Search the field. Survey the terrain. Or hell, just take it to the corner coffee shop. The Recon Series is a suitable tool for any mission on the face of the earth. Defy is hand-crafting rugged Military contractor sourced M35 22 oz vinyl/canvas truck tarpaulin and mashing them up with $60.00 worth of 2” solid steel and brass, imported AustriAlpin Cobra Quick Release buckles used by U.S. Special Forces in theater today. M35 Military truck tarpaulin vinyl/canvas is the same heavy duty tarpaulin used to protect US service members during transport. It's thick, matte, rubbery feel makes for an incredibly durable bag material which with use over time starts to soften & wear nicely taking on a different patina and character. While it's tougher than the vast majority of tarp material used by other bag companies with enough beating, use and life it can eventually show signs of wear. Those wear marks are a badge of honor! It's military tough as hell for sure, but nothing's indestructible even though it may look it! Recon is hand-crafted on the gritty west side of Chicago using industrial machines, threads, and techniques learned from disassembling vintage military bags. Solid steel swivel clips and hardware fly the finger to the incessant over use of cheap plastic found on most bags. Take a look inside and you’ll see ample room and pockets with a designated section for a 13” MacBook Pro. Look under the flap and you see a uniquely simple double pocket solution that uses a smart organization system for pens, business cards and top secret organizational stash opportunities. Stop looking...Recon’s here.
Recon Press: Carryology.com
I've typically had smaller bags and wasn't sure how big this bag was. I have to say it is a moderately sized bag but carries a ton of stuff without being big and bulky. The material is really durable and the clasps are rock solid. Storage compartments are great and my laptop stores securely. All said and done a great bag. I just wish it had a carabiner clasp inside the bag to hold keys and similar items. Unknown on 4th Oct 2015
I looked all through June to find the perfect bag for my boyfriend's approaching trip to Europe. As someone who doesn't particularly like to shop, this was a task in and of itself. I wanted something unique, something authentically Chicago, and most importantly, something that could withstand the wear and tear of a month long trek through Greece, France, the Czech Republic, and Germany. Not just the beat down of an international trip, but the beat down that would ensue upon his return. I wanted something that wouldn’t crumble the minute it hit freezing Janurary temperatures, something that would wick the April rain away from his computer and personals, and something that didn’t pick up whatever nonsense would come into contact with it on the CTA. Not to mention this is a man that wears his bags to the bitter end-- pockets worn through, shoulder straps tied and retied until calling it a bag would almost be too generous. I stumbled across Defy during one of my many searches online and quickly found the Recon M35 Military Tarp messenger bag. I called Chris in a panic and was informed that there was indeed one left at their shop in Ravenswood. We arranged a time for me to come pick it up the following day, and just like that, the search was over! Chris and the whole team over at Defy were warm and understanding. I can't thank you all enough for saving me with this gift, and for giving me the name of a company I feel good about recommending to all my friends. It is also worth mentioning that upon his return from Europe, this bag doubled as a brief case during a job interview. The interviewer complimented the awesome quick release buckles and sleek design. I'm not saying the bag got him the job, but it certainly didn't NOT get him the job. Unknown on 11th Sep 2015
It's not an inexpensive bag, but it's worth the investment. The bag looks great -- I've already gotten appreciative comments from strangers. It's a great size, and the pockets are just right: not too few, and not too many. A zippable compartment and a D-ring or two wouldn't have gone amiss, but other than that, this bag is aces. Ethan Brown on 26th Aug 2015
After Chris and Lexy were kind enough to rush my order so I could receive the bag in the timetable I needed it, I took it with me on a week long commercial for a branch of the US military. In that time, it was on my back and flung around while working with helicopters, armored columns, and hundreds of troops. Everything stayed in place and stayed protected. Not to mention, it got compliments from multi-tour of Iraq/Afghanistan veterans, all of whom were told that www.defybags.com was the place to go.
What a stellar product.
(I NEVER write reviews online) Nick on 11th Aug 2014
This is an excellent bag. Perfect size and absolutely top quality! GD on 4th Sep 2013
As a bag, i think it's great. Very cool. But, I plan to swap it out for the mini - why? Because it is about twice the size of my 13" Air and then some. My initial reaction when I pulled it out of the box - wow, this is huge! So, pretty much defeats the purpose of a small bag. We'll see how the mini goes... I am looking forward to it - definitely. Unknown on 2nd Sep 2013
My new Defy Recon bag is very cool. I've only had it about a month. Appears very well built with quality materials.
Thanks! SN on 27th May 2013
Thanks Chris and team... love my new Defy Recon. Yet to be field tested but a great match for my R & R Weekender which has now seen a lot of travel around NZ with me for work and fun. Love the products... just waiting for apparel and custom guitar straps next... Cheers, Graeme Graeme Smith on 4th May 2013
I've had my Recon for about two weeks now, and use it everyday. When I was considering buying a Defy product, I thought that I wanted a bag more then 2.5 inches deep to hold all that I carry (usually several books and a 13 inch mac). In discussing this with Chris over email, he assured me that the regular-sized Recon was what I was after. I am really happy with how much the bag holds.
The aesthetics of the Recon are very well considered, something that is important to me. A healthy, rugged, and refined look. I am really very happy with the bag.
The only comment I have is one shared by another reviewer: the D-ring to which the strap attaches can move about in its sleeve. That is, the curved part of the ring slips into the straight sleeve. There is no compromise in the strength of the bag, just to the looks. I've adjusted the strap length for more comfort in the last couple of days, and it seems that as a bonus this did the trick with the D-ring.
And customer service is absolutely excellent!
carey on 27th Mar 2013
I was finally able to get back to work and get the replacement Recon Small you had sent across – thank you. It's beyond perfect! For the past 5 years I had been carrying around a trusty and very cherished handmade leather bag from Austria (Waldviertler Wing groß in black; http://www.gea.at/frameset_und.html in case you're interested) and I couldn't imagine changing it for anything else – until I saw the Recon.
It has many of the same characteristics – laser-like focus on utility with no frills; no distracting and annoying branding; quality that can only be achieved by being handmade; recycled materials (they use car seat belts for their straps too!); ages beautifully with use – and I knew I couldn't go wrong with the change.
Now, while I was expecting a 1:1 switch, I didn't realize that I would actually be stepping up so much! Really... the Recon has character, personality, and distinction like no other bag I've ever had. And I know a lot of hard work went into making sure it had all of that – and a lot more goes into saying "no" to the excesses.
So, keep up the hard work and expect more orders from me. You've earned yourself a customer for life, and for that you should be immensely proud. Pramit on 16th Mar 2013
My Recon bag arrived earlier than expected. Very happy with the quality and workmanship from Chicago. I love the detail and functionality of the Austri Alpin Cobra quick release buckles and the look and feel of the M35 tarp and bicycle tube materials. I had a meeting with customers in Detroit and received completely unsolicited compliments on what a cool bag I had. That's not why I bought it, but is testimony to how unique and cool my Recon is. My favorite thing abouMt my Recon is that it is super high quality, made in America. MRW on 10th Mar 2013
Overal I'm really happy with this bag. The materials are really cool, in particular the awesomeness of the buckles is well document. Chris has been great, awesome service from Defy bags.
The bag has a cool but sort of rugged look that I think makes it work in a lot of situations. It's great for more dressed-up situations and also causal around town sort of stuff. I had been drooling over killspencer bags, but I'm not a GQ model, so I think the bag might overshadow the man about 90% of the time. The recon blends in a bit better, but still looks very cool.
If I have one complaint, it's that the D-rings that hold the strap tend to spin around, so that the flat end of the ring is vertical instead of horizontal, which looks funny and places strain on the strap holding the d-ring. This is a bit annoying, but not quite enough for me to knock a star off. Derek on 9th Mar 2013
Handsome bag that makes me feel like a sophisticated, James Bond, GQ-type cool dude when I carry it. Quality, unique, practical, conversation starter: all words that describe this bag. Get it. JK on 9th Feb 2013
I ordered this bag online as I was looking to transition from an everyday backpack to a messenger bag for my weekly travel. I'm really I chose the Recon Small. I just had my first road trip with it and so far, so good. I carry a 13 inch Lenovo Thinkpad, Ipad, chargers, notepad, a few pens and some Audio Technica noise cancellation headphones in the case and the Recon handles it with no problem.
I've got a few compliments on my new bag and the concensus is" where did you get that from"? Overall, I'm impressed with it. Just wish it had a little more padding for my laptop. Other than that, I think I'll sticking with this bag for my everyday carry.
Nice work Defy! Brian on 7th Feb 2013
I totally fell for the whole "reclaiming" and "made by hand" in "America" story, in a good way. I very much wanted to support someone with such a great sustainability story. The bag itself is perfect for rainy environments such as Ireland and the bag is pretty much as described. As a bigger guy (i'm around 6 Ft 2, and wide :) the bag is very comfortable when worn cross shoulder, but somehow less so over one shoulder. It's weird that way. In line of how to make it a bit better:
(1) Some padding at the end of the bag; if you're carrying around a computer you like to just put the bag down on the ground at your feet and not worry about denting;
(2) Pocket at back for easy access to passports, tickets etc. (or a flap cap) would be very welcome;
(3) You might think of different "insert" internal layouts. i.e. why not cip in different internal layout's depending on the particular jobs to be done (i.e. more computer accessory oritentated; or delivery guy stuff; or artist bag etc. Same exterior, differnet interiors.
All in all, the build quality of the bag is tip top; it's comfortable; and it feels comfortable and secure. Paul Sweeney on 5th Nov 2012
Long lead time, but worth the wait. Great product and unique reuse of materials. Works gret in dressier situations as well as casual. Jason on 19th Oct 2012
I received my Recon few days ago...
I was looking for a robust and stylish bag that I could use at all time... the Recon is perfectly matching these requirements. Every single detail is great.
On top of it, I am a big fan of the Defy approach and knowing who is behind the bag makes me feel even more connected to it.
Thanks, and keep on working!
Unknown on 17th Oct 2012
I love things that have a story behind them. Thats why i chose to replace my trusty Timbuk2 bag with a new Recon from Defy. I love it. It is unique, a little smaller than my previous one, which makes me carry less on my shoulder. My only recommendations would be:
1) the pen holders work ok if you have pens with a clip, but, for my iPad stylus (JottPro) or similar instruments without a clip, you may lose it at some point as the elastic wears. This should be put in a place with a catch to keep things from dropping out.
2) on the back of the bag, it would be cool to have a small pocket thats accessible without opening the bag. Things like passport, bording pass, receipts, or iPhone would slip in here easily, and it wouldnt change the look of the bag at all. I am a frequent traveler and having a place to stick something and move on is really nice to have.
3) a name plate would be cool inside the bag...something military like a dog tag that could read: if found, call: (maybe something cool to offer in your accessories line...custom if-found dog tags).
Other than that, i have no suggestions for improvement. Quality is exceptional, and the concept of Defy is awesome. Bryan Landaburu on 16th Oct 2012
|FIT:||15" MacBook Pro Retina & 13" MacBook Pro|
|MATERIAL:||Military contractor sourced M35 military canvas/vinyl truck tarp|
|TRIM:||Vintage bicycle inner tubes|
|STRAP:||Detachable 2" Military grade auto seat belt|
|CLOSURE:||2 High Strength Austri Alpin quick release 2" Cobra buckles|
|HANDLE:||2" Military grade auto seat belt strapping|
|EXTRA:||Pen and Business Card Holder|
|DIMENSIONS:||15 wide x 12 tall X 2.5 deep|