The best messenger bags 2018: carry your stuff in style

Nobody will be shooting the messenger for style discrepancies with our list of the best messenger bags

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We all remember the ‘One with Joey’s Man Bag’. But while in that particular Friends episode the concept was met with trepidation, 20 years down the line the ‘man bag’ is as popular as ever and not necessarily reserved for the ultra-hip with a particularly fashion-conscious style quota.

Back in the day, a messenger bag was a exactly that – a bag used to carry postal messages. Although, nowadays, their purpose has undoubtedly changed from postal carrier to laptop bag, they remain loyal to the original design, with a long shoulder strap and secure fold over top giving them their trademark appearance.

These days, messenger bags are as practical as they are stylish, with top designers such as Barbour, Osprey and Briggs & Riley bringing their designs to the table. Whether they’re made from leather, canvas, cotton or something synthetic, messenger bags are strong and reliable, making them the go-to for people looking for a convenient way to carry their tech when they’re commuting or cycling. 

There are heaps of messenger bags on the market; with size, material and style being the main elements of difference. Whether you plan on using your messenger bag for work or leisure, we’ve come up with a couple of things to look out for when searching for the right messenger bag for you. 

If you’re looking to use your messenger bag for work, you’ll need to consider the size of your laptop so you can be certain that it’ll slip neatly inside. You may also need to consider the appearance of your messenger bag. Those who work in corporate offices may need to look should take a look at our Briggs and Riley offering, which puts professionalism at the forefront, while those who oblige a smart-casual approach to office attire may want to take a look at our offering from Fossil. 

We’ve put together a list of the best messenger bags below. From designer messenger bags from the likes of Selfridges to practical messenger bags from Evans Cycles, expect to discover a whole host of these useful accessories that won’t fail to meet your requirements. 

The best messenger bag

1. Jack Spade Men's Waxwear Field Messenger Bag

The ideal mash up of style and practicality, this messenger bag is a fail-safe out in the field

Specifications
Best for: A stylish work bag
Colour: Chocolate or Olive
Size: H37.6cmxW40.9cmxD14.7cm
Material: Waxed leather
Reasons to buy
+Water resistant+Holds a 14” laptop
Reasons to avoid
- Waxed leather will show wear and tear marks 

Celebrating effortless style, this Jack Spade number combines waxed leather with a practical design to offer a messenger bag that is ideal for the everyday commuter.

While its price tag may put the avid commuter cyclist off, its waxed leather exterior is water resistant, ensuring your tech essentials and paperwork are kept dry when the weather is against you.

Available in chocolate brown or olive green, this is a smart, yet stylishly rough around the edges messenger bag that’ll give you serious kudos in the morning meeting. 

Briggs & Riley Verb Dispatch Messenger

2. Briggs & Riley Verb Dispatch Messenger

A solid contender for the best professional messenger bag

Specifications
Best for: Tech savvy professionals
Colour: Black
Size: H27.9cmxW44.4cmxD12.7cm
Material: Nylon
Reasons to buy
+Contemporary construction+Space for a 17” laptop 
Reasons to avoid
- Nylon, not leather 

Designed with practicality at the forefront, this messenger bag is large enough to house a 17” laptop, features several zipped pockets to keep other bits of gadgetry and books safe, plus it has an RFID shield so the jet-setting worker doesn’t need to worry about identity fraud.

With its smart, black nylon exterior, this messenger bag is well suited for the avid commuter, with a padded shoulder strap, top carry handle and magnetic closure all giving it serious points when it comes to comfort and ease of use.

Fossil Graham Ew Messenger

3. Fossil Graham Ew Messenger

A stylish, smart-casual messenger bag for a hip street look

Specifications
Best for: Style
Colour: Brown
Size: H27.9cmxW39.4cmxD8.9cm
Material: Savana leather
Reasons to buy
+For the fashion-conscious+Stylish buckle close
Reasons to avoid
-Leather could scuff

If you’re a professional who prides themselves on their stylish edge, you can’t go wrong with this messenger bag from Fossil.

Featuring a timeless design, the smart, brown leather exterior provides the perfect combination of sophistication and practicality, while the interior design of the bag has been optimised to house a 15” laptop or similar.

Although made from leather, it can be easily wiped clean, but those who cycle to work may want to watch out for scuffs - there are more practical options, including Osprey number coming up later in the list. 

Tumi Stratton Crossbody Bag

4. Tumi Stratton Crossbody Bag

A smaller but potentially more practical alternative to our Briggs and Riley offering

Specifications
Best for: Versatility
Colour: Black
Size: H30.5cmxW29cmxD5cm
Material: Nylon
Reasons to buy
+Strap can be worn on shoulder or across body+Accommodates a 14” laptop
Reasons to avoid
-Untraditional shape 

If you think a wide bag may get in the way of your morning commute, this Tumi Stratton messenger bag could make things easier. Tall and narrow rather than wide and short, it’s been designed with versatility in mind, with the narrower shape lending itself to crossbody positioning, which is good news if you cycle to work.

Featuring a magnetic closure and plenty of internal and external pockets, this is a practical bag, with the nylon providing a tough exterior against any potential causes of wear and tear. 

Barbour Wax Cotton Tarras Messenger

5. Barbour Wax Cotton Tarras Messenger

A casually stylish messenger bag for the everyday

Specifications
Best for: Casual
Colour: Brown and navy**
Size: H29cmxW36cmxD11cm
Material: Wax cotton
Reasons to buy
+Casual and robust+Classic Barbour tartan lining
Reasons to avoid
-Too casual for the corporate office

Those who prefer a chilled out vibe may prefer this Barbour offering, with its relaxed cotton, slightly rough around the edges design. Blending brown leather with blue cotton, this messenger bag embodies Barbour’s casual-chic approach to style, which is fully endorsed by the tartan lining. 

Large enough to fit the average sized laptop, and featuring a range of additional pockets, this is the ideal everyday bag with a difference. 

Osprey Flap Jack Courier Bag

6. Osprey Flap Jack Courier Bag

The ideal messenger bag for commuters

Specifications
Best for: Commuting
Colour: Black
Size: H38cmxW46cmxD25cm
Material: Polyspun
Reasons to buy
+Plenty of room inside+Hard wearing and waterproof
Reasons to avoid
-Could be quite bulky to ride with

Size aside, this is the perfect messenger bag for cyclist commuters. Thanks to the webbing hip belt and padded shoulder strap, you can keep your bag secure against you while riding in comfort.

Made using a heavy duty, waterproof fabric, this Osprey back features plenty of internal pockets for arranging gadgets, files and notepads, and is covered in reflective graphics to keep you visible.

Those who put safety at the forefront will appreciate the LED bike light attachment point and with the top flap secured by both a buckle and velcro, you can be confident that all your belongings are secure inside. 

The Death Of Marco Pantani by Matt Rendell

7. Vaude Augsburg III Outdoor Messenger Pannier

Ergonomically designed for commuter cyclists

Specifications
Best for: Bike attachment
Colour:Olive, Phantom Black, Coconut:
Size: H34cmxW37cmxD16.5cm
Material: Polyamide
Reasons to buy
+Detachable QMR+Removable shoulder strap
Reasons to avoid
-Small laptop compartment

This messenger bag is incredibly ergonomic in design; from the material and interior layout to the detachable rail. Those who have a luggage rack on their bike will be able to make full use out of the hook rail – just make sure you remove the shoulder strap so it doesn’t catch in your chain.

You can easily transition this messenger bag between a fashion accessory and bike luggage, although those who don’t have a luggage rail on their bike may want to consider an alternative bag otherwise it could be an unnecessary addition.

With space for a laptop and all your other gear, this is certainly a messenger bag which puts practicality at the forefront.