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Messenger bags Reviews and Buyer's Guide (Feb 2019)

Messenger bags seem to be everywhere, so it's no surprise that there are lots of different models to choose from.

First of all you have to consider the many different designs - and at the same time, you also have to consider the different sizes, features and qualities.

The 122 Best Messenger Bags


RankMessenger BagRating
1Think Tank CityWalkerThink Tank CityWalker
Available on Amazon
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4.8227 reviews
2Vanquest EnvoyVanquest Envoy
Available on Amazon
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4.6139 reviews
3Patagonia Black HolePatagonia Black Hole
Available on Amazon
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4.591,386 reviews
4Maxpedition JumboMaxpedition Jumbo4.521,193 reviews
55.11 Tactical Rush5.11 Tactical Rush4.508,731 reviews
6Kipling AngieKipling Angie4.501,826 reviews
7Titan X2Titan X24.4739 reviews
8Osprey FlapJackOsprey FlapJack4.42151 reviews
9Kipling MachidaKipling Machida4.40217 reviews
10Thule CrossoverThule Crossover4.371,170 reviews
11Michael Kors RheaMichael Kors Rhea4.37262 reviews
12Tenba DNATenba DNA4.37748 reviews
13Maxpedition TestudoMaxpedition Testudo4.3566 reviews
14Maxpedition FatboyMaxpedition Fatboy4.331,763 reviews
15OGIO RenegadeOGIO Renegade4.332,509 reviews
16Ricardo Beverly Hills Mar VistaRicardo Beverly Hills Mar Vista4.321,103 reviews
17Kipling AlvarKipling Alvar4.3210,465 reviews
18Jack Georges VoyagerJack Georges Voyager4.3220 reviews
19Timbuk2 CommandTimbuk2 Command4.316,042 reviews
20Briggs & Riley VerbBriggs & Riley Verb4.31124 reviews
21Chrome CitizenChrome Citizen4.29201 reviews
22Hazard 4 KatoHazard 4 Kato4.2978 reviews
23Michael Kors SloanMichael Kors Sloan4.2965 reviews
24Baggallini Big ZipperBaggallini Big Zipper4.2916,316 reviews
25Kipling EricaKipling Erica4.281,234 reviews
26ONA The BoweryONA The Bowery4.28641 reviews
27Dooney & Bourke FlorentineDooney & Bourke Florentine4.2712 reviews
28Hazard 4 TontoHazard 4 Tonto4.2553 reviews
29The Sak SilverlakeThe Sak Silverlake4.253,221 reviews
30Michael Kors SelmaMichael Kors Selma4.242,624 reviews
31Baggallini HorizonBaggallini Horizon4.245,508 reviews
32Mammut NeonMammut Neon4.2354 reviews
33Victorinox AltmontVictorinox Altmont4.231,553 reviews
34Chrome KadetChrome Kadet4.2251 reviews
35Osprey OzoneOsprey Ozone4.21519 reviews
36Lug CarouselLug Carousel4.2163 reviews
37Patagonia LightweightPatagonia Lightweight4.201,752 reviews
38Baggallini EverywhereBaggallini Everywhere4.2016,207 reviews
39Tumi AlphaTumi Alpha4.181,583 reviews
40Timbuk2 ClassicTimbuk2 Classic4.1513,494 reviews
41Brookstone DashBrookstone Dash4.1596 reviews
42Tumi VoyageurTumi Voyageur4.15837 reviews
43Timbuk2 JetTimbuk2 Jet4.14596 reviews
44Michael Kors FultonMichael Kors Fulton4.14530 reviews
45Michael Kors RavenMichael Kors Raven4.14424 reviews
46Kipling KlaraKipling Klara4.13282 reviews
47Kipling CallieKipling Callie4.13323 reviews
48OGIO NewtOGIO Newt4.13383 reviews
49Travelon Anti-Theft SignatureTravelon Anti-Theft Signature4.139,612 reviews
50LowePro PassportLowePro Passport4.122,508 reviews
51Sherpani MilliSherpani Milli4.1274 reviews
52Hedgren ElenoraHedgren Elenora4.1126 reviews
53Travelon Anti-Theft ClassicTravelon Anti-Theft Classic4.1141,857 reviews
54Brenthaven CollinsBrenthaven Collins4.10167 reviews
55Peak Design EverydayPeak Design Everyday4.06744 reviews
56Timbuk2 SnoopTimbuk2 Snoop4.06441 reviews
57Burton FlintBurton Flint4.0516 reviews
58Timi & Leslie MetroTimi & Leslie Metro4.05122 reviews
59Michael Kors MercerMichael Kors Mercer4.04870 reviews
60Ruggard LegionRuggard Legion4.0412 reviews
61Pacsafe MetrosafePacsafe Metrosafe4.032,520 reviews
62Michael Kors GinnyMichael Kors Ginny4.0219 reviews
63Bellino MatrixBellino Matrix4.0225 reviews
64Fjallraven FoldsackFjallraven Foldsack4.01439 reviews
65Kenneth Cole Reaction Come Bag SoonKenneth Cole Reaction Come Bag Soon4.002,056 reviews
66Fossil BucknerFossil Buckner4.00110 reviews
67Osprey FlapjillOsprey Flapjill3.99393 reviews
68Arcteryx LunaraArcteryx Lunara3.9816 reviews
69Victorinox LexiconVictorinox Lexicon3.97112 reviews
70OGIO BrooklynOGIO Brooklyn3.973,368 reviews
71Kelty VersantKelty Versant3.9644 reviews
72Wildkin MajesticWildkin Majestic3.965,764 reviews
73High Sierra TankHigh Sierra Tank3.961,683 reviews
74Timbuk2 CommuteTimbuk2 Commute3.952,611 reviews
75Hynes EagleHynes Eagle3.954,533 reviews
76Manhattan Portage DJManhattan Portage DJ3.943,535 reviews
77Ortlieb VelocityOrtlieb Velocity3.9373 reviews
78Pacsafe VibePacsafe Vibe3.93343 reviews
79Chrome SomaChrome Soma3.9311 reviews
80Mountainsmith AdventureMountainsmith Adventure3.9263 reviews
81Timbuk2 AceTimbuk2 Ace3.92140 reviews
82Deuter PulseDeuter Pulse3.9212 reviews
83ClaireChase ExecutiveClaireChase Executive3.921,677 reviews
84Dakine SwitchDakine Switch3.9140 reviews
85Incase CityIncase City3.90408 reviews
86Timbuk2 EspecialTimbuk2 Especial3.89505 reviews
87Michael Kors HamiltonMichael Kors Hamilton3.891,583 reviews
88Tumi SinclairTumi Sinclair3.8848 reviews
89Henty WingmanHenty Wingman3.87133 reviews
90Victorinox WerksVictorinox Werks3.85499 reviews
91Chrome MetropolisChrome Metropolis3.8512 reviews
92Timbuk2 StarkTimbuk2 Stark3.8116 reviews
93Tamrac EvolutionTamrac Evolution3.79310 reviews
94Clava CarinaClava Carina3.79106 reviews
95Herschel SupplyHerschel Supply3.7920,712 reviews
96Brenthaven ProstyleBrenthaven Prostyle3.78249 reviews
97Thule CovertThule Covert3.77297 reviews
98ONA The BrixtonONA The Brixton3.77141 reviews
99Kenneth Cole Reaction ColombianKenneth Cole Reaction Colombian3.766,637 reviews
100Pacsafe SlingsafePacsafe Slingsafe3.71569 reviews
101Timbuk2 SunsetTimbuk2 Sunset3.69205 reviews
102Thule StravanThule Stravan3.69214 reviews
103Timbuk2 CatapultTimbuk2 Catapult3.67182 reviews
104Outdoor Research RangefinderOutdoor Research Rangefinder3.6438 reviews
105Briggs & Riley Kinzie StreetBriggs & Riley Kinzie Street3.63108 reviews
106ONA The BrooklynONA The Brooklyn3.5718 reviews
107Timbuk2 DeltaTimbuk2 Delta3.5611 reviews
108Timbuk2 TransitTimbuk2 Transit3.5486 reviews
109Pacsafe IntasafePacsafe Intasafe3.53160 reviews
110Thule PerspektivThule Perspektiv3.53173 reviews
111Chrome NikoChrome Niko3.5273 reviews
112Alienware VindicatorAlienware Vindicator3.51691 reviews
113Frye LoganFrye Logan3.50192 reviews
114Frye IlanaFrye Ilana3.5042 reviews
115Timbuk2 ProofTimbuk2 Proof3.4867 reviews
116Mountainsmith DriftMountainsmith Drift3.46103 reviews
117Timbuk2 HeistTimbuk2 Heist3.4137 reviews
118Briggs & Riley ExcursionBriggs & Riley Excursion3.3426 reviews
119Booq BoaBooq Boa3.34117 reviews
120High Sierra XBTHigh Sierra XBT3.161,330 reviews
121David King & Co DistressedDavid King & Co Distressed3.0915 reviews
122Tumi Alpha Bravo0.0022 reviews
How we rate the bags

We have checked 228,805 Messenger bag reviews, so we can show you the weighted average rating of all the bags.

Using the average ratings, you can check what all the reviewers think instead of just viewing the subjective opinion of one specific reviewer.

It's much simplier to find the best bags that way.


Buyers Guide to Messenger Bags


If you are looking for a bag that is great for all environments or one that you won’t outgrow, then the messenger bag should be your top choice. This type of bag truly is incredibly versatile. So, whether you are a bike messenger, college student, or business professional, you will not have to look any further than this bag.

While it may be clear that a messenger bag is the ideal carrier for you, what might be less apparent is which one you should choose. After all, there are numerous designs, features, and styles to choose from. To make it simpler for you to narrow down your search, we have come up with some criteria that you can turn to.

Learn How to Find the Best Messenger Bag for You

Everyone needs that one bag that you can really on in day to day life. While a backpack may typically fill this role, this type of bag isn’t especially suitable for certain environments. A messenger bag, however, is the best of both worlds. On the one hand, it is just as useful as a traditional backpack. On the other, it looks chic (and age appropriate) enough to suit practically any adult.

The buying practice for a messenger bag, however, may be less clear-cut than you imagined. While the carrier may appear to be quite simplistic, it does have more than a few features that require careful consideration. So, to make sure that you actually need, here is a compilation of the important facts and details:

What Type of Messenger Bag Do You Need?

There is no denying that messenger bags tend to look alike. As such, it may be surprising to learn that there are different types available on the market. Before you decide on one, though, you first need to determine what you require your messenger bag for.

Considering that these are actually referred to as messenger bags, it would stand to reason that these bags are quite beloved by cyclists. While this is the main purpose of this type of bag, you will need to remember that not all of these carriers are designed to be ideal for cycling. If this is what you need your bag for, look for one that has a malleable back so that it can mold to the shape of your back. Not to mention, you should be able to tightly secure the bag to your back.

Students and business people often like to carry their digital devices in their bag. If this is something that you want to do as well, then you need a laptop messenger bag. Perhaps one of the most important things with such a bag is to make sure that the laptop remains protected. So, you will need to look for a padded area where your laptop can be stored and preferably secured with a strap. Of course, you will need to check that the compartment is just the right size for the device.

If you are looking for a messenger bag that you can use every day, including when you are headed out hiking or camping, then you need something that is quite durable. In this situation, you will find that a tactical or military messenger bag will come in quite handy. This type of bag is made from very tough material and also has numerous pockets so that you can store a greater amount of gear.

Some people prefer to travel with their messenger bags. The only thing to look for with a travel messenger bag is a shorter strap and perhaps, a more compact design. Since you will be walking around quite a bit, the bag will need to sit higher up on your torso and not be too bulky.

Women’s vs. Men’s Messenger Bags

Messenger bags, on average, tend to be just as popular among women as men. Most men find a messenger bag to be a nice alternative to both a backpack as well as a briefcase. So, when shopping around for this type of bag, are there any male-specific or female-specific features to watch out for?

The only discernible variation between messenger bags for men and for women is the style. Men’s bags tend to have a more defined structure and are typically available in neutral colors. On the other hand, there is usually more variety among women’s bags. They have more choices in color, pattern, and even shape. Not to mention, the messenger bags for women often have a softer design and can also double as handbags as well.

Messenger Bags Material

The most common materials used to make messenger bags are nylon, canvas, and leather. Let’s take a look at what each of these fabrics has to offer:

A canvas messenger bag is ideal for anyone who is looking for a bag that they can use day in and day out. It is strong and tough, which makes it unlikely to succumb to rips or tears. Also, it is excellent for carrying loads. These bags are usually better suited to more casual environments. The one downside of this material is that it can be a little heavy. Also, should it get wet, the bag would increase in weight even further.

Nylon is used in more affordable messenger bags. The fabric is durable, strong, and relatively lightweight as well. There are different types of nylon messenger bags, depending on what you require. If you want a bag that is truly heavy duty, you should search for one that is made from ripstop or ballistic nylon.

Last but not least, there is the leather messenger bag. This is often favored by businesspeople or those who want a stylish bag. There is no denying that this type of bag looks incredibly professional. Here, it is important to choose a higher grade material. So, you will need to keep an eye out for full grain leather, top grain leather, or genuine leather. The benefit of these higher end fabrics is that they look a bit better as they age.

Messenger Bag Capacity and Size

Messenger bags often range from small to medium in size. Due to having just one strap as well as the structure of the bag, this isn’t a bag that works well with too much weight or heft. So, these are the capacities that you are most likely to come across:
  • 5 – 10 liters: these bags are best for cyclists. They are large enough to carry small electronic devices, stationary, and some food and water.

  • 11 – 20 liters: bags of this size work well for students. They contain enough space to carry a laptop, books, and a few other supplies.
  • 21 – 35 liters: this range of size is best for travelers. In addition to laptop space, there is also room for clothing items and other essential supplies for short trips.

As previously mentioned, size is also something that you should think about when choosing a messenger bag. Most cyclists will benefit from carrying smaller bags as these will be less likely to move around while they are cycling.

With travelers, though, it is more of a personal choice. If you will only be using your messenger bag as a means of carrying your belongings then it doesn’t matter if you get a bigger one. However, if you are planning on trekking around with the bag, you may want to look for something a bit more compact.

Carrying System

Now, having just one strap does make the messenger bag a bit more versatile while carrying it. You can choose to sling it across your torso so that the bag hangs in the front or the bag. Or, you can hang it from one shoulder so that it sits by your side.

At the same time, there are a few disadvantages associated with this carrying system. For one thing, it means that all of the tension of the bag is carried on just one strap. This means that, often, messenger bags can feel heavier to carry. This is what makes that one strap on the bag quite so important.

First, look for a strap that is a bit wider. This will allow the weight to be distributed a little bit and will stop the strap from cutting into your flesh. Also, you may want to get a strap that has a padded strip, where the bag rests against your shoulder. This, too, will help to spread the weight around.

Security Features

One of the downsides of messenger bags is that you typically have to choose between user ease and security. Most of the messenger bags have a main flap that protects the internal compartments. These flaps are usually fastened to the bag with the help of plastic buckles, Velcro, or hooks.

The thing with plastic buckles that they are easy to separate even while you are wearing your bag. Unfortunately, others, including pickpockets, will find it just as simple to get into your bag. Now, hooks put up a bit of a challenge – for both you and potential thieves. However, you will need to choose one that is incredibly strong and secure for it to work.

If you are going to be commuting all that far, you will probably stick with Velcro strips like most people. Since they are easy to open, it is a good idea to carry your bag in the front when in crowded areas. Now, Velcro does have an annoying habit of making a ripping noise when you are trying to appear nondescript. To avoid this, you can look for Velcro silencer strips.

Additional Features

Now let’s take a look at some of the extra features that you may want to consider:

Water Resistant Features

Most materials like nylon and canvas aren’t naturally water resistant. So, if this is a feature that you are interested in, you will require fabrics that have a special coating on top of them. With nylon, this is usually polyurethane while with canvas a more popular coating is polyvinylchloride. These external layers prevent the moisture from being absorbed into the material.

Reflective Strips

If you cycle or walk around at night, it is important for you to be visible to both cyclists as well as motorists. This is why you should look for a messenger strap that is luminescent in poor light. It will keep you a lot safer.

So, there it is – all that you need to know to find the best messenger bag for yourself.

12 More Messenger Bags


Classic messenger bags and models that haven't yet got enough reviews to be ranked.

RankMessenger BagRating
Arcteryx FYXArcteryx FYX
Chrome YaltaChrome Yalta
Chrome BuranChrome Buran
Prada GalleriaPrada Galleria
Proenza Schouler PS1Proenza Schouler PS1
Patagonia Half MassPatagonia Half Mass
Ortlieb UltimateOrtlieb Ultimate
Chrome ChekhovChrome Chekhov
Henty CoPilotHenty CoPilot
Gucci SupremeGucci Supreme
Nike DepartureNike Departure
Rebecca Minkoff DarrenRebecca Minkoff Darren

Last updated on February 22, 2019

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