Your laptop is a serious investment, and traveling with it, whether to the office or another country, requires protection. Backpacks and sleeves are fine, but some people prefer the shoulder straps and extra storage that messenger bags provide. We've rounded up some of the best messenger options to help you decide which one you and your laptop need most.
Peak Design Everyday Messenger
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The Everyday Messenger from Peak Design is first and foremost a camera bag, so you can imagine the space it has within, and a front pocket outside of the main compartment has eight color-coded pouches for easy storage of the small stuff you need most. The main compartment contains adjustable padded dividers to hold cameras — or whatever else you're lugging, such as water bottles and books — and a zippered, padded sleeve for your laptop. There are 13-inch and 15-inch sizes, so make sure you grab the one that fits your specific laptop.
Laptop Mag had this to say about the bag:
For cyclists, the quick-adjust strap lets you position the bag where you want, and the clasp on the main flap keeps your messenger closed until you want it open. Although it is on the pricier side, at about $220, this bag is versatile and will last you for years to come. Grab it if you're in the market for something that can handle not only your laptop but also all the gear that might go along with it.
Brenthaven Collins Vertical Messenger
When heading out to run errands or visit the local coffee shop, you don't always need a full-sized messenger for your slim laptop. That's where the Brenthaven Collins Vertical Messenger comes in. Surface owners take note: this bag is designed specifically for your devices. There's a dedicated Surface Mouse pouch and even a pen holder on the inside so it doesn't get pushed to the bottom when you add a book or two and some other accessories. Daniel Rubino, executive editor of Windows Central, said this in his review:
There is a zippered pouch on the top flap, a pocket on the front of the bag, a good-sized main compartment, and a pouch on the back that you can stuff the shoulder strap into when you feel like using the handle. This is the perfect bag for a quick outing that doesn't require any large accessories. And don't forget, this stylish little thing will also fit other 13-inch and 14-inch laptops.
Evecase Laptop Messenger
Copping a messenger bag for your laptop and other electronics doesn't mean you have to set aside a paycheck. The Evecase messenger bag is only about $25, but it has a 4.5-star rating on Amazon with more than 1,250 reviews.
There are plenty of sizes to fit all laptops no matter their dimensions. This messenger bag has a zippered compartment lined with bubbled neoprene to keep your device safe, and zippered compartments on the front and back let you store your other small electronics. Handles on the top and a padded shoulder strap mean you can carry it how you want.
This bag is perfect for anyone who has a laptop to carry around but doesn't need anything that costs hundreds of dollars.
Waterfield Field Muzetto
If the Brenthaven Collins Vertical Messenger piqued your interest but you need something a little more deluxe, the Field Muzetto is probably the bag you're looking for. These bags are handmade in San Francisco from waxed, cotton canvas that repels water to keep your electronics safe. Windows Central's Rubino has been using this bag for years:
A front pouch lets you store the small things you use most, and a zippered inner pocket keeps things separate from the padded laptop compartment. Most 13-inch laptops should have no problem fitting in the medium size, but the large size should be selected if you have a 15-inch device.
While this bag isn't exactly cheap — expect to pay about $190 for a medium size — you're getting a durable, stylish bag that is perfect for anyone who loves the vertical look and needs something professional.
Timbuk 2 Commute Messenger
While the Timbuk2 Commute can be used by anyone, the water-bottle pocket on the outside, waterproof interior, and the reflective tags seem to be geared toward cyclists.
Highly rated on both Amazon (4.5 stars and more than 300 reviews) and the Timbuk2 official website (4.5 stars and more than 130 reviews), this bag can fit your laptop, your accessories and a few books with room to spare. The best part might just be that it comes with a lifetime warranty.
Labeled as TSA-friendly, the laptop pouch on this bag folds out so you don't have to pull your electronics all the way out when going through security — those plastic trays aren't exactly soft on your laptop.
If you're a cyclist looking for a messenger bag, you might find it tough to pass on the Timbuk2 Commute.
Topo Designs Commuter Briefcase
The Commuter Briefcase from Topo Designs, handmade in Colorado, is a versatile, multipurpose bag thanks to leather-padded handles on top, backpack straps that can be hidden in a pouch on the back, and your standard shoulder strap that detaches when you don't need it. Although the bag has a bit of an identity crisis, it does its job well no matter how you use it. Tools & Toys had this to say:
A large main compartment is closed with a zipper — there's no flap like traditional messenger bags — and a compartment inside keeps your laptop safe. There is also a large zippered compartment on the front for stuff you use often, and the bottom is made of leather to better resist the elements.
Available in a few different colors, the Commuter Briefcase is perfect for anyone looking for something to fit their style and that can be used in a number of ways.
Timbuk2 Custom Prospect Messenger
Sometimes choosing a bag can be difficult — you want one color here, you want a feature there, and you love the size of that other one. Timbuk2 has you covered with its Custom Prospect. Choose what each section the bag is made from to suit its purpose — weather-resistant, reflective, nylon or canvas — and select the specific color for each section. You can go as expressive or as subdued as you want.
An easily adjustable shoulder strap lets you cinch it up tight or let it hang low, and the handles on top let you carry it at your side. A front pocket gives you storage for the small stuff you use most, and the main compartment has a zippered pouch and a laptop pocket for safe keeping. The spacious interior rolls down to close and is held in place with straps for a briefcase look, or it can be folded over the entire bag for that classic messenger look.
Anyone who wants to build their own bag should definitely check out the Timbuk2 Custom Prospect. They start at about $100, which is a steal considering they're backed by a lifetime warranty.
If messenger bags are not quite your style, you'll want to check out these other quality options:
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Cale Hunt is formerly a Senior Editor at Windows Central. He focuses mainly on laptop reviews, news, and accessory coverage. He's been reviewing laptops and accessories full-time since 2016, with hundreds of reviews published for Windows Central. He is an avid PC gamer and multi-platform user, and spends most of his time either tinkering with or writing about tech.