The 7 Best Messenger Bags of 2020

Protect your laptop and look stylish at the same time

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The Rundown
"The foam padding on each side of the bag adds an extra level of protection against bumps."
Runner-Up, Best Overall:
Timbuk2 Command Bag at Amazon
"The TSA-compliant build allows the bag to “split” in half making it easier to pass through security."
"The zipper to zipper extension on the bottom of the bag allows the main compartment to open wider"
Runner-Up, Best Professional:
Timbuk2 Proof Bag at Amazon
"The Proof has a thick cross-body strap that works for biking as well as a leather grab strap."
"The Chrome bag is perhaps best known for its quick-release buckle that closely resembles a seatbelt."
"The protected laptop pocket offers easy access without digging into the main compartment."
"It stores enough for both work and travel, and it’s durable enough to stay intact through everyday use."

Toting around your very expensive laptop all by it's lonesome is just asking for trouble, that why you need one of the best messenger bags to keep your mobile workstation safe and sound.

Offerings can range from simple and functional, like the Chrome Citizen messenger bag at Amazon, to the luxurious and professional like the Tumi Alpha Bravo Aviano at Amazon.

If you're looking for more tips on travelling smart, make sure to head over to our guide to jet-setting with smart luggage and other devices before diving into our collection of the best messenger bags.

Best Overall: Thule Stravan Deluxe Laptop Bag

2The Thule Stravan Deluxe Laptop Bag provides the ultimate protection for your computer. There’s no room for a change of clothes or shoes, but you’ll find more than enough space for a 13-inch laptop in the main compartment, which has scratch-resistant lining and padding, as well as a dedicated iPad or tablet compartment in the rear. There are also large capacity front pockets. The foam padding on each side of the bag adds an extra level of protection against bumps and protects the corners and the hardware contained within. The nylon construction feels durable and premium and there's a small level of water resistance to protect against splashes or rainfall. The adjustable padded shoulder strap is paired with top handles, so you can carry the Thule a variety of ways.

Runner-Up, Best Overall: Timbuk2 Command Laptop Messenger Bag

A messenger bag staple, the Timbuk2 Command Laptop Messenger Bag has long been one of the most popular options on the market. Available in a slew of colors and sizes, it fits laptops up to 17 inches in the largest size and 13-inch models in the smaller version. The TSA-compliant build allows the bag to “split” in half making it easier to pass through security without your removing your laptop from the bag. An external zipper pocket adds easy access to power bricks and cords, while internal organizers can hold pens, phones and other tech accessories. A side-entry pocket adds quick access to the main compartment without undoing the entire flap and there is a floating pocket on the exterior for protecting glasses or a smartphone.

Best Professional: Tumi Alpha Bravo Aviano

If you're heading to the boardroom with your laptop, spring for the Tumi Alpha Bravo Aviano. Premium price tag aside, the Tumi name assures you that this 100 percent ballistic nylon bag is constructed with the utmost quality and care. With enough space to support a 14-inch laptop in its padded main compartment, there's also a dedicated iPad pocket, business card slot, four open pockets for accessories and two front zip pockets for chargers or power bricks, smartphones and other knickknacks.

If you need even more storage for a trip, the zipper to zipper extension on the bottom of the bag allows the main compartment to open wider, so you'll have more room for accessories, documents, notebooks, etc. And if the padded shoulder pad fatigues your muscles after lengthy wear, the leather-accented top carrying handles are ready to pick up the slack. The bag weighs 5.1 pounds.

Runner-Up, Best Professional: Timbuk2 Proof Laptop Messenger Bag Briefcase

Timbuk2 has a great track record designing premium bags and briefcases — and the company’s Proof messenger bag is no exception. Made with waxed canvas and leather trim, the Timbuk2 Proof looks sleek and professional enough to take to the office and durable enough to handle the wear-and-tear of everyday use. Inside, the bag contains an internal organizer as well as a laptop pocket that will accommodate a 13- or 15-inch laptop. Additionally, the bag is water resistant, so it will protect your electronics if you get caught in the rain.

But the bag’s versatility really shows with its straps. The Proof has a thick cross-body strap that works for biking as well as a leather grab strap that gives the bag a more refined briefcase look in professional settings.

The Proof is relatively expensive, but the premium quality matches the price tag. In return you’ll get a beautiful-looking bag that looks great at the office and is tough enough to handle commuting on your bike.

Best Commuter: Chrome Citizen Messenger

Built for the city slicker, the Chrome Citizen Messenger offers everything a commuter could want and more, including reflective straps for night visibility. Manufactured out of abrasion resistant nylon, the Citizen is weatherproof when it comes to rain and snow. As for comfort and mobility, the Chrome bag is perhaps best known for its quick-release buckle that closely resembles a seatbelt, so you can bet it's easy to take on and off.

It weighing 2.6 pounds and is designed to hold up to a 17-inch laptop with plenty of extra storage room to spare. The organizational pockets on the front pair with the main compartment to hold all of your accessories, including books, power bricks, miscellaneous gear and even a change of clothes. Chrome added one final nicety: The seatbelt shoulder strap doubles as a bottle opener to help close out those long days.

Best Multifunction: Peak Design Everyday Messenger Bag

Engineered with 13-inch laptops in mind, the Peak Design Everyday Messenger Bag can carrying all of your computer and photography gear in one beautiful bag. With a magnetic latch closure, origami-inspired flexfold dividers, a weatherproof expandable shell and a well-padded seatbelt messenger strap, this is truly a do-it-all messenger bag. The dedicated capture clip attachment and front access panel allow for quick and easy access to photography gear, but if photography isn’t your forte, the Peak Design is easily configurable with its FlexFold dividers to make space for a drone (sized for the DJI Mavic or DJI Spark series) or other electronic gear. The protected laptop pocket offers easy access without digging into the main compartment.

Best Premium: Filson Rugged Twill Padded Computer Bag

Filson’s Rugged Twill Padded Computer Bag is an expensive bag, but if you’re willing to splurge, you’re paying for premium materials. The bag is made from Filson’s waterproof, industrial-grade cotton twill, bridle leather straps, and heavy-duty brass zippers. It’s a sturdy bag with plenty of pockets that also has Filson’s timeless sense of style. The craftsmanship shows.

In addition to the bag’s large exterior pocket, the roomy main compartment comes with three dividers, including a padded section to keep your 15- or 13-inch laptop safe. It stores enough for both work and travel, and it’s durable enough to stay intact through everyday use.

The bag is pretty bulky, with dimensions of 16 x 14 x 5.5 inches and weighing almost five pounds. But if you’re traveling with your laptop — or simply carry a lot with you on your daily commute — then the size works to your benefit. 

Final Verdict

Our top dog for messenger bags is the Thule Stravan Deluxe, a comfortable, all-day carry that keeps your electronics snug and secure, with a variety of auxiliary pockets for whatever you need to take on the day. However, for a bag with a more sophisticated edge, we'd recommend checking out the Filson Rugged Twill, built with premium materials that really add to a sense of professionalism and style.

What to Look for in a Messenger Bag

Size - Think about everything you’ll be carrying on a daily basis. Do you need a slim bag that’ll hold just your laptop and a few accessories, or do you need one that’ll also fit a change of clothes, a pair of sneakers, or more? Also, double-check that your chosen bag will be big enough for your specific laptop.

Style - Where will you be carrying this messenger bag? If you’ll be using it as a commuting or travel bag, the style you choose may be different than if you’re taking it into meetings. Whether you’re looking for durability, professionalism, or both, there are plenty of types to pick from.

Storage - A bag’s built-in storage can be very important. With more cavernous options, it’s easy for your pens, phone, or other small items to get lost in the bottom. If you tend to dig through your bags looking for an item, a built-in storage system with pockets, clips, and added laptop protection might be very helpful.