A messenger bag is versatile and comes in handy when you are traveling, going to school, commuting, or going on a camping adventure. This bag is designed to carry everything you cannot fit in your suitcase. Whether it is extra clothes, personal items, iPad, laptop, or wallet, the bag has space for it.
Some messenger bags are unisex, while others are specially designed for men or women. In this consumer guide, we have reviewed all kinds of messenger bags to make sure everyone easily finds what works for them perfectly. So, whether you are a student, a traveler, or a businessperson, this piece is for you.
Best Overall: Leaper Canvas Messenger Shoulder Bag. This bag is reasonably priced yet it is large enough to carry a slim 13” laptop.
Runner Up: NEWHEY Vintage Genuine Leather Mens Messenger Bag. The vintage look makes this bag stylish. Plus, the bag is made of genuine leather for unparalleled durability.
Most Versatile: DHK Vintage Handmade Leather Messenger Bag. First, this bag is suitable for men and women. Second, it can also be used as a laptop bag, business bag, cross-body bag, camera bag, or golf bag.
Most Secure: Travelon Women’s Anti-Theft Classic Messenger Bag. The 5-point anti-theft security system makes this bag the go-to if you plan to carry lots of valuables in your shoulder bag.
7 Best Messenger Bag for Men and Women Reviews
1. Leaper Canvas Messenger Bag Body Shoulder Bag
Although the Leaper Crossbody Bag is relatively cheap, the material it is made of is not. The material is soft-washed canvas with polyurethane leather decoration. It is very durable, thereby, making the bag perfect for everyday use. The inside of the bag’s main compartment is made of softer and more luxurious material to properly protect content.
The bag measures 10.2 inches long by 13.6 inches high by 4.4 inches wide. It is large enough to fit a slim 13-inch laptop with no case/sleeve. Because of its fairly large size, the Leaper Shoulder Bag is suitable for shopping and day trips. Besides, the bag can be carried in 2 different ways. One is by carrying it through the hand handle and another is by the adjustable shoulder strap.
The adjustable shoulder strap is approximately 41 inches and the weight of the bag is roughly 810 grams. Like other quality canvas messenger bags, the Leaper Crossbody Bag is packed with lots of pockets. These are 2 side pockets, a zipper pocket (in the front flap), and open and zipper pockets (both under the flap).
The main compartment of this bag has a couple of zip heads and pulls. Given the huge number of pockets, this bag will fit all your essentials. You can fit in a small laptop, a magazine, tickets, snacks, wallet, and iPhone, among others. The bag features buckles on the top flap that opens and closes effortlessly to keep everything secure.
Additional Information: You can use this bag as a sling bag, crossbody bag, or single-shoulder bag. It is unisex, stylish, and incredibly versatile. That being said, the Leaper Canvas Bag is perfect for school, shopping, dating, college, traveling, and work. The bag is also perfect for camping, cycling, running, and other outdoor activities. It makes an excellent gift for a friend or family.
Reasons To Buy
- The several little compartments make it easy to keep stuff organized
- The material is of good quality
- The strap is adjustable for a perfect fit
- The zippers are good
- No clip to hang keys, but for the price, this is not much of a concern
2. NEWHEY 15.6 Inch Vintage Genuine Leather Mens Messenger Bag
This is another quality bag whose price is not on the high side. It is made of water-resistant canvas and superior horse cowhide leather. The combination of these materials makes the bag one of the most durable on the market. Throw in the reasonable price point and it is hard to deny that this is the best messenger bag for men.
Disordered wrinkles and scratches on the surface of this bag create a wild and vintage look. This means even after years of use, the bag will still turn heads in the streets. The 9 pockets this bag features keep you very organized when on the go. Five of these pockets are external and the remaining four are obviously internal. These pockets provide convenient slots to put an umbrella, laptop, wallet, cards, and bottle, among others.
The strap of this bag is adjustable; hence, expect the bag to fit you beautifully no matter your size. The strap is also removable if need be. Besides, both the strap and handle are padded to let you carry the bag for a long time without being bothered by fatigue.
Magnetic snaps and zippers secure the content so you can focus more on where you are going and less on losing your belongings. The laptop sleeve is padded and can fit up to a 15.6-inch laptop. Plus, there is a cohesive seal that keeps the laptop steady. The external dimensions of this shoulder bag are 15.1 inches long by 4.3 inches wide by 12.2 inches high. The briefcase is suitable for travel, work, business, college, overnight trips, etc.
Reasons To Buy
- The amount of room the bag has is amazing
- The padded laptop compartment holds the laptop securely
- Easy to convert to a cross-body
- Both the strap and handle are sturdy
- The side pockets are a little too tight and you may have a hard time getting your hand into them to remove items
3. DHK 18 Inch Vintage Handmade Leather Messenger Bag for Laptop
What makes the DHK Vintage Briefcase special is the fact that it is available in 2 different sizes. These are medium (16 inches) and large (18 inches). The height of size medium is 12 inches and the depth is 5 inches. Besides, this laptop messenger bag for men has an outer pocket, which is large enough to fit an iPad and other stuff.
There is also a middle compartment, which is perfect for files, a laptop, etc. Plus, the bag is equipped with a zippered pocket, which is in the interior section. These many compartments are designed to serve different purposes, and they help keep your belongings within easy reach.
The strap of this bag is adjustable, as well as featuring a shoulder pad to ensure maximum comfort when you wear the bag. The bag has a handle too on the top, and it further improves convenience. You can use it as a messenger bag for men or a messenger bag for women.
It also works great as a business bag, laptop bag for men, camera bag, golf bag, and crossbody bag. It is not just the leather material that makes this bag durable but also there are YKK zippers as well as high-quality buckle and thread. Additionally, this bag has a natural rich texture and a really cool vintage look.
Reasons To Buy
- Customer service is outstanding
- The bag receives tons of compliments
- The leather quality the bag is made of is exceptional
- Separate compartments make accessing items very easy
- Has a chemical smell when new, but it (the smell) dissipates really quickly
4. Travelon Women’s Anti-Theft Classic Messenger Bag
It is not hard to see why the Travelon Bag is the best messenger bag for women. It has a 5-point anti-theft security system that ensures all your belongings are safe. It is the type of bag that when you invest in, thieves and evildoers will be the least of your concern. The 5-point theft-proof security system consists of lock-down straps, RFID blocking pockets, slash-resistant straps, slash-resistant body, and locking compartments.
Lock-down straps ensure thieves do not take off with your bag. The strap lock allows you to secure the bag to a chair or other stationary objects. RFID blocking pockets, on the other hand, keep you safe from electronic identity theft. These pockets are perfect for storing cards and passport.
The slash-resistant straps feature a stainless steel wire inside them. Well, this protects the bag from slash-and-run theft. Last but not least, there is a slash-resistant body whose 4 sides and a bag bottom panel feature a slash-resistant mesh wire to prevent slash-and-grab theft. The slash-resistant body allows you to walk with the bag in a busy and potentially unsafe area.
Ideally, the Travelon Anti-Theft Messenger Bag for Women is made of water and dirt-resistant fabric. Needless to say, expect it to keep content dry as well as to be easy to clean. Moreover, the bag comes with an expandable side water bottle pocket. It also features an interior tethered key clip that has an LED light, which makes it easy to find items inside the bag.
Reasons To Buy
- The fabric wipes clean easily
- Compact yet holds a lot of stuff
- Security features are beyond outstanding
- The strap is easy to adjust
- The durability of the water bottle netting is not very convincing
5. TIMBUK2 Water-Resistant Classic Messenger Bag
The manufacturer of the TIMBUK2 Classic Bag has lots of years of experience under its belt. That is why it is unsurprising that this bag is regarded as one of the best on the market. It has an internal organizer, which is great for the laptop, phone, and pens. It also has an internal slash pocket that offers a padded and firm place to keep files.
Other compartments are an internal water bottle and a Napoleon-side entry pocket that allows you to access items without undoing the flap. The top grab handle is low profile and offers another convenient way to carry the bag. Plus, there are semi-concealed flap buckles, which, in turn, have bottom compression straps for secure and subtle closure.
Other features of this messenger bag for men and women are a Vista loop that lets you attach lights and a smart hook and loop placement that ensures fast and easy closure. The shoulder strap is fully adjustable and has a permanent air mesh strap pad. It goes without saying that, the shoulder strap is very comfortable and convenient to use.
The material this bag is made of is rugged and durable 150D poly tweed. It is so durable the manufacturer promises a lifetime warranty on this bag. Another feature worth talking about is a waterproof TPU liner that works with corner wings to make sure no water gets in. The bag is available in many different sizes that fit 13”, 15”, and 17” laptops.
Reasons To Buy
- Sturdy and professional looking
- Can be worn in different positions
- Extremely comfortable to carry over the shoulder
- The color options are good
- Quite loud when opened or closed
6. Sweetbriar Classic Messenger Bag for All-Purpose Use
This vintage canvas shoulder bag weighs just 1.2 pounds; hence, it is very easy to carry around. Better yet, the lightweight construction does not mean this bag is flimsy or too small to carry anything tangible. The dimensions of the bag are 17.5 by 12 by 5 inches. The bag is spacious enough to easily fit a laptop up to 15.6 inches.
The bag is also well made, and the manufacturer provides a 1-year limited warranty because it believes in its overall quality. Talking of quality; this shoulder bag is made of 100-percent cotton canvas, which, in turn, has metal accents. These premium materials play a huge role in making the bag super versatile.
Besides, the front flap of this bag has a Velcro closure to keep items secure without making them difficult to access. The bag also features a convenient handle, which is at the top-rear and helps make it very easy to carry. Plus, it has an interior zippered pouch, which is great for keeping small items.
The shoulder strap is well padded and fully adjustable to provide you with great comfort every time you wear the bag over your shoulder. The style of the bag also plays a huge role in its versatility. It gives the bag a retro military look, and this makes it ideal for college, travel, and everyday use.
Additional Information: The side pockets of this bag are large enough to hold water bottles of all sizes. Also, there are front pockets. In other words, this messenger bag for college and travel is roomy enough to help you keep different items without a problem.
Reasons To Buy
- All the pockets are very functional
- Easy on the shoulder
- The canvas does not feel scratchy or stiff
- Lightweight; hence, does not get heavy when stuffed
- Does not offer any protection from drops or bumps
7. Sechunk Vintage Military Laptop Messenger Bags
Sechunk Vintage Military Messenger Bags come in a wide range of sizes. There are small that fits a 13-inch laptop; medium that fits a 15-inch laptop, and large that fits up to a 17-inch laptop. What’s more, these bags come in multiple colors to choose from. These are Army Green, Grey, Coffee, Yellow, Khaki, and Blue, among others.
The materials this bag is made of are premium cotton canvas, bronze metal, and leather. A combination of these materials makes the bag sturdy and perfect for everyday use. The bag has a total of 6 pockets to help you organize your stuff and access them easily whenever you need them.
The capacity of the large-sized bag is 12 L/1 Kg. It is perfect for when you normally carry lots of items, while medium and small are great for when you do not have much to carry. The retro minimalist design is another reason why you should invest in this laptop bag for men and women.
It gives the bag a timeless look that will quickly send tons of compliments its way. Besides, the Sechunk Vintage Military Bag has a thick shoulder strap that makes it easy and comfortable to carry. You can carry the bag for long hours without being fatigued. If you are looking for a well-made bag suitable for storing a wallet, keys, document, umbrella, cell phone, glasses, iPad, A4 books, and laptop, the Sechunk Messenger Pack is for you. You can also get it as a gift for a loved one.
Reasons To Buy
- The bag can take a beating
- The size of the front pockets is good
- The strap adjusts perfectly
- It is shipped very fast
- The buckles could be more functional
Buyer’s Guide for the Best Messenger Bag for Men & Women
There are lots of messenger bags on the market, and this makes it pretty difficult to know exactly what is suitable for you. But, we say, worry not as we have written reliable factors that make it easy to zero in on a good briefcase.
- General Quality
Just because a messenger bag is expensive does not mean it is durable. So, whether you are buying a low-priced bag or an expensive one, be sure to check its overall quality. The quality of a shoulder bag starts with the material it is made of. That being said, most of these bags are made of leather.
Well, it is worth noting that there are different types of leather; therefore, you may want to settle on a bag built with premium leather. You should also check the zippers and stitching of the bag you are interested in, as they too contribute to quality. The zippers should be made of metal for superior durability.
Some messenger bags for men and women have lots of pockets, which, unfortunately, may not be very functional. This means when buying this kind of bag, you should not rush to pick the one with lots of pockets, thinking that they (pockets) will help you stay organized.
It is not that choosing a bag with lots of pockets is a bad idea, but, at least try to pick something whose pockets are useful. In other words, the pockets/compartments of your bag should be well-sized and able to serve their purpose. For instance, the main compartment should be large enough to nicely fit your laptop or tablet.
A good messenger bag should be built with ergonomics in mind. This means its strap should be fully adjustable so you can easily set it at the correct length. The strap should also be well-padded to let you have the bag over your shoulder for a long time.
Moreover, a women’s/men’s messenger briefcase should have a well-made handle, which is conveniently placed at the top. The handle should also be well padded so you can easily carry the bag by hand. A bag that is comfortable to carry is a worthy investment because it can prevent such complications as back pain, shoulder pain, and stiff neck.
FAQs for Messenger Bags for Men & Women
Q1. How should I wear a messenger bag?
There are lots of ways to wear a messenger bag. But the most popular one (according to wikihow) is to have the strap of your bag pass over your shoulder and across your body. Most people prefer wearing their bags this way because it makes it easy to access the items inside them. It also makes it easy to rotate the bag to your back in case you want to ride a motorbike.
Q2. Are messenger bags better than backpacks?
In our opinion, messenger or shoulder bags have more benefits than backpacks. Although backpacks provide you with great support not to mention being very comfortable to wear, a shoulder bag offers more. First, it is easy to access, which might be vital if you find yourself in a situation where you have to get into your bag frequently.
Second, it is more secure since it is designed to be much closer to your body, unlike a backpack, which is meant to be on your back. Messenger bags are also easy to maneuver, plus there are lots of ways to carry them. You can use them as a carry-on, shoulder bag, or cross-body.
Q3. Are messenger bags and laptop bags different?
Yes. While messenger bags are mostly made of leather, laptop bags are mostly made of nylon. Also, laptop bags are normally waterproof to keep the laptop and other electronics safe from rain, spills, and splashes. Messenger bags, on the other hand, are not necessarily waterproof, although manufacturers are now making attempts to produce water-resistant bags.
Laptop bags are also heavily padded to protect the laptop from drops and impacts. With that being said, if you plan to carry a laptop in your crossbody bag, try to go for the one built like a laptop bag, but with the look of a messenger bag.
Q4. What is a messenger bag designed to carry?
A messenger bag for men and women is versatile. This means it cannot just be worn in many different ways but also you can stuff all kinds of items in it. Whether it is a wallet, keys, glasses, jeans, cards, passport, books, you name it! This bag carries it all. Also, there are messenger bags for laptops. Their laptop area is nicely padded to keep your laptop safe from impacts and bumps.
Best Messenger Bag Reviews: Summary
A messenger bag can carry all your belongings. It normally has lots of compartments and pockets that offer a convenient place to store keys, a wallet, cards, books, and more. Besides, there are messenger bags for camera and laptop.
Because of its versatility, this shoulder bag is perfect for overnight trips, traveling, commuting, school, and day trips. A messenger bag for men and women is also very stylish, especially if it has a vintage look. Needless to say, it is perfect both for formal and informal occasions.