The Most Influential Gear of All Time: Manhattan Portage Messenger Bag

1983

The first messenger bag     Photo: Courtesy of Manhattan Portage

In the early ‘80s, most carry bags were made of canvas or nylon, both of which broke down or wore out fast. John Peters, founder of Manhattan Portage, designed a trendy version of the durable 1950s utility lineman bags originally made by De Martini Globe Canvas Company. De Martini’s bags allowed lineman to carry their tools when they were climbing utility poles and kept them within easy reach. Peters replaced the stainless steel hardware of the Globe bags with lighter-weight plastic clips, the heavy canvas with durable Cordura, reflective stripes, and a tough-edge binding. The bags were light, durable, visible and much easier to carry on a bike.

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