Messenger bags have grown in popularity in recent years due to the laid back style that fits with the image of the modern fashionista, traveler or entrepreneur . In this post we review the best men’s messenger bags.
Hailing back to the days of the early postal services the bags are, as they were then, built for functionality and their ability to be carried comfortably whilst walking, cycling etc.
There are two main types of men’s messenger bags, larger satchel like designs, that we will review here, and the smaller sling bags. We will look at each independently so as not to compare different product types.
For this review we have looked at men’s messenger bags in the ‘affordable’ price brackets. You can pay a lot more for top end examples (link) but we will devote this review to those in the most affordable price brackets.
Below are the main characteristics examined when reviewing each product to ensure my requirements were met.
Main Features – Review Criteria
- Does the size of the bag enable me to use it for my intended purpose?
- In my case this will be to carry a laptop, paperwork, a couple of books and pens etc. comfortably.
Straps, Handles and Fastenings
- Are the straps designed and made well?
- Is the bag comfortable to handle?
- Do the fastenings function well and are they likely to stand up to extensive use?
- Are the materials used to produce the main bag of good quality?
- Aesthetically does the bag meet my expectations at its price level?
- Any additional features that add to overall quality?
Value For Money
- Are the bags good value for money? I want the bag to do the job and don’t mind paying extra if the look/functionality warrants it. Ultimately, I want plenty of bag for my buck
This Suvom Men’s Canvas and Leather Messenger bag will hold up to 14” laptops so is slightly smaller than the two more expensive leather options. You would expect the canvass varieties to be cheaper but this model does not lose out in the style stakes.
The canvass body looks great and the use of leather on the front straps, ends of the longer shoulder strap and shoulder pad complement each other very well.
The bag has different color options as well that should cater for everyone’s tastes. The options are army green (my favorite shown in title), dark grey and khaki and black (shown below):
The bag has two main compartments. The rear where you would put your laptop has securing strap. The front section has a smaller pocket and two pen holders. The feature I like about this bag is that the internal compartments have a zip that covers both sections.
This means it is a bit less restrictive in comparison to the Kattee bag reviewed that had the zip on the one compartment. The zip can be left open during normal day to day use but closed when travelling to add to security. The bag has a smaller handy zipped pocket at the rear of laptop section.
The front of the bag has two pockets that are largely covered by the main flap when closed. The leather straps on the flap that are used to secure the bag look good and are connected by well disguised poppers.
The main shoulder strap is securely fastened, strong and comfortable. It extends to 49”. The bag does have a canvass grab handle but this is located just down from the top of the bag. This is probably only useful for pulling the bag as opposed to carrying like a briefcase. That being said this stylish product is aimed at the more casual user.
In summary for someone looking for a good looking, fashionable bag and doesn’t want a polished finish this is a great choice, well made and very reasonably priced.
The Komal C leather messenger bag is made of buffalo leather and evokes images of the early messenger bags with its retro design and distressed coloring. The bag will snugly hold a 15” laptop and is not suitable for anything bigger. They do however have an 18 inch version of the bag.
The leather is soft and of very good quality. The bag is lined with canvass that gives it a reassuring padded feel. There are two main compartments, the larger at the rear is where you would naturally put your laptop. This has a leather securing strap that attaches to the front compartment which would stop your laptop inadvertently slipping out if the bag for some reason was turned upside down.
It is easily undone and reattached and is a less obtrusive way of securing the compartment than use of a zip. The front main compartment includes a pen holder and small pocket for items such as calculators, business cards etc.
On the front of the bag there is an open compartment that is fixed in the center. This could be useful for papers or items you need to get quickly. In front of these are two pockets with attachments on that are used to close the bag when the straps are inserted.
The front pockets are quite large and open to the top so are only secured when the bag in closed. You wouldn’t want to hold anything valuable in here as there could be an outside chance, if the bag was really thrown around, of some contents escaping.
The front pockets help give the bag that old time look in my opinion. This may or may not be what you are looking for. If not the Komal Chaudhari range offer similar models with plain fronts so there are alternatives if you would prefer. The pocket configuration is completed by a zipped sleeve at the back of the bag. Useful for secure documents etc. when carrying.
The straps and handles are well made and combine leather and canvass to produce good looking and functionally sound lifting mechanisms. Loops and fixtures are strong with metal loops and connectors of a good standard.
This is my favorite bag of those reviewed as it combines good looks with great functionality and quality of workmanship. I can understand some people who wanted a bag purely for business purposes may not go for the distressed retro look but look for something ‘cleaner’ instead. As detailed earlier there are options available in this range but overall this is my best men’s messenger bag and I wouldn’t want to swap it.
This Timbuk 2 Classic Messenger Bag is packed with features and is great choice if features are more important than looks (in my opinion).
Timbuk 2 have produced a video that describes the features of the Tibuk 2 bag. It is not too ‘salesy’ and offers a quick overview.
As described in the explanation video this bag is packed with useful features and is available in a multitude of colors, designs and sizes. Care should be taken to select the right size.
Sizes range from xsmall to large. Large is probably what is required if you are hoping to carry a reasonable sized laptop. So again, CHECK THE SIZE. There are loads of different designs and colors, with some bizarre names, to meet any tastes so have a look around to pick the one you want for you (three examples are shown below).
Despite the features etc. I personally wouldn’t choose this bag over a couple of others in this review. Why, I hear you cry! Purely it doesn’t really excite me in the looks department. At the price range against some of the others I could forgo a key chain lanyard. Having said that it is a clever design and I particularly like the strap adjustment functionality so wouldn’t put anyone off if they like the look of it.
This Kattee Crazy Horse Leather messenger bag will hold a 15.7” Mac Book pro or 14″ laptop but anything bigger will be too much of a squeeze to accommodate comfortably. Trying to do so would probably result in damage to the internal compartments and or your laptop.
The cow leather is of good quality and the bag has ‘high class’ sheen that gives it an air of a bag more expensive than its price tag. The leather looks a deep brown with the hint of some distress, more of a new look though than a deliberately weathered finish.
The main body of the bag is quite rigid compared to some other models in our review. This helps with the sturdiness of the main body but means the bag sits prone on your side when carried. Being a natural product there is a possibility of color run from the bag, whilst not widespread some purchasers have experienced this in the early months of using their messenger bags.
The inside of the bag has three compartments, the central one with a zip. The front compartment is shared with two pen holders and two additional cell phone/wallet pockets. The rear of the internal section has a wall zipper section which is useful for extra security. On the rear exterior there is another zipper pocket. The central zipped area is ideal for a suitable sized laptop especially when paperwork books are stored in the compartments either side forming additional shock proofing.
I really like the strap design. It can be extended to a length of 55” that should mean a comfortable fit most shapes and sizes. The leather and braid strap is nicely padded with an additional leather slip for additional padding. There is an additional handle on the top of the bag.
The strap is detachable and so the bag could be used as a briefcase. The loops at the end of the bag looked well connected with strong leather loopholes. Potential issues exist with the connections between the metal clasps and the strap itself. There appears to be some variability in the longevity of these connections with reports of damage around the eight-month mark with other purchasers reporting years of satisfactory use.
These variabilities may obviously be attributable to the weight carried and its general handling. Whilst I try and take reasonable care of the bags I use there must be an acceptance that there will be times when they will be ‘rough housed’. The straps on the front of the bag are attached with snap closures under the straps that click into the metal housing. The mechanism is easy to use and secure when reviewed.
Overall this bag is a smart head turner. The aesthetics are matched by the overall construction although if you have a slightly larger laptop this bag will not be for you. Some of the minor fixings may cause problems with excessive use.
The final model in our review is the Evecase messenger bag. This is made of synthetic nylon polyester blend. The bag has a main section that is lined in bubble foam which adds protection if carrying a laptop. The bag also has a front pocket. Both compartments have zippers that well stitched. The bag has a synthetic, detachable strap with padded shoulder sleeve and carry handles. It is available in three sizes 13.3″, 15.6” and 17.3”.
If you need a bag purely to carry a laptop and peripherals, then this may be the bag for you. My problem is that this for me is where this bag’s features start and end. There is not a lot of space to carry anything else.
Aesthetically it looks dull and in my eyes a bit dated, not in a retro way. It may be harsh including such a specifically target design in this review but I would prefer the others even if purely looking at a laptop bag.