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Sometimes, when shopping online you get something that's not quite the size you expected. The Jamie bag from Freitag is a bit like that. On its webpage, it looks like a messenger bag, but in the flesh (or in the cloth and webbing) it's a bit smaller, like it's been in a hot wash.
The Freitag Jamie is beautifully made and feels like it will last for years, thanks to triple stitched seams and generous use of materials. Freitag use washed, recycled materials to create their range of luggage and this bag is made from truck tarpaulin and seat belt straps.
The features are minimal, as befits the size of the bag. There is one main pocket, big enough for a smart phone, wallet, snack, tissues and a multitool, with space for a few small items such as lip balm. A front zip pocket holds keys and cash, and is also large enough for a phone. There is even scope to tuck in a small pump over the main pocket. External to the main bag there are a pair of pen loops and on the other side of the strap, there is a holder for a D-lock. The bag is very waterproof, the flap large enough to cover the space to the internal pocket and the zipped pocket.
I found the bag comfortable to wear. It has a double strap arrangement, so that the bag hangs on a hip level strap from the main waist level strap, just like a pistol holster. Given the amount of weight the bag can hold you don't really notice it, especially if you don't use the lock holster. I generally leave my lock in work, so used it with a lock in frequently. Without the lock you can leave the bag, easy to access, on your hip, but then scoot it behind you if you want to ride a bit harder.
I'll admit I found it hard to find a space in my life for this bag as a regular companion. I need more than it can carry to take to work, and it's too small for a laptop, or even an iPad. When I ride at the weekend I wear a jersey, which holds the bits I need to carry easily.
I can see two situations when it will be really helpful. The first is, what I assume must be the core market, couriers, who need an indestructible bag for personal items, leaving a messenger bag for packages. The other is what I mainly used it for, riding, out of lycra, with my boys. It's just the perfect size for a few snacks and some cash over a merino t-shirt. I'm planning to use it on holiday too for short rides. I took my eldest to CC Hackney youth training several times, while testing this bag, in both hot sunshine and heavy rain showers and it was a perfect companion.
If I toured and cycled in touring shorts and a merino t-shirt or rode as a courier day in, day out, then this would be a constant companion. But I don't, so it's an intermittent use bag, that I'll enjoy when I pull it out of the cupboard.
Perhaps the perfect hip bag, but very expensive
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Make and model: Freitag Jamie
Size tested: White, Green
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Trucks are tough. That's why your FREITAG product is tough. It used to be one. Materials and workmanship of FREITAG products can hold up to years of serious daily use. Be nice to your FREITAG and it will be like a true Swiss friend: modest, reliable, and always there when you need it.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
double-belt anti-torsion system
zippered outside pocket for even faster access
stretchy pen holder
adjustable, movable and removable U-lock holder
Solidly made from recycled materials.
Stable to ride with and easy to pack.
Looks and feels like it will last years.
The Achilles' heel of this bag: a lot of money for a small bag.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Well made, comfortable and thoughtfully designed hip bag, hard to improve upon.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes, once I found the niche for it in my life.
Would you consider buying the product? Not at the list price.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Not at the list price.
Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?
This will be once of those Marmite products. Most people will get sticker shock and walk away, but for some this is the perfect bag. The rating reflects this. It is a brilliant bag, but the price knocks the rating down significantly.
Age: 42 Height: 193cm Weight: 70kg
I usually ride: Condor terra-x My best bike is: Cannondale CAAD10
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo cross, commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, mtb, Brompton