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The Apidura City Messenger is very nicely made, waterproof and comfortable to carry, with the bonus that you can switch the main strap from one side to the other. It's also practical, with a few pockets and neat little features to help keep your important bits safe, and though it's not the biggest, if you only want to carry up to a 13-inch laptop then it's ideal.
As someone who commutes daily with a rucksack, I've enjoyed using this messenger bag with its slight airflow channelling helping to prevent a sweaty back. It's made with a waterproof fabric, with welded seams, and its performance in the rain is impressive, keeping all my belongings dry, even on the wettest days.
The bag comes in two sizes, this 13-inch option, and an 11 inch for £80. The 13in City Messenger measures 32 x 27.5cm (roughly 10 x 13in), so just bigger than A4 – a 13-inch laptop will fit in the laptop sleeve comfortably. I found I could easily take a bottle, some food, and even a thin jumper in the rest of the bag.
The shoulder strap includes a padded section to keep things comfortable, and a retaining strap ensures everything stays secure and evenly distributed against your back while riding. It's easy to undo this if you're walking around and just want the bag to hang loosely against you.
The bag has a neat design that allows you to carry it on either shoulder, just by undoing the shoulder strap at each end and swapping the direction, and moving the retaining strap to the opposite corner. You also get a number of loops on the main strap so you can adjust where the retaining strap attaches, to support you in the comfiest way.
The main lid of the bag is a large panel held closed by strong Velcro plus the option of a small hook, should you want your contents to be extra secure. The waterproofing is smartly designed here, as the lid continues around the sides, meaning water can't get into the bag from above.
Underneath the lid but still on the outside of the bag is a small zip pocket with a key tether inside – handy so you don't have to delve into the bag for your keys. I also kept my earphone case and wallet in here.
Inside the main body of the bag you get a laptop sleeve, which is made from a nice soft material that won't scratch your device, and this also has a Velcro retaining strap.
You also get two smaller mesh pockets, to help organise your belongings. I found there was space for a bottle, charger, a thin jumper, and other miscellaneous items.
There are a few other little nice-to-have features: three laser-cut slots towards the bottom of the bag for attaching a rear light, and reflective strips to give some extra visibility; these aren't as reflective as those on some bags and clothing I've seen, but they're in a good place for when you're leaning forward on the bike.
There is also a handle for either carrying the bag in your hand or hanging it on a hook.
The materials used in this bag seem very high quality, and Apidura offers a reasonable lifetime warranty against manufacturing defects, which offers some peace of mind.
This 13-inch version comes in at £91, while the 11-inch is £80. Although not cheap, when compared with some of the competition it's not an outrageous asking price.
The Osprey Metron Messenger bag, for example, is £125. Okay, it's bigger – taking up to a 16in laptop – but it needs a raincover to be waterproof.
We've tested a few Chrome Industries bags over the years, but not its Mini Metro 20.5L Messenger, which is designed for 13in laptops. Its bags have generally impressed us in terms of performance and quality, though the prices can be hard to swallow – as is the case here: £154. It's also twice the weight.
Crumpler used to make a Dinky Di Messenger for 13in laptops, but they're no longer available – the next size up (for 16in laptops) is its Dinky Di Messenger M, which costs £99.90 for the Classic, and £129.90 in some colours. We tested one back in 2015 and thought it was good quality, and it's a lot chunkier than this offering from Apidura, with similar waterproofing characteristics.
I think the features and quality of the Apidura mean its asking price is very reasonable. If you're in the market for a high-quality messenger bag, and you only want to carry up to a 13in laptop – so bigger bags could be overkill – then I really don't think you can go far wrong with this.
High quality, adjustable, waterproof and neatly sized for 13in laptops
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Apidura City Messenger
Size tested: 13in
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?
Apidura says: 'Taking everything we've learned from years of creating technically advanced, lightweight gear used by cyclists in some of the planet's most challenging environments, we applied our Precision Crafted, Adventure Proven expertise to the City Messenger. As part of our City Series, this waterproof messenger bag brings our expertise to the urban environment, offering a simple, durable and versatile carry solution for city life.
Designed to provide lightweight, waterproof storage for your devices and work essentials, the City Messenger helps you seamlessly transition through the city. The messenger bag has a stable and comfortable anatomical fit on and off the bike, with an easy one-handed zipless opening reflecting our less is more design philosophy.
The City Messenger has a tailored ambidextrous fit to suit every rider and features a protected device sleeve alongside internal pockets and a key leash. Subtle reflective details ensure you are always visible on the bike, but won't draw attention to you or look like a bike messenger bag off the bike.'
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
The City Messenger bag is made from our CT420 Marle. Designed to seamlessly transition around the city without drawing attention, the material is lightweight, durable and waterproof. The welded construction and unique zipless opening ensure your belongings remain safe from the elements.
This bag is very nicely constructed, feeling super premium.
It was excellent for carrying my daily things on my commute.
Early days, but the taped seams and quality material are holding up well, and Apidura offers a lifetime warranty.
Riding with the bag is a very comfortable affair, with its padded and adjustable straps.
Compared with similar options, the price is quite reasonable.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
It was great for commuting, carrying my daily essentials, and it was comfortable too.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
How waterproof it is, and the well-thought-out compartments.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
It's a shame there isn't a larger option for my 17in laptop.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
It's a little cheaper than similar messenger bags, and a lot cheaper in some cases.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
The Apidura City Messenger is a high-quality bag that's comfortable to carry, waterproof, more adjustable than most, and just the right size if you have a 13in laptop. It's well priced, too, and excellent overall.
About the tester
I usually ride: Storck Aerfast My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Semi pro
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, commuting, touring, club rides, fixed/singlespeed, mtb,