by lifting the closing flap or through a water-resistant zipper located at the top of the bag. On the inside, the sleeves designed for your tri-shoes work equally well for keeping a laptop from sliding around. My 15” Macbook Pro with Booq sleeve has been held securely on many excursions. There is also a nice zippered pocket under the flap on the outside of the bag that has compartments for pens and a couple pockets for a wallet, passport, or USAT card. This pocket also perfectly fits an iPad or other comparable tablet sized computer. I’ve primarily used the bag in the messenger configuration, but the backpack straps are very comfortable.
In all, I’m quite pleased with the quality and versatility of this bag. While on the more expensive side, ($149), its adaptability makes it worthy of serious consideration.