Hey gang, Valkor here. Chances are, if you’re living in or near a little big city such as me (New York City), you’re not driving to work - you’d be late almost every day if you took that route. Some people do it and much respect to you, but I’m ok commuting by train. And since I’m commuting, I’m gonna need the proper bag to not only have a nice appearance but also capable of handling my day to day junk. Returning to the Val-Cave is STM, who scored well with Alacran with their Impulse Backpack. This round we’ll be switching gears and taking their Velo 2 Messenger for a spin.
The Velo 2 offers up a unique design and some pretty nifty features that separate it from other messenger types; design wise and starting from the front, the main flap opens up to a spacious compartment. Before I go any further, I’m used to having the main flap double as a pouch; however this bag doesn’t have one. Instead, just below the handle there’s a small pouch for handling small items; I could easily fit my Galaxy Note 3 in there, but for protection purposes, I’ll steer clear. Moving on, opening up the main flap enters you into a world of pockets and pouches – just enough to handle all of your needs. The front pouch starts with a zippered pocket with another zippered pocket just behind it. After that you have smaller pockets for handling items such as pens, thumb drives or any number of small items.
We then switch to the main compartment, again it's very spacious with a wide bottom. The picture below will give you some idea of just what that area can hold; inside we have three video games and four blu-rays that I picked while doing some small shopping. On the right, there's a pocket that's holding a bottle of lotion, but it can just as easily hold a drink or other item. Behind the games and movies you have two pouches – one with a regular nylon and the other is lined with fleece. As you can see it’s a great area to hold my Vita as to not scratch up the screen during my travels. Now behind the main pouch we have a fleece cushioned laptop area that’s touted as being able to store a laptop of up to 15” (more about that later). Finally you have a rear pocket, which I think makes for fast reach of documents, folders or other items you might need right away.
How about some of those unique features? Keeping with the rear of the bag, the Velo 2 unzips from the bottom of the back pouch and the messenger can be slid over a carry-on luggage handle for easy transport. It also has a stabilizing strap to attach the messenger to the back of a bike. Finally, the main strap ends with two zippered pouches, which are the perfect size to hold a water bottle or small umbrella.
I’ve got a couple more bags coming into the cave in the coming months (some very interesting ones at that) and once those are out of the way I’ll do a "best of list" encompassing all of the bags I've reviewed over the years. Will the Velo 2 make the cut? That remains to be seen but right now let’s see how well the bag fares in the TOV Breakdown.
After bringing along the Velo 2 on a few commutes, I have to say it's one of the best messengers to have entered the cave. The outside is quite durable, the inside is roomy and the entire package is lightweight and comfortable to carry. The inclusion of those unique features, especially the side pouches that blend with the strap, definitely puts the Velo 2 a step above the rest, giving it a less messy outer appearance. Another plus, you can set the Velo 2 on the ground and it’ll stand on its own; this is all thanks in part to the wider bottom. And all that space makes allows you to easily carry a number of items with no problem. While I do have a few qualms with the bag, overall it was a treat to carry around. STM, you guys definitely has a winner on your hands.
The slack indeed; my first issue with the messenger is with the strap, which needs a few more inches of slack; I carry my messengers over my opposite shoulder (holds on the right shoulder and hangs by my left side). In doing so with the Velo 2, the bag hangs around my hip area - I’m used to having it hang a little lower than that. Finally there’s the laptop compartment. It’s stated that it can hold “most 15” screens”, however my old 15” Toshiba Tecra (circa 2007), barely fit and I had to force it just to get it inside. I’m guessing it’ll work best with newer, slimmer model laptops, but for older models, it's gonna take some work.
While I have a couple of issues with STM’s Velo 2 Messenger, it still gets the gold for having a spacious interior and unique features. And it makes a great bag for any on-the-go commuter or frequent traveler - definitely a bag I'd reccomend. And out of TOV 5 stars, the Velo 2 gets a 4 and it’s been Valkor tested and TOV approved.