Selection of Messenger Bags

 Vintage Classic Heavy Weight Army Messenger BagVintage Classic Heavy Weight Army Messenger BagKenneth Cole Risky Business Messenger BagKenneth Cole Risky Business Messenger BagTimbuk2 Classic 2014 Messenger BagTimbuk2 Classic 2014 Messenger BagPassion Leather Handmade Leather Messenger BagPassion Leather Handmade Leather Messenger BagGootium 21108 Cotton Canvas Leather Messenger BagGootium 21108 Cotton Canvas Leather Messenger Bag
PriceCheck Price »Check Price »Check Price »Check Price »Check Price »
Shoulder strapYesYesYesYesYes
AccessoriesNoNoNoNoNo
ColorVariousVariousVariousBrownVarious
LeatherNoYesNoYesYes
Fits laptopsYesYesYesYesYes
Inner/outer compartmentsYesYesInnerYesYes
Ideal forCarrying heavy itemsCarrying lots of itemsCarrying many itemsCarrying many itemsCarrying lots of items
Closure systemVelcroMagnetsClipsBucklesBuckles
DurableYesYesYesYesYes
LightweightYesYesYesNoYes
WeatherproofModeratelyModeratelyYesYesModerately
Dedicated storage pocketsYesYesYesYesYes
Easy to cleanYesHand washYesNoYes
Briefcase handleNoYesNoNoNo
Interior padding/liningYesYesYesYesYes
 Vintage Classic Heavy Weight Army Messenger BagVintage Classic Heavy Weight Army Messenger BagKenneth Cole Risky Business Messenger BagKenneth Cole Risky Business Messenger BagTimbuk2 Classic 2014 Messenger BagTimbuk2 Classic 2014 Messenger BagPassion Leather Handmade Leather Messenger BagPassion Leather Handmade Leather Messenger BagGootium 21108 Cotton Canvas Leather Messenger BagGootium 21108 Cotton Canvas Leather Messenger Bag

Messenger Bag Buying Guide

Updated: January 1, 2017

Messenger Bag Buying Guide on Amazon

Messenger Bag Buying Guide

Why choose a messenger bag over other types? The reason, pure and simple, is that they are big!

They’re also very stylish, so put the two together and you will have a gorgeous bag that is also practical.

Buying a messenger bag isn’t as simple as you may initially think – principally because there is such a wide range of them and many focus on different features as their selling point, such as the number of pockets it has, or whether you can still carry it if you are a cyclist.

Many manufacturers of messenger bags see their target consumers as both men and women, which is easy to achieve because a messenger bag is androgynous and an appealing factor.

Many manufacturers of messenger bags see their target consumers as both men and women, which is easy to achieve because a messenger bag is androgynous and an appealing factor.

The purpose of a messenger bag is to offer functionality, which means being able to carry lots of things ranging from sports gear to student and business equipment – but it doesn’t hurt when they look good too, which is why there are many variations on a basic style.

If you travel a lot, a messenger bag could be the perfect answer to carrying all that you need with you. Not only are they great for road trips but they are useful as a carry on when you fly.

Because there are so many to choose from, however, we advise that you do some through research before you make your final decision so that you pick a messenger bag that best suits your lifestyle and requirements.

Choosing The Right Messenger Bag

2-messenger-bag-buying-guide-choiceWhen you start shopping for a messenger bag, it pays to consider what you actually want it for – and what your budget is. It is possible to get these bags to suit all pockets, and with particular features that are better suited for some people more than others.

For example, do you want your bag to carry one or more laptops and all your school books or documents? Does it need to look professional enough to take into a board meeting? Do you want it to say something about your style?

Some of these pockets can be inside the bag itself, others may be located on the outside and either be covered with the flap of the messenger bag or have their own zipper closure.

If you are likely to be carrying lots of gadgets and their accessories, then it would probably better for you to have a messenger bag that has lots of individual pockets so that you can find things easily.

Some of these pockets can be inside the bag itself, others may be located on the outside and either be covered with the flap of the messenger bag or have their own zipper closure. These external pockets are useful – do you want to go rummaging every time you want your cell?

Think, too, about the fabric of your messenger bag. Leather ones can scuff but for many people this adds to the charm, especially if they soften over time. Other messenger bags can be canvas or polyester – and some are a combination of leather and canvas.

Leather messenger bags tend to be heavier than others, so this is a consideration too. If an empty bag weighs 3lbs or 4lbs, then what will its weight be when it is full? Some messenger bags weigh as little as 1lb.

Some messenger bags are more weatherproof than others. In fact, some manufacturers have made weatherproofing a feature of their bags – not only is the overall fabric resistant to rain but they also have inner folds at the corners so no water can infiltrate them.

Messenger Bag Buying Specifications

Does it have a shoulder strap?

3-messenger-bag-buying-guide-shoulder-strapA shoulder strap is an important feature of a messenger bag, but it needs to have been designed right. The purpose of a messenger bag is its ability to hold lots of things – and a multitude of items means that potentially, this bag is going to get heavy.

With this in mind, look for a shoulder strap that isn’t too narrow. Something less than two inches wide is likely to cut into your shoulder and create a painful welt. Of course, you could keep switching shoulders, but who wants that?

The comfort offered by a shoulder strap also comes from whether or not it has any padding.

The comfort offered by a shoulder strap also comes from whether or not it has any padding. In many instances, it is just the part that sits on your shoulder that has this feature but it does make a difference.

It pays, however, to do some research on this. Either go in-store to check out the padding, or read reviews before you buy, because some shoppers say that the padding on some messenger bags is lumpy and therefore does more harm than good.

Being able to adjust the strap on your messenger bag is important, too. It’s not simply a case of whether you are tall or short so you want your bag to look right, it’s also to do with comfort.

For many people, that means the bag will sit in the hollow of their back. Not only does a bag seem to fit here quite naturally, but if it is heavy it can also provide lumbar support.

Of course, there will be times that you won’t need the shoulder strap and you will want to hold your messenger bag by the handle. Before you buy, it is worth checking to see if the shoulder strap is detachable – you don’t want it swinging and tripping you up.

Are any accessories included?

4-messenger-bag-buying-guide-accessoriesThere are a number of accessories that could be included with a messenger bag, but check carefully before falling for marketing tricks that claim that a bag has an accessory when it is something that you would expect to get anyway.

For example, the shoulder strap that we have just talked about is a necessity for a messenger bag but some manufacturers try to big their bags up by claiming you’re getting something extra for your money – don’t fall for it.

Other accessories are more genuine – and some come automatically with your messenger bag, and some you need to pay extra for should you want them.

Other accessories are more genuine – and some come automatically with your messenger bag, and some you need to pay extra for should you want them.

If you are going to be using your messenger bag to tote your laptop on a regular basis, then you may be interested in a sleeve that has been designed to offer extra protection. Simply slip over your laptop before you put it into your bag.

Some manufacturers will supply complementary protection for the messenger bag itself. This tends to be for more expensive products (but not necessarily astronomically so) and will take the shape of a drawstring bag for storage.

A wallet is another accessory that is not unusual. These tend to be just big enough to store your credit cards and any cash you take out for the day, and are useful because you know exactly where to find your money without rummaging through all the pockets in your bag.

If you live in an area where it isn’t unusual to get caught in the rain, then you may be interested in buying a messenger bag that also offers an umbrella – saves getting to that important meeting or presentation looking half drowned!

Are the inner compartments padded or lined?

5-messenger-bag-buying-guide-paddingIf you are going to carrying valuable items in your messenger bag, such as a laptop, then at the very least it should have a lining in order to offer some protection against bumps and bangs.

Many manufacturers, however, are aware that this is what people will use their bags for and so offer some level of padding. Again, this is something that should be researched before you buy to see what other shoppers’ experiences have been.

The reason for this is that some messenger bags simply have padding on the bottom of the bag so that your valuables are protected when you put the bag down.

The reason for this is that some messenger bags simply have padding on the bottom of the bag so that your valuables are protected when you put the bag down. Other bags just have one pocket that is padded.

You may find a messenger bag that has a middle inner pocket that has been designated for your laptop – and the manufacturer makes the assumption that because it is central it is safe.

That’s not necessarily the case, however, because it very much depends on what you have in the pockets either side of this one. If there is a risk that they could damage your laptop, then this inner pocket also needs to be padded.

If padding isn’t going to be a big deal for you, then you should still look for a messenger bag that has a sturdy lining. It is extremely irritating to search for items that have slipped underneath a torn lining, especially if you are in a hurry.

A torn lining can also compromise the integrity of the bag. If there is no layer of protection between the things that you carry and the fabric the bag is made of, then eventually they will start to rub and damage your bag.

Is the messenger bag easy to clean?

6-messenger-bag-buying-guide-easy-to-cleanOne of the selling points of many messenger bags is just how durable they are, and how you will be using it for years to come. Stands to reason then, that after all those years of use it’s going to get grubby.

How easy it is to keep clean will depend upon what it is made from. Some manufacturers include washing instructions with their bags so you won’t be in any doubt but others don’t bother, so common sense has to prevail.

There are some messenger bags that will be able to go through a gentle cycle in your washing machine but unless the manufacturer specifically says you can, then it is not advisable.

For example, you wouldn’t dream of putting a leather messenger bag into the washing machine, but you can buy leather cleaners that are suitable for this type of accessory. Of course, if it’s leather, you may decide you like the more worn look.

There are some messenger bags that will be able to go through a gentle cycle in your washing machine but unless the manufacturer specifically says you can, then it is not advisable.

There are reasons for this. For example, some elements of your messenger bag may be held together with adhesive that will come apart if it is exposed to excessive water and a soap solution.

Even if you are convinced that this isn’t the case with your messenger bag, there may be other problems, such as the color running. If your bag has contrasting colors, then this will ruin it, but the best scenario would be patchy fading.

If you are in any doubt, the best way to keep your messenger bag clean would be to sponge it. Use a damp cloth and gently apply it to the areas that need to be cleaned. Do this regularly before there is a massive build-up of grime and your bag will stay clean.

Is it a durable messenger bag?

7-messenger-bag-buying-guide-durableDurability should be the keynote to a messenger bag, but of course, not all manufacturers are made equal – and there are a lot of forgeries on the market whose creators are only interested in making a fast buck – after all, it isn’t their reputation that will be damaged!

It is usually possible to tell if a messenger bag is a counterfeit – check out the special features of the real item and see whether the one that you are thinking of buying has them all – any deviations mean you’re not getting the real deal and it is less likely to be durable.

Check the place where the stitching comes to an end – has it been reinforced properly so it won’t come undone.

Counterfeit bags aside, there are other things to check to make sure that the messenger bag you like the look of will stand the test of time. For example, are the corners reinforced? These are often the first place that a bag will start to get damaged.

Have a look at the zippers. These should be strong (some manufacturers use reputable brands such as YKK zippers) and they should be sewn into place properly. Run the zipper up and down a few times to make sure that it doesn’t stick or look flimsy.

Stitching should be sound and there should be no places where the thread is loose, broken or simply runs off the fabric. Check the place where the stitching comes to an end – has it been reinforced properly so it won’t come undone.

Clasps, buckles and other fastenings, such as magnets, should be securely attached and made from sturdy materials that will stay the course; you need to keep the contents of your bag secure, so these need to be tough.

Check, to, that the shoulder strap on the messenger bag has been attached securely and isn't likely to come away from the bag – that could be a disaster waiting to happen otherwise.

Vintage Classic Heavy Weight Army Messenger Bag

Vintage Classic Heavy Weight Army Messenger Bag

That means a bag that is made from heavyweight materials, sturdy fastenings and has a reliable strap. Introducing the Vintage Classic Heavy Weight Army Messenger Bag Constructed from 22 ounce heavy cotton canvas, the Vintage Classic Heavy Weight Army Messenger Bag has a number of useful pockets for easy access. The Vintage Classic Heavy Weight Army […]

Pro: Easy velcro fastening
Con: Color may fade

Kenneth Cole Risky Business Messenger Bag

Kenneth Cole Risky Business Messenger Bag

The Kenneth Cole Risky Business Messenger Bag will do what it’s supposed to do while making a statement about what you’re about. Introducing the Kenneth Cole Risky Business Messenger Bag Choose between the short handle or a canvas adjustable strap to carry your Kenneth Cole Risky Business Messenger Bag. The Kenneth Cole Risky […]

Pro: Useful front pockets
Con: Imported product

Timbuk2 Classic 2014 Messenger Bag

Timbuk2 Classic 2014 Messenger Bag

With a look that is bang on trend, this bag sports retro appeal with a contemporary attraction. Introducing the Timbuk2 Classic 2014 Messenger Bag As with all Timbuk2 bags, the Classic 2014 messenger comes with a lifetime guarantee so you buy your bag with confidence. This messenger bag brings practicality and high quality design together, leaving you […]

Pro: Highly weatherproof
Con: No outside pocket

Passion Leather Handmade Leather Messenger Bag

Passion Leather Handmade Leather Messenger Bag

Establish what you need your messenger bag for and then you will discover it is much easier to find the right one. Introducing the Passion Leather Handmade Leather Messenger Bag There have been no chemicals used in the tanning of the leather used to make this bag, or dyes; the texture has been achieved by […]

Pro: Quality workmanship
Con: Handle is off-color

Gootium 21108 Cotton Canvas Leather Messenger Bag

Gootium 21108 Cotton Canvas Leather Messenger Bag

Very often, a bag is little more than an ornamental accessory, but there are times when we actually do need to carry stuff – and for that we want a proper messenger bag. Introducing the Gootium 21108 Cotton Canvas Leather Messenger Bag This Gootium messenger bag has been designed to tote your essentials while providing you with […]

Pro: Rain resistant
Con: Padding too one-sided

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