Back in the day, the only bag a respectable man carried to work was a briefcase. We started to see a shift in the 90s, though, and stodgy briefcases were set aside, allowing messenger bags to become the man bag dujour. Everyone had one. And why not? They’re versatile, they travel well (why do you think they’re favored by the real-life messengers the bags are named for?), and come in a variety of styles.
But these days you’re no longer limited— the market is crowded with a ton of different bags that men can carry. You can still select a high-end briefcase, you can opt for a more casual backpack, or—if you’re hauling a big load—you can go with the duffel bag. Messenger bags seem to have gotten lost in the shuffle after enjoying so many years of popularity. It’s time to give them another shot.
The reason why they were so popular for so long was because they were legit. And while messenger bags have roots that trace all the way back to the Pony Express, you don’t have to be delivering an important file to use one. We’ve rounded up 30 of the best messenger bags that will make your daily commute a little more enjoyable.
Tom Bihn Café Bag
Designer Tom Bihn has been crafting rugged bags since the 1970s and the Café Bag is one of his best offerings. Made out of durable, water-resistant materials (and available in a variety of color combinations), this classic messenger bag has a multitude of interior and exterior pockets to stash all of your stuff. If this bag isn’t the right size for you, you’re in luck—the Café Bag is available in a larger or smaller size.
Herschel Supply Co. Pop Quiz Messenger
Canadian designer Herschel Supply Co. makes whimsical, candy-colored bags of all shapes and sizes, so it’s no surprise they get messenger bags right as well. This classic, low-profile messenger features a striped lined interior and a padded, fleece-lined sleeve that can hold up to a 15” laptop.
Tumi Beale Mini Messenger
For years, Tumi has been a trusted brand when it comes to luggage (which is why you see a lot of their stores in airport terminals). This Beale Mini Messenger is decidedly more casual than its sleek black suitcases, but makes the perfect work bag if your office is casual. Made of army green ballistic nylon with a bright orange lining, it’ll make you almost like packing your bag to go to work. Almost.
Arc’teryx Lunara Messenger Bag
Established in the late 90’s in British Columbia, Arc’teryx is a brand known for making hardcore outdoor adventure gear for climbing, snowboarding (LINK), and skiing. You don’t need to be climbing Mount Kilamanjaro to carry this bag, though—its low-profile silhouette and sleek all-black design make it perfect for going to and from the office. The bag is made with all of the design touches a mountaineer would love, but what you’ll love for office life is the padded, ventilated backing that will reduce sweating while you’re wearing it, which means you won’t have to show up to the office with a sweat-soaked back.
InCase Range Messenger
San Francisco-based InCase has been creating quality bags since 1997, and the Range Messenger is no exception. It harkens back to bike messengers with its yellow striping, but it’ll hold more than a few bubble mailers. The interior features a plethora of pockets—both large and small—including a fleece-padded sleeve that can hold up to a 13” laptop.
J. Crew Harwick Messenger Bag
Half messenger bag, half briefcase, the Harwick is the perfect bag for a guy who wants to look professional, but doesn’t want to look like a senior partner (not yet, anyway). Made from water-resistant nylon (available in navy or army green), it has a full padded interior and orange leather straps for extra flair. Wear it like a messenger bag on the subway, carry it by the handle as you walk pass your boss’s office on the way to your desk.
Timbuk2 Classic Messenger Bag
Fun fact—San Francisco-based bag maker Timbuk2 was originally called “Scumbags” but the owner quickly changed the name, probably because no one wanted to brag about owning a scumbag (good business move, dude). You’ll brag about owning this bag, though—sporting the classic messenger silhouette, it’s super roomy, accommodating up to a 17” laptop, and has lots of unique features, like a side-entry zip pocket that allows access to the main compartment without having to open the top flap.
Herschel Supply Co. Clark Messenger
Another offering from Herschel Supply Co., the Clark Messenger is structured yet playful. Available in a variety of colors and patterns, this is a bag you can take everywhere—it has a roomy interior that can accommodate up to a 15” laptop, mesh pockets to organize your smaller sundries, and a padded shoulder strap that’s removable if you’re not feeling the messenger look on any given weekday.
Timbuk2 Especial Messenger Bag
There’s a reason why this bag is called “Especial”—this special bag is the only messenger bag you’ll ever need, and because it’s made out of Cordura ripstop nylon, it’ll last long enough for you to be buried with it.
GORUCK Shoulder Bag
If there’s anyone who knows about hauling gear, its people who have served in the military. That’s why GORUCK bags are so high quality—because the company was founded by military vets. In classic all-black, the GORUCK Shoulder Bag has open pockets for magazines and notebooks, and zippered pockets to keep your valuables safe. And if you’re looking for a bag that’s virtually indestructible, this one is literally bombproof, no joke.
Topo Designs Mini Mountain Bag
Colorado-based Topo Designs knows a thing or two about creating quality outdoor gear, and the Mini Mountain Bag is exactly that—quality. Made with rugged Cordura fabric, it was made with a painstaking attention to detail, with awesome design features like red leather zipper pulls and lower cinch straps for securing a rolled up jacket or umbrella outside of the bag. Because of its rugged look, this might be more for weekend adventures than your 9-to-5, but whatever you use it for, you’ll be glad to have it on your back.
Filson Dry Messenger Bag
Seattle-based Filson is a true American heritage brand, making outdoor gear since the late 1800s. And while the Dry Messenger Bag doesn’t look like a typical Filson bag (mainly because it’s made out of vinyl-coated polyester while most Filson products are made out of nylon or heavy-duty canvas), the key word here is “dry.” This bag will protect your gear through anything Mother Nature throws at you—whether it’s a just rainy day commute or a blizzard.
Chrome Citizen Messenger Bag
Founded in Colorado but now based in California, Chrome is known for creating indestructible products that are guaranteed to last for life. The Citizen Messenger sports a rough-and-tumble Cordura exterior and a truck tarp-lined interior, and the signature seat belt-style chest strap allows for easy adjustment while on-the-go.
Fjallraven Foldsack No. 2
Founded in Sweden in 1960, Fjallraven has been making durable, functional bags like the Foldsack No. 2 for over 40 years. Made of a heavy-duty cotton/polyester blend (available in a variety of colors), it’s the perfect everyday bag. The main pocket has a padded bottom to keep delicate electronics safe, and it has other handy features like two exterior slots for water bottles, which are easy-to-reach when you’re on-the-go.
Skagen Thrane Fold-Over Messenger
Made by Denmark-based Skagen, the Thrane Fold-Over Messenger is as elegant as it is functional. Embodying minimalist modern Danish design, the bag boasts two deep exterior pockets and a roomy interior pocket with zippered felt pockets perfect for storing your wallet or phone.
Tumi Dalston Clifton Crossbody Messenger
Named for a hip neighborhood in London’s East End, the Dalston Clifton messenger is perfect for any urbanite’s comings and goings. Equipped with a ton of interior and exterior zipped pockets as well as dedicated slots for your tablet and phone, it’s the perfect bag to haul to work.
Mission Workshop Rummy Messenger Bag
A relatively new San Francisco-based brand, Mission Workshop seeks to make handmade goods for people in motion, which is why the Rummy Messenger Bag might be the most durable bag you’ll ever own. This rugged bag is completely weatherproof, with two exterior quick-access pockets, four internal zipped pockets, and aluminum hardware that you can customize the color of.
Dsptch Tech Messenger
Established in 2010, San Francisco-based Dsptch knows a thing or two about building sturdy bags that will stand up to whatever your daily commute throws at it. The brand’s Tech Messenger takes a traditional messenger bag and turns it on its head—the bag has a unique freestanding design that allows you to access your stuff while sitting on the floor of your cubicle or on the conference room table. It has a padded laptop sleeve that will accommodate up to a 15” laptop, a separate tablet compartment, and built-in cord management system to keep your various chargers in check.
Cote&Ciel Spree Messenger
Côte&Ciel translates to “coast and sky,” in French, and you’ll see influences from nature in all of the Paris-based designer’s products. The Spree messenger sports a low-profile silhouette that’s perfect for city slickers, and the waxed canvas exterior and two-tone shoulder strap will protect your gear from the elements while still ensuring that you look stylish.
Mission Workshop Shed Roll-Top Messenger Bag
Another sturdy offering from Mission Workshop, the Shed messenger bag has a dizzying amount of pockets, meaning that you can store virtually everything you need (or don’t necessarily need) for everyday life. Because of it’s roomy interior, it’d be the bag you take to work on a Friday and take directly to your weekend getaway.
Ally Capellino Ben Waxed Canvas Satchel
British-based Ally Capellino is known for being cheeky, but there’s nothing funny about this quality Ben satchel. Made out of bright orange waxed canvas with leather bridle straps that you don’t often find on messenger bags, it’s the perfect bag to take to work if you want to stand out from the pack.
Graf & Lantz iPad Messenger
If you’re the type of guy who likes to travel light, this iPad Messenger bag is for you. This slim-profile bag is made from a combination of Graf & Lantz’s signature merino wool felt and Horween leather. It has a number of zipped pockets all over the bag, and, as advertised, houses an iPad beautifully. This will be your favorite work bag and/or airplane carry-on bag.
Defy Vicious Messenger Bag
All of the bags made by Defy carry a certain amount of attitude, and this one, dubbed “Vicious,” is no exception to that rule. And while the all-black bag and its rugged features look especially rough-and-tumble (so you might not want to bring it to the office), consider this—it was road-tested by professional messengers, mechanics, and gear heads, so you know there’s no more legit messenger bag on the market than this one.
Filson Original Briefcase
Made of indestructible, water-resistant twill canvas with bridle leather handles and accents, this is a bag that will make you look sophisticated and rugged at the same time. It has a reinforced bottom for extra durability and—in addition to classic black and brown—is available in a variety of muted colors, like navy, green, and yellow.
Ernest Alexander Walker Charcoal Messenger
Ernest Alexander was started 5 years ago with the mission to create the perfect men’s messenger bag, and the Walker Charcoal Messenger is the fruits of their labor. Made from wax cotton canvas that will develop a nice patina as you kick it around over the years, the bag also has sturdy leather straps and multiple zippered pockets to keep your valuables safe and sound.
Hard Graft Flat Pack Messenger
London-based Hard Graft is committed to using the very best materials to create quality accessories, and this Flat Pack Messenger is one of their best offerings. Made with gorgeous vegetable-tanned leather, the handsome bag features a unique embossed “X” on the exterior of the bag for added style, and for added protection, access to the main compartment is limited to the inside of the bag.
Will Leather Goods Envoy Messenger
When Will Leather Goods got its start in Venice Beach over 30 years ago, its company’s namesake, Will Adler, was focused on making quality leather belts. Since then, Adler has expanded his offerings, and we’re glad he did, because this Envoy Messenger is one of the best messenger bags you’ll come across. Made with a combination of paraffin-coated waxed canvas and Italian leather, it’s the perfect bag for your daily commute- wherever you’re headed
Marc by Marc Jacobs Original Messenger Bag
If you’re familiar with the Marc Jacobs bags that have the designer’s name printed on it a million times, you might be surprised that this more subtle offering is from the Marc Jacobs’ label. Made with buttery brown leather and brushed metal hardware, this is an elegant bag that is sure to get you a lot of compliments around the office.
Killspencer Briefcase 2.0
Los Angeles-based Killspencer’s Briefcase 2.0 allows you to be the boss, even if you’re low man on the totem pole. How? Well, take the bag’s basic silhouette and choose from a variety of materials—leather, suede, nylon, and even jacquard cotton camouflage. The bag manages to look slim while still being able to fit all of your essentials—up to a 15” laptop, power cables, tablet, notebook, and anything else you need to conquer the day.
Brooks England Leather Satchel
A British brand founded in the late 1800s as a biking brand, Brooks England knows a thing or two about making quality bags for guys who are on-the-go. The gorgeous leather bag has all of the necessary features, but the real stand-out perk is that the shoulder strap can double as a belt, so you can wear the bag around your waist while biking.
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