Greenroom136 is a bag-making company based in Malaysia that has been in business since 2011. Their focus is bags for urban environments and they offer them with a lifetime warranty. When I became aware of them, I was intrigued by some of their designs and struck by their clean yet fun design sense. Needless to say, when given the opportunity to review one of their bags, I jumped on it.
The focus here will be their Bootstrap. This is a medium-sized messenger that features some good organizational features, weather resistance and a padded laptop sleeve. Now, let's get down to the nitty gritty:
- Full sized, Pro messenger bag
- 2 front quick access pockets with cover for iPhones, gadgets, iPods and etc.
- 3 deep front pockets for heaphones, power banks, hard drives, etc.
- Industrial grade 2" safety belt harness with cam buckle for easy length adjust.
- Plush shoulder pads for added comfort.
- Built-in BookPouch with new Corduroy lining. Fits up to most 15" laptops.
- 2 document pockets to keep comics crisp and tablets secured.
- Built-in Utility Pouch with zip compartment.
- Extended inner shell to stop stuff from falling out and prying hands from getting in.
- 3 layer reinforced nylon bottom.
- 3 layer reinforced main cover flap; 1000d Cordura nylon outer shell, 420d Oxford nylon ripstop inner shell and a layer of vinyl in between. Super tough and durable; highly water resistant.
- Triple quick grab handle.
- Width 34cm, Height 22cm, Depth 16cm
- 14 cubic litre capacity
- BookPouch Width 34cm, Height 22cm, Depth 3cm
- 100% genuine, 1000 denier urethane coated Cordura nylon fabric for outer shell.
- 100% genuine, 420 denier urethane coated Oxford nylon ripstop fabric for inner shell.
- Fabric imported from USA.
- Designed and handmade in Selangor, Malaysia.
Philosophy of Use
Greenroom136 (GR136) bills the bag as, "Light to medium weight carry with style. Boardroom meeting friendly without being over serious."
The face of the Bootstrap looks like many other messenger bags. It is clean and void of any pockets or other fidgets. It has two 1" straps with YKK brand side-release buckles to secure the flap down with plenty of adjustment for expansion or overloads.
The rear of the bag is where the bags top carry handle is mounted. The handle is very low profile but is not wide enough for the bag to be slipped over the handle on rolling luggage.
There are also 4x mounting points on the rear of the bag, 2x on each side, for the included stabilizer strap.
The shoulder strap on the Bootstrap is made from standard 2" seatbelt type webbing. There is a removable pad included, and a cam buckle for quick adjustments.
On each end of the bag the 2" webbing continues down the sides creating a grab handle. This webbing loop also serves as a place to mount some of GR136's accessory pockets (not included).
Under the Flap
This is the area of the bag that starts to get more interesting and unique.
The flap of the bag is not only secured with the side release buckles, but also with hook and loop fastener.
The liner of the bag extends up about 3" over the main body of the bag. This serves to create a sort of roll top when the bag is closed to help secure the contents from weather and gravity.
There are 3 pockets between the liner and the main body of the bag. The two on the ends are slim but big enough to hold a smaller water bottle. The center pocket runs the entire width of the bags front panel. All 3 pockets are the same depth, going to the seam that can be seen below the external pockets.
Speaking of the external pockets, there are 2x. Both are secured with a hook & loop flap and roughly 7"x6"x1" in size. They are billowed so they will lay flat when not in use, but expand nicely when filled. Shown here are the THE-E Organizer from OV Innovations and the Tombstone Organizer from Kifaru. These can be accessed independantly by opening just one side.
The interior of the bag has 5 distinct sections. Working from the rear of the bag, there is a sleeve pocket (show here with an A4 binder in place), the laptop sleeve (shown here with a 13" MBP Retina in a plastic snap on case), a second slimmer document sleeve pocket, the main compartment and the admin section on the front wall.
Just another angle of the interior of the Bootstrap. A Maxpedition Mini organizer will fit in that small slip pocket. Note also that the zippered pocket in the rear is below the height of the light/pens mounted in front of it. More on that later.
In the main compartment of the pack a D-ring is mounted on one end and a removable key fob included.
Yes, you are seeing that correctly; GR136 has lined their laptop sleeve in Corduroy.
The sleeve is raised up off the bottle of the main bag and is padded on 5 sides. The webbing strap at the top will secure both the laptop sleeve and the second document sleeve.
The Bootstrap has a lot going for it.
The overall size of the bag is very good for what I consider typical messenger bag use. It can handle the laptops and document sized things well, but is not so big that it gets overloaded easily.
The layout of the bag is pretty good. With a few exceptions (see below), I am very happy with the pockets and features the bag provides.
The laptop sleeve is excellent. It is raised up off the bottom of the bag, is well padded and has the soft Corduroy lining. Whose laptop would not want to be cradled in Corduroy? I want to be cradled in Corduroy. GR136 did a great job here.
The end pockets are a good inclusion. They are useful for slimmer bottles (see below) and they are separated from the main compartment of the bag should spillage occur.
The two pockets under the flap are really great. They are low profile when not in use, but open up significantly to take bulkier items like the organizers pictures above or something like a power brick for a laptop.
The high collar on the lining is a nice touch. It aides in securing the bag from weather and accidental spillage.
The strap includes the cam-lock buckle. I cannot tell you how useful it is to be able to adjust the strap on the fly as the situation dictates. Trust me, it's great.
The materials used for the construction are very good overall (see below). This bag should last for many years.
This is subjective, but I think the Bootstrap looks great!
Unfortunately, the Bootstrap is not without its flaws.
The most obvious oversight I see is that the bag has no externally accessible pockets. I have grown very accustomed to the pocket on the flap of the First Tactical Summit Side Satchel and use it more than any other part of the bag for my phone and keys. I miss such a pocket A LOT on the Bootstrap.
Maybe this is just personal taste, but I find the shoulder strap webbing too soft and floppy. It is harder to grab a hold of in a hurry and twists up easier than stiffer straps. The padded portion is good, but it needs some non-slip material to help it stay where you put it. Swivels are also a nice touch to keep the tangling down.
The rear mounted carry handle should have been designed more thoughtfully. It is so low profile that it is not easy to grasp, and it is too narrow in its opening to slip over the handle of roller luggage.
The Admin pocket is a mixed bag. The layout is fairly useful, but the zipper is mounted down behind the pen slots. The zipper pull cannot pass by whatever is in the slots without having to wiggle it around each item. Increasing the height at which the zipper is mounted would have alleviated this problem.
The end pockets are on the small side. It is a tight fit for my smaller bottles. Granted, this is likely just a constraint based on the bags overall size.
While the materials used in the bag are top notch, there are some issues with the construction. One of the end pockets is actually larger than the other, meaning the sewers did not quite get everything mated up right during assembly. There are quite a few places where the sewing machine tension was not set correctly, resulting in a garbled ball of thread at the end of the stitch. These occurred on the underside of the flap where the hook material was secured and inside the end pockets where the straps are mounted to the body. These issues will not affect the bags longevity, but this is just a bit off-putting and should be corrected in the shop.
The key loop being mounted on the inside of the main compartment has me a bit baffled. This would be much better placed in the bottom of the end pockets.
The back of the bag is not padded, so whatever is in there will be pressing against your back. This was especially noticeable when carrying the binder pictured above.
The Greenroom136 Bootstrap is a solid bag with a very useful layout. I really dig the front pockets and the laptop sleeve. It is built from quality materials and is highly weather-resistant. It's sized right and looks really good. The life-time warranty show that GR136 intends to back this product for a long time.
Despite some of the quirks I mentioned above, I'd recommend this bag if the features suit your needs. At around $100 USD it is a solid value for a bag that stands out as fairly unique and good looking. I appreciate supporting smaller companies as well, so the Bootstrap is a win in that regard.
Carry on everyone,
For more info on this bag, please visit the Greenroom136 website.
Disclaimer: Greenroom136 provided this bag in exchange for my unbiased review.