There’s a reason a design that’s been around for so long in so many different forms — that of the simple messenger bag—has morphed into an everyday essential that, by its very nature, every guy should be familiar with. More so than the backpack or the briefcase, the messenger bag’s basic silhouette—shoulder strap and all—is more ready in looks and function than other things you might reach for to carry your gear (even the ubiquitous tote bag).
The best messenger bag—one probably found on this list below—gets you and your essentials from point A to point B, and should be equipped for everything in between. That’s a tall task considering any number of locales you might find yourself faced with on a day-to-day basis—be it a city commute, an outdoors hike, a short (or long) trek to the office or a quick trip away. And with more men than ever before paying to small details, a great messenger bag should be among those items to cross off. Its a piece that plays a big day-to-day role—stylistically and otherwise.
Some of these messenger bags combine more functional details, some are built with heritage quality in mind, and some fuse the two. That’s reflective of the way we dress and get around day-to-day—you need to be up for anything, and your gear needs to be just as ready. Think of it this way—a great messenger bag can be just like a trusty stainless steel dive watch; wear it with business-casual gear, rock it with a tee and shorts, or use it as an old standby with a slim tee and dark denim. That’s what we’re going for with these picks; ideally once you find a messenger bag, you won’t need another for quite some time. We’ve tracked down some brands you’ll recognize, and some you might not—but each is worth consideration in your closet in its own way. So if you haven’t given thought to your bag before, this article is a handy place to start.
Peak Design Everyday Messenger Bag
For those who need both a camera bag and something with a bit more room (and functionality), start here. It’s got a weather-resistant shell that’ll work just as hard as you, too. Special details — like a front-access panel and patent-pending FlexFold dividers — make it ideal for getting out in the field, but its internal pocket system allows it to adapt to multiple situations.
- Price: $219.95
- Materials: 400D double poly-coated DWR-impregnated nylon canvas shell, 100% recycled post-consumer material, 900D waterproof bottom liner, high-visibility grey nylon interior, hardware is anodized aluminum and glass-reinforced nylon, super-durable UltraZips, accents in leather (Ash) or Hypalon (Black)
- Size: 13L
- Notable Features: Two FlexFold internal dividers, includes Anchor Link key tether, 400D double poly-coated DWR-impregnated nylon canvas shell, 100% recycled post-consumer material.
Chrome Industries Berlin Messenger Bag
Chrome Industries built its brand on gear that doesn’t mess around, gear that was made for the city and for adventures far afield in equal measure. That’s where the Berlin Messenger Bag comes in, seeing as it’s the sort of no-fuss messenger bag that’s going to take care of your gear and not make a big deal out of it. This messenger bag can take a beating and come out the other side, to say the very least.
- Price: $250
- Materials: 1050D Nylon outer, with 1000D Tarp liner
- Size: 47L
- Notable Features: Seat-belt buckle doubles as a bottle opener, straps compatible with oversized packages, four point harness system, 1050D Nylon outer with 1000D Tarp liner.
Nisolo Loreto Messenger Bag
It’s hard not to be impressed by the sustainable and ethical practices used by Nisolo in crafting everything from durable, rugged men’s boots to expertly made accessories like the Loreto Messenger Bag. Call this dependable messenger bag the total package if you want a mix of style and utility, and be sure to get it in a shade that matches your favorite Nisolo boots. Like those boots, it’ll only look better the more you use it.
- Price: $300
- Materials: Vegetable-tanned leather construction, lined with tan cotton canvas
- Dimensions: 3.25″D x 16.75″W x 11.5″H
- Notable Features: Vegetable-tanned leather with tan cotton canvas lining, made following verified social and environmental responsibility, ultra-stylish and comfortable.
Shinola Slim Messenger Bag
Wear a Shinola watch for any length of time, and you immediately get a sense of the craftsmanship and attention to detail that went into said timepiece. Use a Shinola messenger bag for any length of time, and you’re guaranteed to feel the same way. This handsome and refined messenger bag is an ideal complementary piece to a Shinola watch (or maybe, just maybe, it’ll finally convince you to get a watch of your own from the brand).
- Price: $695
- Materials: Navigator leather, cotton lined interior
- Size: 15″W x 11½”H x 3″D
- Notable Features: Made in the USA using oiled calfksin leather, interior zip, wall and smartphone pockets, handsome-looking bag makes a great gift for men.
Filson Dryden Briefcase
Filson knows more than a thing or two about the best men’s gear to take on the wilds of the Pacific Northwest and the grueling commute demands of the city. The Filson Dryden Briefcase, then, is the perfect bag to tackle both of those pursuits in equal measure. It’s a stone-cold classic made with ridiculously tough fabric, so consider it worth your hard-earned cash. It’s also best paired with a Tin Cloth jacket from Filson for ideal and rugged style.
- Price: $195
- Materials: 1000D Cordura® nylon + nylon lining + Bridle Leather
- Size: 14L
- Notable Features: Made from abrasion-resistant Cordura nylon, padded laptop sleeve, trolley strap slides over luggage handles for easy carry-on, ultra-spacious interior.
Nomatic Messenger Bag
Want a messenger bag that packs plenty of features (try more than 20) into an assuming yet highly functional design? Then it’s the Nomatic Messenger Bag you want, what with its blend of savvy design and sleek style. Magnetic pockets, an easy-to-remove strap and plenty of space for your everyday carry mean this bag could outlast any other bag in your rotation (and we’d wager it likely will).
- Price: $259.99
- Materials: Durable waterproof materials (specific materials not mentioned)
- Size: 15L
- Notable Features: Magnetic strap can resist up to 132lbs of force, can be rotated 360-degrees or removed for briefcase-style carry, TSA-ready flap.
WP Vintage Messenger Bag
Made in tribute to antique postal bags, the Vintage Messenger Bag from Whipping Post upgrades the old-style postal bag with a suede-lined laptop compartment and a back newspaper pouch ready to carry your morning reading. The price is definitely agreeable for a bag with its looks, and the vegetable-tanned leather and durable hardware are but two touches that’ll ensure this bag really does turn into a vintage heirloom.
- Price: $339
- Materials: 100% Full-Grain Leather, Antique Brass Hardware
- Dimensions: 18½ “W x 11½”H x 4”D
- Notable Features: 100% full-grain leather, antique brass hardware, key lanyard included, suede-lined laptop compartment.
Chrome Industries Citizen Messenger Bag
This messenger bag is guaranteed for life, and the Ballistic™ Nylon it’s made with should see that it lasts far beyond that. A military grade truck tarpaulin floating bucket liner adds an extra ounce (or 18) to a bag that’s designed with the open road in mind. It’ll resist heat, abrasion and weather — so it should certainly be able to keep up with your morning commute.
- Price: $150
- Materials: 1050D Nylon & 22 oz 1000D TPE Tarp, lined with 22 oz 1000D TPE Tarp
- Size: 24L
- Notable Features: Quick-release buckle with bottle opener, reflective compression straps, floating bucket liner with separate wet/dry compartments, medium-sized bag.
Hard Graft Flat Pack
Rarely do you find a messenger bag that’s handmade in Italy that delivers on durable style as much as it does on functionality. Beautiful Tuscan vegetable tanned leather pairs with German wool felt for a bag that’s at once premium and surprisingly minimal. The Medium size (13.7” x 9.8” x 1.5”) is just big enough to fit an iPad Pro, ensuring that you can navigate any trek with only the essentials — while doing it handsomely, too.
- Price: $537
- Materials: Veg tan leather, lined internally with grey wool
- Notable Features: Vegetable-tanned leather, corner-zip opening, available in two sizes, lined with gray wool, made in Italy.
Killspencer Briefcase 2.0
Made in the U.S.A by a small (but very capable) team of artisans, this briefcase merges handsome black leather with functional details like internal passport or notebook pockets and expanding exterior pockets able to fit everything up to an original iPad. A rough-and-ready bullhide leather handle and tough Ritri zipper (that’d be Swiss-made), offer nice extra touches. As if that wasn’t enough, the 1500 lb. mil-spec nylon shoulder strap will mold to your body over time.
- Price: $720
- Materials: Full grain leather
- Dimensions: 11.75″H x 17″W x 2.5″D
- Notable Features: Natural full-grain leather, made in the USA, Swiss-made Riri zipper, two expanding exterior pockets under flap, removable and adjustable bullhide leather + webbing shoulder strap.
Mission Workshop The Rummy Messenger Bag
Not many messenger bags can lay claim to being weatherproof and also roomy enough for — yes, two — laptops. The Mission Workshop Rummy Messenger Bag is all about taking care of every possible situation — so much so that a 15” laptop fits in the front zippered pocket, while the main compartment can hold a 17” device (ideal for photographers or editors with multiple computers). Grab it in a classic navy-and-black pairing before it’s gone.
- Price: $205
- Materials: 1000d Nylon
- Size: 27L
- Notable Features: Weatherproof roll top main compartment, sized for up to 17-inch laptops, Milspec webbing, made in the USA, lightweight but ultra-tough.
Frye Logan Messenger Bag
Frye’s Logan Messenger Bag calls to mind its heritage-quality boots and accessories, without a doubt. Crafted from rugged Cognac pullup leather, this bag should age even more beautifully as you break it in. And with that price point and those looks, it could easily become an everyday bag. Zip and slip interior pockets ensure you’ll have plenty of space for your laptop, and all the other goods you need to look sharp and check off your to-do list.
- Price: $497.95
- Materials: Italian Leather
- Dimensions: 18”W x 14”H x 6”D
- Notable Features: Attractive and well-made bag, affordable price, luxury feel, sturdy, distressed leather look.
Chrome Industries Kadet Sling Messenger Bag
With a military-grade nylon exterior and the potential to hold grab-and-go essentials, the Kadet Sling Messenger Bag brings new meaning to the term “everyday carry.” The seatbelt buckle and shoulder strap connection are touches seldom found on any other bags, and its price certainly is a steal for the carrying potential. If you like to travel light, this is the bag for you — we’re talking space for a camera, a tablet, a light jacket, keys and your wallet.
- Price: $90
- Materials: 1050d nylon
- Size: 9L
- Notable Features: Crossbody adjustable sling, swing-around access, sternum strap for stabilizing bag, quick-access front pocket, guaranteed for life.
The Monty Messenger Bag by Mission Workshop
Made in the U.S.A and with space for two laptops, this weatherproof rolltop bag brings together the best of both worlds. Two quick-access cargo pockets and an internal zippered pocket work nicely with customized aluminum hardware to haul around everything from your laptop to notebooks and any other important documents you might need. The cross-chest stabilizer will make this bag extra stable for demanding work, be it a fast ride across town or a day hike.
- Price: $185
- Materials: 1000d Nylon
- Size: 21L
- Notable Features: Weatherproof roll top main compartment, sized for up to 15” laptops, Milspec webbing, detachable cross-chest stabilizer, made in the USA.
Bellroy System Messenger Bag
Sling this beautiful Bellroy bag over your shoulder, and you’ll be ready for anything. Made from non-toxic woven fabric that uses recycled material, this bag is ultra-durable and water-resistant enough to keep your precious tech dry in the rain. It’s sized for a sixteen-inch laptop and comes with multiple internal pockets that make organizing everything a breeze. The magnetic G-hook design is both eye-catchingly unique and highly effective at keeping your gear safe from light-fingered thieves or drops. Thanks to the padded shoulder strap and soft nylon webbing handles, it’s a bag you’ll be comfortable wearing all day long.
- Price: $199
- Materials: Recycled woven fabric materials.
- Size: 16L
- Notable Features: Includes 3-year warranty, made from recycled materials, excellent internal organization/layout.
Shinola Canfield Relaxed Messenger Bag
The Shinola Canfield Relaxed Messenger Bag may not be the most affordable item on our list, but one look at this sleek, stylish leather bag, and you’re guaranteed to fall in love. It’s made using American Navigator leather that is infused with oils to give it a finish that is both incredibly tough and buttery-soft to the touch. The more you wear it, the more it will develop a glorious patina, and you can easily rub out any scratches or scuffs. Organization is easy thanks to the two interior slip pockets, and the fifteen-inch laptop pocket even includes padding to protect your computer on the go.
- Price: $695
- Materials: Navigator leather, cotton lined interior
- Size: 15″W x 11½”H x 3″D
- Notable Features: Navigator leather from the Milwaukee Seidel Tannery, padded laptop sleeve is impact-resistant, detachable and adjustable shoulder strap.
Mission Workshop Khyte
If you need a bag that can handle the worst your daily commute can throw at it, look no farther than the Mission Workshop Khyte. This sleek messenger bag is made from high-tenacity HT500 double-coated textile and stitched with ultra-rugged A&E Permacore thread, so you know nothing is getting through that fabric. The magnetic Fidlock® V-Buckles keep the flap firmly closed and your valuable items protected, but still allow for easy, instant access in a hurry. It’s large enough to serve as an overnight bag, but it’s perfect for just your daily essentials. Thanks to its dual-layer design, it’s both weatherproof and water-resistant.
- Price: $340
- Materials: Available in HT500 high-tenacity nylon or MultiCam® Black Camo Cordura
- Size: 24L
- Notable Features: Made by hand in small batches in the USA, padded 15-inch laptop pocket accessible from bag’s exterior, zippered tricot-lined smartphone pocket, compatible with Mission Workshop Arkiv accessories.
Timbuk2 Especial Stash Messenger Bag
However you want to carry it, the Timbuk2 Especial Stash Messenger Bag is ready for your daily commute. The crossbody strap is designed for ambidextrous use, so you can sling it over either shoulder and still can grab anything you need in seconds. The magnetic buckle close snaps tightly in place so nothing you’ve got stored will fall out or get stolen. Best of all, if you plan on using it at night, the reflecting printed logo and U-shaped pullers will make you highly visible to passing vehicles—built-in safety as well as comfort!
- Price: $199
- Materials: Weather-resistant material (exact material not specified)
- Size: 22L
- Notable Features: Highly visible reflective details, waterproof laptop compartment, weatherproof, sealed-seam construction.
Kuhl Eskape 14 Kanvas Messenger
Function meets form in the Kuhl Eskape 14 Kanvas Messenger, a bad designed to be as stylish as it is hard-wearing and practical. The water-resistant zipper ensures your laptop is protected, but still gives you access whenever necessary. The magnetic buckles allow you to get into your main compartment without messing with the items stored in the smaller storage pockets, making organization a breeze. Thanks to the waxed nylon-reinforced canvas, your items will be as safe from the rain as from drops, falls, or theft.
- Price: $249
- Materials: Nylon-reinforced canvas with a waxed coating
- Size: 14L
- Notable Features: Quick-access laptop compartment, internal water bottle pocket, zippered mesh pockets for easily visibility of contents, trolley sleeve for carrying on rolling luggage.
Lands’ End Waxed Canvas Messenger Bag
Whether you’re jumping on a plane, riding the bus, or lounging on a train, you’ll be glad you’ve got the Lands’ End Waxed Canvas Messenger Bag by your side. It’s spacious enough to hold everything you need to carry (and then some), with internal mesh and padded pockets that will help you keep everything neat and tidy for your busy work day. The bag is waxed pure cotton canvas with leather trim and heritage zippers that give it a truly elegant look. It’s tough enough that it can shrug off hail, sleet, and snow as easily as a light summer sprinkle. For the price, you won’t find many better.
- Price: $144.95
- Materials: Waxed cotton canvas resists water and wear, water-resistant cotton lining
- Dimensions: 15½”W x 10¾”H x 5½”D
- Notable Features: Water-resistant cotton lining, snap closure, adjustable padded shoulder strap, leather trim and heritage zipper, pure cotton.
Disclosure: Clicking on these links and making a purchase may earn us a small referral fee, at no extra cost to you. Learn more here.