The 10 Best Messenger Bags to Buy in 2018

Protect your laptop and look stylish at the same time

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Messenger bags are a great (and stylish) way to carry your laptop from place to place. It's a staple that’s built for all types of situations and they come in various sizes and shapes. So no matter if you’re a road-warrior, a commuter or someone who spends the entire day in a boardroom, there’s a messenger bag for you. To help cut through the hundreds of options, we’ve compiled a list of some the best choices on the market. From excellent storage, to ideal protection, to cheap buys, we've got you covered.

Our Top Picks

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 Budget: Evecase Messenger Bag Briefcase

The Evecase Messenger Bag Briefcase is designed for laptops up to 13.3 inches in size and the synthetic nylon-polyester blend offers a good level of protection around the edges (there's even bubble foam to extra support against bumps and drops). Additionally, the fabric offers resistance to rain and spills, thanks to its neoprene foam construction. The dedicated laptop space is paired with a secondary front compartment that's the ideal place for accessories, chargers and smartphones. The adjustable padded shoulder strap blends with a leather-accented top handle, so you can carry two different ways.

Best Professional: Tumi Alpha Bravo Andersen Slim Commuter Brief

If you're heading to the boardroom with your laptop, spring for the Tumi Alpha Bravo Andersen Slim Commuter Brief. 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 Premium: Filson Rugged Twill Padded Computer Bag

Filson Padded Laptop Bag
Courtesy of Nordstrom

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. 

Best Basic: Evecase Laptop Messenger Bag

The Evecase Laptop Messenger Bag has a main interior compartment that’s well-padded for laptop protection, while the extra-large front pocket adds storage for power adapters, cables, business cards and a smartphone. The padded shoulder strap is designed to prevent fatigue and, in the event your shoulder tires, the top handle provides a second carry option.

Weighing 1.4 pounds, the Evecase stands out from the budget messenger bag pack with a smart design and luggage pass-through on the rear for easy attachment to rolling luggage handles. It's also water-resistant.

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 Protection: Thule Stravan Deluxe Laptop Bag

The 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.

Best Storage: Incase Range Messenger Bag

Measuring 18 x 6 x 13 inches, the Incase Range Messenger bag is spacious enough to comfortably fit a large laptop in addition to several books, files and even a change of clothes. It has three pockets on the outside of the bag — including a phone pouch on the strap — and three inside. The spacious main compartment comes with a padded Incase laptop sleeve and enough room to comfortable pack your lunch, textbooks, or travel essentials. It also has a pocket designed to fit a bike lock and a safety light attachment, which is a handy feature for bike commuters.

The Range bag is also super durable, made from water-resistant twill and lined with a weatherproof tarp. Since the Range Messenger is meant for heavy loads, it comes with a comfortable strap and a chest stabilizer, so the bag will stay in place if you’re biking or walking around. Both the strap and the bag itself come fitted with quick-release buckles for easy access.