The Best Messenger Bags for Men in 2023

By Andrew Peloquin  |  Updated March 3, 2023

The Best Messenger Bags for Men in 2023
Courtesy of Kodiak Leather

Messenger bags are the ultimate versatile everyday bag. Lightweight, ultra-portable, and tough enough to handle both your daily commute and quick jaunts around town.

Whether you’re running errands, heading into the office, or planning a quick overnight getaway, you’ll enjoy having a messenger bag slung over your back.


  • Designed for speed: Messenger bags were originally designed for bike messengers in the 1950s, a bag with space to carry important parcels and packages and fit all the tools needed for the messenger trade.
  • Built tough: The average messenger bag is built from tough materials—ballistic nylon, waterproof high-denier polyester, and leather, chief among them—that will last for up to a decade if well cared for.
  • Slim yet spacious: The bags are crafted to be slim enough to carry in a packed subway or on a cramped bus, but offer space to rival a briefcase or backpack. Definitely room enough to fit all your daily essentials—from laptop computer to smartphone accessories to documents to EDC multi-tools.
  • Organization made easy: Messenger bag interiors feature multiple compartments and pockets that make it a breeze to keep all your essentials neat and tidy. Just flip open the top and everything will be accessible at a moment’s notice.

Below, we’ve compiled a list of the absolute best messenger bags available. Some sleek leather, some durable nylon, some even cotton canvas, but all durable and reliable. That’s what a messenger bag is all about.

What is the history of the messenger bag?

For centuries, “messenger bags” were utilized by courier carriers and mailmen to haul messages across towns, cities, states, and even entire countries. However, the modern messenger bag as we know it was first designed in the 1950’s by De Martini Globe Canvas Company.

The bags were designed for their line workers sent to deliver messages around New York. They were built from cotton canvas and waterproof fabric, featuring multiple interior pockets to organize the various tools of their job.

In 1965, bicycle messengers began using the bags, and by the 1980s, companies were requesting bags in multiple colors as a means of branding their specific messenger services.

In 1984, John Peters switched from cotton canvas to nylon, modernizing the messenger bag. Shortly thereafter, designers began crafting their messenger bags out of leather, too, bringing it into the world of high fashion and business—and thus was born the ultra-chic messenger bag we know and love.

Messenger Bags vs. Other Bags

What sets messenger bags apart from other bags (i.e. backpacks, satchels, briefcases, etc.)?

  • Messenger bags feature a cross-body strap. This is designed to allow them to be worn slung across the back and out of the way while riding a bike.
  • Messenger bags are durable and versatile. They can be used for transporting your laptop, carrying documents, packing extra supplies for your work day, or even overnight travel. They’re also typically built using water-resistant materials like waterproofed nylon or cotton canvas.
  • Messenger bags are formal outfit-friendly. Because of the cross-body strap, they won’t wrinkle your clothes like backpacks will, and they’re far less sweaty on your back.
  • Messenger bags are less roomy. Typically, they’ve got enough space for just the essentials and not a whole lot more. They’re great for traveling light to work or on holiday.
  • Messenger bags don’t have a ton of compartments. There are typically enough pockets and compartments to make organizing your workday essentials easy, but not much more. 
  • Messenger bags usually open from the top. The sturdy top-opening flap design offers extra protection against the elements and theft, keeping the items you’re carrying around safer even when your day is very busy.

For anyone who is always on the go, messenger bags are an excellent choice.  Here are our favorites.

Rains Rolltop Messenger


Take your style to the next level with this rolltop messenger bag. The rolltop opening ensures everything inside the bag stays well protected from both light-fingered thieves and any inclement weather; once it’s rolled up tight and cinched in place using the carabiner closure, nothing is getting at the bag’s contents. And thanks to the waterproof polyrethane fabric used to build this bag, you can walk or cycle confidently in even the heaviest rain.

Inside, the bag offers both a roomy main compartment and a side panel that features a padded pocket sized for laptops up to 16”. You won’t get a ton of interior organization, but just enough to keep your paperwork, briefs, and documents in neat order.

On the outside, though, there’s a conveniently placed zipper pocket to keep your most needed essentials instantly accessible.

Kodiak Leather Sitka Leather Messenger


You’ve never worn a messenger bag quite as beautiful and hardy as the Sitka. Built from hyper-tough top-grain leather, each bag has a unique finish that will grow more beautiful with every use. The look is timeless, the style incredibly on point with any business outfit, and it’s tough enough that you can take it motorbiking, e-scootering, or on holiday fully confident the bag will handle anything you throw at it.

It also makes organization a breeze: the large main compartment features a separate padded pocket along with multiple pen and card holders, plus you get a dedicated smartphone pocket and an extra pocket beneath the flap for small essentials.

It’s sturdy, eye-catching, and reliable—everything you need in a messenger bag.

Chrome BLCKCHRM 22X Citizen Messenger Bag


Built for and tested by professional bike messengers, this Chrome Industries bag is a total badass. It’s built from “advanced” 22X nylon, a fabric sturdy enough to shrug off impacts, scratches, and abrasions.

It’s also lined with “weatherproof” tarp intended to keep your bag’s contents as dry as possible in stormy weather.

The compression straps make it easy to secure all your bag’s contents in place, but the reflective details are a nice added touch for safety when on the road.

You’ll love how comfortable the ergonomic shoulder strap is; you’ll hardly notice the bag on your back, no matter how full it is. Best of all, it’s backed by a lifetime guarantee.

Mission Workshop KHYTE


KHYTE is built to be as indestructible a bag as you’ll find anywhere, using high-tenacity HT500 (proprietary) fabric that is treated with a double coating to ensure durability and weatherproofing.

The magnetic Fidlock V-Buckles are incredibly sturdy and snap quickly into place to make closing your bag insanely easy.

The interior padded 15” laptop pocket is accessible from the outside so you can grab your computer or tablet in seconds, and the 24-liter main compartment is actually expandable (and shrink-able) to add more gear or be more portable as needed.

Inside, you’ve got lots of multi-sized pockets for pens, notebooks, cards, and more, and there’s even an external pocket for your most important EDC items.

Nisolo Loreto Messenger Bag


Kick your style into the highest of gears with this gorgeous leather messenger bag. Crafted from chestnut-colored vegetable-tanned leather, it’s a masterpiece of craftsmanship from Leon, also known as the “leather capital of Mexico”. You’ll love the blend of beauty, versatility, and durability in this bag.

Organization is made easy thanks to its many pockets: an exterior pocket sized for documents and folders, an interior padded laptop pocket, a water bottle holder pocket, and smaller organization pockets for compact items.

The more you use it, the more beautiful it will become as the leather develops a glorious and unique patina.

Bellroy System Messenger Bag


Bellroy is all about combining classic designs with ultra-modern styles to maximize reliability.

Their System Messenger Bag is built from a durable, water-resistant woven synthetic fabric derived from recycled materials, and is so tough that the company is happy to back it up with a 3-year warranty to let you know unequivocally that you’re getting your money’s worth.

With 16L of storage space, it’s sized large enough to store a 16” laptop, and you’ve got access to dual front zip pockets, multiple interior pockets, and pop pockets that let you lug around a spare pair of shoes or water bottle all day long.

You’ll appreciate how easily the magnetic G-hook opens to allow you instant access to your bag’s contents, but it’s also beautifully secure when rolled down and snapped into place.

Shinola Canfield Relaxed Messenger


For those looking for a proper splurge, this is the bag for you. The price tag is significantly higher than the other bags on our list, but it’s well worth every penny for a truly gorgeous, durable messenger bag you’ll be proud to wear into the office and around town.

Built from creamy-soft navigator leather and durable brass hardware treated with a gunmetal finish, it’s sleek, ultra-chic, and sophisticated.

The cotton-lined interior ensures your phone, tablet, and laptop are cushioned against impacts and abrasions, though it’s sadly lacking in interior organization solutions. But this bag is all about the look of things, guaranteed to make you appear exponentially more professional and stylish.

Filson Rugged Twill Medium Field Bag


Filson’s messenger bag is a sturdy piece of craftsmanship that will keep up with even the most active bike messenger or e-biker.

Built from Rugged Twill, the bag is water-resistant enough to shrug off rain and snow with ease, and features sturdy bridle leather handles and straps that will remain strong even after years of use.

For storage solutions, the bag features stock pockets on both the sides and back, expandable snap pockets on the front, and a roomy interior compartment. Secure your house or office keys to the hidden key clip lanyard to easily keep track of them on even the busiest day.

WERD has been reader-supported since 2009. When you buy through a link on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. We do not accept compensation for reviews.
Subscribe to our newsletter

Get the best gear, latest gadgets, menswear recommendations, new books & deals sent to your inbox.

More to Explore

New Discoveries

Get our newsletter

Keep up on the latest gear and deals.