Patagonia Critical Mass Bag


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Dedicated commuters will appreciate the durability, functionality and versatility of the Patagonia Critical Mass Bag. Slightly smaller in size than previous versions to improve overall handling, this messenger bag has everything you need for the daily commute to school, work or the gym.

Designed for over-the-shoulder and bike-courier style use, the Critical Mass Bag is well padded to guard against the daily shuffle and to add structure. A polyurethane coating and durable Deluge® water resistant treatment extends the shoulder bag's all-weather functionality. The main compartment features an easy access mesh pocket, a secure drop-in pocket with Velcro closure, a padded media pocket for phone and music as well as pen slots and a zippered pocket. The padded computer sleeve accommodates a 17-inch or smaller laptop and provides plenty of protection to keep it safe from the day-to-day jostle of commuting. The overlapping top flap can be secured with buckles to further thwart rain and there's a watertight zippered pocket for easy access. The padded shoulder is fully adjustable to accommodate your carrying style, while a waist strap adds stability on the bike, but stows away when not in use.

Add a grab handle for easy toting and reflective striping for increased low-light visibility, and you've got one well-designed courier bag that'll serve up years of dedicated commuter service.


  • Material: Body: 8.4-oz 600-denier 100% recycled polyester
  • Lining: 3.3-oz 200-denier polyester
  • Polyurethane coating
  • Deluge® DWR (durable water repellent) finish
  • Main flap opens to largest compartment, which houses one drop pocket, one mesh pocket, one padded electronics pocket, three slots for pens and a discrete and secure zippered pocket
  • Zippered pocket on flap has moisture-shedding reverse coil zipper
  • Interior padded computer sleeve is raised off the ground and will accommodate up to a 17-inch laptop
  • Sleeve secures with a buckle and strap
  • Front flap features improved reflective piping and webbing bike-light mount for visibility at night
  • Side mounted exterior water bottle pocket
  • Interior drop pocket secures with hook and loop tab for quick access to boarding passes, magazines or newspapers
  • Fully adjustable shoulder strap with floating pad, three point adjustable stability strap and top side carrying handle
  • Fits a 17-inch laptop
  • Volume: 30 liter, 1831 cu in
  • Weight: 893 g, 2 lb

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Review Summary

4.8 out of 5

26 Reviews

  • Build quality: 6
  • Ease of use: 6
  • Great design: 6
  • Lasts forever: 3

  • awkward shape when cycling sometimes: 1
  • Cost: 1
Quality: 5 / 5
Durability: 4.8 / 5

26 Ratings & Reviews

Durability: 4 / 5
Quality: 5 / 5
from Bay Area, CA
35-44 yrs

Quality Bag
July 10, 2011

I carried a critical mass bag to work everyday (half of which on my bicycle) for the last 5 years. The old stitching started to come undone, so I purchased a new one. The new work improved the computer pocket and appears to be even sturdier. I look forward to another 5+ years of use.

Pros: Great design, Build quality, Performance, Ease of use

if I had to carry a kitchen sink, no problem
December 06, 2007

wow- what a bag. I regularly bicycle to work and this time of the year its cold in the morn and sort of mild in the afternoons- so every thing I wear on my morning ride goes right in along with every day stuff you drag around. Adjust the strap so it sits high on ya back and cinch the cross over strap tight and you don't even know your carrying anything on your back- LOVE IT

Yes, it is ENORMOUS!
April 30, 2010

I first bought this bag in order to carry my large laptop, along with my gym stuff. With all of that in it, I threw in my climbing harness and shoes as well. I still had room for some books or other stuff. I have used it to carry an entire home office....2 laptops, portable printer, basic supplies, battery chargers, a few books and lunch. The bag is large, but the waist strap aids in carrying it comfortably, although I think that it may be somewhat large to carry on a bike. I have had it in the rain with no leaks.

Great Bag!
November 25, 2005

Holds my laptop, and all 40 lbs of books I bike to school with everyday! I love this bag!

This bag is SO big, almost bulky.
August 25, 2009

The shape and construction are great, I can tell it will hold up. But even with all my law school materials, there is room to spare and the extra space kind of makes the bag bulky.

Great Bag!
June 03, 2009

I use this for law school, and it will carry 4 full size legal texts as well as computer, papers, etc... It carries everything I need in a day, and that's saying something.

Great Big Bag!
June 01, 2010

I was really surprised by how big this bag is. This bag has a laptop pocket and still enough room for anything else you might want to carry.

Love it!
February 08, 2008

I'm a grad student and gym rat, this bag can carry it all. This bag should last till my retirement party....

Durability: 5 / 5
Quality: 5 / 5
from Tampa, Florida
25-34 yrs

Critical Mass
April 20, 2011

This bag is amazing. It has been very difficult for me to find a decent sized bag that is both good for cycling as well as a general travel bag, and this one fits the bill. It fits nicely while cycling, has a strap that ensures it doesn't move around too much while on the road, and the front pocket isn't so deep and wide that I end up losing all the gear (e.g. wallet, keys, etc) that I end up throwing inside. Plus the padded strap is really comfortable. I first got this bag in 2001, used it for a decade, and now I'm getting another one. In ten or fifteen years, I'll probably get another one. Now that's value. The only con is that sometimes, because of the shape of things that you put inside it, it can feel a bit awkward when cycling. But it's enough of a con to prevent me from getting another one obviously!

Pros: Great design, Build quality, Lasts forever, Ease of use, Cons: awkward shape when cycling sometimes

February 16, 2007

I do NOT go for the "salesperson type approach" this is why I choose to LOOK on-line. In THIS case I found it rather nice to have someone come on and ask me with assistance.

Wrong Direction
July 14, 2009

I am disappointed in this version of the Critical Mass Bag. I had the first version which lacked the useful organizer pockets of this version; however, it could fit my lunch, shoes and work clothes with no difficulty. This version has a problem: lift the flap and notice the inner compartment does not rise to the top, it is aprox 25% lower than the rest of the bag's top. In combination with a narrower main compartment, my stuff is not secure and it barely fits. Next version should keep the organizer pockets and make a taller and wider main compartment.

I'm loving it.... Awesome bag!
June 28, 2010

What a great bag. It lets me take my work, my laptop, lunch and more without feeling overwhelmed..... and best of all...only one bag! Thanks so much.

Very well made but huge
July 23, 2006

I really like mine. It's so well made, it will probably never wear out. But I find it almost too big and too heavy if filled (I'm a smaller girl.) I think you could fit the kitchen sink in here! I probably should have picked the Half Mass.

Excellent bag for work or play
January 12, 2010

Will carry your laptop, files, change of clothes, lunch, and more. Work horse of a bag

Larger than expected
February 04, 2008

I workout after work and I'm a consultant so I'm always on the go. The bag works great to carry my computer, files, workout clothes, and lunch.

Durability: 5 / 5
Quality: 5 / 5
from Nashville, TN
18-24 yrs

July 24, 2011

I travel every weekend to and from work and needed a lightweight, comfortable bag to hold a weekends worth of stuff. Let me tell you, this bag is great! It can not only hold a couple changes of clothes, I can also fit work folders and my computer. It can easily fit in the overhead bin and doesn't get too bulky. The quality of this product is by far the best I have seen on other travelers and I got a great deal!

Pros: Build quality, Lasts forever

Impressive messenger back.
May 25, 2010

This has all the bells and whistles you could ask for. If anything it is bigger than expected. If uncertain, go for the next size down unless you plan on carrying the kitchen sink.


great bag
September 15, 2010

Finally a bag that holds everything I need in one bag, for both me and my dog! I was tired of carrying multiple bags and the critical mass bag carries it all, now I just have to worry about it not being too heavy for me to carry!

from Seattle, WA

Great bag
December 06, 2010

I bought one of these bags in the Gecko Green color about 9 months ago, and love it. It's been a little cumbersome on the bike just because I usually carry a huge laptop (which totally fits in it), a change of clothes, lunch, etc. and the bag is about half the size of me. But I've transitioned this to a travel bag, which I love for this purpose. It fits everything I need for a weekend, looks great, and survives the inevitable tumble as I'm wrangling my dog. It also does great in the rain.

Durability: 4 / 5
Quality: 4 / 5
from NC
25-34 yrs

Nice if you get it on sale
July 28, 2011

We got two of these bags, one purple for her and gray for him. Colors are nice and NO VELCRO on flaps means it doesn't keep snagging my clothes like my Timbuk2 messenger. It comes with a separate cell phone holder which is nice quality, but my cell phone didnt fit it so i will have to move the velcro if i want to use it. it doesnt have an internal phone pouch so this will be a must and a pain. also it would be nice if this didnt have to go on the shoulder strap -- like if there was a piece of nylon webbing under the front flap or around the other organizer area for the pouch to go. i just dont care for the hanging off the shoulder strap look. also, the internal organization area isnt as good as either of my timbuk2 bags (for comparison these are a medium shoulder strap tote and XS messenger). even when fairly full you can squeeze it under the airplane seat which is a plus -- it's intended purpose was as a second bag for a trip so that is good! It held enough that with our two small suitcases and these two bags our family of four could go carry on only for an 11 day trip. i will probably use it more for travel and stick with my smaller messenger bags for everyday use since they have nicer organization features for phone, water, sunblock, wipes/diapers, etc. that i carry all the time. at full price i would consider it a bit expensive for what it is. i am pleased with the value since i got it on sale.

Pros: Build quality, Performance, Ease of use, Cons: Cost

awesome for travel
September 12, 2009

The critical mass fit a full 6 days of clothing for a recent trip. Both my husband and I got one - and we are switching our day bags to the half mass versions because critical mass worked out so well.


from gj, co

November 10, 2010

great bag for your laptop and your work stuff! the color is great and the construction is good.

Great bag all around!
May 12, 2010

I take this bag on bike rides into work and I'll be taking it on a flight this weekend. It fits so much stuff - laptop, notebooks, change of clothes, lunch, etc. - but without looking too bulky. And I love the gecko green color - really bright.

Durability: 5 / 5
Quality: 5 / 5
from Massachusetts
35-44 yrs

Simply Perfect
April 23, 2012

I was looking for a durable & convenient bag I could use to transport my materials back and forth from school to home. I have been using this bag for over 7 months. This bag is perfect my intended purpose as a math teacher.

Pros: Great design, Build quality, Lasts forever, Performance, Ease of use, Great value

love it! so roomy!
May 27, 2008

it's a multi-purpose bag, use it for work, stuff all your clothes in there, drink bottle, shoes, anything! It can be used as a carry-on on planes, great for traveling. Im 5'3" so with this bag slung on me I look like a dwarf. This is definitely a LARGE BAG for those who needs one

Critical Mass Bag
January 30, 2006

HUGE bag! More room than most people will ever need. Hauls my lap top, gym clothes, and books all over campus.

Also Available

Patagonia Critical Mass Bag Photo

Bandana Blue, Black, Lagoon, Larimar Blue, Lemon Lime, Mango, Mission Olive, Narwhal Grey, Red Delicious, Tuscan Olive and Watercress.

Available sizes, while supplies last, include size and size one size: one size, .

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