Want to get a messenger bag? Here are some great options!
For as long as people have been carrying around important documents, they’ve been hauling them in messenger bags. From ancient Greece to the Pony Express, and bicycle messengers to modern businesspeople, the messenger bag is both functional and a style icon.
While a briefcase is a more formal bag carried by a handle (or handles), a messenger bag, on the other hand, is more casual, is usually softer (i.e. less structured), and is carried by a shoulder strap.
However, these days the line between “briefcase” and “messenger bag” is blurred. It’s not hard to find brands using the terms interchangeably.
What is clear is that today a man has a huge range of messenger bags/briefcases to choose from.
Short on time? Here are our top picks for the best messenger bags you can buy right now:
If you want more options and details, here’s the full list…
15 Functional and Cool Messenger Bags for Men
Do you want to go with a classic leather case? A high-tech cyclist’s bag? Or maybe something more tactical?
No matter where your tastes lie, my list of the 15 best messenger bags for men has something for you.
Timbuk2 Classic Messenger Bag
30 years of design iterations have made the Timbuk2 Classic Messenger Bag, well, classic. It’s exceptionally comfortable to carry crossbody style, has a just-right 14-liter volume, and a waterproof liner for protection from the weather. Hard to go wrong with this one.
The Modest Man editor, Ryan, used this bag daily for two years and it held up remarkably well despite harsh conditions such as rain, snow, and -40 degree temperatures.
Chrome Citizen Messenger Bag
Chrome has made a name for themselves in the bicycle courier community, with tough-as-nails bags that are just as cool looking as they are functional.
Their Citizen Messenger Bag is their most classic style, with the brand’s instantly recognizable seatbelt buckle closure on the strap. It’s a big bag at 24 liters and comes in a wide range of colors.
NutSac Jones 13
Made in the USA with all-leather construction, NutSac’s Jones 13 bag is absolutely gorgeous and built to last forever — quite literally, as the brand offers a lifetime guarantee.
Antique brass hardware adds a final polished touch to the look of the bag, and after a few years of breaking in the rich Madone leather, you’ll have a personalized bag that’s near and dear to your heart.
WP Standard The Meridian Messenger Bag
WP Standard has a whole lineup of high-quality leather goods, but their Meridian Messenger Bag is particularly handsome.
It’s a minimalist take on the messenger bag style, with a full-grain leather body, brass hardware, and three primary pockets.
You can add a monogram as well, allowing you to personalize it for yourself or a friend.
Filson Dry Messenger Bag
Built from a waterproof and durable 840D nylon, Filson’s Dry Messenger Bag is a rough-and-tumble take on the crossbody bag style.
A cinching roll-top closure means it’s really and truly waterproof, making it a great bag for go-anywhere travels.
Shinola Canfield Relaxed Messenger
The Shinola style is all about being clean, crisp, classic, and American-made — and their Canfield Relaxed Messenger Bag hits the mark on all four counts.
It’s a staple with style, and the Milwaukee-sourced leather is richly oiled and ready to take on a great patina.
Barbour Essential Waxed Messenger Bag
Best known for their world-renowned waxed jackets, Barbour also offers an exceptionally handsome and stylish messenger bag, the Essential.
It stays true to its name with a go-anywhere style and thoughtful detailing, like the two outer front pockets and Barbour-branded hardware.
Mystery Ranch 3 Way Briefcase
Now here’s an odd one. Is it a messenger bag? A briefcase? A backpack? Really, it’s all three.
If you want just one bag that can do it all on your daily errands, the Mystery Ranch 3 Way Briefcase is the way to go.
Carhartt Cargo Series Messenger Bag
The pros: Carhartt’s Cargo Series Messenger Bag is durable, affordable, and water repellent, with plenty of pockets for organization.
The cons: It’s a pretty plain and utilitarian-looking bag, and it tends to lose its shape quickly when loaded down.
Mission Workshop Monty Messenger Bag
All of Mission Workshop’s gear oozes with their signature San Francisco style, but that’s especially true of the Monty Messenger Bag.
It’s perfectly sized for everyday carry at 21 liters and has a sleek and compact design that makes it hug the body while you’re carrying it. Plus, there are lots of options to customize its color scheme.
Harber London Leather Messenger Bag
For a taste of across-the-pond style, check out Harber London’s Leather Messenger Bag.
Its sleek and minimalist exterior hides a surprising amount of interior organization, with lots of specialized compartments for all of your tech-related gear.
Troubadour Vegan Leather Messenger Bag
The compact and lightweight Troubadour Messenger Bag has the added bonus of being made from waterproof vegan leather, so it’s better for the planet and easier on your conscience.
It’s sized just right to carry a tablet and your usual selection of EDC accessories.
5.11 Tactical Overwatch Messenger Bag
The military-inspired Overwatch Messenger Bag from 5.11 is equipped with more storage options than almost any other bag on this list.
External Molle attachments make it a versatile organizer and multiple internal zippered compartments ensure that there’s a pocket for everything you need to carry.
Rains Messenger Bag
Sleek but not small, the Rains Messenger Bag combines the best of a minimalist aesthetic with maximalist organization and storage.
It’s waterproof enough to keep your electronics safe during a downpour and has coated zippers for even greater water resistance.
Matt & Nat Martel Messenger Bag
The bag’s simple design has room for a laptop up to 13 inches, and a dedicated smartphone pocket that’s really quite nice.
Frequently Asked Questions
And before we go, the answers to your most burning messenger bag questions.
What are the different types of messenger bags?
Messenger bags are mainly differentiated by the materials used to make them: Leather, canvas, or synthetics. But there are also types of messenger bags built specifically for cyclists, commuters, and military personnel.
What is the best material for a messenger bag?
Each messenger bag material has its own strengths and weaknesses. Canvas is affordable and relatively durable, but not waterproof unless you wax it.
Leather is expensive, but both durable and attractive. And synthetic materials are more often waterproof, but in their thinner versions, they can lack durability.
What is the best color for a messenger bag?
If you’re wearing a messenger bag as a style statement, go for a bold color. If it’s for a professional look, classic muted colors, and leather are a better choice.
How much does a messenger bag weigh?
Messenger bags can weigh anywhere from a few ounces when they’re made with thin synthetic materials, to over three pounds when made with leather and brass buckles.
That wraps up this list of the 15 best messenger bags for men. Which style do you think suits you best? There’s a messenger bag for every budget and every style, so good look finding your perfect fit.
What type of bag is part of your EDC? Let me know in the comment section below!