Updated June 27, 2018 by Brett Dvoretz

The 10 Best Messenger Bags

video play icon
Best High-End
Best Mid-Range
Best Inexpensive

This wiki has been updated 26 times since it was first published in August of 2015. The way you choose to carry stuff around can make or break your day no matter what you’re up to, whether traveling to work, traversing a college campus, or heading out for an afternoon of leisure. That’s why the messenger bags on this list are so great: they provide you with a comfortable, yet sophisticated, way to get a computer, tablet, and other crucial gear from here to there. When users buy our independently chosen editorial recommendations, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki. Skip to the best messenger bag on Amazon.

10. 5.11 Rush Delivery

9. Ibagbar Canvas

8. G4Free Tactical

7. Travelon Anti-Theft

6. Samsonite Colombian Flap-Over

5. CaseCrown Campus

4. Timbuk2 Classic

3. Kenneth Cole Reaction Risky Business

2. Mobile Edge Eco

1. Chrome Night Series Citizen

Brief History Of Messenger Bags

The De Martini messenger bags also became standard issue for many messenger companies in New York in the 1970s and 1980s.

Messenger bags were originally designed for carrying mail and other postal dispatches. They generally feature a long strap, so they can be worn over the shoulder or crossbody, and come in a range of materials.

Over time they have been known by a number of names, including courier bags and carryalls. In America, members of the Pony Express were some of the first to carry messenger bags. They were followed by bike couriers as methods of transportation evolved. Members of the military also used a type of messenger bag for carrying maps.

In more modern times, utility linemen of the 1950s wore messenger bags to carry their tools. The De Martini Global Canvas Company designed a bag, which allowed them to keep their tools close at hand, yet conveniently out of the way, when climbing utility polls for repair work. These messenger bags were made from cotton and lined with a waterproof fabric. They had internal pockets to hold invoices and a double strap closure system to keep everything secure.

The De Martini messenger bags also became standard issue for many messenger companies in New York in the 1970s and 1980s. At the time, they weren't available in stores and were given to messengers by their employer. It was easy to tell which company a particular messenger worked for just by looking at the color of their bag.

Messenger bags started to become a fashion accessory in 1984, when John Peters redesigned the De Martini bag. He remade it out of nylon, instead of the original cotton, and added attractive buckles, reflective strips, and accent binding.

Benefits Of A Messenger Bag Over Backpacks

It can be difficult to find a backpack that gives off the same stylish vibe as a great messenger bag. Many people also feel that messenger bags are more trendy in today's fashion climate than a traditional backpack. In addition to being a more convenient way to carry a range of items, messenger bags can make a nice fashion accessory, which perfectly compliments your personal style. There are even a number of messenger bags specifically designed with the business professional in mind, and a high-quality leather or suede model wouldn't look out of place on the shoulder of a person wearing a blazer or suit.

Messenger bags are also more functional than backpacks. The average backpack has one larger compartment that you toss all of your items into, with just a few exterior pockets for small items. Many messenger bags come with a divided interior, allowing you to keep folders on one side and a laptop or tablet on the other. Messenger bags are better for those who often need quick access to a pen or other item they like to carry in a bag. Backpacks require one to take the pack completely off the back to access the interior, whereas a messenger bag can just be swung around to the front without having to be removed.

For those who often commute on busy subway trains or walk through crowded areas, security can be a top concern. Because of a backpack's design, a nefarious person can easily reach into one of the pockets, or even get at the main compartment, without the wearer ever noticing. A messenger bag sits safely at your side or can be swung to the front, where you can see if someone tries to reach into it. Most also feature a top flap that adds another layer of security.

Types Of Messenger Bags

For professional use, satchels and briefcase messenger bags are best. Satchels closely resemble traditional briefcases, but are softsided instead of hardsided. They feature two vertical straps with either snaps or buckles to keep them securely closed and are often made from some type of leather or suede. They will feature a top handle, and most have removable shoulder straps. Briefcase messenger bags are thicker than other styles and can stand up on their own. They are usually made from leather, as well, have a large number of organizational pockets, internal and external, and feature a similar closure system to satchels.

These are most often made from canvas, are very durable, and inspired by previous military designs.

Vertical messenger bags, often called murses, have a longer height than width and come in a range of fabrics. They can come in any of the styles as other messenger bags, but there is some debate in the fashion world over whether or not men should carry them.

If going for that rugged look, consider a military messenger bag. These are most often made from canvas, are very durable, and inspired by previous military designs. Many have leather straps or other elements and may feature a replica military badge or patch. Some also have military lettering. The interior may or may not be divided.

Saddle bags are identified by their rounded front flap. Other than having a rounded frontal flap, they can feature the design elements of any of the other messenger bags, but commonly have a bare look with minimal, or no, external pockets.

Inspired by the original messenger bags of the utility linemen, organizers feature a number of pockets for those who need organization in their life. With a lot of easily accessed external pockets, they are great for fishermen, hunters, anybody who carries a lot of little items. They are most often made from canvas, cotton, or a synthetic fiber. Another bag for the practical-minded is the camera messenger bag. These will come with an internal compartmentalized, and often padded, divider designed to contain a range of different camera components and accessories. The majority of their pockets will be on the inside, with just one or two external pockets for most-used accessories.

Statistics and Editorial Log

Paid Placements
Rendering Hours

Granular Revision Frequency

Brett Dvoretz
Last updated on June 27, 2018 by Brett Dvoretz

A wandering writer who spends as much time on the road as in front of a laptop screen, Brett can either be found hacking away furiously at the keyboard or, perhaps, enjoying a whiskey and coke on some exotic beach, sometimes both simultaneously, usually with a four-legged companion by his side. He has been a professional chef, a dog trainer, and a travel correspondent for a well-known Southeast Asian guidebook. He also holds a business degree and has spent more time than he cares to admit in boring office jobs. He has an odd obsession for playing with the latest gadgets and working on motorcycles and old Jeeps. His expertise, honed over years of experience, is in the areas of computers, electronics, travel gear, pet products, and kitchen, office and automotive equipment.

Thanks for reading the fine print. About the Wiki: We don't accept sponsorships, free goods, samples, promotional products, or other benefits from any of the product brands featured on this page, except in cases where those brands are manufactured by the retailer to which we are linking. For more information on our rankings, please read about us, linked below. The Wiki is a participant in associate programs from Amazon, Walmart, Ebay, Target, and others, and may earn advertising fees when you use our links to these websites. These fees will not increase your purchase price, which will be the same as any direct visitor to the merchant’s website. If you believe that your product should be included in this review, you may contact us, but we cannot guarantee a response, even if you send us flowers.