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Even if you’re a backpack type, you’ll undoubtedly find yourself in situations where a messenger bag is the better option. For places where you want to keep your belongings in sight (say, while traveling or on public transit), the best commuter messenger bags will ensure your stuff stays organized and protected. And if you’re looking for a more stylish alternative to boxy briefcases, you’ve got no shortage of functional options that fit your aesthetic, from utilitarian to urban.
Whether you’re heading to the office or class, catching a flight, or carrying gear out in the field, we’ve handpicked some of the best messenger bags for wherever you’re going.
1. Herschel Gibson Messenger
Ideal for quick trips, carryall mainstay Herschel’s travel-friendly messenger bag has two compartments with a number of zippered pockets, convenient storage areas, and a key clip. Measuring 11 inches tall by 15.5 inches wide by 5.5 inches deep, this sleek bag has a padded, fleece-lined sleeve that fits a 16-inch laptop, plus a zippered rear pocket that converts into a luggage handle sleeve.
The padded shoulder strap is removable in the event you’d prefer to use the carrying handle instead. If crosshatch isn’t your print, the messenger bag comes in a range of cool colors.
2. Timbuk2 Medium Lightweight Flight Messenger Bag
Trusted by avid cyclists, Timbuk2 is known for its commuter-friendly carryalls that stand up to the elements and knocks of urban life. The San Francisco-based brand’s medium Lightweight Flight bag is a versatile, everyday option that’s also available in extra small and small sizes, and it features reflective hits to keep you visible in low light settings.
Made of durable fabric, this bag has a structured pocket for storing files and an easy-access pocket on the back so you can grab stuff (like keys or your ID) without fussing with the flap. There’s a compartment that fits a 15-inch laptop as well as zippered pockets for storage, while the waterproof liner keeps your belongings dry. An adjustable shoulder strap features an air mesh pad and a removable crossbody strap for stabilization. It measures 18 inches at its widest point, 12 inches tall, and about seven inches deep.
3. Solo New York Re:New Briefcase
This slim briefcase messenger bag fits laptops up to 15.6 inches without being too bulky, plus the rest of your office or school supplies. It measures about 16 inches wide by 12 inches tall by 4.5 deep, and has main and front zippered compartments and an organized interior area with pockets and a key clip.
The shoulder strap is removable, and a back pocket allows you to slip the bag onto most luggage handles. And if local manufacturing and sustainability are top of mind, you’ll be happy to know that this bag is made of Global Recycled Standard-certified plastic bottles that would have otherwise ended up in the ocean.
4. Arc’teryx Granville 10 Courier Bag
5. Shinola Leather Messenger Bag
If you’re looking for a slim leather bag that only looks better with age (and will last you a lifetime to boot), consider this stylish one by Detroit-based company Shinola. Made of oiled calfskin leather, the bag measures 15 inches wide by 11.5 inches tall by three inches deep and has an adjustable shoulder strap. Inside, there’s a laptop sleeve as well as interior zippered compartments, pockets for pens and a smartphone, and a card slot.
6. Chrome Citizen Messenger Bag
Another carryall brand born on the backs of cyclists, Chrome’s popular Citizen messenger bag features the brand’s classic seat belt chest strap, waterproof tarpaulin liner, and extra-durable 1000D Cordura material. Designed to be worn over the left shoulder, this sturdy biking bag measures 22 inches wide by 18 inches tall by seven inches deep. It’s roomy enough to hold a 17-inch laptop in the padded sleeve, plus a change of clothes, a bike lock, and more gear in its many zippered compartments and organizing pockets. It’s finished with reflective stitching that keeps you visible at night.
7. Alchemy Goods Haversack Messenger Bag
Enthusiasts of sustainable style will dig this upcycled messenger bag, which is from Alchemy Goods. The eco-friendly nylon bag is made from repurposed bicycle inner tubes, giving it a unique textured look as well as durability for everyday use.
It features an adjustable strap with a zippered pocket underneath the flap to make this bag a perfect commuting companion. The bag measures 11 inches tall by 7.5 inches wide, so expect it to fit laptops up to 13 inches.
8. Filson Rugged Twill Padded Computer Bag
Whether you’re in the field or on a train, Filson’s padded twill messenger bag was designed to hold up in both rugged and urban environments. Made in the U.S. from industrial-grade cotton twill and bridle leather, this outdoor-friendly bag has a padded laptop sleeve that fits devices up to 15 inches, a large interior compartment with three dividers, and plenty of storage pockets outside and inside.
In addition to being abrasion and water-resistant, this sturdy bag is lined with cotton canvas and padded on the sides and bottom for extra durability. It measures 16 inches long by 14 inches tall by 7.5 inches wide, and the 46-inch long padded leather shoulder strap is removable and adjustable.