First of all, I bought this bag for about 25€ on Amazon.es, I’m not affiliated with any store or the company behind the Sturm & Drang brand.
I just needed a new waterproof messenger bag to replace my old one which was falling apart due to seam and glue failure.
After reading some rather old reviews on Amazon one can imagine that the Sturm & Drang messenger bags are a piece of cheap trash. Well, they are cheap but certainly not trash.
The bag is made of truck tarpaulin or so the brand claims. I have access to heavy duty truck tarp and the material this bag uses is not as thick or as strong, because of that it’s also not as resistant as the truck version but for daily tasks and commuting it’s more than enough, so obviously don’t expect Freitag heavy duty tarp quality.
Comparing Freitag to this low budget bag like some do on Amazon is a bit unfair for both the Swiss maker and the Sturm & Drang brand, obviously people will compare, but it should be done with some things in mind, like for example the fact you are paying 1/10 of the price of a Freitag messenger bag, the labor and materials are not equal and the design of the Sturm & Drang bags feels plain compared with the Freitag ones.
The shoulder strap is wide enough but not comfortable, you can adjust only one side of the strap via a plastic slider, which also has the side release plastic buckle. The buckle and slider look decent enough for the priced asked.
The seams are reinforced on the ends that connect to the buckle, on the slider and on the place they connect with the sides of the bag, which is also reinforced on the inside by another layer of tarp. The square/cross seams are pretty standard and will take some abuse before they start failing. The strap doesn’t run continue around the side and bottom of the bag. Sure you got a piece of strap under the bag but it’s cut on both ends where it’s then inserted and sewed to the bottom and side tarp pieces. This surely helped making a cheaper bag, the misaligned bottom and side straps look decent enough not to be an eyesore for most people but sadly the seams are fragile on the inside, cutting the weight this bag can carry by a lot.
All the seams look decent enough but keep in mind they are not reinforced, so when they start failing you need to fix them as fast as you can.
Velcro is of good quality but the seams are again not reinforced, so if you pull hard enough they will fail sooner than later.
The top flap has two vertical strips of Velcro that only connect to the bottom horizontal Velcro strip. In the Amazon images you have two horizontal Velcro Strips on the front and longer vertical ones on the flap. I think they changed the design to save work and also to avoid a very hard to open top flap. On the other hand, if you want to use this on a bicycle ride having only one bottom Velcro strip can be dangerous.
The front pocket flap is well sewed to the front of the bag but the pocket sides are not.
Inside the bag there’s only one divider made of tarp, there aren’t any kind of pockets. Reading the Amazon comments, in the past these bags had specific pockets inside, that’s not the case anymore. In a way I’m glad that’s the case because there’s more space inside, but some people like to have pockets to organize their things.
Also keep in mind this bag when new has a rather strong smell of chemicals, so you should keep it open until the smell fades away.
A cheap but decent waterproof messenger bag for commuting by foot or public transports during all year.
If you use a bicycle, this bag is probably not for you, as it lacks a waist strap and the top flap might open in a very active bicycle commute.
The design is a bit plain, if you go for a non black color it might look awful after a while, I can’t test this claim because I bought a black version.
If you want Freitag quality this bag isn’t for you, buy and spend money on the real deal and save yourself some hassle.
Improvements and modifications (at your own risk)
The loose seam lines should be burned with a lighter, do this with a lot of care, because the materials are inflammable.
If you reverse the bag you will see that it’s also possible to burn the edges of the tarp, this is mostly a cosmetic thing but the bag will look better for it.
For a more comfortable strap fit you can use seat belt pad, these are easy to buy and avoid a lot of neck pain.
I made a nylon lanyard with a side release buckle for my keys and sewed a nylon ribbon between the end of the shoulder strap and the plastic buckle so I could hook it up, when not in use the lanyard stays inside the bag or is removed.
I also sewed a diagonal strap with a metal buckle that runs from the shoulder strap to the bottom of the bag, it’s there for added security.