Everyday Carry: The Best Briefcases and Messenger Bags for Lugging Around Your Stuff in Style

Topo Commuter-bag

A man used to get away with carrying everything he needs in a pocket, but between laptops, tablets, large headphones– pockets just won’t cut it anymore. We’ve put together some of our favorite briefcases and messenger bags that will ensure you look collected and sophisticated as you carry all that junk around.

Moleskine ID Messenger Bag ($149)

Moleskine ID messenger bag

You may know them better for their leather notebooks Picasso and Hemingway were famous for using, but they’ve got a wide arrange of amazing products, including bags. The bags are simple, chic, and highly functional. Designed with a subtle nod to the iconic notebook, the ID Messenger bag has rounded edges and an elastic closure. Made of water-resistant nylon and canvas, these bags look damn good even while taking a beating as it carries your laptop, wallet, book(s), phone, keys, and all the other random stuff that inevitably collects in bags. This is a perfect, versatile bag for city dwellers, travelers, and freelancers who bounce from coffeehouse office to coffeehouse office.

Waltzing Matilda Tom’s Messenger Bag ($450)

Waltzing Matilda Tom's Messenger Bag

This company offers handcrafted leather goods and started in the back of founder Mike Balitaris’ VW van. The guys at Waltzing Matilda (named for the Tom Waits version of the song) do their best to use only recycled materials and create products that are made to last– like their handsome Tom’s Messenger bag. It, too, is named for Tom Waits (sensing a theme?). Made of a thicker leather usually reserved for boots, this bag can handle it all and gets better looking the more it is used. Perfectly at home in the office or wandering through the Algerian Casbah, this is a no-frills, timeless rugged bag that will be sure to get you and your stuff where you need to go. Fandom of Tom Waits not required.

Mission Mercantile’s Benjamin Briefcase ($550)

mission mercantile benjamin briefcase

Perhaps you want a bag so timeless, so obsessively well-crafted you’ll be able to pass it down to your children and grandchildren who will be carrying god knows what in the future. Meet the Benjamin Briefcase: modeled on a 1930s attaché case that will never go out of style. The guys at Mission Mercantile found the bag’s inspiration in London and named their version for Benjamin Franklin. The briefcase manages to be classic without making you look like you’re an extra in a PBS drama, but is modified to perfectly fit things like a laptop, has a special pocket for your cellphone, pens and business cards, and has a great suede interior. Mission Mercantile even found the same company to create the same lock as the original. You’re going to love this bag so much you might find excuses to carry it around even when you don’t really need it.

Moore & Giles’ Haythe Commuter Bag ($875)

Moore and Giles' Haythe Commuter bag

This bag requires a caveat: it’s so beloved, so popular, so in demand that the company has trouble keeping it in stock. So, if you click on the site and see it’s currently back-ordered, be dogged, be determined, be quick of mouse, and you, too, shall be rewarded with a Haythe Commuter. You have a variety of pockets at your disposal with the Haythe and an interior partitioned off to neatly organize everything from your gadgets to your papers. It’s got a vintage feel to it, but is perfectly adapted to modern life, easily slipping onto the handle of your rolling luggage to keep you on the go without exhausted shoulders. Its rugged leather is tanned in Northern Italy and is sturdy enough to take all your daily-life abuse.

Topo Designs’ Commuter Briefcase ($189)

Topo Designs Commuter Bag

In these uncertain modern days, there are times that call for briefcases and times that call for backpacks, often in the same day. What do do? Stuff an empty backpack in your briefcase just in case? Sure, maybe, or go for Topo’s Commuter Briefcase which is both! This versatile, casual-yet-sophisticated bag converts from briefcase, to messenger bag, to backpack effortlessly. You’ll be hard pressed to find a situation this bag can’t live up to: it’s got a leather base and is made of hardy 1000D Cordura fabric, which resists mildew, fade, abrasion, etc. yet still looks and feels like a natural fiber. It’s three fantastically useful bags in one!

To Boot New York Backpack Cognac ($695)

To Boot New York backpack Cognac

It can be difficult to be the kind of guy who wants his hands and arms free as he lugs his stuff around. A Jansport backpack is a bit out of place after college, so what do you do if a backpack is your preferred method of travel? You look to To Boot New York and order their incredible backpack. It’s made of Italian calf leather, lined with canvas and is ready and willing to carry your laptop, books, wallet, phone, keeps, hell, even gym equipment, in a decadent yet shockingly simple way. It’s everything you want in a backpack minus the Panic At The Disco lyrics you scribbled on in Sharpie in 11th grade. One look at you and your hands-free, padded-shoulder-strapped-soft-leather backpack and you might just start a bag revolution…