Top 10 Best Travel Messenger Bags to Buy Online 2019

Top 10 Best Travel Messenger Bags to Buy Online 2019

For a lot of people, their travel bag of choice is a backpack. But let’s be honest, they’re not the best for some situations. They can be hard to get things from, not always the most professional looking, and sometimes even unsafe since you can’t see what’s going on behind your back. In reality, messenger bags can often be much more practical for travel.

Messenger bags are easy to find, but not all of them are cut out for travel. In this guide, we’ll talk about the different factors you should consider when deciding which messenger bag to use while traveling. At the end, we also have a list of our 10 favorites to help you get started on your search.

Table of Contents

How to Choose a Travel Messenger Bag – Buying Guide

When it comes to deciding on a bag, the most important factor is your own needs. So before thinking about the bag, consider where you tend to travel, how much walking you do, and how much stuff you like to have on hand.

When Deciding on Size, Consider Air Travel Restrictions and Daily Convenience

Size is always important when choosing a bag, but it’s even more so when you’re looking to travel with it.

If You Travel by Plane, Keep Size and Weight Regulations in Mind

If You Travel by Plane, Keep Size and Weight Regulations in Mind

If you’re planning on using your messenger bag as your under-seat personal item on an airplane, it’s important that it’s under a certain size–especially if you’re flying on a stricter airline.

While size requirements differ between airlines, a safe size for most is 16” x 10” x 8” when full. Some airlines also have carry-on weight restrictions, so the lighter your bag itself is, the more stuff you can fit into it.

Balance Capacity and Convenience for On-the-Go Use

Balance Capacity and Convenience for On-the-Go Use

When you’re using a bag for travel, you’re going to have to find a balance between capacity and convenience. On one hand, you want your bag to be able to hold everything you need to carry with maybe some space to pick things up along the way. On the other hand, bags that are too large or hold too much run the risk of being heavy or getting in the way of others.

So, think carefully about what you’ll need to have on you regularly and maybe consider bringing a tablet with a keyboard case instead of your full laptop to economize on bag size.

Bag Material Determines Durability, Water Resistance, and Looks

Bag Material Determines Durability, Water Resistance, and Looks

While it’s easy just to go for the best looking bag, it’s important to remember that different materials can also make your bag more or less suited for travel. For example, if you’re looking for a bag that will last you years and can stand a bit of abuse, canvas or leather might be what you’re looking for.

Synthetic bags are more likely to be water-resistant (though there are some other materials that are treated to repel water as well). Depending on where you are though, you might want to be sure that your bag doesn’t look too flashy or expensive to avoid unwanted attention.

Special Storage Features Can Make Travel Easier

Special Storage Features Can Make Travel Easier

When it comes to any bag, travel or otherwise, having more storage compartments is better for organization and convenience. But when you’re traveling, there are a few storage features that can be extra helpful.

For example, a padded laptop or tablet compartment means that you won’t have to carry around an extra sleeve for protection. Having zipped pockets means that things will be less likely to fall out during transit. Hidden compartments or a pocket on the back side of your bag (the side that rests against your body) makes it harder for pickpockets to reach your valuables.

Adjustable, Padded Straps Are More Comfortable to Carry

Adjustable, Padded Straps Are More Comfortable to Carry

Unlike a backpack that distributes weight across two shoulders, a messenger bag relies on just one strap on one shoulder. While you can switch it off throughout the day, you’re still going to want a strap that doesn’t hurt when worn for hours at a time.

For a comfortable fit, look for a strap that has a wide, padded section that allows you to spread the pressure out a little and protect you from materials that might otherwise dig in.

Adjustable straps allow to switch from wearing the bag cross-body to one-sided more comfortably. Straps that are removable make it easier to pack your messenger bag into another bag during transport.

For Peace of Mind, Look for Anti-Theft Features

For Peace of Mind, Look for Anti-Theft Features

When traveling, it’s important to be extra cautious of your belongings, especially if you’re visiting a place that’s known for pickpocketing or theft. While you should always be aware of your surroundings, it can help to also have a bag that adds an extra layer of protection.

For some extra peace of mind, a few features to look for are slash-proof outer material and straps, RFID-blocking compartments for your credit cards, and locking compartments.

On a side note, it might be worth considering that pickpockets often target tourists, and having a distinctive traveler bag might make you an unwitting target.

Top 10 Best Messenger Bags for Travel to Buy Online

Now that you know what to look for, here are some of our favorites for you to consider.

10. Sweetbriar Classic Messenger Bag

Sweetbriar Classic Messenger Bag

Visit Amazon for more details

Price: $22.95

Large Capacity, No-Frills Bag

For those looking for a no-frills canvas messenger bag, this is your guy. It’s lightweight, extremely spacious, and built to withstand years of regular use.

However, it isn’t very secure and doesn’t have a zipper on the main compartment–in fact, it has just one small zippered pocket. So if you’ll be carrying around valuables or travel to places where pickpocketing is an issue, this might not be for you.

Size 17.5″ x 12″ x 5″
Weight 1.2 pounds
Material Canvas
Water Resistance
Storage Features
Strap Adjustable, padded
Anti-Theft Features

9. Xincada Canvas Messenger Bag

Xincada Canvas Messenger Bag

Visit Amazon for more details

Price: $35.99

So Many Pockets

This bag is the cargo shorts of messenger bags. Smaller than average, it’s large enough for a 14″ laptop without being bulky, and it has so much storage–4 zipped side pockets, several inner pockets and compartments, and easily accessible under-flap pockets.

While it can hold an impressive amount of things, some reviewers note that the inner unsecured pockets can be a little floppy, leading to items falling into the main compartment during transit.

Size 13.4″ x 11.4″ x 4.3″
Weight 1.7 pounds
Material Canvas
Water Resistance Water resistant
Storage Features Padded tablet compartment, back pocket
Strap Removable, adjustable
Anti-Theft Features

8. Newhey 15.6-Inch Messenger Bag

Newhey 15.6-Inch Messenger Bag

Visit Amazon for more details

Price: $49.99

Basic, Good Looking, Weatherproof

This bag is practical, good looking, and doesn’t scream “tourist.” Its zipped main compartment has a pocket for up to a 15.6″ laptop and room for other, less streamlined items like a water bottle or camera, too.

It’s very well made and has basic organizational tools. However, it is on the heavy side when empty, and some reviewers note that the snap-attached buckles might be a little weak if you pack the bag completely full.

Size 15.1″ x 12.2″ x 4.3″
Weight 2.9 pounds
Material Waxed canvas and leather
Water Resistance Water resistant
Storage Features Padded laptop compartment, back pocket
Strap Padded, removable, adjustable
Anti-Theft Features

7. CoolBELL Convertible Backpack Messenger Bag

CoolBELL Convertible Backpack Messenger Bag

Visit Amazon for more details

Price: $49.99

Convertible Backpack-Messenger Bag

For those who like some flexibility, this bag easily converts between backpack, messenger bag, and handbag, with the straps tucking neatly away when not in use. It also has two separate, zipped main compartments for easy organization.

While being able to convert carrying styles is convenient, the tucked away straps can be a bit bulky when not in use and add additional weight. So if you don’t see yourself using the backpack function often, it could make sense to go with something else.

Size 18.8″ x 13.7″ x 5.1″
Weight 2.6 pounds
Material Canvas
Water Resistance Water resistant
Storage Features Padded laptop compartment
Strap Padded, removable, adjustable; backpack-style
Anti-Theft Features

6. Pacsafe Metrosafe Shoulder Bag

Pacsafe Metrosafe Shoulder Bag

Visit Amazon for more details

Price: $88.99

Compact Anti-Theft Bag for Going Out and About

This bag is built for peace of mind. Not only does it have a ton of safety features (see the table below), but it also has enough pockets for you to have a dedicated spot for everything. It’s also much more low-key than other anti-theft bags.

This bag is definitely smaller than your typical messenger bag, but it can still hold up to an 11″ laptop. If you’re looking for something that’s easy to bring with you on a day-to-day basis, this could be a good pick.

Size 13.8″ x 10.2″ x 4.3″
Weight 1.2 pounds
Material Nylon
Water Resistance Water resistant
Storage Features 2 padded laptop/tablet compartments
Strap Padded, removable, adjustable
Anti-Theft Features Locking compartments, slash-proof body and strap, RFID safe pocket

5. Osprey FlapJack Courier Day Pack

Osprey FlapJack Courier Day Pack

Visit Amazon for more details

Price: $74.89

Massive Capacity without the Bulk

If you find yourself carrying a lot of bulky things–umbrellas, cameras, souvenirs, snacks–this bag could be for you. It has a deceptively massive main compartment and won’t look odd with irregularly shaped things in it like other bags might.

Even though it holds a lot, it’s very loosely structured so that it won’t take up much space when not full. However, the main compartment doesn’t have a zipper, which might be an issue for you, though there are zippered pockets inside.

Size 18″ x 15″ x 10″
Weight 1.8 pounds
Material Nylon
Water Resistance Weather resistant
Storage Features Padded laptop compartment
Strap Padded, adjustable
Anti-Theft Features

4. Komal’s Passion Leather Vintage Briefcase

Komal's Passion Leather Vintage Briefcase

Visit Amazon for more details

Price: $69.99

Handsome, High-Quality Leather to Last Years

If you’re looking for something that’ll look good in your Instagram pictures, this leather bag could be it. Unlike most all-leather messenger bags, this one has a zipped main compartment as well as several other zippered pockets for security.

It’s made from high-quality leather that will last for years and look better and better over time. However, it is quite heavy, so keep that in mind when considering whether you want to use it as your main day pack.

Size 18″ x 13″ x 5″
Weight 5 pounds
Material Leather
Water Resistance
Storage Features
Strap Padded, adjustable, removable
Anti-Theft Features

3. Vaschy Small Messenger Bag

Vaschy Small Messenger Bag

Visit Amazon for more details

Price: $41.99

Simple, Slim Day Bag

This bag would be great for those looking for a good-looking day bag to hold essentials, with space to pick up more along the way. It has enough space for a full-sized tablet or even a 13-inch laptop, but it would be a tight fit.

It has a slimmer profile than most bags, ensuring that it never gets in the way, and it doesn’t have an excess of pockets, which could be good for those looking more for simplicity.

Size 12.6″ x 12″ x 2.8″
Weight 2.2 pounds
Material Canvas and leather
Water Resistance
Storage Features Padded tablet compartment, back pocket
Strap Adjustable, removable
Anti-Theft Features

2. Ibagbar Canvas Laptop Messenger Bag

ibagbar Canvas Laptop Messenger Bag

Visit Amazon for more details

Price: $28.99

Affordable, Medium-Sized Messenger

This bag can hold up to a 14-inch laptop while remaining small enough to not look like a laptop bag. It’s made from quality canvas with reinforced stitching and can withstand years of regular use.

All of the pockets are deep and roomy, and several of them are zippered, so you don’t have to worry about things slipping out. Essentially, if you’re looking for a functional, affordable bag for daily use, this bag has it all.

Size 15″ x 12″ x 5″
Weight 1.5 pounds
Material Canvas
Water Resistance
Storage Features Padded laptop compartment, back pocket
Strap Adjustable
Anti-Theft Features

1. Timbuk2 Command Messenger Bag

Timbuk2 Command Messenger Bag

Visit Amazon for more details

Price: $74.99

Commute- and Travel-Friendly Bag

This is a solid all-around messenger bag that will take you from the airport to the streets. It has a spacious main compartment with secure flap hooks to ensure that it never opens when you don’t want it to as well as easy access side zippers.

It has a loop on the back that allows it to latch to your rolling luggage in transit and comes with an extra cross-body strap to help stabilize the bag against you when on a bike or scooter.

Size 17.1″ x 14.4″ x 5.1″
Weight 2.7 pounds
Material Nylon
Water Resistance Weatherproof
Storage Features Padded tablet compartment, easy access zippers, back pocket
Strap Padded, adjustable, removable; additional cross-body strap for stabilization
Anti-Theft Features

Tips to Keep Your Belongings Safe During Travel

Tips to Keep Your Belongings Safe During Travel

While we all know fairly well how to keep ourselves and our belongings safe at home, it can be a lot harder when we’re traveling, especially if it’s to somewhere unfamiliar with a different set of cultural norms and unwritten rules. To keep your things safe, keep the following in mind.

When in transit, never put your valuables (wallet, passport, laptop, etc.) in the overhead compartment. Keep those on your person, or at least under the seat in front of you. When you’re out for the day, keep your passport, extra cash, and other valuables locked up at your hotel or hostel.

Don’t hang your bag on the back of your chair while you’re dining. Instead, keep it on your lap or between your feet with your leg through the strap. While walking, keep one hand draped over your bag, and always orient your bag so that the zipper is in front of you.

Summary

Having a good bag can make or break a trip (too small and you’ll end up carrying extra things in your arms, too large and you could strain yourself), so it’s important to keep your needs in mind and realize that sometimes you’ll have to make some compromises when it comes to looks or features.

By Jacqueline Oshiro

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