The Patagonia Critical Mass Review, Heavy on Critical, Light on Mass
The critical mass bag is the large (22L) and redesigned version of Patagonia’s half mass bag (15L), other than size, the big difference is that the new critical mass bag has two shoulder straps (like a regular backpack). This bag is great for those who want to transport gear in style, and makes it a great choice for those who do not want to want to lug around a briefcase for work. You can fit all your work stuff in here and more. This bag is very roomy.
This bag is very light, weighing in at under a kilogram or 2 lbs, given the amount of goods you can carry in it. This is a great commuter bag if you need a really big bag – great commuter bags are hard to find, but this one comes very close. It is a great size for carrying up to 17″ latptop, several books, jacket, extra layers, lunch and coffee thermos and mug, not to mention all your power cord and other office stuff. Very comfortable to wear. Handy laptop padded sleeve, tons of little storage pockets for odds and ends including two exterior mesh pockets for your water bottles, shoes, or sweaty post workout clothes .
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Like the Half Mass Messenger bag, it is made of 8.4-oz 600-denier 100% recycled polyester with a polyurethane coating and a DWR (durable water repellent) finish, the bag is eco-friendly and very water repellant.
The bag is loaded with compartments and pockets that make it very easy to organize your gear. For compartments, it is one of the best messenger bags out there. On the external part of the bag, there is a front padded sleeve, two mesh water bottle holder on each side that are elasticized so your bottle won’t fall out, even while riding.
Internal pockets include; one mesh pocket to hold your keys, drop in slot for your wallet or gym pass, one front padded electronics pocket for thing like your phone.
One thing I really love about this bag is how easy it is to organize everything in it. There is a large pocket in the front, padded sleeve out back, and several internal pockets. This bag can easily fit a 17″ laptop with room to spare.
Note that the front flap has no velcro, so when make sure that you buckle it up when heading out. It does make it a little tedious, since other bags you can just close it and go if they have very sturdy velcro, but on the other hand it’s nice not to have it because it makes the bag more bulky.
I can pretty much load this bag up with as much stuff as I can carry to the office and not run out of room. Great compartments for cords, business cards, wallet, pens/pencils, flash drives and all the other work essentials. Great for riding to work as the waist strap keeps it centred on your back, not to mention the front reflective panel keeps you safe and visible. It even has an attachment for a bike light.
Do you need a big bag? If you are smaller, this bag may be overkill and you should look at the smaller Half Mass Bag instead or other medium size messenger bags. They are identical in every way other than size.
The exterior 100% recycled polyester 600 denier, and the lining is 3.3-oz 200 denier polyester. Both are polyurethane coated. Patagonia states that they recycle used soda bottles, unusable second quality fabrics and worn out garments into polyester fibers to produce many of their clothes and bags!
Pros and Cons
Things we liked
- Great size, lightweight.
- This bag comes in a wide variety of colours, and the inside and outside are complementing colours.
- Love the inside compartments, great storage, and the outside stretchy mesh pockets for your water bottle or beverage.
- Love the fact that it’s made from recycled polyester.
- Very friendly overall commuter bag, with multiple carrying options.
Things we didn’t like. A few disadvantages
- Not the most durable bag out there, many other bags are much more durable and waterproof
- Laptop sleeve is big unless you own a 17″ laptop
Dimensions and Specifications
- 18.5 x 12.5 x 6 (inches) / 47 x 32 x 15 (cm)
Volume: The bag is 1343 cubic inches in volume or 22L Liters
Weight: 963 g (2 lb)