Best Bike Messenger Bags: Carry Your Gear Around in Style

These bike messenger bags are both stylish and convenient

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Riding your bike is a fantastic way to reduce your carbon footprint, get a little exercise, and have some fun on your daily commute. However, one big problem is where to put all your stuff. These messenger bags solve that issue nicely, as they can securely hold your gear while making you look stylish to boot. They’re great for anyone who wants to ride to work without running the risk of showing up unprepared.

  • Best Overall
    Timbuk2 Command Messenger Bag
    Summary
    Summary

    Available in a wide variety of colors, this stylish case boasts plenty of easily-accessible zippered pockets and an internal organizer.

    Pros
    Pros

    An excellent choice for anyone lugging around a laptop, it has an external zippered pocket for quick access to your cables and cords. A lined floating pocket can protect fragile valuables.

    Cons
    Cons

    The hooks that attach the strap to the bag are large, overly bulky, and difficult to undo. The water bottle sleeve is a little snug, especially when the bag is full, making it frustrating to remove or return your drink.

  • Best Value
    Timbuk2 Classic Messenger Bag
    Summary
    Summary

    The double-loop cam buckle on this option makes it easy to adjust on the go, while the mesh strap pad reduces the likelihood of overheating during your commute.

    Pros
    Pros

    This bag is excellent for use in inclement weather, as it has a waterproof liner and corners that fold in to protect any gear you’re carrying. When everything is securely fastened, it offers a sleek, streamlined look with clean lines.

    Cons
    Cons

    When everything is buckled up, getting into the bag can be a time-consuming process. This can be frustrating, especially since it doesn’t offer much in the way of exterior pockets.

  • Honorable Mention
    Rapiddominance Classic Military Messenger Bag
    Summary
    Summary

    Made of pure cotton canvas with a polyester lining, this model sports reinforced seams, brass rivets, and seven secure pockets.

    Pros
    Pros

    Large side pockets are great for holding bottles of water or umbrellas, and the front compartments enable you to quickly reach often-used items, like keys or credit cards.

    Cons
    Cons

    The zippers aren’t terribly durable and can break if the pockets are stuffed too full. It has a general lack of structure, so it won’t hold its shape well when you set it down.

Tips

  • Think about how you will carry the bag while you ride. Some can be slung across your torso, while others can ride on your back like a traditional backpack. Some can be hooked onto the bicycle itself. 
  • Sizes vary wildly, so consider how much stuff you want to carry with you. If you need to carry a laptop and a ton of accessories, make sure the bag you get can accommodate all of it. Otherwise, a smaller bag may be a smarter choice, as it’s less likely to weigh you down and limit your mobility.
  • If you tend to be rough and occasionally take a tumble when you ride, it may be worth investing in a bag with extra padding to protect your valuables. 

FAQs

Q: Are messenger bags suitable for use in any weather?

A: Some are made with waterproof fabrics, but that’s not a universal quality. Others are made of cotton or other materials that can let moisture seep through. Also, not all messenger bags have pockets that can be completely sealed, so make sure yours shuts tightly before taking it out in the rain.

Q: What’s the difference between a messenger bag and a pannier?

A: Messenger bags are worn by the rider, usually across the torso. Panniers are like saddlebags. They drape over the bike itself rather than the cyclist. Panniers are better for carrying large, bulky objects, but they’re difficult to carry when you’re not actively riding.

Q: Do I need a bag with reflective material on it?

A: Not necessarily, although a few added safety features never hurt. If you have reflectors on the bike, you can probably forgo putting them in your bag. Just be sure the bag doesn’t block them while you ride.

Final Thoughts

The Timbuk2 Command Messenger Bag is both stylish and versatile, and its pockets are thoughtfully designed to make your life easier both on and off your bike.

If you often have to ride through nasty conditions, the Timbuk2 Classic Messenger Bag does an excellent job of protecting any gear you have stored inside, thanks to its clever, weather-resistant design.