The Brenthaven Collins Vertical Messenger Bag for Surface Book is outstanding

When it comes to carrying your Surface Pro or Surface Book, there are many choices depending on your needs. For long trips or where you need to take multiple items, there's the backpack. Around the office, you may need a folio.

I needed something to hold my Surface Book with Performance Base when heading out for a few hours. Something light and slim. The brand new Brenthaven Collins Vertical Messenger Bag is the perfect tool for the job.

What it is

Think of the Brenthaven Collins Vertical Messenger Bag as a light travel bag. You can fit in a Surface Pro or Surface Book even with Performance Base with no issue. Toss in a Surface Arc Touch Mouse (opens in new tab), some papers or a magazine and maybe even a Kindle and you're ready to go.

This is not a generic bag, but built for Surface

This is not a generic bag, but built for Surface

Oh, and since this bag is made for the Surface, there is a dedicated pen holder, so you don't lose it in the inner sleeve. Perfect!

The bag features a shoulder sling that can tuck away in the rear pocket. That's neat because there is also a standard carrying handle too if you prefer that style.

Regarding pockets, here is what you get:

  • Small zippered pocket (top flap)
  • Medium Velcro pocket (front of the bag) with key laynard and mouse pocket
  • Main compartment
  • Large Velcro rear sleeve (also can tuck in shoulder strap)

The top flap hooks to keep the bag shut, which I prefer over some vertical bags that just flop closed (dangerous if the bag tips, obviously). It's a secure hook too, and I feel confident when it's latched.

For materials, we're talking durable chambray exterior with "vegan (fake) leather" (i.e. pleather) accents for the bottom and pen holder. It's good quality, especially for the price. I have no complaints about the way it feels. I suppose I could argue that the should strap could use a small pad, but between a Surface and the bag itself, this is hardly a heavy setup requiring reinforcement or padding.

The bag is cushioned for the exterior and a bit at the bottom. Again, for most little bangs or accidents it will protect your Surface. The cushioning also helps to keep the bag rigid, so it doesn't collapse like a loose sack.

Who should not buy this

The downside, if any, to the Brenthaven Collins Vertical Messenger Bag is also its virtue. It's thin and light. If you want to pack your AC power brick (especially the ginormous 102W version for the Performance Base), you may want to pass on this bag. The pockets are slim and flat. They do not expand for thick objects.

I can hedge here a bit: for Surface Pro owners you can slip the smaller AC charger into the back compartment, but will cause a slight bump in the bag, It's very doable though.

Surface Book with Performance Base fits perfectly with some wiggle room to spare

The best way to think of the Brenthaven Collins Vertical Messenger Bag is like an envelope. It's good for mailing a letter, not a book.

Of course, this drawback is why I like this bag. With the Surface Book with Performance Base, I can easily get eight to ten hours of battery life. I want a bag that holds that computer, my mouse, and nothing else.

If you want to take any large accessories e.g. Surface Dial, it's best to skip this bag.

Wrap up

Priced at $46.99 (Graphite) and $54.99 (Indigo) on Amazon (the Microsoft Store sells it too (opens in new tab) for $69.99 for some reason) the Brenthaven Collins Vertical Messenger Bag is precisely the bag I wanted for the Surface Book with Performance Base. Even Surface Pro 4 users who want to pack light will want this bag.

Check out the custom Surface Mouse graphic and compartment!

If you don't have a Surface this Vertical Messenger Bag also works for most Ultrabooks that I tested, including:

  • Razer Blade 14-inch
  • Dell XPS 13
  • HP Spectre x360
  • Samsung Notebook 9 15-inch

Just remember the same rule as above: Slipping in an AC charger may be tough (especially for a Razer); same applies for any bulky objects.

Overall, I love the design, the quality, the pricing, and it's exactly what I was looking for in a bag. For those who want to pack light and not feel guilty buying a secondary day bag, the Brenthaven Collins Vertical Messenger Bag should be on your list to check out. My favorite thing is how this bag is made for the Surface including that Surface Mouse graphic and Surface Pen holder.

See at Amazon (opens in new tab)

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.

  • looks awesome !
  • Hey Dan, would this fit the XPS 15 InfinityEdge? I know it's purpose built but sometimes things work out
  • I don't own either, but the pictures make it look a almost snug for the Surface Book, which is 13" rather than 15".
  • @krayziehustler It's very close. The XPS 15 slips into the bag with no issue, but the problem is it's too long so the flap can't be pulled down far enough to latch :/ I could probably force it and stretch it a bit, but it's just a tad too small.
  • Thanks
  • I have this bag and agree with everything you said.  I never travel without this bag.
  • I second Daniel's opinion on this one. My local MS store threw this in with a SP4 bundle promo they were running in September. It's the perfect bag to throw my Surface in when heading out for a few hours.
  • Oh, nice deal. Yeah, just saw it at the Store the other day and had no idea they were selling it.
  • Could I use it as a daily work bag? I'm paperless so the only thing in my current work bag in my surface book, charger, surface pen and occasional keys. Can the charger fit in the outside zipper area?
  • Not in the outside zipper area, but in the back compartment yeah. Overall the bag sounds right for you.
  • Just ordered and saved $5 because indigo just dropped to $49.99 on Amazon. Thanks for the review and recommendation.
  • I prefer the one from Swiss army. So many more pockets and nicer style
  • Is there version for Surface 4 pro?
  • Did you read the article?
  • This is lovely! I shall import it from Amazon at once.
  • Another very minimal (lightweight, perfect fit) bag I chose is this one by Waterfield designs:
  • I have been using Brenthaven Collins ​bag for Macbook Air for 2 years now with my Surface Pro 3. It looks and feels great but it has one issue, it will not stand straight when You put it on the floor, it will always fall a side... ohhh that pisses me off every time.
  • Another stupid company. Does not offer International shipping? Hello?? Working full time, no kids and disposable income!!!
  • Update - Microsoft Store Australia now sells this :-) 
  • I found an amazing bag for my Surface Pro 3 that actually fits the SP3 dock flat on the bottom of it with a separate commitment for the device itself, it's perfect for when I go out to work gigs where I need the dock as well (which is almost all of them).
  • I'm curious can you fit a file folder in it? It looks like you can, I'm wondering if it's wide enough.