If you are looking for a new messenger bag or you have been using something else and want to switch it up then you are in the right place. Lets get you off on the right foot and get you the best messenger bag. I have spent hundreds of hours researching messenger bags and have distilled down the most compelling options into these few.
The messenger bag was originally designed for couriers to haul mail and goods for delivery. In recent years many men have given up their briefcases for messenger bags as some now see briefcases as antiquated or old-fashioned. They have turned to messenger bags and satchels to haul laptops, papers, and things for work. For this reason I have broken the best messenger bag into two categories for two specific needs: Business and Active.
Business appropriate messenger bags need to suit business casual work environments. If you work in a very formal environment you would be better served by a briefcase. To be considered for the best messenger bags, these bags need to support your commute, workday, and style of dress.
Active messenger bags are much more casual and are frequently flamboyant. You likely don’t need a professional bike messenger bag but these active messenger bags have inherited some of the tech from their big brothers. These bags are built tough and can handle being dropped, sweat on, rained on, and generally abused. Most wont even show signs of wear unless you are particularly rough. To be considered for the best messenger bags, these bags need to be able to take a beating, carry a variety of stuff, and compliment your casual style.
The Best Messenger Bags – Business Appropriate
Filson has been making their field bag for a very long time. It has a classic look that stands against the fickle winds of fashion. It is as at home paired with a tie and jacket as it is with jeans and a polo.
Yes, the Filson Field bag is a bit more on the spendy side of the messenger bag spectrum but it makes up for that in build quality and it’s made in the USA. You will not soon be replacing it. That can be said for lots of bags but the Filson ages beautifully. It gets better with age.
If something does go wrong Filson backs their bags with a lifetime guarantee. Their motto is “Your satisfaction is the sole purpose of our transaction.”
The 22oz twill canvas and bridle leather straps have a very premium feel. The shoulder strap in particular is nice. It adjusts with a buckle and has a wide shoulder pad.
I have used this bag for my every day carry needs and it does an amazing job. It tucks out of the way on the bus but holds exactly enough for work or a class of two. The buckle and flap closure system also allows you to strap a jacket to it when you get to warm. Snaps and magnets can’t do that. You can read my detailed review here.
I have only a few criticisms for this bag. It lacks organization in the main compartment but it makes up for it with two front pockets, two side pockets, and a back pocket. It has no laptop sleeve padded or otherwise. If you need a laptop sleeve I would suggest you roll your own.
2nd best messenger bags
|If for some reason the Filson Medium Field bag is just not for you our runner up is the Navali Boatswain. It’s lack of high quality leather accents has bumped it down the list but if you prefer the convenience of snaps the Boatswain is a great bag.|
The Best Messenger Bags – Active
The Monty is my favorite active messenger bag because it has lots of features that you would find in a professional bike messenger bag (and many bike messengers carry it) but it is also a very handsome bag in its own right and includes features that appeal to commuters as well.
It only comes in classic colors. So no atomic orange or eye bleeding greens here. If you prefer the high-vis look, the red will do you just fine. Many active messenger bags become acceptable in business casual environments if you choose black but here you have so many more options. Certainly, being acceptable in a business casual setting is not a requirement for an active messenger bag but it is a bonus if it can pull double duty.
The Monty lacks a strap buckle like Chrome Industries uses on their bags but its strap adjuster is very robust and you will likely find that you don’t need a buckle. Mission Workshop backs their bags with a lifetime warranty and manufactures them in the USA.
Mission Workshop put together a fun video showing off their bag while riding around Paris. It does a great job illustrating how versatile it is.
2nd best messenger bags
Rickshaw Medium Zero
|Made to order in San Francisco CA, the Rickshaw Zero is a great alternative. It lacks some of the bells and whistles of the Mission Workshop Monty but it is at a better price point. Rickshaw’s custom bag builder lets you dial in your style by choosing the colors and fabrics you want. Lots of companies offer this but few have as many options.|