The Green Guru Freewheeler Messenger Bag provides a mixture of style and sustainability. Constructed of upcycled materials, the Freewheeler has a unique look and keeps materials out of the landfill at the same time. While a little small for some purposes, this is a great, versatile bag to get your necessities from point A to point B.
About Green Guru
Green Guru launched in 2005 with an admirable goal: use old outdoor gear to make new outdoor gear. Green Guru has developed a partnership with major outdoor retailers wherein the company collects leftover, defective, or otherwise discarded material and converts them into exceptionally useful items from their headquarters in Boulder, Colorado.
From old bike tubes to wetsuits and climbing ropes, Green Guru has found countless ways to innovate. Their product line includes bracelets, wallets, and a wide array of packs from messenger bags to six-pack carriers. The company has found exciting ways to repurpose spent or discarded material and given their longevity, they’ve found a customer base.
Green Guru’s model seeks to “close the loop” in traditional manufacturing by giving outdoor gear a second life. The process helps local businesses, creates jobs, and helps model a better way of producing and consuming. Customers themselves can even get involved in the process by donating their own materials.
The Colorado Environmental Leadership Program, a statewide environmental recognition and reward program, has awarded Green Guru with gold-level status. The award speaks to the success of their business plan and its impact on stewardship and sustainability.
What We Like Best
The Freewheeler Messenger Bag has a bevy of unique features that set it apart in terms of form and function. A flap of “upcycled” bicycle tubes keeps the weather out and provides a layer of durability to the bag’s exterior. The flap folds over the recycled fabrics that comprise the rest of the pack providing a soft material to hold the rest of your goods.
The padded shoulder straps adjust quickly, allowing this bag to accommodate users of all sizes, and function equally well over a winter jacket or a summer tank top. The padding sits quite comfortably, even with a full load or on a long walk. The quick-release straps work well if users need to remove the strap to get faster or easier access.
Similarly, the padded back panel functions well to keep the bag riding comfortably. All of these elements come from the recycled materials for which Green Guru is known; the Freewheeler is a testament to the fact that “upcycling” does not have to mean sacrificing comfort and function.
The Freewheeler Messenger was designed with comfort and function in mind, and overall the bag performs admirably.
What We Don't Like
While the bicycle tube material offers unparalleled waterproofing, it’s not necessarily the most efficient in terms of weight. This makes the Freewheeler Messenger bag a little heavy. The rubber covers only the outer portion of the pack with much of the rest composed of lighter fabrics, but this kind of makes for the worst of both worlds - heavy, but not completely waterproof.
The Freewheeler Messenger is a large enough bag for most purposes, but a few users have complained that the laptop divider is not big enough to hold a 15” laptop. Similar to the fabric choice, the bag manages to be a little big for some purposes but not big enough for others. However, the bag does sport relatively ample storage in the main compartment.
The Green Guru Freewheeler Messenger Bag makes for a wonderful, slightly quirky but extremely functional bag for commuters by bike, train, or on foot. The rubber outer material has a unique enough appearance to start a conversation but maintains enough subtlety to fit in just about any context.
The added durability and waterproofing of the recycled bike tires give the bag excellent longevity and versatility. It can handle rough weather and rough handling without many issues and without sacrificing comfort. The Freewheeler strikes a balance between simplicity and organization with the main compartment, laptop divider, and front zippered pockets.
The neon accents help add a touch of flair and added visibility, no doubt a nod to the bag’s past as bike parts and present as an elegant solution for the modern bike commuter. The size - 17”x12”x5.5” - holds plenty of items but maintains a low profile. There’s certainly still room for improvement in the design, but Green Guru has historically shown willingness to adapt.
Ultimately, this bag is as much about sending a message as it is about carrying one. The upcycled materials convey a desire to live more sustainably and lower one’s footprint on this planet. Green Guru has an admirable mission and a creative means to accomplish it. The Freewheeler Messenger bag exemplifies the innovation and style possible with “used” materials.