A couple years ago I bought a pair of messenger bags, intending to use one or both as a laptop bag. Neither one worked well for the intended purpose, but I hung onto them anyway. Somewhere along the way I disposed of the Odessa Retro Bag because it was basically a big purse, with no real organizational capacity for all the stuff I might choose to carry.
The Classic Messenger Bag, though, has become something I use almost daily. It's big enough to accommodate a large amount of stuff, and has three distinct storage areas: the big main section, and the two front pockets. The front pockets easily fit a paperback book of reasonable size, and even fit my Thermos if I need to bring some coffee with me. My big complaint about the Velcro in my original post was actually a short-sighted one: the Velcro is extremely well positioned and does a fine job holding the flap closed. I originally complained about the vertical orientation of the fasteners on the bag, stating that it didn't provide much surface area on which to make a connection. But the vertical orientation makes it possible for me to secure the flap even when the bag is stuffed full of stuff and therefore bulkier than normal.
My father-in-law declared that my bag is a Claymore bag: the kind of bag used in Vietnam to carry Claymore mines: a charge in each front pocket, and a spool of cable and other assorted bits in the main pouch. Indeed, I think my bag does match that general profile, though mine is a bit more rounded.
As stated above, I use the bag almost daily. I ride the bus to work in the morning, and the bag makes a perfect vehicle to transport whatever book I'm currently reading, along with business cards, tissues, paper notebook, pens, and other miscellany. It rides comfortably either slung over one shoulder or across my chest.
The bag also makes an excellent diaper bag when I want to travel light with Josie. Diapers and wipes fit nicely in the front pockets, and the main compartment stores snacks, a change of clothes, a sippy cup, and maybe a book or toy. It's rugged, not too heavy, and makes for quick assembly and departure.
After several years of solid use (including several international trips), the Classic Messenger Bag is holding up extremely well. There's no visible sign of it wearing out. No threads are loose. The should strap is still secure and functional. I'm extremely pleased with the quality of the construction.
My only current complaint about the bag is that it's just shy of a good gym bag. My gym does not offer towel service, so I need to lug my own towel to and from the gym. The bulk of the towel usually exceeds the storage volume of the bag. Also, unfortunately, my gym shoes do not fit in the front pockets.
I currently use a traditional gym bag on those days I go to the gym, but I'd love to find something with a smaller profile for this purpose. If only my manbag was sufficiently all-purpose...