Best Messenger Bag – Reviews & Buying Guide
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Best Messenger Bag – Reviews & Buying Guide (June 2019)

Updated: December 13, 2018

Passion Leather Handmade Leather Messenger Bag

After 44 hours spent researching the best messenger bags, we think Passion Leather Handmade Leather Messenger Bag is the best for most people.

This choice is based on several criteria: shoulder strap, accessories, color, leather, fits laptops, inner/outer compartments, ideal for, closure system, durable, lightweight, weatherproof, dedicated storage pockets, easy to clean, briefcase handle, and interior padding/lining.

 ProductPriceOverall RatingOverall QualitySturdinessAppearanceMaintenanceValue for Moneyshoulder strapaccessoriescolorleatherfits laptopsinner/outer compartmentsideal forclosure systemdurablelightweightweatherproofdedicated storage pocketseasy to cleanbriefcase handleinterior padding/lining
Passion Leather Handmade Leather Messenger BagPassion Leather Handmade Leather Messenger BagCheck Price4.04.04.03.54.54.0YesNoBrownYesYesYesCarrying many itemsBucklesYesNoYesYesNoNoYes
Kenneth Cole Risky Business Messenger BagKenneth Cole Risky Business Messenger BagCheck Price4.24.54.04.04.04.5YesNoVariousYesYesYesCarrying lots of itemsMagnetsYesYesModeratelyYesHand washYesYes
Timbuk2 Classic Messenger BagTimbuk2 Classic Messenger BagCheck Price4.85.04.55.04.55.0YesNoVariousNoYesInnerCarrying many itemsClipsYesYesYesYesYesNoYes
Gootium 21108 Cotton Canvas Leather Messenger BagGootium 21108 Cotton Canvas Leather Messenger BagCheck Price3.94.03.54.04.04.0YesNoVariousYesYesYesCarrying lots of itemsBucklesYesYesModeratelyYesYesNoYes
Vintage Classic Heavy Weight Army Messenger BagVintage Classic Heavy Weight Army Messenger BagCheck Price4.54.04.55.04.54.5YesNoVariousNoYesYesCarrying heavy itemsVelcroYesYesModeratelyYesYesNoYes
Best Messenger Bag

Why choose a messenger bag over other types? The reason, pure and simple, is that they are big!

They’re also very stylish, so put the two together and you will have a gorgeous bag that is also practical.

Buying a messenger bag isn’t as simple as you may initially think – principally because there is such a wide range of them and many focus on different features as their selling point, such as the number of pockets it has, or whether you can still carry it if you are a cyclist.

Many manufacturers of messenger bags see their target consumers as both men and women, which is easy to achieve because a messenger bag is androgynous and an appealing factor.

Many manufacturers of messenger bags see their target consumers as both men and women, which is easy to achieve because a messenger bag is androgynous and an appealing factor.

It is interesting to note that many people decide to use their messenger bag as a gym bag or as a beach bag, while other are using it as a carry-on while traveling instead of using a garment bag or a travel backpack.

The purpose of a messenger bag is to offer functionality, which means being able to carry lots of things ranging from sports gear to student and business equipment – but it doesn’t hurt when they look good too, which is why there are many variations on a basic style.

If you travel a lot, a messenger bag could be the perfect answer to carrying all that you need with you. Not only are they great for road trips but they are useful as a carry on when you fly.

Because there are so many to choose from, however, we advise that you do some through research before you make your final decision so that you pick a messenger bag that best suits your lifestyle and requirements.

Selection Of The Best Messenger Bags

Passion Leather Handmade Leather Messenger Bag

Passion Leather Handmade Leather Messenger Bag
(rated 4.0 / 5)
Overall Quality
Sturdiness
Appearance
Maintenance
Value for Money
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A messenger bag is a timeless classic that will always be popular – but there are so many on the market, it’s tough to choose one.

Establish what you need your messenger bag for and then you will discover it is much easier to find the right one.

Information

There have been no chemicals used in the tanning of the leather used to make this bag, or dyes; the texture has been achieved by leaving the leather in the sun.

This leather messenger bag from Passion Leather has been handmade so it is easier for them to pay attention to detail.

Constructed from 3-4 ounce goat leather that has been vegetable tanned, this messenger bag has been built to last.

Passion Leather only ever use branded YKK zippers on their messenger bags so you be sure of a quality fastening.

The Passion Leather Handmade Leather Messenger Bag is a substantial bag; not only has it been built to last but it is also big enough to deal with the demands of modern living. This bag measures 18 inches wide, 13 inches high and has a depth of 6 inches.

This means that you will be able to fit a full size laptop in there, as well as books, notepads and all of your other belongings that you need to get you through the day – including your lunch.

shoulder strapYes
accessoriesNo
colorBrown
leatherYes
fits laptopsYes
inner/outer compartmentsYes
ideal forCarrying many items
closure systemBuckles
durableYes
lightweightNo
weatherproofYes
dedicated storage pocketsYes
easy to cleanNo
briefcase handleNo
interior padding/liningYes

Inside this messenger bag you will find two zipper compartment so that you can keep important items separate and easy to find, as well as a large compartment and two smaller ones.

There is also a large front pocket on this bag, which is big enough for a laptop, as well as a large zippered pocket on the back of the bag, all of which mean that there is no shortage of space for all of your documents, gadgets and corresponding chargers.

There have been no chemicals used in the tanning of the leather used to make this bag, or dyes; the texture has been achieved by leaving the leather in the sun – so it is quite literally sun tanned.

This means that the bag’s appearance will improve the older it gets; the leather will achieve a gorgeous patina and will become softer. This is great news because in many instances a bag will deteriorate over time instead of looking better.

Pros

Passion Leather is determined that every aspect of this messenger bag is up to the job, including the lining.

There’s something quite appealing about owning a messenger bag that is big enough to contain everything we need to get through the day and that not only is it durable enough to last for years, but it will improve with age. Let’s look what else this bag has to offer.

  • A lining that is as hard wearing as the rest of the bag: Passion Leather is determined that every aspect of this messenger bag is up to the job, including the lining. After all, it is incredibly irritating when an otherwise good bag has a torn lining and we can’t find what we are looking for because of it. The lining in this bag is heavy duty olive green canvas.
  • Choose your own length for a comfortable fit: It may seem strange to describe a bag as ‘fitting’ but many people like to have it sitting in the small of their back. If you have very definite ideas of where your bag should be, then you will be happy to learn that this messenger bag has an adjustable strap.
  • This bag smells absolutely gorgeous – as it should do: There’s something about the smell of real leather that stays with you. The trouble is, many leather items have lost the ability to give this additional pleasure because of the chemicals that have been used on them – but not this one.
  • Soft and supple but can stand on its own: This bag exudes quality and a lot of that comes down to the leather. It is soft and supple but the bag won’t flop if you stand it on its own with very little in it, which is great – who wants their bag to make a puddle?
  • The right bag for all occasions: This messenger bag from Passion Leather is perfect for students to carry all of their paraphernalia but it wouldn’t look out of place in a professional setting – so if you are a student, this is the bag that will stay by your side for years to come.
  • Quality workmanship is evident in every stitch: So many shoppers have reported that they were ‘blown away’ when they opened the package that contained their Passion Leather Messenger bag – and the reason for this aside from its good looks was because the quality of this bag is so evident.

Cons

Nothing can be that perfect, right? On that premise it is time to look a little closer at the Passion Leather Handmade Leather Messenger Bag and see whether it has any flaws so that you can decide whether it is the one for you.

  • The handle on the top of the bag is off-color: This is something that some shoppers have reported – but only after they have had the bag for a while. The leather of the bag changes color slightly over time but the handle doesn’t so there is a contrast that didn’t appeal to some.
  • The buckles can leave indents on the leather: The two buckles on the front of the bag are functional and they look great, but be careful how you leave your bag – especially if you have it packed with heavy items. If you leave it lying on its front, the buckles can leave marks on the soft leather.
  • Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery: The trouble with this Passion Leather messenger bag is that it has become a victim of its own success, which means that less scrupulous manufacturers have resorted to making much cheaper imitations and are selling them as the real deal. Before you buy, check out the distinctive Passion Leather details that will show that you are getting the genuine article.

Comparison

 

Passion Leather Handmade Leather Messenger BagPassion Leather Handmade Leather Messenger Bag

Kenneth Cole Risky Business Messenger BagKenneth Cole Risky Business Messenger Bag

Timbuk2 Classic Messenger BagTimbuk2 Classic Messenger Bag

PriceCheck PriceCheck PriceCheck Price
shoulder strapYesYesYes
accessoriesNoNoNo
colorBrownVariousVarious
leatherYesYesNo
fits laptopsYesYesYes
inner/outer compartmentsYesYesInner
ideal forCarrying many itemsCarrying lots of itemsCarrying many items
closure systemBucklesMagnetsClips
durableYesYesYes
lightweightNoYesYes
weatherproofYesModeratelyYes
dedicated storage pocketsYesYesYes
easy to cleanNoHand washYes
briefcase handleNoYesNo
interior padding/liningYesYesYes

Summary

There are an abundance of pockets so you can store the things that you use regularly in easy to reach compartments.

The Passion Leather Handmade Leather Messenger Bag is well made, has room for just about everything and will last for years – getting better looking as it ages. It is made from top quality leather that has been tanned naturally so you will get a bag that will become more supple as you use it, and it smells great.

There are an abundance of pockets so you can store the things that you use regularly in easy to reach compartments, and you can adjust the shoulder strap so that it ‘fits’ where you like it. This messenger bag is appropriate for both casual and professional use.

However, there are some issues: the color of the handle may irritate you if it is slightly different to the rest of the back and you need to make sure the buckles don’t mark the leather. Most importantly, though, you need to ensure that you are getting the real deal and not a cheaper counterfeit that will disappoint.


Kenneth Cole Risky Business Messenger Bag

Kenneth Cole Risky Business Messenger Bag
(rated 4.2 / 5)
Overall Quality
Sturdiness
Appearance
Maintenance
Value for Money
Check Price

If you are a professional man looking for a bag that carries all you need for your working life, but want something more on trend than a briefcase, here you have it.

The Kenneth Cole Risky Business Messenger Bag will do what it’s supposed to do while making a statement about what you’re about.

Information

Choose between the short handle or a canvas adjustable strap to carry your Kenneth Cole Risky Business Messenger Bag.

The Kenneth Cole Risky Business Messenger Bag has been created from soft, full-grain Columbian leather for a sophisticated and stylish look.

The rich leather contrasts with the stitching to give a polished on-trend look that is reinforced by the Kenneth Cole Reaction logo on the front, top, and on the lining.

Choose between the short handle or a canvas adjustable strap to carry your Kenneth Cole Risky Business Messenger Bag.

The body of the Kenneth Cole Risky Business Messenger Bag is made from 100% cowhide leather, which means that there may be some slight variations in the color or grain; these are the nature of leather and not imperfections.

The smart-casual appearance of this Kenneth Cole messenger bag creates a perfect look for professionals who like to get noticed – but this bag isn’t just about looking good, it’s functional too.

As it comes, the shoulder strap on the Kenneth Cole Risky Business Messenger Bag will suit a man who is 5ft 10 inches to 6ft tall, but it can be adjusted and has an overall shoulder drop of 22.5 inches.

shoulder strapYes
accessoriesNo
colorVarious
leatherYes
fits laptopsYes
inner/outer compartmentsYes
ideal forCarrying lots of items
closure systemMagnets
durableYes
lightweightYes
weatherproofModerately
dedicated storage pocketsYes
easy to cleanHand wash
briefcase handleYes
interior padding/liningYes

The main compartment of the Kenneth Cole Risky Business Messenger Bag is closed by a flap that uses discreet magnets to keep the contents secure and unable to fall out. This large compartment is able to carry a 15 inch laptop and also features a full length zipper pocket.

An open pocket on the rear of this messenger bag is a useful addition because it means that you can access your essentials quickly and easily. This is the perfect place to store anything you may need for a presentation, or perhaps papers for a client.

The Kenneth Cole Risky Business Messenger Bag also sports gusseted organizer pockets to the front of the bag, including one that has been designed especially for your cell phone so that you always have quick and easy access and don’t miss that important call.

Pros

This bag offers more than practicality, it pays attention to the fine detail that makes all the difference to the overall quality of the bag.

If you are beginning to like the sound of the Kenneth Cole Risky Business Messenger Bag, then it is time to take a closer look at it and see whether it really is the right choice for your needs.

  • It has a fully lined interior for a luxury finish: The Kenneth Cole Risky Business Messenger bag offers more than practicality, it pays attention to the fine detail that makes all the difference to the overall quality of the bag, such as in the monogrammed lining.
  • A bag that offers comfort as standard: You already know that this Kenneth Cole messenger bag gives you the choice of two handles: a carry handle and an adjustable strap. What you don’t yet know is that the strap features a padded section to sit on your shoulder so that it won’t dig into you.
  • In addition to comfort, the strap offers load stability: The strap on the Kenneth Cole Risky Business Messenger Bag travels down the sides and underneath the bag, so in effect it is wrapping itself around what is inside and making the weight evenly distributed. This makes the load more stable and means that the strap doesn’t pull on your shoulder.
  • A choice of colors means that you can adapt your style: The Kenneth Cole Risky Business Messenger Bag comes in a choice of three colors: black, tan and dark brown so you can choose the one that complements your other accessories, such as your shoes and belt.
  • The front pockets are not just an ornament, they’re useful too: The two front pockets on this messenger bag are covered with the closure flap but are great for keeping items that you look for often easily accessible – and they are big enough to hold an 8 inch tablet or an e-reader.
  • Value for money makes this messenger bag a great choice: When you look at the price tag you will notice that the Kenneth Cole Risky Business Messenger Bag is not the cheapest on the market but many users have reported that it has the same quality as other bags that are much more expensive.

Cons

OK, so some buyers think that the Kenneth Cole Risky Business Messenger Bag is worth more than it is but that doesn’t make it cheap so we need to have a look at what might make you want to stay away from it.

  • It’s not a good look when leather bleeds: Some buyers have reported that the leather on their Kenneth Cole Risky Business Messenger Bag has bled and damaged their clothes with stains that cannot be removed. Other buyers claim this has never happened to them. What can we say other than buyer beware!
  • The magnetic closures are not as strong as they need to be: Although this messenger bag is big enough to carry lots of things including a laptop and textbooks, the magnetic closures are not really up to the job of keeping the bag closed – especially if it has many items in it.
  • Not a home product so think of the air miles: This last complaint is nothing to do with the quality or usefulness of the bag itself; instead it is about its provenance. The leather itself is from Columbia but the entire bag is manufactured in China. That’s a lot of air miles and a massive carbon footprint.

Comparison

 

Kenneth Cole Risky Business Messenger BagKenneth Cole Risky Business Messenger Bag

Passion Leather Handmade Leather Messenger BagPassion Leather Handmade Leather Messenger Bag

Timbuk2 Classic Messenger BagTimbuk2 Classic Messenger Bag

PriceCheck PriceCheck PriceCheck Price
shoulder strapYesYesYes
accessoriesNoNoNo
colorVariousBrownVarious
leatherYesYesNo
fits laptopsYesYesYes
inner/outer compartmentsYesYesInner
ideal forCarrying lots of itemsCarrying many itemsCarrying many items
closure systemMagnetsBucklesClips
durableYesYesYes
lightweightYesNoYes
weatherproofModeratelyYesYes
dedicated storage pocketsYesYesYes
easy to cleanHand washNoYes
briefcase handleYesNoNo
interior padding/liningYesYesYes

Summary

The Kenneth Cole Risky Business Messenger Bag is a great choice for professionals wanting to look the part yet needing a practical bag that can carry all of their essentials.

The Kenneth Cole Risky Business Messenger Bag is a great choice for professionals wanting to look the part yet needing a practical bag that can carry all of their essentials. The body of the bag is constructed from 100% soft leather, and it offers a choice of pockets and carrying options.

The carrying strap has been explicitly designed for comfort – both in the shoulder padding and with the practical load stability that makes the weight of the bag evenly distributed. A choice of three colors makes this bag a certain winner.

However, some users have reported leather bleed, which is not just inconvenient, it has expensive repercussions. The magnetic closures have also been found at fault, which is impractical – and the air miles are costing the planet dearly.


Timbuk2 Classic Messenger Bag

Timbuk2 Classic Messenger Bag
(rated 4.8 / 5)
Overall Quality
Sturdiness
Appearance
Maintenance
Value for Money
Check Price

The Timbuk2 Classic Messenger bag is ideal for any man with a lot to carry and who wants to look smart and sophisticated.

With a look that is bang on trend, this bag sports retro appeal with a contemporary attraction.

Information

As with all Timbuk2 bags, the Classic messenger comes with a lifetime guarantee so you buy your bag with confidence.

This messenger bag brings practicality and high quality design together, leaving you with an accessory that adds to your style.

Now boasting smarter interior organization and a closer, better fit, this messenger bag has a TPU lining for easy cleaning.

As with all Timbuk2 bags, the Classic messenger comes with a lifetime guarantee so you buy your bag with confidence.

Produced by a company that has over 25 years’ experience in producing messenger bags, the Classic is the style-updated version of a bag that has undergone decades of user testing and customer feedback.

But you don’t need to go as far back as a quarter of a century to know that Timbuk2 has revamped this bag; this version is an improved update on the previous year’s model with some great new features for you to enjoy.

The Timbuk2 messenger bag was designed in San Francisco and the company has spent years studying consumer feedback and testing to get this bag right. How many other companies can say that they spend as long looking to provide exactly what their customers want?

shoulder strapYes
accessoriesNo
colorVarious
leatherNo
fits laptopsYes
inner/outer compartmentsInner
ideal forCarrying many items
closure systemClips
durableYes
lightweightYes
weatherproofYes
dedicated storage pocketsYes
easy to cleanYes
briefcase handleNo
interior padding/liningYes

Careful consideration has been given to the location of each of its pockets and other features so that the bag is correctly balanced when you carry it. This helps to reduce unwanted stress on the neck and back – and any subsequent pain caused by carrying a heavy bag.

Weighing in just over 1lb though, you know that this messenger bag is not going to be a burden. Instead its lightweight appeal means that you can pack it as full as you like without feeling like a pack horse.

You can be confident, however, that your expensive gadgets are going to be safe. The slash pocket on the Timbuk2 messenger bag has enough padding to make sure that any knocks and bangs are not going to cause any damage.

Pros

There are over 20 different colors to choose from: Whatever your style and taste, the Classic comes in a color to match.

If a company is going to put so much energy and time to make sure that they produce a product that their customers are happy with, you could assume that it is going to be absolutely perfect – or as close as it gets. Now’s the time to put that assumption to the test:

  • Available in different sizes to suit individuals: As with previous models of Timbuk2’s Classic Messenger bag, this version comes in four different sizes – extra small, small, medium or large – meaning that whatever your needs, the Classic will be able to carry them all.
  • There are over 20 different colors to choose from: Whatever your style and taste, the Classic comes in a color to match; stay professional with black, or spice things up a little with martini olive surf stripe – the choice is yours, and you can always ring the changes and own more than one!
  • Improve your organizational skills and go compartment crazy: If you need to carry it with you, the likelihood is that you will find a designated compartment for it in this messenger bag by Timbuk2. With a Napoleon side entry pocket and an internal organizer for phones and pens, this bag even boasts a padded internal slash pocket.
  • Improved comfort makes this bag a joy to carry: Featuring the Timbuk2 Double-Loop cam buckle to ensure the bag’s fit can be adjusted easily. The Messenger’s shoulder strap has an air-mesh pad to provide added comfort to its carrier. This messenger bag also comes with a cross strap for a secure fit when cycling.
  • Highly weatherproof makes the Classic ideal whatever the season: With well thought out added design extras, this release from Timbuk2 is great at keeping your things dry – whatever the weather. The TPU lining helps to keep rain out, while the folded flap corners prevent it from seeping in.
  • The compression straps make it possible to even tote a skateboard: Many people choose to carry their Timbuk2 messenger bags on their back, where it sits well thanks to the cross strap. This makes heavy loads easier to carry – and it is even possible to attach your skateboard to the bottom of the bag.

Cons

We have to admit that it seems strange to be able find fault with a bag that has had so much thought gone into it. However, we managed – and are quite surprised at how obvious the faults are – surely they should have been spotted and resolved.

  • No left handed version of the Classic Messenger: While all of the design features of this bag are situated in an easily accessible and well thought out place for right handed people, those that are left handed won’t find their contents quite as accessible. That being said, it is possible to order a custom made version of the bag to rectify this problem.
  • There isn’t an outside pocket on this bag: While it’s great at keeping things secure inside, the Classic has nowhere to store things on the outside; every time you want to retrieve your possessions you have to undo the buckles and flip the flap open – time consuming if all you’re after is a pen.
  • Thinner straps make the durability of this bag a concern: Despite looking and feeling like a quality bag, a few owners of the Classic messenger have said that the thinner straps seem to become rather strained under the bag’s weight when filled – not good news when you consider what the value of its contents could be.

Comparison

 

Timbuk2 Classic Messenger BagTimbuk2 Classic Messenger Bag

Passion Leather Handmade Leather Messenger BagPassion Leather Handmade Leather Messenger Bag

Kenneth Cole Risky Business Messenger BagKenneth Cole Risky Business Messenger Bag

PriceCheck PriceCheck PriceCheck Price
shoulder strapYesYesYes
accessoriesNoNoNo
colorVariousBrownVarious
leatherNoYesYes
fits laptopsYesYesYes
inner/outer compartmentsInnerYesYes
ideal forCarrying many itemsCarrying many itemsCarrying lots of items
closure systemClipsBucklesMagnets
durableYesYesYes
lightweightYesNoYes
weatherproofYesYesModerately
dedicated storage pocketsYesYesYes
easy to cleanYesNoHand wash
briefcase handleNoNoYes
interior padding/liningYesYesYes

Summary

It is comfortable to carry – however you carry it, whether that’s on your shoulder or your back, and it won’t matter if the heavens open because this bag has been designed to keep the wet well and truly out.

The Timbuk2 Classic Messenger Bag offers compartments for just about everything and comes in a variety of sizes to suit everybody’s needs. And with 20 colors to choose from, there just has to one that you love.

It is comfortable to carry – however you carry it, whether that’s on your shoulder or your back, and it won’t matter if the heavens open because this bag has been designed to keep the wet well and truly out.

It is disappointing, especially for a bag that offers so much choice, that there isn’t an option for left-handed people, and that with all of those pockets one hasn’t made it to the outside of the bag. And we also think that the shoulder strap should have remained its original width.


Gootium 21108 Cotton Canvas Leather Messenger Bag

Gootium 21108 Cotton Canvas Leather Messenger Bag
(rated 3.9 / 5)
Overall Quality
Sturdiness
Appearance
Maintenance
Value for Money
Check Price

If you are looking for a messenger bag that has a simple design and yet is able to do the job you expect, then maybe this is an ideal product to consider.

Very often, a bag is little more than an ornamental accessory, but there are times when we actually do need to carry stuff – and for that we want a proper messenger bag.

Information

This Gootium messenger bag has been designed to tote your essentials while providing you with a casual looking accessory.

The Gootium 21108 Cotton Canvas Leather Messenger Bag combines the practicality of canvas with the luxury of leather for a great look.

According to Gootium, the craftsmanship of this messenger bag turns it from something ordinary into something quite special.

This Gootium messenger bag has been designed to tote your essentials while providing you with a casual looking accessory.

Gootium got something of a bad press for this bag but is now quick to point out that it has upped its game and the 21108 Cotton Canvas Leather Messenger Bag is now much more durable and uses better quality canvas in its manufacture.

The Gootium 21108 Cotton Canvas Leather Messenger Bag features two internal sections so the contents can be separated rather than becoming a hard to find jumble that is frustrating and irritating. Organization is the key here.

shoulder strapYes
accessoriesNo
colorVarious
leatherYes
fits laptopsYes
inner/outer compartmentsYes
ideal forCarrying lots of items
closure systemBuckles
durableYes
lightweightYes
weatherproofModerately
dedicated storage pocketsYes
easy to cleanYes
briefcase handleNo
interior padding/liningYes

This messenger bag is also lightweight so you get little more than the weight of your belongings on your shoulder. This is great news because many over-heavy bags are responsible for poor posture and aching backs.

The largest pocket on this Gootium messenger bag will fit a 13 inch laptop, and the smaller pocket is big enough to accommodate an 11 inch Macbook. Internally, there is also a smaller zippered pocket that is useful for small items.

Additionally, there are more ‘open’ pockets that have been designed to hold a cell phone and other items that you need to find regularly – and easily. On the outside of the messenger bag but still concealed by the flap are two more pockets that sit side by side.

The bag’s finished look is made complete by elegant buckles that help to secure the flap in place. These reinforce the security of the riveted poppers that are concealed underneath the flap and make sure that the contents of the bag stay safe and in place.

Pros

The Gootium 21108 Cotton Canvas Leather Messenger Bag has deliberately been created to be unisex so it is the perfect choice for everyone.

It’s good to see a manufacturer taking responsibility for a product that was getting bad reviews but it is time to see whether the Gootium 21108 Cotton Canvas Leather Messenger Bag has totally come good.

  • A lining that doesn’t eat your stuff: Inferior linings are irritating – especially in a bag that is supposed to be strong enough to carry lots of things yet you find yourself rummaging in a split lining trying to find that all-important pen. Gootium, however, has developed a durable line made from pearl sail canvas.
  • A bag that couldn’t care less about gender: The Gootium 21108 Cotton Canvas Leather Messenger Bag has deliberately been created to be unisex so it is the perfect choice for everyone – and androgynous designs are bang on trend so up to the minute style merges with a useful accessory.
  • Choose the color of your Gootium messenger bag: This messenger bag from Gootium is available in four different colors, although it must be noted that the color of the leather remains the same for each bag and it is just the canvas that is different. Choose from army green, coffee, grey and khaki.
  • It’s not waterproof but it is rain resistant: This messenger bag is certainly not waterproof but it will keep an average downpour out of the inner pockets so you can confident that your gadgets are going to be safe in the wet. And because the leather is texturized, any rain marks simply add to the charm.
  • The more you use it the better it looks: The combination of leather and canvas is without doubt a look that will get this Gootium messenger bag many compliments but the real beauty of it is that the more use it gets, and therefore the more scuffs, the better it looks.
  • Reinforced corners for extra durability: The leather on the Gootium 21108 Cotton Canvas Leather Messenger Bag is thicker than you might expect for a bag in this price range, and it is used strategically to reinforce the corners so the lifespan of your bag will be extended.

Cons

Well, it looks like Gootium have certainly made the effort to get this messenger bag fit for purpose – as well as aesthetically pleasing, but it is time to see if they completely made the grade so you can make your own mind up.

  • The buckles may add extra security but are they overkill? Some users of the Gootium 21108 Cotton Canvas Leather Messenger Bag have complained that the buckles may look good but they are a pain to constantly have to do them up and undo them. This is something for a personal decision so we will leave this one up to you.
  • The padding is a bit too one-sided: This Gootium messenger bag provides padding to protect your laptop from bangs but it is only on the outer side, which means that it can still knock against whatever you are carrying in the other pocket.
  • Perhaps Gootium are not as confident as they would have us believe: We would have thought that if a manufacturer is prepared to up its game – and acknowledge that it didn’t get it right last time – would be prepared to offer a warranty. Sadly not, so you need to make a leap of faith if you buy this messenger bag.

Comparison

 

Gootium 21108 Cotton Canvas Leather Messenger BagGootium 21108 Cotton Canvas Leather Messenger Bag

Passion Leather Handmade Leather Messenger BagPassion Leather Handmade Leather Messenger Bag

Kenneth Cole Risky Business Messenger BagKenneth Cole Risky Business Messenger Bag

PriceCheck PriceCheck PriceCheck Price
shoulder strapYesYesYes
accessoriesNoNoNo
colorVariousBrownVarious
leatherYesYesYes
fits laptopsYesYesYes
inner/outer compartmentsYesYesYes
ideal forCarrying lots of itemsCarrying many itemsCarrying lots of items
closure systemBucklesBucklesMagnets
durableYesYesYes
lightweightYesNoYes
weatherproofModeratelyYesModerately
dedicated storage pocketsYesYesYes
easy to cleanYesNoHand wash
briefcase handleNoNoYes
interior padding/liningYesYesYes

Summary

The combination of leather and canvas works very well together – and makes it a great choice for both genders.

The Gootium 21108 Cotton Canvas Leather Messenger Bag is a self-confessed improved version of their old model, and there is a lot to like. The combination of leather and canvas works very well together – and makes it a great choice for both genders.

Available in a choice of colors, this bag merges aesthetics with practicality. It is big enough to hold a laptop as well as documents and your other bits and pieces, and it has a secure fastening so you can be confident that nothing will fall out – or that anyone can stick their hand in when you are not looking.

However, Gootium don’t back up their promise of a better bag with a warranty, and those secure buckles have been known to drive some people crackers. It would have been nice to have some all-round padding too.


Vintage Classic Heavy Weight Army Messenger Bag

Vintage Classic Heavy Weight Army Messenger Bag
(rated 4.5 / 5)
Overall Quality
Sturdiness
Appearance
Maintenance
Value for Money
Check Price

If you need to tote a lot of stuff about then you need a bag that is up to the job without you worrying that it is going to fall apart.

That means a bag that is made from heavyweight materials, sturdy fastenings and has a reliable strap.

Information

Constructed from 22 ounce heavy cotton canvas, the Vintage Classic Heavy Weight Army Messenger Bag has a number of useful pockets for easy access.

The Vintage Classic Heavy Weight Army Messenger Bag by Rothco provides style and hard wearing functionality.

Capable of safely holding numerous items, including heavy things such as books and a laptop, this bag is perfect for students (or their teachers).

Constructed from 22 ounce heavy cotton canvas, the Vintage Classic Heavy Weight Army Messenger Bag has a number of useful pockets for easy access.

Vintage styles are becoming increasingly popular – so much so that the Vintage Classic Heavy Weight Army Messenger Bag has been described as an ‘urban fashion icon’ because of its contemporary slant on the army messenger bag it has been named for.

This bag is being used on campuses across the country, as well as in other areas, and has been cited the 2lnd most popular for this year by both genders. Its androgynous style makes the Vintage Classic Heavy Weight Army Messenger Bag an ideal unisex choice.

The Vintage Classic Heavy Weight Army Messenger Bag is available in a number of colors, so you can choose a neutral one to go with everything, or you make a statement with a bolder color. Your choices are: woodland camouflage, mocha brown, pink, blue, earth brown, olive drab green, khaki or black.

shoulder strapYes
accessoriesNo
colorVarious
leatherNo
fits laptopsYes
inner/outer compartmentsYes
ideal forCarrying heavy items
closure systemVelcro
durableYes
lightweightYes
weatherproofModerately
dedicated storage pocketsYes
easy to cleanYes
briefcase handleNo
interior padding/liningYes

This Rothco bag measures 15 inches by 11 inches by 6 inches, and in addition to its main compartment it features an inside zipper pouch as well as three outside pockets, which are great for items that you want to be able to access frequently such as your cell phone or a notebook and pen.

The two inch wide shoulder strap can be adjusted for a comfortable fit, and is long enough at 54 inches for you to wear your army messenger bag with the strap across your chest so that the bag sits snugly into the small of your back.

And because the bag itself only weighs around 1.7lbs, you can be certain that you are not going to be weighed down before you even put anything into it.

Pros

The 2 inch wide shoulder strap on the Vintage Classic Heavy Weight Army Messenger Bag spreads the weight that you are carrying.

If you are looking for a bag that has to be functional, then you need one that is strong enough to stand the test of time – and if it looks good too, well that doesn’t hurt. We’ve had a quick look to see if that criteria fits the Vintage Classic Heavy Weight Army Messenger Bag, so let’s go into more detail.

  • The wide strap means no welts on your shoulder: The 2 inch wide shoulder strap on the Vintage Classic Heavy Weight Army Messenger Bag spreads the weight that you are carrying so that the strap does not dig into your shoulder painfully – or leave welts.
  • A carry-on tote bag for airplane travel: Many shoppers have reported that they use the Vintage Classic Heavy Weight Army Messenger Bag when they travel by airplane because it is a perfect size yet it is able to carry so much, making it the perfect traveling companion.
  • A bottle holder pocket that is the same quality as the rest of the bag: In many other bags that are described as a tote for many items, the pocket for carrying a drink bottle can seem like an afterthought and can be a mesh contraption but in the Vintage Classic Heavy Weight Army Messenger Bag, the bottle holder is constructed from the same fabric as the rest of the bag.
  • External pockets that are big enough for more than a pen: In addition to the bottle holder, the Vintage Classic Heavy Weight Army Messenger Bag has two more external pockets and these are as functional as the rest of the bag. As well as fitting your keys, pens and other bits in them, these pockets are big enough for an e-reader.
  • A messenger bag that passes the teenage ‘cool’ test: If you have running battles with your teens because they want one thing and you want them to have something else that is seriously not cool, you’ll be delighted to hear that you’re in a win win situation with this bag.
  • Easy velcro fastening for fast access: Aside from the internal pocket, the fastenings on the Vintage Classic Heavy Weight Army Messenger Bag attach with velcro that is more than strong enough to hold the heavy flap in place – and makes access to the bag quick and simple.

Cons

There are many reasons why the Vintage Classic Heavy Weight Army Messenger Bag by Rothco should be a first choice but there are some things that don’t quite measure up to everybody’s expectations, so here they are.

  • Loses its shape if there isn’t a great deal in it: The Vintage Classic Heavy Weight Army Messenger Bag has been designed to carry lots of things in it, which means that when it isn’t it doesn’t sit as well as it should and loses some of its shape.
  • Only one internal pocket can mean a jumble: Some people like internal pockets in bags and some people don’t. Regardless of that, the fact remains that this army messenger bag only has one so if you carry lots of small items it may take some rummaging before you find them.
  • The color of your messenger bag may fade over time: This one has a little bit of the double edged sword about it: on the one hand it’s great that this messenger bag is so durable that it lasts for years, but on the other hand this great age can cause fading – although some shoppers admit that they like the ‘weathered’ look.

Comparison

 

Vintage Classic Heavy Weight Army Messenger BagVintage Classic Heavy Weight Army Messenger Bag

Passion Leather Handmade Leather Messenger BagPassion Leather Handmade Leather Messenger Bag

Kenneth Cole Risky Business Messenger BagKenneth Cole Risky Business Messenger Bag

PriceCheck PriceCheck PriceCheck Price
shoulder strapYesYesYes
accessoriesNoNoNo
colorVariousBrownVarious
leatherNoYesYes
fits laptopsYesYesYes
inner/outer compartmentsYesYesYes
ideal forCarrying heavy itemsCarrying many itemsCarrying lots of items
closure systemVelcroBucklesMagnets
durableYesYesYes
lightweightYesNoYes
weatherproofModeratelyYesModerately
dedicated storage pocketsYesYesYes
easy to cleanYesNoHand wash
briefcase handleNoNoYes
interior padding/liningYesYesYes

Summary

The classic retro looks of this messenger bag mean that it is liked by all ages and both genders.

Rothco’s Vintage Classic Heavy Weight Army Messenger Bag is a sturdy receptacle for many large and heavy items, yet it has enough individual pockets to make finding them easy. The wide shoulder strap can be adjusted to suit your height and won’t dig into your shoulder.

The classic retro looks of this bag mean that it is liked by all ages and both genders, and the wide choice of colors means that you can ring the changes if you still need functionality but refuse to give up on quality and a great appearance.

This bag has been designed to do a job and if it doesn’t have many items in it, it can lose its shape, and some people prefer to have more internal pockets than the one this Rothco model sports – and, although it will last for years, the color may fade.

How To Choose The Best Messenger Bag

2-messenger-bag-buying-guide-choiceWhen you start shopping for a messenger bag, it pays to consider what you actually want it for – and what your budget is. It is possible to get these bags to suit all pockets, and with particular features that are better suited for some people more than others.

For example, do you want your bag to carry one or more laptops and all your school books or documents? Does it need to look professional enough to take into a board meeting? Do you want it to say something about your style?

Some of these pockets can be inside the bag itself, others may be located on the outside and either be covered with the flap of the messenger bag or have their own zipper closure.

If you are likely to be carrying lots of gadgets and their accessories, then it would probably better for you to have a messenger bag that has lots of individual pockets so that you can find things easily.

Some of these pockets can be inside the bag itself, others may be located on the outside and either be covered with the flap of the messenger bag or have their own zipper closure. These external pockets are useful – do you want to go rummaging every time you want your cell?

Think, too, about the fabric of your messenger bag. Leather ones can scuff but for many people this adds to the charm, especially if they soften over time. Other messenger bags can be canvas or polyester – and some are a combination of leather and canvas.

Leather messenger bags tend to be heavier than others, so this is a consideration too. If an empty bag weighs 3lbs or 4lbs, then what will its weight be when it is full? Some messenger bags weigh as little as 1lb.

Some messenger bags are more weatherproof than others. In fact, some manufacturers have made weatherproofing a feature of their bags – not only is the overall fabric resistant to rain but they also have inner folds at the corners so no water can infiltrate them.

Does it have a shoulder strap?

3-messenger-bag-buying-guide-shoulder-strapA shoulder strap is an important feature of a messenger bag, but it needs to have been designed right. The purpose of a messenger bag is its ability to hold lots of things – and a multitude of items means that potentially, this bag is going to get heavy.

With this in mind, look for a shoulder strap that isn’t too narrow. Something less than two inches wide is likely to cut into your shoulder and create a painful welt. Of course, you could keep switching shoulders, but who wants that?

The comfort offered by a shoulder strap also comes from whether or not it has any padding.

The comfort offered by a shoulder strap also comes from whether or not it has any padding. In many instances, it is just the part that sits on your shoulder that has this feature but it does make a difference.

It pays, however, to do some research on this. Either go in-store to check out the padding, or read reviews before you buy, because some shoppers say that the padding on some messenger bags is lumpy and therefore does more harm than good.

Being able to adjust the strap on your messenger bag is important, too. It’s not simply a case of whether you are tall or short so you want your bag to look right, it’s also to do with comfort.

For many people, that means the bag will sit in the hollow of their back. Not only does a bag seem to fit here quite naturally, but if it is heavy it can also provide lumbar support.

Of course, there will be times that you won’t need the shoulder strap and you will want to hold your messenger bag by the handle. Before you buy, it is worth checking to see if the shoulder strap is detachable – you don’t want it swinging and tripping you up.

Are any accessories included?

4-messenger-bag-buying-guide-accessoriesThere are a number of accessories that could be included with a messenger bag, but check carefully before falling for marketing tricks that claim that a bag has an accessory when it is something that you would expect to get anyway.

For example, the shoulder strap that we have just talked about is a necessity for a messenger bag but some manufacturers try to big their bags up by claiming you’re getting something extra for your money – don’t fall for it.

Other accessories are more genuine – and some come automatically with your messenger bag, and some you need to pay extra for should you want them.

Other accessories are more genuine – and some come automatically with your messenger bag, and some you need to pay extra for should you want them.

If you are going to be using your messenger bag to tote your laptop on a regular basis, then you may be interested in a sleeve that has been designed to offer extra protection. Simply slip over your laptop before you put it into your bag.

Some manufacturers will supply complementary protection for the messenger bag itself. This tends to be for more expensive products (but not necessarily astronomically so) and will take the shape of a drawstring bag for storage.

A wallet is another accessory that is not unusual. These tend to be just big enough to store your credit cards and any cash you take out for the day, and are useful because you know exactly where to find your money without rummaging through all the pockets in your bag.

If you live in an area where it isn’t unusual to get caught in the rain, then you may be interested in buying a messenger bag that also offers an umbrella – saves getting to that important meeting or presentation looking half drowned!

Are the inner compartments padded or lined?

5-messenger-bag-buying-guide-paddingIf you are going to carrying valuable items in your messenger bag, such as a laptop, then at the very least it should have a lining in order to offer some protection against bumps and bangs.

Many manufacturers, however, are aware that this is what people will use their bags for and so offer some level of padding. Again, this is something that should be researched before you buy to see what other shoppers’ experiences have been.

The reason for this is that some messenger bags simply have padding on the bottom of the bag so that your valuables are protected when you put the bag down.

The reason for this is that some messenger bags simply have padding on the bottom of the bag so that your valuables are protected when you put the bag down. Other bags just have one pocket that is padded.

You may find a messenger bag that has a middle inner pocket that has been designated for your laptop – and the manufacturer makes the assumption that because it is central it is safe.

That’s not necessarily the case, however, because it very much depends on what you have in the pockets either side of this one. If there is a risk that they could damage your laptop, then this inner pocket also needs to be padded.

If padding isn’t going to be a big deal for you, then you should still look for a messenger bag that has a sturdy lining. It is extremely irritating to search for items that have slipped underneath a torn lining, especially if you are in a hurry.

A torn lining can also compromise the integrity of the bag. If there is no layer of protection between the things that you carry and the fabric the bag is made of, then eventually they will start to rub and damage your bag.

Is the messenger bag easy to clean?

6-messenger-bag-buying-guide-easy-to-cleanOne of the selling points of many messenger bags is just how durable they are, and how you will be using it for years to come. Stands to reason then, that after all those years of use it’s going to get grubby.

How easy it is to keep clean will depend upon what it is made from. Some manufacturers include washing instructions with their bags so you won’t be in any doubt but others don’t bother, so common sense has to prevail.

There are some messenger bags that will be able to go through a gentle cycle in your washing machine but unless the manufacturer specifically says you can, then it is not advisable.

For example, you wouldn’t dream of putting a leather messenger bag into the washing machine, but you can buy leather cleaners that are suitable for this type of accessory. Of course, if it’s leather, you may decide you like the more worn look.

There are some messenger bags that will be able to go through a gentle cycle in your washing machine but unless the manufacturer specifically says you can, then it is not advisable.

There are reasons for this. For example, some elements of your messenger bag may be held together with adhesive that will come apart if it is exposed to excessive water and a soap solution.

Even if you are convinced that this isn’t the case with your messenger bag, there may be other problems, such as the color running. If your bag has contrasting colors, then this will ruin it, but the best scenario would be patchy fading.

If you are in any doubt, the best way to keep your messenger bag clean would be to sponge it. Use a damp cloth and gently apply it to the areas that need to be cleaned. Do this regularly before there is a massive build-up of grime and your bag will stay clean.

Is it a durable messenger bag?

7-messenger-bag-buying-guide-durableDurability should be the keynote to a messenger bag, but of course, not all manufacturers are made equal – and there are a lot of forgeries on the market whose creators are only interested in making a fast buck – after all, it isn’t their reputation that will be damaged!

It is usually possible to tell if a messenger bag is a counterfeit – check out the special features of the real item and see whether the one that you are thinking of buying has them all – any deviations mean you’re not getting the real deal and it is less likely to be durable.

Check the place where the stitching comes to an end – has it been reinforced properly so it won’t come undone.

Counterfeit bags aside, there are other things to check to make sure that the messenger bag you like the look of will stand the test of time. For example, are the corners reinforced? These are often the first place that a bag will start to get damaged.

Have a look at the zippers. These should be strong (some manufacturers use reputable brands such as YKK zippers) and they should be sewn into place properly. Run the zipper up and down a few times to make sure that it doesn’t stick or look flimsy.

Stitching should be sound and there should be no places where the thread is loose, broken or simply runs off the fabric. Check the place where the stitching comes to an end – has it been reinforced properly so it won’t come undone.

Clasps, buckles and other fastenings, such as magnets, should be securely attached and made from sturdy materials that will stay the course; you need to keep the contents of your bag secure, so these need to be tough.

Check, to, that the shoulder strap on the messenger bag has been attached securely and isn’t likely to come away from the bag – that could be a disaster waiting to happen otherwise.

Passion Leather Handmade Leather Messenger Bag
Our pick for the best messenger bag is: Passion Leather Handmade Leather Messenger Bag. This choice was made after spending 39 hours researching messenger bags.

Best Messenger Bag Characteristics

best messenger bag

You deserve a messenger bag you can rely on – a dependable product that’ll carry all your belongings without fear they’ll come spilling out on the sidewalk.

And in this extensive guide, we’ll explore the five specifications your bag needs in order to achieve exactly this.

People who are on the market for messenger bags have normally become disillusioned with backpacks – and oftentimes, this is with good reason. It can be annoying how backpacks have a flat design, even though our backs are curved.

In many ways, there are also loads of opportunities to project your own personality onto a messenger bag.

This often creates a really uncomfortable experience, especially if you’re heading over long distances. However, they do remain the favored choice for carrying around really heavy items, thanks to how the weight distribution is more balanced.

However, if you’re an avid reader of newspapers or magazines – or need to ensure that your paper documents and letters remain pristine as you embark on your commute to work – messenger bags are going to be a far more practical choice.

Because of how they offer a perfect rectangular shape, and are almost always larger than an A4 paper size, you can guarantee that those all-important contracts, letters and assignments aren’t going to become crumpled and creased over time. That way, you can’t help but look professional – ensuring the right impression is made when it matters.

In many ways, there are also loads of opportunities to project your own personality onto a messenger bag. You might want to sew labels onto the fabric, or pin on your favorite badges, in order to give it that distinctive and custom-made approach.

This, when combined with the sheer choice of messenger bags available in the marketplace, means it’s easy to find products that are as individual as you are.

So, without further ado, let’s jump straight in and find out what makes a messenger bag awesome. All of these specifications are achievable even if you have budget constraints – it’s all about being savvy and knowing how to get the best deals online. Don’t forget: spending a little extra for something durable will save you money in the long run.

Leather

2-best-messenger-bag-leatherIf your goal is to add a touch of class to the way you transport those daily essentials, it’s worthwhile considering a leather messenger bag. Although these are usually far pricier than their nylon and cotton alternatives, leather products have a reputation for lasting the longest – without starting to look shabby and battered.

Do consider whether or not the messenger bag has been made from 100% leather. If you don’t, it’s possible that you’ll be paying insane amounts of money for a product which is misleading. Also, don’t jump to conclusions when you’re browsing the images that have been attached to product descriptions. Even though the messenger bag may look like it’s made of leather from afar, the reality can be drastically different.

If you’re a discerning shopper who only wants the best of the best, you won’t go wrong by investing in a messenger bag that has been imported.

If you’re a discerning shopper who only wants the best of the best, you won’t go wrong by investing in a messenger bag that has been imported. That way, you’ll benefit from high-quality materials – and let’s be honest, very little beats the smell, workmanship and feel of Italian leather.

By opting for leather, bear in mind that your choice of colors will be slashed considerably. Generally, the range offered by specialist manufacturers doesn’t extend far beyond dark brown, black and tan – yet despite this, you’ll still notice that these messenger bags are pleasing to the eye.

Some high-profile, designer brands, have also warned their shoppers to watch out for counterfeits. Such imitations are usually a lot cheaper, “using low grade materials and craftsmanship,” according to one manufacturer who has been hit by fakery in the past.

As such, these companies recommend that you double-check who you’re buying from, and carefully review the packaging and branded tags before opening it when it arrives.

Don’t forget, you do have other options for materials when picking out a messenger bag.

For example, it could be tempting to go for nylon – which won’t rip under pressure – or newer, synthetic fabrics including Kevlar or canvas. They’ll especially come in handy if you need a bag that’s waterproof.

Storage pockets

3-best-messenger-bag-storage-pocketsOne reason why it’s really worthwhile doing your homework before you buy a messenger bag is because of how every shopper has different needs and expectations.

When you’re browsing the Internet for your next messenger bag, you really ought to consider what your needs are – and the first step is to think about all of the things that you will be wanting to carry on your person each day.

Do remember that there’s going to be a trade-off between how many storage pockets a messenger bag has, and how spacious each compartment is going to be.

This process isn’t as simple as checking out the dimensions of the messenger bag – and merely buying the biggest one, just to be on the safe side. Instead, you should be comparing the number of storage pockets that your favorite products provide.

Do remember that there’s going to be a trade-off between how many storage pockets a messenger bag has, and how spacious each compartment is going to be. Would you rather have seven small and distinctive sections for your equipment which are a touch on the small side, or three huge dividers instead?

Indeed, some storage pockets are designed for a different purpose – some which will make life that little bit easier, and others that seem useful when you’re shopping around, but will never get used in practice.

For example, there’s little point wasting precious space in your messenger bag for small, narrow stationery pockets when you never need pens and pencils anyway – nor is there much point in getting a dedicated compartment for an MP3 player (which includes a hole where you can feed through the headphone jack) if you’re not a music aficionado who doesn’t listen to the radio on the way to work.

You should also resist the urge to overfill your messenger bag – and it’s worthwhile getting into the habit of prioritizing what you’re going to need each day.

Although it may seem like an incredibly cumbersome chore, it’s a massive boost for organization, stops things getting lost in the deep, dark depths of your bag, and prevents the liner which separates compartments from becoming damaged.

Ideal for

4-best-messenger-bag-ideal-forMessenger bags have long since diversified from the days when they were the preserve of couriers. Now, there’s a product for everyone – no matter what you do for a living, or how you get there. However, you should get one that’s fit for purpose.

For example, if you’re an avid cyclist who goes everywhere by bike, you’ll want a messenger bag that comes equipped with fully adjustable straps.

Indeed, messenger bags which are ideal for cyclists often come equipped with bespoke features, or accessories, that help to keep you safe.

This helps to ensure the bag stays in one place by your side, instead of constantly banging into your thigh or against the bike frame. As you can imagine – especially with heavier bags – the consequences can be disastrous otherwise, and it could affect your balance.

Indeed, messenger bags which are ideal for cyclists often come equipped with bespoke features, or accessories, that help to keep you safe. This might include an exterior pocket which is intended to hold your cell phone during journeys, and places where you can put reflective strips or lights for added visibility when you’re riding in the dark.

You might be a parent who wants to buy their kids a messenger bag ahead of their return to school.

Not only are these products highly practical – with enough space to accommodate plenty of books and a lunch box – but it’ll also add to the cool factor, not least because of the radical designs available with non-leather messenger bags. You can rest assured that they’re gonna stand out from the backpack-wearing crowd!

Now, size will also factor into buying a messenger bag that’s ideal for you. For instance, if you have a laptop with a 17″ display – which is one of the largest on the market – or you own a little box filled with valuable equipment you need to take to work – a large bag could be right up your alley.

This is also suitable for traveling on short-haul flights, as it means you can carry enough gear to last you one or two days, without having to pay extra for the privilege of placing luggage in the hold.

Closure system

5-best-messenger-bag-closure-systemAlthough you may think that the closure systems for messenger bags are one and the same, you couldn’t be more mistaken. The only thing that these products tend to have in common are the flap which shields the inner compartments against the elements – and in some cases, even this is replaced by a zip at the top of the bag.

By and large, messenger bags are equipped with a buckle, making it easy to track something down in a matter of seconds. Check to see that the fittings are of a high quality – and fixtures fashioned out of nickel or chrome are a good indicator of this.

Some messenger bags are even equipped with magnets, meaning that all you need to do is close the flap to guarantee that everything’s secured.

If you’re going for a product that’s slightly different, you might find flaps which are fastened using Velcro – and although they may look rather cheap, at least you can be guaranteed that your messenger bag will be easier to close – and effortless to open.

Some messenger bags are even equipped with magnets, meaning that all you need to do is close the flap to guarantee that everything’s secured. What could be simpler?

We’re also particularly fond of clasps which you squeeze to release – and in many cases, buckles come with a stylish button that are pressed down to spring open. In other cases, zips are used. This is rarely for the main flap itself, but rather for the many components that you’ll find dotted throughout the bag, helping to prevent spillages and other mishaps.

It’s important to make sure these closure systems are sturdy and functional. Nobody wants a zip that suddenly gets trapped halfway, or Velcro that hasn’t been properly sewn into the fabric.

Also double-check how secure the fastenings are which connect the shoulder straps to the messenger bag. You haven’t experienced frustration until you’re walking down the street, minding your own business, and one of the straps detach from the bag in a spectacular fashion – sending your belongings crashing to the floor. The wider the straps, the more weight it’s gonna handle.

Lightweight

6-best-messenger-bag-lightweightAlthough leather can look brilliantly stylish, it’s sad but true that they can often add a considerable amount of weight to your messenger bag.

And, given how you’re already going to be carrying plenty around with you – potentially including a laptop, a purse, a phone and goodness knows what else – it’s important that your product is as light as possible to prevent any issues.

You shouldn’t have to compromise on durability by going for a light messenger bag.

If you overload the messenger bag – or fail to wear it correctly – it’s possible that you could begin to suffer from a sore, stiff neck. In some cases, this can also become a recurring problem that returns on a semi-regular basis indefinitely, rather than discomfort that’ll simply disappear after a few days.

Normally, a manufacturer will provide information on the weight of the product when it’s empty on their website. However, you shouldn’t have to compromise on durability by going for a light messenger bag.

As we mentioned earlier, it is still smart to only pack the essentials for the day ahead, as it’ll stop you from feeling tired and weighed down after walking just a couple of blocks. You know you will have achieved the right balance if you can walk for several minutes at any time, forgetting that you were even wearing the messenger bag in the first place.

In summary, let’s go over the specifications you should be hunting for in a messenger bag once again – taking into account the importance of a lightweight product.

To begin, you might want to consider leather from a fashion perspective. Storage pockets also provide messenger bags with added versatility, and ensures that all of your equipment is easy to find at all times, without having to empty out the bag and pore through the contents.

Next, do consider why you’re buying the messenger bag in the first instance. Ask yourself this: is it for school, your cycle to work, or the commute on the train? Then, find a closure system which is both resilient and easy to use. Then, you’ll be onto a winner.

Color

2-messenger-bag-reviews-colorMany messenger bags these days are designed as unisex products. That means they’ll be a refreshing alternative for women who want something more practical than a handbag – and for men who crave a stylish way to carry around their work equipment.

Depending on the manufacturer you go for, it’s highly likely that there will be a plethora of great colors to choose from.

Generally, the most popular colors – especially when it comes to leather messenger bags – seem to be brown and black.

However, don’t be perturbed if the company has opted to restrict their range to just a few different shades – as normally, this lowers their costs of production, and the savings get passed onto you.

Generally, the most popular colors – especially when it comes to leather messenger bags – seem to be brown and black. The reason why is simple: it’ll normally match your shoes and belt, making the bag as much of a fashion statement as a crucial accessory for daily life.

Some of the more outlandish colors can also look rather garish, but may work well if you like wearing bright clothes. Just be mindful that lighter messenger bags – especially those which are green, pink, white or even baby blue – won’t really be effective in covering up unsightly dirt marks which the product will inevitably pick up when you place it by your feet in the office or while you’re on public transport.

You can have the most durable messenger bag in the world, but it’s going to be pretty meaningless if you feel compelled to replace it because of its tatty appearance.

If you wish, it’s even possible to invest in two-tone messenger bags which provide another distinctive touch. For example, the flap might be brown or black, while the bottom of the product might be gray.

Although this is going to be an important requirement for you, the color shouldn’t be a deal-breaker by any means. Finding a messenger bag that’s going to protect your stuff come rain or shine is a far more pressing requirement, as we’ll explain in coming sections.

Fits laptops

3-messenger-bag-reviews-fits-laptopChecking the dimensions should be one of your first ports of call when it’s time to buy a messenger bag. If it’s likely that you’re going to be using it to take your laptop to work, it is essential to double-check your favored product can comfortably accommodate one.

As some computers are wider than others – and boast bigger screens – find out whether the messenger bag has been designed for netbooks or notebooks.

As some computers are wider than others – and boast bigger screens – find out whether the messenger bag has been designed for netbooks or notebooks.

Failing to do so can mean that the fabric will begin to stretch over time, and it could even cause damage to your laptop in some cases. It’s also possible that you won’t have room for any other bits and bobs, which can be frustrating if your pockets are already fit to burst with your wallet, keys and cell phone.

Given how Apple computers are all the rage these days, many manufacturers of messenger bags have also taken to stating whether or not their products can fit Macbook Air or Macbook Pro laptops – and have even designed their bags to appeal to this crucial demographic.

If your laptop is especially old, or is very power intensive, it’s highly likely that it won’t be able to last for more than an hour or two before it needs to be charged.

That’s where a larger messenger bag will come in handy, because taking along your power adapter will never be a problem.

The one downside to ferrying this cable everywhere you go is how the plug can often cause unsightly indents in your messenger bag – or worse still, may end up scratching some of your prized possessions. We’ll be looking at how this is best avoided in the next section.

A final thought is to make sure that the messenger bag does have some padding on the interior. If it doesn’t, you run the risk of damaging your laptop should you accidentally drop the bag – and this will be especially annoying if you know it could have been avoided by getting a better-built bag.

Inner/outer compartments

4-messenger-bag-reviews-compartmentsSome of us can have a borderline obsession with being organized, and a trusty messenger bag can feed into this by offering several pockets where you’ll be able to keep everything in a place where you can find it.

Messenger bags that come equipped with just one main pocket can be frustrating – not least because it can take ages to track down what you need. From experience, believe us: the last thing you want is to miss a train because you couldn’t find your ticket in time, or an important phone call because your iPhone was buried in the depths of your bag.

Some manufacturers have also gone the extra mile by including an internal compartment which is specifically designed for accommodating some of the smaller bits and bobs you need to get through the day.

When it comes to outer compartments, you should make sure that they come equipped with a sturdy zip for opening and closing. Otherwise, it’s possible for your stuff to fall out when it’s placed on the floor, and you could also become a prime target for thieves. Also, it helps protect you against the rain – and we’re going to be talking about this in further detail in the next section.

Some manufacturers have also gone the extra mile by including an internal compartment which is specifically designed for accommodating some of the smaller bits and bobs you need to get through the day. This could include your pens or pencils, lip balm – or other accessories which are always worth keeping on hand.

Meanwhile, it’s a well-known fact that one of the best ways to stay hydrated is by always carrying around a bottle of water with you.

Many messenger bag makers know this, and that’s why some include a dedicated compartment so you’ve always got liquid refreshment to hand.

This can become a real boon in the summer, especially if you’re commuting to work in a heat wave.

Just make sure the compartment is shielded well away from your electrical products – otherwise accidentally forgetting to screw on the lid of your drink could mean that expensive laptops, tablets and other devices become water damaged… a fault that’s not covered by most warranties.

Weatherproof

5-messenger-bag-reviews-weatherproofHave you been tasked with carrying an important paper contract to work? Do you own a paperback diary which is filled to the brim with dates and notes? You should be able to ferry these around in your messenger bag with confidence – but this endeavor will be near impossible if the product you buy hasn’t been weatherproofed sufficiently.

It’s a sad fact of life that every now and again, we’re going to have to head to the office in the rain. And although umbrellas may stop us from getting wet, our bags aren’t always as lucky.

A benefit to choosing a messenger bag over a handbag or a rucksack is how you’ll normally have a flap which swings over the main section.

Thankfully, most messenger bags you’ll find on the market have been made out of nylon, which works well as a water repellent. Better still, the lining between the outside and inside of the bag is normally made out of weighty plastic – creating an effective buffer between your papers and the wet outside world.

A benefit to choosing a messenger bag over a handbag or a rucksack is how you’ll normally have a flap which swings over the main section, rather than a zip or a buckle which means that precipitation could still find its way inside.

If you want a weatherproof messenger bag on a budget, you should consider a product that’s been made out of canvas.

Meanwhile, when the environment is at the top of your agenda – not to mention being eco-friendly – consider rubber messenger bags, as they’re often made out of recycled products. They often have the look and feel of leather, which has added to their popularity in the marketplace.

In the interests of full disclosure, rubber probably isn’t going to be the best choice if you live in a hot climate – simply because it can become damaged in high temperatures. But in terms of resilience and durability, few materials can rival it.

To summarize then, the two things that you should be looking out for with a weatherproof messenger bag are plenty of dividers, and a thick lining that shields electronics from whatever life may throw at you.

Briefcase handle

6-messenger-bag-reviews-briefcase-handleLast but not least, do consider messenger bags which come equipped with an integrated handle – allowing the product to double up as a briefcase.

One potential downside with prolonged use of messenger bags is how you can begin to suffer from neck and back pain because of the strain that a product’s weight places on your joints.

However, with a handle, you can feel confident in removing the shoulder straps – and it’ll also make you look more professional, especially if you’re heading to a meeting or a job interview where you’d rather not appear informal.

If you would prefer to use the shoulder strap on your messenger bag – but fear it’ll become uncomfortable over time – always opt for a product where the straps are fully adjustable.

Typically, manufacturers who produce messenger bags/briefcases also give their items more defined edges – meaning your bag is going to have a sophisticated rectangular or square shape. When combined with some clasps and buckles that have been fashioned out of chrome or nickel, you can rest assured that you’re going to look the part.

If you would prefer to use the shoulder strap on your messenger bag – but fear it’ll become uncomfortable over time – always opt for a product where the straps are fully adjustable. That way, it can be tweaked in accordance with your height, and if necessary, loosened so the bag doesn’t chafe against the skin.

Additionally, do double check to see whether or not the shoulder strap is nice and wide, as this is a pretty accurate indicator as to how much weight the messenger bag will be able to store.

A final advantage to think about with briefcase handles is how you have a backup plan if your shoulder strap snaps or breaks for any reason. With another way to carry your messenger bag available as a back-up plan, you won’t end up stuck with no way to take your tools to work.

In summary, there are five selection criteria for your next messenger bag. It should have a timeless color, fit a laptop (if needed,) have generously-sized inner and out compartments, be fully weatherproof, and come equipped with a briefcase handle.

Passion Leather Handmade Leather Messenger Bag
Our pick for the best messenger bag is: Passion Leather Handmade Leather Messenger Bag. This choice was made after spending 39 hours researching messenger bags.

Summary

messenger bag reviews

Messenger bags have been around in some form for hundreds of years – and, as the name suggests, they were used by couriers to ferry around mail.

These days, they’re back in vogue – and in this guide, we’ll find out why.

At one point, not too long ago, messenger bags were something of a dying breed. But with the advent of digital technology – including laptops, tablets and smartphones – they have made a triumphant return to become one of the most sought-after products on the market for business professionals.

Messenger bags provide a seamless way to carry around all of your valuables in a safe and secure way.

Messenger bags provide a seamless way to carry around all of your valuables in a safe and secure way.

Not only do some of these products provide nifty locks to ensure that they can’t be targeted by an opportunistic thief, but the fact that the bag is going to be slung around your shoulder also makes it more difficult for pickpockets. If you’re the type of person who has their entire life’s work on their laptop, this can be a real benefit.

They also provide added sturdiness compared to messenger bags, not to mention seamless access whenever you want to grab something quickly.

Need to quickly fetch a pen so you can write down a cell phone number, have a headache pill, or a mid-morning snack? Messenger bags will stop you rummaging around – helping to make your day a lot less stressful, and a lot simpler.

Better still, most messenger bags are really easy to clean. All you need to do is empty them out every now and again in order to ensure that you haven’t accidentally left some food languishing at the bottom of the bag. The liner can normally be wiped clean whenever there is an accidental spillage, too.

In this article, we’re going to explore the five selection criteria that you should bear in mind if you’re on the market for a brand-new messenger bag. This ensures that you’ll get a product which matches your requirements – combining a beautiful design with the practicality you would expect from one of these accessories.

Passion Leather Handmade Leather Messenger Bag
Our pick for the best messenger bag is: Passion Leather Handmade Leather Messenger Bag. This choice was made after spending 39 hours researching messenger bags.

Sources

  1. The Effects of Bag Style on Muscle Activity, National Institute of Health, April 7, 2015
  2. The 10 Best Messenger Bags of 2017, Gear Patrol, April 20, 2017
  3. The 9 Best Messenger Bags to Buy in 2017, Lifewire, October 12, 2017
  4. 8 Cool Messenger Bags for Men​, Men's Health, June 27, 2017
  5. The 10 Best Stylish Messenger Bags To Replace Your Backpack, Business Insider, October 13, 2017
  6. Our Favorite Messenger Bags, The Wirecutter, July 11, 2016
  7. The Best Messenger Bags of 2017, Outdoor Gear Lab, September 5, 2017
  8. The 15 Best Messenger Bags Available Right Now, BroBible, January 21, 2017
  9. The 9 Best Leather Messenger Bags for Men, Travel + Leisure, July 10, 2017
  10. The Best Messenger Bags For Men, AskMen, July 1, 2017

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