people's choice

The Best Messenger Bags for Men, According to Hyperenthusiastic Reviewers

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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. While we’ve written about the best underwear, chinos, black T-shirts, and white button-downs for men, here we’re going deep on the best messenger bags on Amazon. (Note that reviews have been edited for length and clarity.)

The best military-style messenger bag

Berchirly Vintage Military Men Canvas Messenger Bag

“I bought this bag for a manlier version of a diaper bag. I’m going to be a stay-at-home dad in a month’s time, and this bag matches me perfectly. My laptop fit in great, but let’s see how it stands as a diaper bag. The main pocket easily fits 46 diapers. There’s a zip-able pocket within the bag that could easily fit two outfits. The two front pockets are deep. I placed a full packet of baby wipes in one of them, and though the pocket itself won’t close, the wipes are in so deep that they’re not going anywhere. The other pockets will be great for bottles. The bag is well-made. The cow leather doesn’t feel cheap, like I had feared, but is genuine quality. If the bag needs to be grabbed by the leather latches in case of an emergency, like your kid eating dirt, the latches will withstand the weight of the contents of the bag without giving way.”

The best all-around canvas bag

Sweetbriar Classic Messenger Bag

“I love this bag! Very spacious and functional, and I love the WWII army retro design of it. I grew up in the ’50s and ’60s when Army-Navy surplus stores were nearly as common as Walmarts are today. This has the look of that era, but the fabric is much more pliable and gentle to touch than were those stiff old bags you’d find in the old postwar days. This one has lots of pockets and can easily fit my 17-inch MacBook Pro with plenty more room and extra pockets for lots of other gizmos and paraphernalia. Really a smart design, almost luxuriously soft canvas and fun to flop over your shoulder with your stuff.”

The best weatherproof laptop messenger bag

Timbuk2 Command Laptop Messenger Bag

“I commute on a motorcycle and I can easily fit my gym clothes and other daily-use stuff in here. In fact, I was able to carry size-ten sneakers and an actual shoebox, ladies size eight, high heels, in this bag to return them to the store for my wife. In addition, I had all of my bike tools, my toll-road pass, phone, wallet, watch, extra stethoscope, water bottle, and a Kel Tec P32 in the bag. I had to close it with the Velcro, but it stayed closed at 65 mph. The shoulder strap adjusts easily even with leather gloves on, and it’s long enough to fit over my helmeted head to put on. The cross-body stabilizer works great — the bag does not move at all while riding, walking, etc. No restriction
of arm movements. Finally, there are reflective strips on the flap. I highly recommend this bag. It’s amazing.”

The best convertible messenger bag

CoolBELL Convertible Backpack Messenger Bag

“I’ve gone through many briefcase, messenger-bag, travel-bag variants over the years. This is by far the best one I’ve had. It’s versatile (can be used as a backpack, shoulder bag, or briefcase by attaching and/or hiding various straps), spacious (it can hold everything I need for a multiday business trip), and elegant. It also makes it easy to keep things organized because of how many individual pockets and sleeves there are — seven in front (three zippered on each side, plus an open pocket near the handle), plus two main compartments — one of which has a laptop sleeve and spots for two pens and two small-item sleeves. Despite all of this, it feels small; I don’t feel like I’m lugging a woolly mammoth with me everywhere I go.”

The best laptop messenger bag

Kroser Laptop Bag

“Great laptop bag! I wish I had run across this one before the many I have purchased in the past that were flimsy and not made well. The inside has a nice bright-blue color, which is very helpful in seeing what is in your bag. The compartments for the laptop and an iPad are spaced out perfectly and there is even extra room in the middle for files, papers, a notepad, etc. The outer zippers fit my wallet, pens, and other small items very nicely. I am loving my new bag and may even get the light-gray color in the future. Buy this bag — you won’t regret it!”

The best leather satchel

Komal’s Passion Leather Rustic Vintage Leather Messenger Bag

“So I’m going out of the country on business, and I’ve been told I need a briefcase. So to make a long story short, I went looking on Amazon and found this. It’s all-leather, sun-dried, and cured with vegetable oils versus chemicals. I wasn’t expecting much because I was looking for something on the cheap and paid $65 including shipping … And it’s amazing. I was expecting cheap, thin leather-substitute, etc., but this is quality leather, double-stitched. I’m genuinely shocked at how nice this bag is. It’s the largest one they have and it holds my 18-inch laptop, plus plenty of room for papers and folders. This is a bag I would have expected to find in a store for at least $150, if not more in the ‘above $200’ range.”

The best compact messenger bag for organizing

Plambag Canvas Messenger Bag Small Travel School Crossbody Bag

“If you’re any kind of writer, artist, or student, I really recommend this bag because it has what is essentially a pencil pouch sewn into its middle main pocket. There’s a slim outer pocket that I use specifically for sketch books and notepads, and it gives the rest of the bag some structure. The front of the bag has another sort of pencilly organization thing going on, and I put all kinds of random stuff in there. ChapStick, lighters, whatever. It also has a very, very useful snap buckle for you to hook your keys on. And I mean, there’s also a hole for you to stick a headphone jack through, but I haven’t used it yet. I cram a LOT of junk in here. And because it is made of canvas, I have the option of decorating it at some point? TLDR: If you’re a messy person with a lot of junk to carry around, I rec this bag because not only can you get rough with it, it makes it REALLY easy to stay organized. Might also be good as a discreet diaper bag? For the dads out there.”

The best mini-messenger

Berchirly Small Vintage Canvas and Leather Messenger

“I like the good number of pockets inside and out. I also love the style and color. I have a similar ‘murse’ in black from another manufacturer, but the black looked too dorky and utilitarian and ‘stiff.’ The brown color of the bag I’m reviewing looks more stylish, more ‘manly’ and ‘Indiana Jones–ish,’ but not too much. To me, it seems to go well with whatever I’m wearing, including business-casual outfits. The quality is really nice, the fabric seems durable, yet it’s also soft, so it seems a little worn in, which I like. Great product. It’s the one I use when I travel using public transportation.”

The best medium-size messenger bag

Gootium Canvas Small Vintage Shoulder Bag

“I’ve used hand wallets or shoulder bags since the mid-’70s, and this is the best one I’ve ever had. Period. Looks great, the price is nuts (in a very good way) and is terrifically functional.”

The best tactical laptop messenger bag

Lifewit Men’s Military Laptop Messenger Bag

“This is a GREAT bag. My favorite of any I have ever owned. The design was well-thought-out. It’s like ‘cargo pants’ for your laptop. All of the pockets are great for organizing accessories, right down to the left pocket on the front, which is the perfect size for my iPhone 7 Plus, even with the Otter case and the belt clip attached. Highly recommend this product.”

The most stylish leather-and-canvas messenger laptop bag

Lifewit Laptop Messenger Bag

“I bought this to carry my valuables while traveling in a rugged developing country. It did everything it was supposed to do. Was sturdy, resisted water, did not attract too much attention, and was able to carry my valuables (cash, passport, camera, toiletries, etc.) with it. Also makes for a decent pillow when you cannot find one. I liked the brown color, as it merges with everything around. Stitching is good and the strap holds up well.”

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The Best Messenger Bags for Men on Amazon