Bag Week Review: Mission Workshop Sanction

Bag Week continues with our review of Mission Workshop’s Sanction backpack. It’s a weather-proof pack made for short trips on your bike or long walks in the rain. It’s their smallest backpack, far smaller than the Vandal I reviewed last year. But at 1000 cubic inches, it’s still big enough day-tripping. Let’s take a closer look at this thing.

Mission Workshop Sanction

Type: Backpack

Dimensions: 12” x 18” x 5” / 1000 in3/ 16 liters

Pockets: Main cargo area, zipped laptop compartment (up to 15″), 2 zippered pockets, 1 slip compartment, one external easy-access velcro pocket

Features: Zippered compartments and main cargo area are weatherproof, double enclosure for top flap (velcro and buckles)

MSRP: $179

Product Page


A very handsome bag, though a bit strappy. The grey color I reviewed is unfortunately sold out at the moment, but generally MW is tasteful and in their color selections, which are muted and not over-shiny. There are no unnecessary flourishes, and the little external pocket is nicely proportioned. The extra material from the shoulder straps and top buckles tend to hang loosely and flap all over the place, so you might have to improvise a way to secure them. I found the shoulder straps stuck nicely into the little utility loop on the bottom.

The bag is a bit flat and not very large, so if you’re concerned that you won’t appear manly without something big and bulky, this isn’t for you.


The Sanction is a more everyday, urban bag than the other weatherproof bags I’ve used from MW and Chrome. It’s got enough room to make it a decent overnighter, but it’s more practical for around-the-city biking and such. The big main compartment flattens down a lot, but will actually accommodate items up to five or six inches tall, so a big book or some groceries will go in no problem. It’s lined with thick tarp material, but doesn’t zip or roll down at the top, so I wouldn’t trust it with my top secret treasure maps in a gale. It does have a little bit of a lip at the edges to prevent any leakage from the top of the bag, but I would have preferred it to fold over or something.

The laptop compartment fit my 15″ MacBook Pro easily and smaller laptops with perhaps a little too much room to spare. The little zippered pockets aren’t as roomy – the top one is more of a pen and pencil holder, and the bottom one would hold a trade paperback or a few DVDs. The one that doesn’t fasten closed has the most room; it’s very deep but not very wide. I’m not sure what you’d put in there, a 2×4? I like the little outside pocket, though. It looks exposed but there’s lots of velcro and a similar “lip” to the top pocket’s, which helps keep moisture out. It’s the perfect size for a power adapter, a toothbrush, a book, or whatever.

Having two means of keeping the top flap down is reassuring, and there’s space under the straps and flap to secure things lengthwise, like a bedroll or something.

In my opinion it could have used a little extra love at the very bottom, though, maybe a grippy or extra-waterproof material.

Who is it for?

The weather-conscious urban bicyclist. So, me. It’s a good, compact day bag for getting around the city with a laptop, a book, and a sack lunch or a few groceries. Though it served me well as an overnight bag, I don’t think it would do well for trips over two or three days, and it’s not roomy enough to keep clothes folded crisply.

Here’s the product page again. And lastly, if you’re feeling rich, there’s a hardcore version of this bag with improved waterproofing and lining for a hundy more.