Review: Tucker and Bloom’s East to West XL Messenger Bag goes big to handle all your gear

We first detailed the story behind Tucker and Bloom’s East to West Messenger Bag back in November of last year. Since then, the father and son team has continued to build out their brand with new stylings and updates to some older classics. Today, I’ll be taking a look at the newly released East to West XL Messenger Bag.

Aside from its Made in America backstory, I was particularly impressed with the level of craftsmanship on the smaller East to West offering. Head below to see if the updated and larger version passed our test.

The new East to West is a classic messenger style bag with subtle styling. Tucker and Bloom utilizes ballistic nylon as the main material for this satchel. Admittedly, that wouldn’t be a fabric that would initially stand out as the first choice for this blogger. Tucker and Bloom sent over the Grey Ballistic model with an orange lining and black leather accents. Hesitation aside, I really enjoyed the texture of the fabric. The subtle differences reflect the light in different ways and is a softer material to the touch. Turns out, I do like ballistic nylon.

On the outside, you’ll find two metal alloy buckles with Tucker and Bloom logos that keep the outer flap tied down. A small rectangular sleeve can be found on both ends, while a large always-open storage area is on the back. There’s enough room to hold one or two devices on the sides and a folder or magazine on the rear. I would’ve like to see a latch of some kind to keep the back sleeve closed and documents safe but it’s a minor issue. The good news is that area is quite large and can handle legal sized documents or non-traditional magazine sizes (i.e. Rolling Stone, etc.).

Inside you’ll find either orange or green, depending on which model you go with. My bag shipped with the former and I loved it. It’s a bright pop of color that is a nice change up from the monotone exterior. There is one large storage compartment that is separated by a divider. It will comfortably hold a 15-inch MacBook Pro amongst other items like books, an iPad and more.

There are also five equal sized storage areas within the smaller front compartment. I have mixed feelings on this decision to make all of these sleeved areas the same size. Opting for one larger and two smaller would give greater flexibility for storing items like a MagSafe power supply. All together, there is a large amount of storage inside, enough to handle all of your gear.

There is not much in the way of protection for your devices. This is something worth noting if you frequently set your bag down during a commute. I can attest to damaging my MacBook Air during a trip last spring because of this (with a different bag, of course). This could easily be solved by wrapping your device in a neoprene sleeve.  It’s not a deal breaker by any means and not an issue for most professionals, but something to keep in mind.

All told, the refreshed East to West XL Messenger Bag by Tucker and Bloom is a high quality solution for those in need of larger on-the-go storage. The materials are top-notch and the Made in America aspect will make you feel good knowing you kept your money in the States. I’d certainly recommend it for commuters and professionals alike. The East to West XL Messenger Bag retails for $240 in a choice of four exterior colors and two linings. A lifetime warranty is included with every purchase.

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