The Best Commuter Messenger Bags for Everyone, from Execs to Students

Danielle Directo-Meston
·6 min read

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 15-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 camouflage isn’t your print, the messenger bag comes in a range of cool colors.

best commuter messenger bags
best commuter messenger bags

Herschel Gibson Messenger, $90, available at Herschel

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.

Timbuk2 Lightweight Flight Messenger Bag, $109, available at Timbuk2

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 in the U.S. out of recycled plastic bottles.

Solo New York Re:New Briefcase, $55, available at Amazon

4. Arc’teryx Granville 10 Courier Bag

Arc’teryx Granville 10 Courier Bag, $179, available at Zappos

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.

Shinola Leather Messenger Bag, $695, available at Nordstrom

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.

Chrome Citizen Messenger Bag, $140+, available at Backcountry

7. Ted Baker Mones Faux Leather Messenger Bag

The London-born brand’s sleek messenger bag is exactly what you’d expect from the metropolitan European label. It’s made of faux leather and features blue and white webbing stripe across the magnetic flap front, and the interior features two compartments. It’s a great option for minimalists seeking a functional bag without a ton of pockets. It measures 14.5 inches wide by 12 inches tall by 3.75 inches deep, so it can hold devices up to about 13 inches.

Ted Baker Mones Faux Leather Messenger Bag, $109, available at Nordstrom

8. Master-Piece Rebirth Project Leather-Trimmed Nylon Messenger Bag

Enthusiasts of sustainable style will dig this upcycled messenger bag, which is from Japanese accessories label Master-Piece’s collaboration with the Rebirth Project. The OEKO-TEX-certified polyester is made from repurposed car airbags, giving it a unique textured look as well as durability for everyday use.

It features zipped interior and exterior pockets and a long carrying handle and removable shoulder strap, while and while the leather trim for a high-fashion finish. The bag measures 12.6 inches tall by 14.6 inches wide, so expect it to fit laptops up to 13 inches.

Master-Piece Rebirth Project Leather-Trimmed Nylon Messenger Bag, $345, available at Mr. Porter

9. 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.

Filson Rugged Twill Padded Computer Bag, $425, available at Filson

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