I've wanted a good messenger bag for quite a while. I don't make my living zipping packages all over town and for most day to day cycling I prefer to travel light or carry stuff in luggage on my bike. But if you park your bike in the city and don't want to leave a bunch of luggage hanging on the bike or if you've got the occassional big random load, a messenger bag is a handy thing to have. So I've always been eyeing bags and quizzing my messenger pals. So yeah I've seen the really cool bags from Chrome and R.E.Load and folks like that. And it seems like every hipster and his brother has a Timbuk2 bag (not that there is anything wrong with that) and they seem to be pretty decent as well. And the good folks at Aerostich make a couple of messenger bags as well and when I was back in Minnesota in November I almost bought one.
But I'm fussy and frugal and I kept looking, figuring out what I wanted in terms of size and features. Around Christmas time I was looking at the Jandd website and saw that they had their Andrew messenger bag on sale for $60. Even at the regular price of $80 it looked like a good deal. Over the years I've bought various Jannd bags and everything I've ever gotten from them has been really nicely designed and well-made and on the web it looked like the Andrew bag passed my "Goldilocks porridge test" (not too big and not too small) so I ordered the bag.
I've been using the bag for a couple of weeks now and I like it. It's not too heavy but really solid. Mine is black so I added a reflective yellow triangle and a blinky to make it show up better in traffic. The rubberized strap pad is something that a lot of other companies charge an extra ten bucks for and it really is comfy and combined with the cross strap it keeps the bag right where I want it. I've worn the bag in some really heavy rainstorms and everything has stayed dry.
If I was a pro messenger and taking the bag on and off dozens of times a day, I'd want a quick release buckle on the main strap. And if I was going to make this bag perfect, I'd probably design it with a lighter colored lining (Timbuk2 does this with their bags) instead of the inky blackness that seems to swallow up small items. But in general I'm pretty happy with the Andrew bag.
I don't have any great links that kick back any money from sales of any of the Jandd stuff. They are just a good company that makes good stuff like the Andrew bag. They also make a very handy frame pack and a really big seat pack. I've had those bags for years and they're still going strong.