20 bags for work and travel

From wireless earbuds and tablets to portable chargers and an extra pair of socks, those trusty backpacks truly carry it all.

But, not just backpacks: for students and commuters, a messenger bag or briefcase will suit you just fine. Plus, the 20 best men’s bags we rounded up make excellent gifts for any time of year.

The over-shoulder essential is great for even weekend trips and hiking, providing comfort, support and, most of all, the ability to carry whatever you need for the day.

Our top selects include options from Amazon and Target, though there are a variety of investment-worthy styles at Bloomingdale’s and Saks Fifth Avenue.

Take a peek at the 20 best backpacks and bags for men we find fitting for work and travel. Oh, and browse our edit to the best work totes for more recommendations.

Click to jump to a specific men’s bag:

Best Men’s Backpacks

1. Matein Travel Laptop Backpack, $30, original price: $42

Matein Travel Laptop Backpack, gray and black

As an Amazon’s Choice product, you can’t go wrong with a match-all gray and black pack that is designed for travel. With a slot for your laptop — a must-have these days — it’s a sturdy, functional and safe option that comes in other colors, too.

2. Carhartt Legacy Classic Work Backpack, $43 to $65

Carhartt Legacy Classic Work Backpack, brown

We’re big fans of Carhartt, especially if you’re the outdoorsy type and adore hoodies and leggings. The brand’s natural brown backpack has a main compartment to house a laptop and tablet, along with contoured shoulder straps to keep you nice and comfortable for wherever you’re bringing it.

3. Herschel Little America Laptop Backpack, $110

Herschel Little America Laptop Backpack, black with brown straps

We adore Herschel’s Little America Laptop Backpack for having that minimalistic flair. Not only is it slim and ideal to transport but its exaggerated brown straps make it especially perfect for school and work.

4. Tumi Essential Backpack, $325

Tumi Essential Backpack, navy

Tumi’s Essential Backpack is an investment, but a good one at that. This gorgeous navy exterior is impressively roomy, made perfect by its modern black zippers and luxe feel. Plus, it also comes in navy if you’d like a different option for this many-pocketed traveler.

5. Polo Ralph Lauren Leather Backpack, $350

Polo Ralph Lauren Leather Backpack, black

Black leather will never fade out of style and Polo Ralph Lauren’s Leather Backpack is the investment piece that you’ll be thankful you purchased later. The lined interior, adjustable shoulder straps and dedicated spaces for your tiny travel essentials are a few reasons why we think it’s worth the splurge.

6. All In Motion Sporty Backpack, $30

All In Motion Sporty Backpack, blue

If you’re looking for a backpack you can toss things into without worrying about it getting a bit scratched up, All In Motion’s Sporty Backpack is for you. As its name suggests, it’s meant for recreation and can fit as many spiral notebooks as you want for school, too.

7. Fjallraven Kanken Classic Backpack, $80

Fjallraven Kanken Classic Backpack, green

As one of the most popular backpacks — both for its travel-friendly size and the variety of colors it comes in — Fjallraven’s Kanken Classic Backpack is one that’ll stay with you for years. With a rain flap to protect your items, it’s almost weather-proof and you can’t beat the comfort.

8. lululemon New Crew Backpack, $98

lululemon New Crew Backpack, brown

Whether you’re in need of a quality gym bag or one to commute with, lululemon’s New Crew Backpack is one of the most versatile options on this list. It’s made of water-repellent fabric, also comes in an all-black colorway and has dedicated spots to store your laptop and water bottle.

9. The North Face Borealis Nylon Backpack, $99

The North Face Borealis Nylon Backpack, black
Saks Fifth Avenue

Meet the backpack that truly never gets old. The North Face’s Borealis Nylon Backpack is the premier option if you want to store a bunch of things but don’t want it to lug in weight on your back. Its pull-in exterior straps make everything nice and compact and for that, we salute this trusty bestseller.

10. Troubadour Adventure Slipstream Backpack, $445

Troubadour Adventure Slipstream Backpack, gray
Saks Fifth Avenue

It’s time to put Troubadour’s Adventure Slipstream Backpack on your radar. Though it’s quite up there in price, the handsome brushed gray coupled with black detailing on the straps make it worth the buy. Oh, did we mention it has Italian leather trim?

Best Men’s Messenger Bags and Briefcases

1. Lubardy Leather Messenger Bag, $36, original price: $38


For a timeless messenger back you can bring to work (or anywhere, for that matter), pick up Lubardy’s Leather Messenger Bag. The supple textured leather exterior will hold up over time, too, and it comes in different tones to choose from on Amazon.

2. Matein Business Briefcase, $40

Matein Business Briefcase, light gray

As one of Amazon’s bestsellers, Matein’s Business Briefcase is a quality, less-than-$50 option. Though it comes in a darker gray, we especially like the heather gray look to accompany the black comfortable straps and front twin buckles.

3. Estarer Computer Messenger Bag, $44

Estarer Computer Messenger Bag, dark gray

With a more generous capacity than most, Estarer’s Computer Messenger Bag can probably store all of those tech gadgets you have: headphones, chargers and other necessities. Plus, the thick strap won’t strain your shoulders when commuting to and fro.

4. J World Nell Messenger Bag, $22

J World Nell Messenger Bag, navy

Resembling more of a portable cooler than a messenger bag is J World’s Nell. The affordable price point and goes-with-everything navy exterior make it great if you’re just looking for a simple bag to travel with.

5. Salvatore Ferragamo Revival Deep Ocean Document Bag, $1,590

Salvatore Ferragamo Revival Deep Ocean Document Bag
Saks Fifth Avenue

Much like designer clutches worth the splurge, Salvatore Ferragamo’s Revival Deep Ocean Document Bag is the pure luxury of briefcases. It’s the compact, quality design we suggest is a beat above the rest, especially for its silver-tone hardware and padded laptop compartment.

6. Fossil Evan Messenger, $120, original price: $300

Fossil Evan Messenger, brown

Fossil’s Evan Messenger taps into a high-end design without the extraordinarily priced ticket. This two-tone brown is a fabulous neutral choice, too, especially with its impressive capacity and gold hardware.

7. Vibrant Voyage Briefcase, $179

Vibrant Voyage Briefcase, navy
Maverick & Co.

Doubling as a travel carry-on is Maverick & Co.’s Vibrant Voyage Briefcase. It holds its shape well, has stunning brown handles and detailing, is waterproof and can fit your 15″ laptop just fine.

8. Timbuk2 Classic Messenger Bag, $79

Timbuk2 Classic Messenger Bag, army green

Timbuk2’s Classic Messenger Bag is a classic carry-all with a synthetic material that’s easy to wipe clean if dirt and debris find their way onto the surface. Plus, the colors to choose from are endless and, whatever shade suits your fancy, rest assured that they all come with smart straps attached to different compartments for extra security.

9. Frye Logan Messenger Bag, $498

Frye Logan Messenger Bag, dark brown

Frye’s Logan Messenger Bag is picture-perfect for fans of distressed leather, coming in both light and dark brown. It has an adjustable strap, an imported leather design and is quite roomy too, featuring two interior pockets and even pockets for your card and pen.

10. CoolBell Convertible Messenger Bag, $50

CoolBell Convertible Messenger Bag, black and brown

CoolBell’s Convertible Messenger Bag is another versatile pick, coming in a variety of neutral colors — including a handsome plum —and with a lightweight design. Not to mention, its laptop compartment is clad with a telescopic belt to provide more protection to your valuables.

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