Product Review: Mission Workshop - The Rummy
Mission Workshop is a relatively young brand based out of the Mission district in San Francisco with retail locations there and Los Angeles. With a history rooted in cycling and california culture, much of their product offerings are either for cycling use or are cycling inspired. Over the past few years it has been fun to watch Mission Workshop grow in size, portfolio, quality, and social prowess. Their branding is so well executed and their online presence is something to remark. It's fair to say that Mission Workshop is doing a lot of things right.
The complete Mission Workshop line has been steadily expanding out from bags to include outerwear, apparel, and footwear. I'd describe their aesthetic as clean and well crafted. Brand collaborations and special projects are popular and tend to produce some really innovative products. This trend hasn't escaped Mission Workshop with a second brand called Acre Supply and focused to the mountain biking scene. In the vein of special projects, some of the core staple products from Mission Workshop are also offered in their advanced projects which take them to a new level with greater material selections and refined details.
In this review I'm going to cover a Mission Workshop bag called 'The Rummy'. This particular model of bag is available in 3 sizes ranging from 21 litres to 35 litres, each with their own product name. The middle size is measured at 27L (1600 cubic inches) and is named 'The Rummy'. I've had this bag for three years and it's been used for everything from cragging (a gear bag for climbing), hauling photography gear, to it's intended use as a bike bag and everything in between. Actually getting the bag was quite hard. At the time, Mission Workshop wasn't available in store from any local retailers in Canada and buying online and cross boarder shipping isn't ideal. If you order online from the states you're looking at currency conversion rates, depending on how customs assess it they could add duty to the purchase, maybe getting taxed, certain shipping methods add brokerage fees, and then on top of it all your credit card company is going to add an international currency exchange fee of about 3%. Thankfully, a local retailer named Cycle Couture started carrying Mission Workshop. Problem solved.
The bag is made of heavy weight canvas and is waterproof thanks to rubberized barrier on the inside. The rubberized barrier also helps with the durability of the bag. The overall construction is strong and The Rummy is obviously built to last. Attention was paid to the details in building this bag. The bag has this great mix of textures, proportions, and materials. The standard bag has nylon webbing, beefy velcro, and mid sized plastic buckles. The velcro is beefy and there is no way it's accidentally coming open. The front has an aluminum buckle on the chest strap for that overbuilt aesthetic. The bag tips the scales a weight of about 3.25lbs.
Technically, The Rummy is a messenger bag, but it's more dual purpose than that. The way Mission Workshop design makes it as functional on the bike as it is off. The bag features two large cargo pockets under a heavy duty velcro strap. The size of these cargo pockets is ideal for a small u-lock and anything similar. Mid deck on the bag and accessed through a waterproof zipper (nice touch) is a medium volume pocket made of rip stop nylon. Inside here you'll also find two zippered pockets for securely stowing stuff like wallets, keys, phones. One zippered pocket faces the back of the bag and the other to the front. The one facing towards to front of the bag has 3 separated areas inside and all secured by the zipper atop. Mission Workshop says that there are 4 zippered pockets. Depends on how you count them. If you really need to keep something protected from the elements these pockets this is the place to stow it.
The main pocket is where the business happens. It's a no-nonsense no-frills large cavity. What is really cool is that the bag has two options for closing the main pocket. You can use the bag like a roll top and secure it again with beefy velcro or you can fold it over and use the buckles to hold it closed like a traditional courier bag. In my experience the roll top looks better but it reduces the usable volume of the bag significantly.
Keeping the bag secured, Mission Workshop has a really generous shoulder strap with more than adequate padding provided. They've designed the bag to be fully reversible (able to sit on either shoulder) without sacrificing comfort or having it feel upside down. Click here to watch a video on how it works. To stabilize the bag there is a removable cross-chest stabilizer. On when you need it, off when you don't.
Mission Workshop offers the bag in 5 colours and with 7 colour choices for the buckle which means you have a really wide selection of choices to customize your bag. Although each size has its own name, the bag comes in 3 sizes to satisfy any requirements you have. I will say that the largest size aka 'The Shed' is massive.
Branding on the bag is incredibly discrete. There is a small MW embroidered where the shoulder strap meets the bag and a word mark logo on a tab at the top seem of the main compartment. The outerfacing logo itself is not obnoxious and looks almost part of the bag.
Flat.. The Rummy was a lot flatter than I had expected. Seeing it only online and in photos, the bag was always filled with something, so on the shelf it was sort of less present. My expectations were that it would be much larger in stature. However upon picking up the bag the heft was immediately evident. Online browsing the bag doesn't really do it justice. There's much more to it and the bag is incredibly versatile. Looking it over in store I knew this was an investment where I'd get my moneys worth.
long term impression
This coming spring will mark the fourth season of using the The Rummy. It's been with me on long bike rides, short trips to the market, daily commutes to the office, road trips, camping, climbing, hikes, you name it. The Rummy has stood up to everything thrown at it and aside from the dirt and grime you'd expect out of 3 years of regular use, it looks perfect. Bags tend to fray and come apart at the seems but The Rummy just keeps going. I really think this is due to their attention to detail and quality of construction with an intended purpose in mind. Mission Workshop knew full well what these bags would be used for and designed them accordingly. If things keep going the way they are, this bag and I will be together for many more years.
There are three things I'd really like to see addressed on The Rummy. First, the flatness of the bag is an advantage in its weight and size but when on, it lays flat on the back and doesn't let air flow through. If it's warm out and or you are putting in a good effort on the bike you're going to end up with a really sweaty back. Second, the bag is technically waterproof because of the rubberized barrier on the inside so water won't get through.... but if you get caught in the rain the bag absorbs and holds a lot of water in the outer fabric. Would be great to see the exterior treated for the elements. Third, with a courier inspired form and function The Rummy begs for a quick access pocket on the chest strap for your phone or keys.
This is one of the most well constructed bags I've used and its size makes it incredibly versatile. It's beautifully simple, incredibly versatile, and perfectly effective at what it is designed to do. At times the size can be more than you need but better than not having enough space. If you are looking for a well made, simple, and subtle bag that works well on and off the bike, then you should seriously consider what Mission Workshop has to offer. If you're concerned about total weight, there are lighter options on the market. As this San Francisco based brand continues to expand on its success, I really hope to see more of it popping up around Toronto.