The Lo & Sons O.M.G. Wants To Be the Ultimate Weekend Bag (and Kinda Is)

There aren’t many choices for great overnight bags for us ladies out there: by the time we reviewed the O.G and the O.M.G., I was ready to throw everything in a duffel and call it a day. (Nothing wrong with that.)

Lo & Sons’ O.M.G and O.G bag purport to change all that since 2009. These high-end weekend and travel bags are specifically optimized for frequent flyers and boast all the bells and whistles you could ever think of, including padded laptop, tablet and shoe compartments. If that wasn’t enough, it’s suitcase-friendly with an adjustable luggage strap. Did I also mention how incredibly good they look?

The smaller and cheaper O.M.G. bag measures 13.5 inches x 16 inches x 6 inches (34.3 cm x 40.6 cm x 15.2 cm). It weighs about 2.1 pounds (.95 kg) and is more than manageable for a bag of its size. Perhaps the main turn off is that the bag retails at Lo & Sons for $275, making it a relatively expensive purchase.

Though the company was kind enough to send a bag, the site seems to offer 20 to 30 percent sales from time to time, bringing the final price down to $192.50-$220. In this bracket, the bags are most definitely worth it even though most people will find that its versatility justifies the full price tag.

For all intents and purposes, the O.G. bag is the O.M.G’s slightly bigger and more expensive older sister. They are also almost exactly identical so we will be focusing on the O.M.G for the bulk of this review and then highlighting the differences with the O.G. towards the end. The most obvious difference between the two bags is space capacity: the O.M.G can fit up to 18.45 liters, while the O.G. can fit up to 24.48 liters (or, a six liter difference).

(To clarify, the O.G. bag stands for the overnight gym bag and the O.M.G. bag stands for the overnight medium gym bag. I like to think the bags are so great you just want to OMG or give the OG some respect.)

The exterior on the O.M.G. bag is made of nylon which, at first, made me skeptical of its high price tag. However, the upside to nylon is that it’s water-resistant and while I’m not going to throw it in a pool anytime soon, it should withstand most elements. I actually received the bag on a really rainy New York City day, so after running around the city after work—in really unpleasant weather—I was quite happy to see that the interior managed to stay dry. Even more important, there wasn’t a lick of water on my DSLR which lay tucked away inside.

The nylon is supposed to help repel stains but after roughing around New York for the second day, I did see weird spots on the fabric. Granted, it was easy to clean because of the nylon but I wasn’t terribly pleased. It also seemed to pick up a strange circular “imprint” on the back of the nylon at some point which has been also been all but impossible to remove. However, it’s only noticeable under direct light and I’m guessing the bag got a bit too close to something hot, though I can’t be entirely sure.

Updated: April 30, 2015I was sitting there having my morning coffee when a friend pointed out that some of the stitching seemed to be coming apart in the O.M.G., much to my alarm. (I’ve had the bag for less than a month and travel about 100,000 miles a year, so the ability to sustain wear and tear is crucial.) However, founder Derek Lo mentioned that this is considered a production issue instead of a wear and tear issue. It’s worth noting the company seems to try to their best rectifying these kind of issues despite their limited return and purchase policy. They also offered to replace our sample.

To position itself as a high-end offering despite the material, the inside is lined with a beautiful polyjacquard fabric and its two handles are made of leather. Pleasantly, the hardware on the bag is made out of brass; it is clear Lo & Sons thought intensely about the details. There’s also a removable and adjustable strap if you’re interested in slinging it over your shoulders as an alternative, which greatly helps out with the comfort when the bag is fully packed and you’ve been carrying it for a long time.

Brass hardware.
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Brass hardware.

Though I was taken aback by how much larger I thought it would be in person, I quickly realized the O.M.G. strikes a nice balance between being able to pack many things and being portable. (It’s also a structured bag; this is not a floppy duffel that folds up easily in a suitcase.) For dense urban areas like San Francisco and New York, it’ll fit right into place.

It also fits perfectly within airline carry-on regulations and the upside is because it positions itself as a “purse,” most airline crew would probably look the other way when evaluating its bulkiness. In contrast, other carry-on bags would probably be more subject to measurement checks.

Perhaps the best thing I like about the bag is its sharp design. The O.M.G comes in three colors: black, navy and army green. Clearly, black is the classic choice but I found the army green worked just as well for a business function. In short, it’s professional and casual enough to transition between a business function and then heading straight to airport afterwards. Karina was also keen on the fact that it wasn’t overly flashy and wouldn’t have to worry about carrying it in locations that would otherwise subject to petty theft. (This is a common problem in Argentina, where she lives). Either way, I found the bag to be pretty versatile.

There’s a lot going on with this bag to say the least. Here are just some of its organizational features.

Front Compartment

The front compartment has space inside for two pens and a few small pockets. Upon closer inspection and further thought, it’s a really great space for storing business cards, valid ID and passport. Of course, it’s up to you to decide what you really want to put in these slots. There’s also plenty of space for your other belongings. To make things even better, there’s even a key leash for the purse to make sure you don’t lose them. Amazing.

Interior Compartment

This bag is definitely for pocket lovers.
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This bag is definitely for pocket lovers.

The interior compartment boasts a padded laptop compartment and a pouch for either a tablet or work documents. The laptop compartment measures 13 inches x 9.5 inches x 1.4 inches (33 cm x 24 cm x 3.6 cm). I had no problem stashing my 11.1-inch Sony Vaio X laptop inside the compartment, neoprene sleeve and all. It’s perfect for 13” laptops and smaller, like the smallest two iterations of the Apple Macbook Air. The side pouch was more than sufficient for both my iPad Mini and Kindle Paperwhite, which seemed tiny inside its new resting spot.

The other side of the interior compartment looks like the inside of any purse with two side pockets set aside against a zippered pocket. It’s perfect for storing items that need to be more secure.

Side (Shoe) Compartment

This side compartment boasts a small pouch that folds into the interior of the bag, erecting a barrier and separate compartment for shoes. Though I had some trepidation about stashing a pair of 3-inch heels in there initially—an essential for a city girl like me!—I had no issues getting them in. Flats and smaller shoes obviously fit fine and this compartment gets my 100 percent seal of approval.

I also found it a great place to stash things I wanted separated from everything else, like dirty clothes, a travel umbrella or a menacing drink that could threaten to spill its contents over everything else.

Luggage Strap

At first glance, the luggage strap looks like as a double-zipped pocket on both the top and bottom. To place it on a suitcase handle, all you have to do is unzip both, place the O.M.G. bag on the handle and then tighten and secure it using the zipper. Simple enough. The added bonus is that when you’re not attaching it to a suitcase, it’s possible to keep the bottom zipper closed and to use it as another pocket. Insane when you think about it but it’s a fantastic spot to put your toiletries if you’re mainly using it as an overnight or weekender bag.

How It Functions

…as an overnight bag.

Efficient packing is the name of the game here (rolling instead of lying flat). Some people have reported that they were able to fit everything they needed into a three-day conference into the bag, and while I’m suspicious that they weren’t using it as an overnight bag, I wanted to see if I could fit everything I needed for three days and two nights into the bag. I’d be running straight from a personal weekend visit to Allentown, Pa. straight back into a full day of business meetings in the Big Apple.

This was my own attempt to carry all of my daily essentials plus a little bit more for the weekend. Surprisingly, I managed to do it even if it was a bit tight. I think if I hadn’t had to deal with the business aspect of the trip (i.e. bulky high heels and space to accommodate a blazer) in October, I could have done it with much more room to breathe. It will definitely hold summer clothes a whole lot better.

This is what I was able to accommodate:

  • Wallet and keys
  • Sleeping mask, travel socks, ear plugs, headphones
  • Three-inch high heels (I left the hairdryer at home, abiding by the golden girl packing rule)
  • Laptop, iPad Mini, Kindle Paperwhite, portable battery + all chargers
  • 1 blazer, 1 scarf, 1 pajama set, 2 shirts, 2 sets of intimates, socks, gloves
  • Small makeup bag and a brush
  • Basic medicines, feminine products and jewelry
  • Bare set of toiletries that included toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, face wash, shampoo, conditioner and razor
  • Travel towel and emergency travel umbrella
  • Point It Book (it’s always stowed away for travel emergencies)

Basically, it passed though not exactly with flying colors due to how crammed in everything was. Still, if I had to grade the bag on this, I’d give it as a B+.

…as a carry-on bag.

Made for travel.
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Made for travel.

Then came the part I was excited most about. I packed my suitcase tight and transfer my normal personal items into the O.M.G. I even managed to smush the rather gargantuan J-Pillow inside. To my chagrin and to no fault of the O.M.G, it ended up taking a fair bit of space in the bag. Nothing I could do about that.

I packed it on top of the Muji suitcase and zipped it tight. The bag reached close to the top of the Muji’s luggage handle with it fully extended, surprisingly. So I started dragging it toward the airport (which I might, add, involved 2 hours and three subway trains to JFK). Strangely, if it’s fully loaded, I found it uncomfortable to do this for a considerable length of time. After a while, if I wasn’t stationary for significant lengths of time, I resorted to the shoulder strap.

By the time I got onto the plane, I was having serious doubts about the bag fitting underneath the seat in front of me. The J-Pillow ain’t the tiniest thing in the bunch and I sorta like having all my items on hand. By the time I rolled up to my exit seat on the United flight, I was still having reservations despite the extra legroom. I was pleasantly surprised to be proved wrong.

Exhibit A.
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Exhibit A.

Later I caught up with Karina, who was rockin’ the slightly larger O.G. and also had the same type of reservations. She was surprised to see that she could fit the O.G. under the seat on an ExpressJet—tiny “puddlejumpers” planes—to Dallas. Given the fact I’ve more than proved the O.M.G. can carry an extra set of clothes in case you get stuck overnight on an airport somewhere, that’s an incredibly impressive feature set of the bag.

If we’re still following the grading system I used earlier, I’d give it an A.

How the O.G Stacks Up

The O.M.G and the O.G. are virtually identical except for the fact that the O.G. is slightly bigger by a inch or two in each direction and slightly deeper. It measures at 15 inches x 17 inches x 6.5 inches (38 cm x 43.2 cm x 16.5 cm). The weight is the same. The bag also retails for $295, $20 more than the O.M.G. With that kind of price difference, do you just upgrade to the bigger bag?

In both cases, Karina and I were initially taken aback by how big the bags were. If you like to overpack, the O.G. will probably work well. But if you like to economize space, the O.M.G will probably be the best choice. I should probably note that after my business meetings in New York, I mosied on right over to a Japanese joint in Brooklyn for dinner. The bag was a bit on the bigger side for a bar but the O.M.G will transition a lot better for all kinds of social situations than the O.G., which is fantastic if you’re on the move all the time.

Besides, my motto is always to go with the smaller bag because when you’ve got a big bag, you’re just going to try to squish as much furniture in the house as possible to fill it up. But everyone’s got different needs.

The Lo & Sons O.M.G. Wants To Be the Ultimate Weekend Bag (and Kinda Is) via @maphappy
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[Lo & Sons]

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