You’ve got your plane ticket all set. The itinerary’s locked in. What’s next? Packing your bag with crisp menswear travel essentials, of course. And it starts with none other than a super sturdy, dependable bag — the same is equally true whether you’re heading to the office then hopping on a flight, or just packing up and going. The best bags (that is, pieces that are stylish, functional and durable) can even pull double-duty when you’ve got extra gear to bring as you navigate everyday life — the office, happy hour and back home, repeat. None of the below are terribly cheap, but all of these picks are tough, sturdy, ready for anything .. oh, and they look great. Book your next flight, grab one of our 5 best spring bags, and hit road. There’ll be nobody reaching for your duffel at baggage claim — they’re one-of-a-kind.
Owen & Fred excels at making pieces that add a dash of unique, rugged style to everyday life — be it a sturdy brass bottle opener, a simple tote bag or this beastly waxed weekender bag (a new addition to the American-made brand’s roster). Finished off with 7 oz. harness leather straps and crafted from 10.10 oz. Martexin Original Waxed canvas, it’s a positively stunning weekender that’ll age extraordinarily over time.
Troubadour is working to find its foothold in the leather goods market, and with pieces like these, they’re knocking it out of the park. A blend of black nylon and natural, vegetable-tanned Italian leather creates a sleek, on-trend mixed-media look that’s cool enough to fit in as you navigate the city, and sleek enough to stow away sharply in overhead compartment. The bespoke hardware and rivet-reinforced straps add durability to key pressure points — worth every penny extra.
If much quicker jaunts or day trips are in order and something to carry the smaller parts of your daily haul is needed, snag a day pack that can do a bit of everything. The price is more than agreeable, the glow-in-the-dark reflectivity works quite well for nightly commutes or bike rides, and details like an internal self-storage pocket and comfortable adjustable webbing straps make it easy to toss this bag on and go.
If you want the durability and space of a weekender bag without the price point of some of the other options on this list, United By Blue has you set. The brand crafts its bags sustainably and also removes one pound of trash from oceans and waterways when you purchase it — that’s enough of a story on its own, even if this piece wasn’t finished off with antique brass hardware and waxed canvas set to break in as you use it.
Shinola E/W Messenger ($795)
Again, if a tough daily commute is in order, it pays to reach for a handsome leather messenger direct from the same brand who likely makes that sharp timepiece on your wrist. Shinola doesn’t skimp on quality or space, with stainless steel hardware and enough room to store a 15” laptop. Interior zipper and card pockets provide extra storage space, and the rich Deep Brown color provides stunning looks (and likely lots of compliments).