Style/ Beauty

Exclusive Insight: What Makes This Year’s Top Men’s Messenger Bags Stand Out?

The best messenger bags for men are staples that you buy once and wear forever.

There are plenty of different types of bags out there. You got backpacks, rucksacks, cross-body bags, the list goes on. Yet there’s something so distinct and classy about a solid messenger bag. It’s a style that’s been around for half a century. Countless brands have attempted to reinvent this bag all with the goal of crowning an undisputed champion. But what really is the best bag?

Lucky for you, this list breaks down some of the best men’s messenger bag options you can find on the market today. Whether you’re looking for something to supplement your everyday carry or something to use for carry-on, you’re in the right place.

Key Takeaways

To compile this list, I scoured the market to find the best of the best for each of these categories. When looking to buy a messenger bag, it’s important to consider factors such as material, capacity, and style. Overall, I personally feel the best messenger bag for men is the Harber London Leather Messenger Bag. This bag effortlessly balances just about everything you might expect of a messenger bag, all packed with a handsome design. The Tecovas Bartlett Messenger is another great option with a unique yet classic design–perfect for getting work done.

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the MS satchel bag by Mismo
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Harber London Leather Messenger Bag For Macbook

Why it’s great: This Harber London bag is handcrafted in Spain which ensures some top-notch quality and craftsmanship. Within the bag, there’s plenty of space to store all of your tech necessities like a laptop, tablet, headphones, etc. This bag also forgoes the signature top flap design, instead utilizing a zip-up top for quick and easy access.

How to use it: In addition to the large compartment used for laptop storage, there are several smaller pockets designated for accessories and other tech gear.

Who is this for: This would be a great option for anyone who frequently finds themselves carrying around a bunch of tech gear–think the technological nomad. It’s also available in two different sizes to accommodate different laptop requirements.

Flaws but not dealbreakers: Aesthetically speaking, this bag is fairly plain looking as there aren’t many unique visual details to make it stand out.

Dimensions: 15.7 In x 11.4 In x 1.7 In | Material: Full-Grain Leather, 100% Cotton Twill | Colors Available: 3 | Laptop Sleeve: Yes

Rains Messenger Bag

Why it’s great: The exterior of this messenger bag is made of highly water-resistant polyester which sounds about right coming from a brand called “Rains”. The rubberized buckles and central carabiner provide just the right amount of grip, even if you have wet hands. This brand also offers a 2-year warranty to ensure complete satisfaction with the product.

How to use it: This bag provides the perfect level of versatility to handle just about any endeavors you may encounter on a daily basis–no matter the weather.

Who is this for: This would be a great option for professionals and students who want a bag that incorporates modern technology to make life easier.

Flaws but not dealbreakers: There’s virtually no variety with this bag because it only comes in a single color—black. It’d be great to see this messenger bag offered in some of the other colors available from the brand like green or navy.

Dimensions: 11.8 In x 15.0 In x 3.9 In | Material: Polyester | Colors Available: 1 | Laptop Sleeve: Yes

Mismo M/S Satchel

Why it’s great: This Mismo satchel is made with water-resistant army cotton canvas which is complimented by durable brass hardware. The polyester and viscose lining is supple enough to coddle all of your cargo–even a 15-inch laptop. Leather also reinforces key areas while adding to the overall luxury of this bag.

How to use it: This is a medium-sized luxury bag that can be used for everyday carry or even as a travel bag for short trips.

Who is this for: This M/S satchel is for anyone who wants a functional bag that’ll serve as a statement piece as well.

Flaws but not dealbreakers: As a luxury option, it should be no surprise this bag has a pretty hefty price tag–especially since it’s not fully made of leather. The quality you get from this bag is no doubt superb, just as long as you have the cash to afford it.

Dimensions: 14 In x 5 In x 11 In  | Material: Cotton Canvas, Leather, Brass | Colors Available: 6 | Laptop Sleeve: Yes

Lundi 36-Hour Travel Bag

Why it’s great: This Lundi travel bag seamlessly combines work and travel with a split-compartment design. The first compartment features everything you’d expect from a standard messenger bag while the second compartment can fit personal items and clothing–it even opens up like a suitcase. The external zipper pocket on the side can offer easy access to your passport and boarding pass without the need to shovel through the larger main compartments.

How to use it: As the name implies, this bag is perfect for short trips, able to provide separate storage for your work gear and personal belongings.

Who is this for: This bag can serve as the perfect carry-on solution for anyone who takes multi-day trips on a consistent basis.

Flaws but not dealbreakers: There’s no doubt this bag utilizes high-quality materials, including the full leather construction, but it’s still very expensive for what it is.

Dimensions: 16.53 In x 11.81 In x 4.72 In | Material: Full-Grain Leather, Polyester-Canvas | Colors Available: 13 | Laptop Sleeve: Yes

Sweetbriar Vintage Messenger Bag

Why it’s great: The Sweetbriar Vintage Messenger Bag is a basic option to provide some extra storage on a budget. This bag is nice and roomy, offering several different compartments—including a zipper pocket. It also comes in nearly every hue on the color wheel to fit all kinds of style preferences.

How to use it: This bag can be used to carry various items that aren’t particularly delicate–think clothing and books. Since it’s made of flexible fabric, it could likely be packed as an overnight bag too.

Who is this for: This is a barebones option that can serve as a great entry-point for those who want to pick up their first messenger bag. It’d be an ideal choice for students who simply need a bag to store all of their supplies for class.

Flaws but not dealbreakers: This bag lacks many of the benefits you’d receive from messenger bags at a higher price point. The top flap is secured by velcro, there are no leather reinforces, and the bag itself is relatively flimsy.

Dimensions: 16 In x 10.5 In x 5 In | Material: Cotton | Colors Available: 17 | Laptop Sleeve: Yes

Newhey 15.6 Inch Waterproof Messenger Bag

Why it’s great: This Newhey messenger bag is made of waxed canvas, which is known for its water-repellent qualities. Inside is a padded interior that can protect your most delicate valuables such as a laptop, headphones, etc. Security is also a highlight of this bag, as it features two buckles that keep the top flap secured—there are several zipper compartments inside as well.

How to use it: This bag would be an excellent companion to carry any daily essentials you may have.

Who is this for: This is for anyone who wants a classic messenger bag, and many of the benefits associated with one, but at a reasonable price point.

Flaws but not dealbreakers: The zippers are the weakest link of this bag as they tend to fail after prolonged usage.

Dimensions: 15.1 In x  4.3 In x 12.2 In | Material: Waxed Canvas, Leather | Colors Available: 7 | Laptop Sleeve: Yes

Tecovas Bartlett Messenger

Why it’s great: The Bartlett Messenger is a classy, full leather bag that can easily fit into most work environments. This bag features many of the signature elements typically associated with a messenger bag, as well as some unique touches to keep it feeling fresh. It features tough brass hardware, a top grab handle, and exterior slip pockets on both the front and back. It also has a trolly strap on the back for easy attachment to luggage if you find yourself on a business trip.

How to use it: The top flap of this bag can be opened via the dual clasps on the front. The interior features a handful of compartments to make storage simple.

Who is this for: This is a perfect option for anyone seeking a reliable work bag that’s flexible enough for alternate uses as well.

Flaws but not dealbreakers: The cognac bovine is beautiful but, unfortunately, it’s the only option available. It’d be nice to see this bag offered in several of the other leathers Tecovas has within their product lineup.

Dimensions: 15.5 In x 3.75 In x 11.5 In | Material: Bovine Leather/Duck Cotton Canvas/Brass | Colors Available: 1 | Laptop Sleeve: Yes

man carrying a leather messenger bag by harber london
harberlondon / Instagram

Buying Considerations Men’s Messenger Bags 

Material

Material plays a major part in the overall durability and versatility of the best messenger bag for men. The most common option you’ll find in high-quality messenger bags is full-grain leather. Leather is an excellent choice for any bag because of its inherent durability and style. That being said, leather is not a cheap material to work with, so it typically hikes up the price point. It also requires specific maintenance to ensure longevity. Canvas and other fabrics can also be found in the world of messenger bags because they’re typically more affordable. These bags offer plenty of flexibility, yet they can degrade significantly faster than their leather counterparts.

Capacity

You should also consider storage space when trying to narrow down the best men’s messenger bags. Many messenger bags are limited to a single main compartment, which is divided into various sub-sections. Oftentimes, this provides just enough space to store a laptop and some other small essentials. Alternatively, some messenger bags for men incorporate exterior pouches or pockets to expand overall space. If you’re lucky, you might even find a bag with multiple main compartments for more substantial cargo. Of course, a bag’s dimensions also help significantly when determining how much it will be able to carry.

Style

The general style of a messenger bag can also have an impact on the decision-making process. Let’s face it, a lot of people choose to pick up a messenger bag because of the “cool factor”—myself included. Messenger bags often epitomize classic styles of the past with rugged leather accents and brass hardware. If Indiana Jones can pull it off, so can you. On the flip side, there are plenty of messenger bags out there that feature sleeker, more modern designs. Ultimately, you should choose a messenger bag that will seamlessly mesh with the type of clothing you wear most often.

a collection of leather messenger bags paired with boots
thursdayboots / Instagram

Why You Should Trust Us

Ryan Jamison is a seasoned writer for FashionBeans and has delved into a myriad of style and grooming topics, offering readers in-depth reviews and insights.  He’s been writing and interested in all things that improve men’s lives for over a decade, trying out different brands and determining what’s best along the way. Ryan has a personal obsession with the best messenger bags for men, so there’s no doubt he made sure to include only the very best in this list, narrowing down dozens of options in the process.

His recent articles, such as the detailed examination of Thursday Boots and an extensive guide to the best grooming kits for men, showcase his meticulous approach to evaluating products. In the Thursday Boots review, Ryan shares personal experiences with the product, discussing everything from material quality to comfort and durability, ensuring readers receive a well-rounded perspective.

Final Verdict

To sum it all up for you, my consideration for the best messenger bag for men (if you haven’t figured it out already) is the Harber Leather Messenger Bag, which strikes a near-perfect balance between function and fashion. This bag comes in several striking colors and is even available in leather or canvas to accommodate plenty of different lifestyles. The Tecovas Bartlett Messenger is another standout option that would feel right at home in most working conditions.

FAQ

    • Because of its functionality and versatility, the messenger bag is essentially a timeless style. While there will always be people who drone on about why these bags “aren’t cool anymore”, that’s simply their own opinion. When it comes to style advice, my rule of thumb is to block out the opinions of anyone but yourself.

      • Messenger bags share some similarities to duffel bags in that they are typically worn over the shoulder and lay at one’s hip. These bags can be worn with a casual outfit, like a nice button-up shirt and some chinos for example. Alternatively, certain leather messenger bags can be paired with formal and semi-formal outfits for more professional settings.

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