Designed by the folks at Grey Ghost Gear, the Wanderer Messenger Bag is intended to blend the utility of Every Day Carry (EDC) for the armed citizen, with the low-profile exterior and function of a civilian messenger bag.
Introduced in 2016, the Wanderer is a moderate-sized satchel bag with an exterior made from waxed canvas, with a multi-compartmented interior that is comprised of lightweight nylon. Its overall dimensions are 11.5” (H) x 20.5” (L) x 4.5” (D), and the bag’s 2” fixed shoulder strap made from seatbelt webbing allows it to be configured for across body or over the shoulder carry. All YKK exterior zippers are over-molded with paracord pull tabs, and weatherized to prevent against moisture saturation along the zipper line.
The front of the Wanderer has a fold-over protective flap that connects from the top of the bag and is secured to the outward-facing exterior via two magnetic snap-buttons. On the flap are two, 5” wide zipper-secured pockets that are 9” in length (and lined with velour fabric) for storage of immediate-need items like sunglasses, keys or smartphone.
Under the protective flap, along the top of the front exterior is a 14” length accessory storage pocket for storing flat electronics or other items.
At the bottom of the front exterior is another open-top accessory pocket that runs the length of the bag. The accessory pocket can be further opened by dual vertical zippers that allow the entire pocket to open flat and grants access to the interior’s four elastic nylon mesh storage pockets, pen sleeve, and two nylon mesh accessory pockets (secured via zipper).
The Wanderer’s sides feature a collapsible pocket (zipper and over-flap secured) for a water bottle on the left, and an open stash pocket on the right for an umbrella, IFAK, up to two AR magazines, or another item.
On the rear of the Wanderer is a 15” long, zipper secured pocket that is 10” deep and lined on one side with hook-and-loop (female) for attaching associated holsters or allows for off-the-body carry of large framed handguns. This pocket is also pleated to prevent printing and maintain the low-profile appearance if a handgun is carried.
The bottom of the Wanderer is unremarkable with no added features to offset the bag’s ability to sit flat when placed down.
The interior of the Wanderer is divided into two primary storage compartments used to separate flat items (such as a laptop or notebook) from bulkier, everyday items (like headphones, fleece jacket, headphones, etc.). A single slide-release buckle secures both storage compartments.
The Wanderer is available in Olive (featured), Black, Charcoal, and Field Tan.
Product Evaluation Scores:
- Cost – Excellent (5/5): At $134.99 for a moderate-sized, over-the-shoulder satchel bag, the Wanderer had a balanced blend of genuine waxed canvas exterior, smooth nylon interior, and minimal hardware to maintain a low-profile appearance that worked to balance abrasion resistance and comfort. In comparison, market alternatives to the Wanderer would be the Dead Letter Sling Bag ($212.99) from Vertx, the Parallax Messenger Bag ($225) from Triple Aught Design, the Huron Rifle Bag – Short Barrel ($299.00) from TYR Tactical, or the Gofer 15 Messenger Bag ($209) From Vanquest Gear. The important thing to remember is that while many other tactical or messenger bags are more inexpensive – they look like tactical bags and obviously don’t attempt to conceal that the end-user is likely armed. Amid the market of alternatives that fit the same low-visibility role as the Wanderer, the bag from Grey Ghost Gear is at an excellent price point for its materials, function, and design.
- Comfort – Good (4/5): From a comfort aspect, the exterior of the Wanderer was flexible and comfortable for a waxed canvas fabric, and was still soft and discrete enough to serve as an EDC bag or daily messenger bag. The YKK zippers moved smoothly and did not bind or cross-feed. The shoulder strap did not have any padding (perhaps a point of consideration for improvement for GGG) but the seatbelt webbing material was soft and flexible enough to not significantly chafe when worn for extended periods (1hr+). The interior’s smooth nylon material was pliable and soft enough to remain functional and did not burn nor cut the knuckles while rummaging around for the desired item. It was somewhat dark in the further recesses of the interior and GGG may want to consider lining the bottom portion of the Wanderer’s interior with some high visibility material to help make it easier to see inside the storage compartments.
- Durability – Excellent (5/5): The blended waxed canvas exterior and smooth nylon interior offered the Wanderer a good amount of abrasion resistance and durability despite daily carry to the office or on the range. Additionally, the waxed canvas exterior was good for repelling water, allowing it to bead off and mitigate potential saturation of the fabric into the interior layers. There was extensive bartack/reverse stitching noted throughout the bag, as well as X-stitching at key stress points for added reinforcement. The supporting material for the shoulder strap was incorporated into the sides of the bag to give it an overall good degree of reinforcement against pulling/tearing from the weight of items placed inside the bag.
- Functionality – Good (4/5): Functionally, the Wanderer did an excellent job of keeping a low profile exterior similar to that of other civilian messenger bags, while still providing immediate access to a stored off-body firearm if needed. The various pockets and storage compartments allowed easy access to any contents, while the over-molded YKK zippers helped to ensure no moisture saturation was experienced as moisture rolled off the waxed canvas. The fold-over flap did a good job to protect the pouches and interior’s contents, although there was no separate internal securing flap to keep the laptop itself safe aside from a single slide-release buckle for both of the main storage compartments (something GGG may want to note for improvement). One definite point of improvement for GGG would be a better location for the external magnetic snap buttons, or perhaps larger ones. Frequently the snaps had difficulty finding home when contents were inside the Wanderer, and had to be hand-guided. If placed closer to the corners of the fold-over, rather than their current location more to the inside of the flap, it would naturally fall into place or be easier to secure.
- Weight – Average (3/5): Weighing in at 2.4 pounds (empty) the Wanderer owed a good portion of its overall weight to the waxed canvas material of its exterior. While slightly heavier than other nylon-only messenger bags, this waxed canvas added to the functionality of the overall bag to keep its contents safe and dry while maintaining that low-visibility profile. Perhaps one point of recommendation for GGG to help mitigate the overall wear on the shoulder would be the inclusion of a removable shoulder pad to help improve comfort when worn for long durations (1hr+) as well as help keep the adjustable shoulder straps secure/together. In comparison, market alternatives such as the Dead Letter Sling Bag (3.36 pounds) from Vertx, the Parallax Messenger Bag (1.81 pounds) from Triple Aught Design, the Huron Rifle Bag – Short Barrel (1.85 pounds) from TYR Tactical, or the Gofer 15 Messenger Bag (3.15 pounds) From Vanquest Gear all illustrate that amid the market of alternatives the Wanderer is appropriately sized for its weight in design and materials.
Overall Rating – Good (21/25)
I am reviewing this product as a courtesy to the manufacturer and via High Ground Media, LLC, so that I can evaluate it and provide my honest feedback. I am not bound by any written, verbal, or implied contract to give positive reviews. All views are my own, and based off my personal experience with the product.
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