Top 40 Best Reviewed Messenger Bags - Buyers Guide 2018


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.

To help you choose, we have checked 16,552 reviews to find the best reviewed messenger bags.

Check out the top 40 list below - and the top 3 most popular messenger bags, if you just want to check out some of the most popular models (the models that most people end up buying).
How we rate the bags

We have checked more than 800,000 reviews, so we can show you the weighted average rating of thousands of 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.



Top 3 most popular messenger bags 2018


The Sak Silverlake
The Sak Silverlake
Rated 4.5 based on 1,642 reviews.
Michael Kors Selma
Michael Kors Selma
Rated 4.6 based on 169 reviews.
Patagonia Black Hole
Patagonia Black Hole
Rated 4.7 based on 1,254 reviews.

Below is the top 40 list based on the thousands of reviews we have checked.


Top 40 messenger bags 2018


Mountainsmith Adventure
Mountainsmith Adventure
Size 20 L (1220 CI)
Mountainsmith logo
5.0
22 reviews

Arcteryx FYX
Arcteryx FYX
2 models available. 13 and 9
Size 9-13 L (549-793 CI)
Arcteryx logo
5.0
2 reviews

Chrome Citizen
Chrome Citizen
2 models available. [31142] and 2.0
Size 28 L (1709 CI)
Chrome logo
5.0
11 reviews

Proenza Schouler PS1

5.0
1 review

Mammut Neon
Mammut Neon
3 models available. 12, 28 and 45
Size 12-45 L (732-2746 CI)
Mammut logo
4.9
26 reviews

Burton Flint
Burton logo
4.8
11 reviews

Osprey FlapJack
Osprey FlapJack
Size 21 L (1281 CI)
Osprey logo
4.8
114 reviews

Patagonia Drifter
Patagonia Drifter
Size 40 L (2441 CI)
Patagonia logo
4.8
250 reviews

Osprey Flapjill
Osprey Flapjill
2 models available. [31044] and 21
Size 9 L (549 CI)
Osprey logo
4.7
202 reviews

Patagonia Black Hole
Patagonia Black Hole
5 models available. 120, 25, 45, 60 and 90
Size 25-120 L (1526-7323 CI)
Patagonia logo
4.7
1,254 reviews

Michael Kors Selma

4.6
169 reviews

Tenba Messenger
Tenba logo
4.6
1,117 reviews

Pacsafe Metrosafe
Pacsafe Metrosafe
6 models available. 100, 150, 200, 250, 350 and 450
Pacsafe logo
4.6
798 reviews

LowePro Passport

4.6
743 reviews

Timbuk2 Classic
Timbuk2 Classic
Size 9 L (549 CI)
Timbuk2 logo
4.5
2,052 reviews

Tumi Alpha
Tumi logo
4.5
874 reviews

Tumi Voyageur
Tumi logo
4.5
237 reviews

Timbuk2 Command
Timbuk2 Command
Size 22 L (1343 CI)
Timbuk2 logo
4.5
2,552 reviews

Fjallraven Foldsack
Fjallraven Foldsack
3 models available. 1, 2 and 3
Size 16-17 L (976-1037 CI)
Fjallraven logo
4.5
65 reviews

Mystery Ranch Invader
Size 38 L (2319 CI)
Mystery ranch logo
4.5
2 reviews

Ogio Renegade
Ogio Renegade
Size 16 L (976 CI)
Ogio logo
4.5
984 reviews

The Sak Silverlake
The sak logo
4.5
1,642 reviews

ONA Bowery
Ona logo
4.5
434 reviews

Timbuk2 Commute
Timbuk2 Commute
Size 28 L (1709 CI)
Timbuk2 logo
4.5
1,052 reviews

Timbuk2 Jet
Timbuk2 Jet
Size 30 L (1831 CI)
Timbuk2 logo
4.4
327 reviews

Timbuk2 Especial
Timbuk2 Especial
Size 30 L (1831 CI)
Timbuk2 logo
4.4
308 reviews

Peak Design Everyday
Peak design logo
4.4
214 reviews

Osprey Ozone
Osprey Ozone
6 models available. 18, 22, 24, 28, 35 and 46
Size 24-70 L (1465-4272 CI)
Osprey logo
4.4
201 reviews

Timbuk2 Catapult
Timbuk2 logo
4.4
11 reviews

Timbuk2 Stark
Timbuk2 Stark
Size 14 L (854 CI)
Timbuk2 logo
4.3
14 reviews

Timbuk2 Sunset
Timbuk2 Sunset
Size 3 L (183 CI)
Timbuk2 logo
4.3
31 reviews

High Sierra XBT
High Sierra XBT
4 models available. [31075], 17, 40 and 42
Size 30 L (1831 CI)
High sierra logo
4.3
709 reviews

Outdoor Research Rangefinder
Outdoor Research Rangefinder
3 models available. [31131], 20 and 23
Size 35 L (2136 CI)
Outdoor research logo
4.3
14 reviews

Chrome Kadet
Chrome logo
4.2
18 reviews

Mountainsmith Drift
Mountainsmith Drift
Size 7 L (427 CI)
Mountainsmith logo
4.1
76 reviews

Timbuk2 Delta
Timbuk2 Delta
Size 1 L (61 CI)
Timbuk2 logo
3.9
9 reviews

Timbuk2 Heist
Timbuk2 Heist
Size 16 L (976 CI)
Timbuk2 logo
3.6
5 reviews

Chrome Industries Citizen
Chrome industries logo
3.0
1 review

Ortlieb Velocity
Ortlieb Velocity
Size 20 L (1220 CI)
Ortlieb logo

Chrome Buran
Chrome Buran
2 models available. [31141] and 2.0
Size 26 L (1587 CI)
Chrome logo

Review Summary

16,552 reviews of bags checked.

Average rating is 4.5 out of 5.

Related Ranking Lists



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.


Last updated on December 14, 2017

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