Much like a comfortable pair of walking shoes, choosing the right travel bag is so important. Along with being big enough to store all your essentials, the perfect option should be lightweight, comfortable, and free up your hands to do more important stuff like take memorable travel photos — which is why we love messenger bags so much.
These sleek crossbody carryalls will not only keep your belongings safe and organized, but they also offer ample room to store all the items you couldn’t fit inside your suitcase. The best part? These unisex bags are super versatile and look good with just about every outfit imaginable.Airbnb Is Eliminating Its Most Annoying FeatureAirbnb is changing how fees are handled for bookings in Europe, Asia Pacific, the Middle East, and Africa.
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Similar to other travel bags, the number of messenger bags in stores can feel overwhelming. To help you find the best options available, we turned to real reviews from customers to see which ones they love the most.
These best-selling products not only have countless glowing reviews, but they also have thousands of five-star ratings between them. Some of the items on this list feature anti-theft technology, while others boast padded straps for added comfort and a plethora of different compartments and pockets so you’ll never have to waste time searching for stuff.
From sleek leather messenger bags to eco-friendly cotton carryalls, keep reading to see the 13 messenger bags shoppers can’t stop raving about.
These are the best messenger bags to buy:
- Best Overall: Kenneth Cole Reaction Risky Business Messenger Bag
- Best Expandable Option: Ytonet Expandable Messenger Laptop Bag
- Best Leather Option: Frye Logan Messenger Bag
- Most Comfortable Option: Timbuk2 Classic Messenger Bag
- Best Eco-Friendly Option: Everest Large Cotton Messenger Bag
- Most Organized Option: Samsonite Flap Over Messenger Bag
- Best for Left-Handed Wearers: Chrome Mini Metro Messenger Bag
- Best for Frequent Flyers: Timbuk2 Command TSA-friendly Messenger Bag
- Best Anti-Theft Option: LXY Small Messenger Bag
- Best Canvas Option: Vagabond Traveler Canvas Messenger Bag
- Best Long Option: Leaper Retro Messenger Bag
- Best Padded Option: Filson Padded Messenger Bag
- Best Waterproof Option: Peacechaos Waterproof Messenger Bag
Best Overall: Kenneth Cole Reaction Risky Business Messenger Bag
COURTESY OF EBAGS
With over 1,200 reviews, this sleek messenger bag by Kenneth Cole Reaction is one of the most popular options at eBags, and it’s easy to see why. Along with a spacious main compartment, the leather bag boasts an adjustable padded shoulder strap, a cute flap-over closure, and plenty of pockets to keep your belongings organized. It comes in three neutral colors, and 92 percent of shoppers are such big fans of the stylish carryall they said they would recommend it to others.
To buy: ebags.com, $137, (originally $300)
Best Expandable Option: Ytonet Expandable Messenger Laptop Bag
COURTESY OF AMAZON
If you ever find yourself needing more space in your bag while you’re out and about, consider this expandable travel briefcase from Ytonet. The work-ready messenger bag comes with a padded laptop sleeve and ten pockets and compartments to hold essentials like your cell phone, pens, tablets, and more. Plus, it can easily expand from seven inches to nine inches wide just by unzipping the expansion zipper. Over 1,100 Amazon customers love the water-resistant bag, with one writing, “I bought this because I travel a lot for work. First, the expandable option is super convenient. As a salesman, I have many catalogs and marketing material and this bag fits everything I need. The quality is top notch as well. You will not be disappointed in buying this.”
To buy: amazon.com, $33
Best Leather Option: Frye Logan Messenger Bag
COURTESY OF NORDSTROM
Frye has been making high-quality leather goods for over 150 years, and this sleek and supple messenger bag is no different. The roomy interior is big enough to fit a laptop, water bottle, notebook, and more, while the magnetic flap closure will keep your belongings safe and secure. Nordstrom customers have given it an impressive 4.5-star rating, praising its timeless design and quality construction. One customer wrote, “This bag has been around the world with me on business for four years. About 45 trips overseas. Perfect carry on for laptop, iPad etc. Goes overhead and doesn’t spill. Easy to move thru airport with. Looks great in the boardroom too!”
To buy: nordstrom.com, $498
Most Comfortable Option: Timbuk2 Classic Messenger Bag
COURTESY OF ZAPPOS
Unlike other bags which can hurt your back and shoulders while carrying them, this Timbuk2 messenger bag features an incredibly comfortable airmesh strap pad to keep your shoulder pain-free all day. It also boasts a top handle for easy grabbing, a water bottle pocket, and compression straps for a secure closure. The cute carryall comes in ten different colorways, and over 650 Zappos customers have given it their seal of approval.
To buy: zappos.com, $99
Best Eco-Friendly Option: Everest Large Cotton Messenger Bag
COURTESY OF EBAGS
Prefer to use eco-friendly products? Opt for a 100 percent cotton messenger bag like this option by Everest. The roomy accessory can fit everything from binders to laptops to books and more. More than 400 eBags customers have given the beloved travel bag an impressive 4.4-star rating and 90 percent of them say they would recommend it to others. “I was looking for a usable messenger bag with my everyday personal and professional work. This bag is attractive, full of pockets, flaps, and space. I am more than pleased with this item,” said one reviewer.
Here at the Strategist, we like to think of ourselves as crazy (in the good way) about the stuff we buy, but as much as we’d like to, we can’t try everything. Which is why we have People’s Choice, in which we find the best-reviewed products and single out the most convincing ones. (You can learn more about our rating system and how we pick each item here.)
And while we’ve written about lots of bags before — including the best work bags for women, the best gym bags, and the best weekender bags — here we’ve rounded up the best messenger bags for men, as praised by the most enthusiastic reviewers on Amazon.
Best-rated messenger bag
Mobile Edge Laptop Eco Messenger4.5 stars, 1,997 reviews$34
Over 1,000 reviewers bestowed five stars upon this extra large bag because it’s “well-made, roomy, stylish, functional, and at a very inexpensive price,” as this reviewer puts it. Many were surprised by how much actually fits inside, like one who observes, “I managed to pack my (bulkier) MacBook Pro 17-inch, Kindle Paperwhite, chargers, three pairs of board shorts, five t-shirts, seven pairs of socks, underwear, and a bag of medication. Even with all of those items inside, I was still able to make the bag mostly flat for travel on the plane.” One reviewer simply just loves the look of this rugged canvas bag: “This has a tasteful, stylish look to it while still having a utilitarian look. It has just the right mix of style and functionality for my taste.” Another selling point for many are the clasps on the over-the shoulder strap swivel, which drove one reviewer to rave, “This is something that has had me stay clear of most messenger bags in the past because they, for some odd reason, did not come with this function. All in all, I definitely say to grab this bag if you’re considering the purchase.”$34 AT AMAZON
Best-rated (less expensive) messenger bag
Victoriatourist Vertical Messenger Bag4.6 stars, 275 reviews$12
Nearly 80 percent of reviewers give this mini messenger bag a five-star rating. “If you want a compact handy bag for your wallet, iPhone, a few small things and is LIGHT, this is it,” writes one reviewer. And many agree that it is good for everyday use. One reviewer, who says their dad graduated from a fanny pack to this, adds, “He is really happy with this selection because he wanted to be able to hold his cell phone and a tablet on the go and this bag provides.” They continue, “It’s slim enough to hug against the body but spacious enough to hold more than 2 devices.” A handful also think the slim profile makes it great for travel. One user who bought this for a trip to Mexico says, “I wanted a durable and tough bag so that I could keep my belongings close to me, and this bag did exactly that. It is thick, not flimsy at all and pretty roomy.”$12 AT AMAZON
Best messenger bag for school
Timbuk2 Classic Messenger Bag$85 now 22% off4.5 stars, 2,041 reviewsFrom $66
Dozens of students commented this bag works well for carrying textbooks, laptops, loose paper, and other school supplies. “The bag has plenty of zippered compartments and a separate document pouch with a rigid edge that keeps your papers flat,” says one. Reviewers also love that it holds up to heavy textbooks and doesn’t cause shoulder pain. One who carries “four textbooks, an iPad, a clipboard, college-ruled notebook, and about an inch-thick stack of papers” says that this bag from Timbuk2 “holds up great. The shoulder pad is marvelous. I can carry everything I need without having to worry about straining my shoulders or back as I have with other messenger bags.” Another bought this because, “I needed a bag that could function for school, but also transition to the office with a more professional look than a backpack.” They conclude, “This bag is my dream.”
I love shoulder bags, from full-on messenger bags to smaller sling packs. Backpacks are better for heavy loads or all-day trekking, but for lightweight everyday needs, nothing beats a bag I can sling over my shoulder or across my body.
Why? With a shoulder bag, everything I need is easily accessible and within easy reach. I really started to appreciate shoulder bags when I was photographing weddings for a living and ordered a cheap canvas messenger bag to replace a big boxy camera bag I used to carry around. In the years since, I’ve owned and tested dozens of messenger bags, sling packs, and convertible hip packs—these are our favorites.
Be sure to check out our many other buying guides, including our guides for the Best Backpacks for Work, and the Best Trail Running Shoes.When you buy something using the links in our stories, we may earn a small affiliate commission. Here’s how it works.
- PHOTOGRAPH: PEAK DESIGNBest OverallPeak Design Everyday Sling 10LThe Everyday Sling comes in a variety of sizes, but my favorite is the 10-liter version. With ample pockets for organization, and optional flexible dividers, the 6-liter bag fits a 13-inch MacBook Pro, a charger, and plenty of other accessories. Even fully-loaded, the Everyday Sling maintains a slim profile that makes it easy to keep it close to your body. The strap is made from a seatbelt-like material, designed to slide easily over clothes, and it doesn’t bunch up on your shoulder as some straps do.This was my everyday bag for CES 2020, and it was a lifesaver. It’s spacious enough to carry makeup, my 11-inch iPad Pro, a power bank, and loads of other random supplies, not to mention it’s comfortable carried slung at your side or cinched up like a backpack.$150 AT AMAZON$150 AT PEAK DESIGN
- PHOTOGRAPH: FJALLRAVENBest Small Shoulder BagFjallraven Greenland PocketSoft and lightweight, the Greenland Pocket is an excellent everyday bag. It’s big enough to carry a Nintendo Switch, a notebook, plus a variety of everyday essentials. The cotton and polyester exterior is water-resistant enough to stand up to heavy Portland rainfall—and it’s really soft, so much so that sometimes I wonder if I carry it around just to pet it.It’s also a stylish option that pairs just as well with winter wear as it does with lighter spring and summer outfits. Overall, this is my favorite small-sized shoulder bag.
Want to add a bit of style to your schooling? If you are looking for a bag to carry around that looks a little more exciting than the average backpack, check out 7 of the best messenger bags that will take you through freshman year and beyond.
If you’re the understated type and you prefer your neutrals neutral, then this is the perfect messenger bag for you. Two large pockets up front for pens or your phone, roomy enough for a 14-inch laptop or tablet, plenty of space for books, and a comfortable and adjustable strap means you can take all your college essentials with you without having to return to your dorm or apartment at midday. The Egoelife Canvas Messenger Bag comes in coffee and black colors and is waterproof and scratch-resistant.
This tough, durable messenger from Timbuk2 is made from 100% polyester with a TPU lining, which makes it suitable to carry around in any weather. TSA-approved, this messenger bag can hold your laptop, phone, pens, books, and anything else you need for classes. You can choose from a wide variety of color combinations from sober grays, blacks and browns to bright red and black.
This is one of the more unique messengers you’re likely to come across. It looks like a traditional backpack, but is far less bulky and more understated. The Leaper Retro Messenger Bag features numerous pockets for a phone, pens, or even smaller notebooks, and there’s room for a 10-inch tablet or a 13-inch laptop. A broad padded strap means you can keep both hands free while still keeping your bag securely on you. The flap makes it extra-secure and the zippers keep everything safe. You can choose from several different rugged colors.
You’ll love the retro-fabulous good looks of this European-style messenger bag. The Wowbox Vintage Leather Messenger Bag features two large front pockets under a genuine leather flap. The leather on the flap, strap, closures and handles, gives the bag a classy look. Whether you choose the 14-inch one or the 15.6 inch version, you’ll love the way this one looks, both on and off-campus. The shoulder strap is detachable, which is great for those times when you want to carry your messenger bag by the handle instead of strapped across your shoulders. Ample padding on the inside will keep your electronics and phone well protected. You can choose from a range of understated colors in both sizes.
If you prefer to carry an eco-friendly bag, you’ll love this laptop bag with its all natural cotton canvas exterior. The Mobile Edge ECO Laptop Bag has lots of pen loops and pockets for small items such as a phone or small tablet. It also has a padded, dedicated laptop pocket in the middle and a removable ID pocket with handy ring so you can scan in and out of campus buildings without the hassle of digging through a purse or a backpack. The generously padded shoulder strap offers maximum comfort when slung across your shoulders.
When is a messenger hag not a messenger bag? When it converts quickly and easily into a backpack that you can use for travel. Padded straps and extra-large capacity on this bag means you can keep at least three days’ worth of clothes with you (for when you camp out at the library during finals). And all the little pockets and pen loops mean you can keep everything you need on-hand, whether you’re stranded in an airport or just the student rec center.
Briefcases may offer that classic look that won’t go out of style, but many workplaces are a little more relaxed than they used to be. These days, there are plenty of trendy messenger bags that offer plenty of room, feel comfortable to carry around, and so on. Of course, there are tons of styles to choose from – and they’re not all created equal.
Whether you want a roomy, flap-over crossbody Messenger bag, a tech-savvy laptop bag, a relaxed and casual attache, or a compact, versatile carry-on, here are several options we like for 2018.
Briefcases may offer that classic look that won’t go out of style, but many workplaces are a little more relaxed than they used to be. These days, there are plenty of trendy messenger bags that offer plenty of room and feel comfortable to carry around. Of course, there are tons of styles to choose from – and they’re not all created equal.
Whether you want a roomy, flap-over crossbody Messenger bag, a tech-savvy laptop bag, a relaxed and casual attache, or a compact, versatile carry-on, here are several options we like for 2018.
Kenneth Cole Reaction Risky Business AMAZON
Customer rating: 4.4 stars
Materials: Full-grain Colombian leather
Colors: Black, Cognac, Dark Brown
Looking for a cool and comfortable bag to match those brown loafers? (You should be.) Cole’s leather crossbodies are a great choice that won’t break your wallet. The Risky Business comes in five shades of brown and black in imported Colombian leather. It features a polyester lining, stash pockets under the flap and, best of all, will develop a patina with wear.
Timbuk2 The Closer Case TIMBUK2
Customer rating: 4.5 stars
Materials: Coated fabric
Colors: Jet Black Static, Storm, Twilight, Typeset
The pioneer in bags designed for bicycle messengers, Timbuk2 is still handcrafted in San Francisco with the finest materials and meticulous attention to detail. That’s not a pitch — it’s the truth. The Closer Case is available in multiple colors and two sizes, so chances are you’ll find one right for you. It features several pockets and convertible functions to suit almost any purpose.
There was a time, not too long ago, when messenger bags felt ubiquitous. There they were, slung over shoulders or across backs on just about every guy on every street or bike or sidewalk. That time has passed, but the messenger bag itself—not too serious, informed by practicality, and eminently easy to carry—lives on. You can get one that’s big enough for your laptop and all your other assorted work stuff, or opt for a smaller option that’s better suited to in-the-neighborhood jaunts with just a little more stuff than your pockets can hold. You can also go casual or (very) luxurious—your call. Whatever you’re in the market for, we’ve rounded up 17 of the best options to buy now.UO Nylon Messenger Tote BagUrban Outfittersurbanoutfitters.com$19.99BUY
Can’t decide between a tote and a messenger bag? Well, now you don’t have to. Topo Designs Block Messenger BagTopo Designsurbanoutfitters.com$49.00BUY
This one’s nicely sized for a few smaller items, like a tablet, a book, and your headphones. Tempo Canvas Messenger BagIndispensablemrporter.com$50.00BUY
If you want to try the whole “small bag guy” look on for size, you could do a whole lot worse than starting with a cult Japanese label known for its hard-wearing fabrics and utilitarian style.ADVERTISEMENT – CONTINUE READING BELO
Grade Messenger BagHerschel Supply Co.nordstrom.com$65.00BUY
Herschel specializes in easy, functional bags at a nice price. This messenger hits all those notes.MoleskineCOURTESYNomad Messenger Bagurbanoutfitters.com$69.00BUY
This one is great for a work/study type of lifestyle. Plus, it pairs well with your favorite Moleskine notebooks.
When you see messenger bags like this, it makes you wonder why you don’t have one, especially when you can look so stylish with something that is genuine leather.
We suspect that many men reading this article already will be interested in messenger bags, but we also will assume that many are not at all.
This article, then, will first explain what you need to look out for before purchasing a messenger bag, and then we will discuss what we feel are the best messenger bags for men.
After that, we will move on to discussing what a messenger bag is, for those of you who are still wondering.
We hope that this article can become a reference point for you and your new addiction to messenger bags.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
- Quick summary
- Before you buy: 9 Things to consider when purchasing a messenger bag
- The 15 best messenger bags for men 2020
- How to take care of your messenger bag
- Messenger bags vs the competition
- What made us choose these messenger bags?
Balding Beards is reader-supported. When you buy through external links, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.
|OUR #1 CHOICENewhey Mens Messenger Bag 15.6” Waterproof Vintage Genuine Leather||Crafted with top-quality materialsLooks great and stylishBlessed with internal space for laptop and accessories||CHECK ON AMAZON →|
|Tocode Mens Laptop Messenger Bag 15.6”||Stylish but has the slick, discreet lookProtects your laptop with shock-proof feature1-year warranty||CHECK ON AMAZON →|
|Xincada Mens Bag Messenger Bag||Lightweight and easy to carryPerfect as a smaller messenger bag optionPlenty of space for your items||CHECK ON AMAZON →|
|Leaper Retro Messenger Bag||Positive reviews galoreRetro design, rucksack styleMade with soft but durable canvas||CHECK ON AMAZON →|
|Ibagbar Water Resistant Messenger Bag||Water resistant makes it perfect for any useSuperior quality, fully guaranteedHolds all your items with ease||CHECK ON AMAZON →|
|Egoelife LB-BBPHF18 High Quality Canvas Satchel Messenger Bag||Fantastic affordable optionMulti-purpose, can hold many itemsGreat quality leather and canvas||CHECK ON AMAZON →|
|Sweetbriar Classic Messenger Bag||A variety of colour optionsLong-lasting, good quality materialsIdeal for all-purpose use||CHECK ON AMAZON →|
|Ravuo Messenger Bag For Men, Water Resistant||Robust and durable compositionEasy to carry with comfortable padded shoulder strapsWater-resistant||CHECK ON AMAZON →|
|VX Vonxury Messenger Bag For Men||A generous 13-pocket design for all your itemsDurable and water resistantVersatile and comfortable||CHECK ON AMAZON →|
|Timbuk2 Command Laptop Messenger Bag||TSA-approved, great for travelQuality craftsmanshipCombines style with purpose||CHECK ON AMAZON →|
|Vaschy Vintage Genuine Leather Canvas Messenger Bag||Excellent quality manufacturingWarrranty includedMade with cowhide leather and canvas||CHECK ON AMAZON →|
|Sechunk Vintage Military Leather Messenger Bag||Unique design, military retro styleSuitable for men looking for the combat lookGreat choice of materials||CHECK ON AMAZON →|
|Topfox Men’s Multifunctional Canvas Messenger Bag||Plenty of capacity to store your itemsSleek and chic designTop-quality production||CHECK ON AMAZON →|
|Victoriatourist Messenger Bag||Internal padding to protect your electronicsA smaller but effective optionMade with durable, quality nylon||CHECK ON AMAZON →|
|Timbuk2 Classic Messenger Bag||100% man-made materialsExcellent, breathable fabricSuperb premium messenger bag||CHECK ON AMAZON →|
BEFORE YOU BUY: 9 THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN PURCHASING A MESSENGER BAG
First things first, we need to consider the quality. Like any other item you are thinking of buying, the quality needs to be at the top of your considerations. If it isn’t, then you may be left wondering why you’ve spent your money, feeling regretful.
Taking that extra bit of time to ensure that you are getting the highest quality available will minimize the risk of hating your new items, maximizing the success of your investments.
What makes something high quality comes down to the subjectivity of the item. For example, a high-quality TV will be something with the ability to run 4K material. With a messenger bag, however, the boundaries are less obvious.
Generally, we will be looking at the durability and material of the item in question. This is something that we will be getting into more in-depth later on in this section, so we don’t want to discuss it too much now. Ultimately, the better your messenger bag is in terms of durability, and the higher quality the material, then the higher quality your bag is going to be in general.
So you might have heard the terms ‘messenger’ and ‘shoulder bag’ used interchangeably. But they aren’t actually the same thing. Messengers tend to be associated with more active use (think bags used by bicycle messengers), while shoulder bags play well in sedate settings. Features such as stabilizer straps are more common in messengers (again, to assist in load stability during active use). And in general messengers will wrap round the body more (a rigid design isn’t great if you’re pounding the pedals during a bike ride or trying to move nimbly in outdoor environments). That doesn’t mean you can’t use messengers in less strenuous settings or find shoulder bags that will tackle a little adventure now and then. Ultimately, a lot of factors come into play to determine where messengers and shoulder bags will excel.
Messengers and shoulder bags vary greatly in style, colorways and materials. So to help you choose, it’s useful to think about where you’ll be using the bag. Do you need it for work purposes? If so, is your work environment smart-casual or formal? In these cases, understated colorways like black, gray, navy, or tan will blend in better (no matter how much you may be digging that blazing orange, it’s best saved for after-work hours). Clean silhouettes or soft draping designs will also be easier to fit in formal environments than “busy” designs that draw the eye (but not for the right reasons). If you won’t be using the bag for work purposes (or your work environment is more laid-back), you’ve got a little more freedom in the style department. Yep, bring on that blazing orange…