If I’m out and about and I don’t have a bag slung across my body, I feel naked and unprepared. It’s like venturing into a dungeon without any health potions. What if I need ChapStick? Did I bring ChapStick? How can I fit my phone, keys, and face mask all in the truncated pockets of my jeans? Where do I put the cool rock I just found? Extra storage capacity is essential to my everyday carry, and being able to swing the bag around to the front and grab anything I need is crucial. Backpacks are better for heavy loads or all-day trekking, but for lightweight everyday needs, the best messenger bags are hard to beat.
Be sure to check out all our buying guides, including the Best Backpacks for Work, Best Totes and Purses, Best Bags Made of Recycled Materials, Best Fanny Packs, and Best Camera Bags.
Updated July 2023: We added the Bellroy Tokyo, the Wandrd Rogue, and an explainer on messenger bags.