I wanted to post a short review of the Greenroom136 Junkmonkey messenger bag as I thought it might be a good option for those in the group looking for a midsized EDC carrying option other than a backpack. I used this bag for a little over two weeks, and although I don’t typically sport a “messenger” style pack for my daily carry, I came away impressed with what the Greenroom136 Junkmonkey offers.
To start things off, let’s talk about the dimensions of the Junkmonkey. For this review, I was using the medium Junkmonkey model and it’s measurements are 13.77 inches wide by 9.84 inches high by 6.29 deep, with an overall capacity of 14 liters which is decent for a messenger bag. If you need a bigger or smaller version, the Junkmonkey also comes in small and large sizes in addition to the medium, so finding one to fit your specific body size and / or capacity needs shouldn’t be an issue.
For carrying purposes, the Junkmonkey features a 2 inch industrial grade safety belt harness mounted underneath an EVA shoulder pad that allows the bag to be worn “messenger” style, i.e. slung across your back in an almost triangular arc. With that, you can also wear it over one shoulder in a more traditional “man bag” or backpack style which was my preference. The quick-release shoulder strap is hot-swappable and can be aligned for either right or left hand carry (good for us “lefties”), and there is also a wrapped quick grab handle on the top of the bag for those times when you want to carry it as a laptop bag or are grabbing it from your vehicle. Regardless of which way you ultimately wear this pack I can attest that the Junkmonkey holds a LOT of gear, much more so than you would think given it’s a messenger bag and not a large rucksack. The portion of the bag that rests against your body contains an EVA padded airmesh backside which allows the Junkmonkey to remain very comfortable, even when loaded with lots of bulky items such as textbooks, groceries, or on one of my excursions, two sixers of Odell “Myrcenary” double IPA.
Moving on to the Greenroom136 Junkmonkey messenger bag ’s materials, they are all high quality, with the outside of the pack being made out of durable 1000D Cordura, while the inside features an extended 420 denier ripstop nylon “sock” that ensures your items won’t fall out while also keeping the elements from coming in. This material is light grey which makes identifying your items inside the bag easier, even in low light. All the zippers on the Junkmonkey are YKK and glide along smoothly, and the bag’s heavy-duty stitching is flawless throughout with no loose threads to be found anywhere. This bag also includes an integrated EVA padded laptop sleeve that will fit laptops and / or tablets 13 inches and under, with a corresponding velcro flap that goes over the top to secure your electronic devices in place. One especially nice feature about the laptop sleeve is that it’s lined in a plush blue corduroy which is something that you don’t ordinarily see in a lot of messenger bags, let alone backpacks, and is something that is exclusive (as far as I know) to Greenroom136 offerings.
The rest of the Greenroom136 Junkmonkey messenger bag is spacious interior features numerous pockets and compartments to go along with the aforementioned laptop sleeve, including a useful administrative area where I stored my pens, phone, and Kindle, along with some additional thumb drives. Speaking of places to stash things, one of my favorite and most used areas on the Junkmonkey was the Napoleon pocket which can be accessed from the side, even when the outer flap is closed. I realize Napoleon pockets are fairly standard on messenger bags these days, but being able to grab my wallet and keys quickly without having to open the bag first or deal with velcro (more on that later) earns big kudos from me. Speaking of keys, the Junkmonkey comes with a heavy duty key-strap that attaches to a sewn-in key loop inside the bag; this is a nice “extra” given some other bag makers only include a flimsy plastic hook attached to a piece of thin nylon fabric for lashing your keys. There are also a number of other storage pockets throughout the bag including an area where you can stow magazines and papers just behind the laptop sleeve which I could see being great for air-travel reading material and / or important work documents in protective folders.
So, with all the positives I’ve mentioned about the Junkmonkey, there were a couple of issues I found with the bag that I felt could be improved. The first (and biggest) concern I ran into is with the dual velcro patches underneath the main flap; these were absolutely no bueno for me. There were a few times when I opened the pack at work to get something, and everything around me came to a complete standstill because of the loud rrrrrrrrriiiiiiiippppping sound of the velcro tearing open. Picture nails on a chalkboard, and you’re halfway there. Thankfully, Greenroom136 offers velcro silencers to alleviate this problem at an additional cost, but I would like to see these useful extras included as a stock feature on the Junkmonkey for those times when silence is golden.
My other quibble with the Junkmonkey is although the bag is comfortable, I never fully got used to wearing it messenger style which is primarily the way it was designed to be worn. Instead, I predominantly wore the bag off of one shoulder as I wanted more of a quick “grab and go” solution, and although it was comfortable, it bounced around a bit and didn’t feel quite right this way. The Junkmonkey does come with an additional stabilizer strap that can be attached to the bag in order to help alleviate the bouncing I experienced, but I admittedly did not get around to testing this.
Other than these two hitches, my overall impression of the Greenroom136 Junkmonkey messenger bag is that it’s a really good messenger bag for the money, and it (along with all of Greenroom136’s products) comes with stellar customer service, and a lifetime guarantee against defects. Another positive is that Patrick (aka Gordon Greenroom at Greenroom136 is a great guy to deal with and will answer any questions you have very quickly which is impressive given he’s on the other side of the planet. Lastly, in addition to a plethora of customization options, please note there is now a newer version of the Junkmonkey which includes additional zippered pockets underneath the main flap. Sweet!! More pockets = more storage options = more EDC goodness, or put another way: this is definitely the Junkmonkey you’re looking for.