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Do you remember #workingfromhome? Thanks to the pandemic, we changed our style, and shouldn’t our carryalls and work bags get an upgrade too?
Modern work bags for men are more versatile than ever. Just as we embraced athleisure wear for back to work style, messenger bags, briefcases and the like are a lot more relaxed these days without sacrificing style. The new modern re-styled briefcase is nothing like the clunky hard-side box your grandfather lugged around. These new briefcases are flexible, made to carry almost anything, and some even convert into a backpack or messenger bag.
As the briefcase has moved into a more casual style, backpacks have also upgraded their style game to move beyond the schoolyard. In fact, we’ve seen a major evolution in the types of bags worn by men over the past two decades, and for one simple reason: the laptop.
As laptops have become ubiquitous, so too have work bags for men, as guys need a secure and professional way to carry around their work computer and EDC items. Today, you can find a variety of backpacks, sling bags, messenger bags, briefcases and hybrid work bags for men. Most often, men’s work bags come in darker colors like black, gray or forest green, and because they’re taken into the workplace, you don’t see many prints or bright colors.
Regardless of what job helps you bring home the bacon, we’ve gathered the best work bags for men to carry it in.
1. Day Owl The Backpack
It’s such a great backpack that we at SPY dubbed it one of the best men’s products of 2021. Site Director Tim Werth gave it a road test, writing, “The first day that I tested this backpack I got caught in a really annoying surprise rainstorm, which was actually perfect for product testing purposes. When I got to work, my laptop and clothes were still dry, and the backpack itself dried out quickly. Seriously, I love this bag.”
After more than six months of use, we’re still impressed. This backpack has tons of pockets, a spot for a water bottle and a padded laptop sleeve. It comes in nine colors too.
2. Timbuk2 Especial Stash Messenger Bag
Messenger bag men, listen up: we’ve found the perfect work bag. Commuters will appreciate the Timbuk2 Especial Stash, but it’s sleek all-black design makes it a great general-purpose work bag for men. It’s water-resistant and has a fully waterproof 15-inch laptop case inside. If you’re biking everywhere, you’ll love the reflective tape on the outside flap. Like all of the best work bags for men, in addition to its main laptop compartment, it’s also got lots of interior space and pockets for your EDC.
3. Bellroy Tokyo Totepack
Bellroy makes the best men’s wallets in the world, at least according to our style editors, and the EDC brand recently expanded with a new line of stylish work bags for men. In particular, we’re loving the Bellroy Tokyo Totepack, which is the best work bag for guys that need to haul a laptop, gym clothes, documents and other items. Like the brand’s famous wallets, these bags have a reasonable price tag, so if you’re looking for the best work bags under $200, this is another excellent option.
Read More: Bellroy Debuts New EDC Bag Collection
4. Ted Baker London Nevver Striped PU Leather Document Bag
BEST DESIGNER DEAL
British designer Ted Baker has a host of men’s bags for work and play. We chose to highlight this document bag as the absolute best deal. We liked the sporty, almost retro vibes the stripes gave off. It’s a document bag and a messenger bag. It has a padded laptop sleeve, interior zippered and sleeve pockets and an outside back luggage sleeve. Most importantly, it’s slim and will force you into carrying only what you really need to deal with. Think of this bag as a tool designed to help you create a healthy work/life balance while looking good.
5. Troubadour Basecamp Backpack
If you’re a city dweller, meet your dream work bag. Made from 100% natural vegetable-tanned leather, this smart and sleek rolltop backpack will turn heads in the best way. For starters, we love a rolltop’s ability to offer flexibility when it comes to packing. Bringing an extra jacket to the office for after-work drinks? This thing can expand to allow you more room on top of your daily work essentials. But beyond that, this work bag is handsome, plain and simple. It’s not loaded up with ugly pockets or lines but instead favors simplicity while delivering a bag that can house essentials, a 16″ laptop and even a water bottle.
6. Filson Dryden Leather-Trimmed Nylon Briefcase
BEST DUAL PURPOSE
Exec on the outside, gym rat on the inside. That’s one way to describe the personality of Filson’s Dryden briefcase. Made with ballistic nylon and trimmed with vegetable-tanned leather, this sturdy briefcase has room for both a laptop and gym gear. In fact, this briefcase can fill up to 10 liters worth of whatever you need to stuff in it.
7. Mission Workshop Monty Messenger Bag
Mission Workshop has a reputation for quality, and the company has a great line of men’s bags for travel, commuting and EDC. The Monty Messenger Bag comes in a variety of colors and has a reasonable sub$200 price tag. The main compartment features a weatherproof roll top, but it can also be used in a more traditional “flap down” configuration. Thanks to its weatherproof construction and heavy-duty accessories, it’s also a durable and commuter-friendly bag. Most importantly, it has enough room for your 15-inch laptop, gym clothes and lunch.
8. Haneda Want Les Essentiels
Sleek meets durable with this smooth nylon work bag. Don’t let the slim exterior fool you — this leather-trimmed briefcase has room to fit a 15″ laptop plus other important office essentials like charging cords and notebooks can be kept in the interior pockets and slots. But it’s the polished silver hardware against the midnight black bag that really elevates the entire look.
Read More: Best Briefcases for Lawyers
9. State Graham Tote Bag
BEST TOTE BAG
Sleek and sophisticated, this tote bag has million-dollar looks and a decent price tag. But looks aren’t everything. Want to know how good this bag is? One reviewer wrote “I was able to fit in my 16-inch laptop and a couple of shirts and sneakers. This was a great purchase, and I’ll be buying another.” Made of durable nylon, this deep tote bag was designed for anyone on the go. There’s an interior pocket and a luggage slip sleeve on the back.
10. Nixon Mode Pack
The main body is made from recycled bottles picked up along the coastline, a process called 600D polyester REPREVE® Our Ocean. The interior is lined with 200D recycled PET: fabric made from plastic bottles and containers. Constructed to hold 20 liters of stuff — including a padded laptop sleeve for a 15-inch device — Nixon’s Mode Pack includes outside lined media pocket, padded straps and back and a large main loading entry. Nixon’s smartly made backpack comes in gray, orange, black and navy.
11. Corkor Cork Vegan Leather Briefcase
BEST VEGAN LEATHER
Made with cork leather, this PETA-approved briefcase bag is roomy, light and looks great. The interior has a padded laptop pocket, a tablet pocket, a spot for your phone and other slips that keep everything organized. There are also exterior pockets to keep metro cards and other things you need to quickly grab. The adjustable shoulder strap is padded for additional comfort.
12. RAINS Messenger Bag
BEST MINIMALIST MESSENGER
Based upon Scandinavian minimalism, RAINS has an entire line of bags and gear. This carabiner-closed messenger bag has a soft compartment for a 16-inch laptop, as well as a main compartment. Completely waterproof with magnetic flap closures, this messenger bag’s strap detaches if you’d rather hand carry it. This one comes in three colors, and RAINS even makes matching raincoats, pants and shorts.
13. Briggs & Riley Delve Convertible Briefcase Backpack
You know that saying “business in the front, party in the back”? That kinda-sorta applies to Briggs & Riley’s briefcase. Sleekly designed to look masterful on any exec’s desk, the straps convert to backpack style. Made from coated PVC, the material can handle rain, snow and even hail. It fits a 15-inch laptop, has interior and exterior pockets and even an RFID pocket to protect credit cards.
14. CoolBell Convertible Backpack
When it comes to the best work bags for men, this versatile bag is a crowd favorite. It features several multipurpose pockets and can be converted from a backpack to a messenger bag in seconds. The canvas bag, which is available in an assortment of colors, holds a 4.5-star rating and has more than 1,000 positive customer reviews on Amazon. Not bad for a lesser-known brand and an under-$60 price tag.
15. Topfox Canvas Messenger Bag
If you’re the type of person who likes to have a spot for everything — down to paperclips and pens — then this highly organized messenger bag might be for you. The canvas over-the-shoulder crossbody bag boasts several large compartments, each with its own variety of pockets and storage slots. And at under $30, it’s quite a value.
16. HEX Evolve Sling
BEST FOR MINIMALISTS
Can’t stand the idea of carrying anything other than what you must have to get around? Sling bags get you. Made from recycled materials, Hex’s rectangular-shaped sling bag — which also doubles as a fanny pack — has a water-resistant shell and only weighs half a pound. Smartly designed, there’s a back panel zippered pocket to keep valuables close to you. The back is also padded, so it won’t chafe when strapped across the chest. The front of the bag is a large zippered compartment with an interior mesh pocket.
17. MCM Cubic Print Shell Backpack
Is MCM flirting with the ghosts of Cubists Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque? You may have noticed MCM’s new deconstructed logo. It’s cubic. It’s cool. And it works for people who are fans of the brand but aren’t into logomania. This fresh take on MCM’s classic print turns a backpack into art, while the sturdy nylon backpack has two slip pockets on the sides and the front’s zippered pocket holds the stuff you need to grab immediately. The cotton-lined interior has a padded laptop sleeve, and the main compartment has two slip pockets.
18. Coach Houston Map Bag
Coach is an American Heritage brand that keeps pumping out sophisticated leather goods year after year. Its silky soft leather Houston Map bag has magnetic snap closures so nothing falls out, and is fully lined inside. The back outer slip pocket is large enough to hold a wallet and keys, while the main interior compartment could hold two electronic devices. And inside the main compartment there’s a zippered pocket.
19. Killspencer Leather Briefcase 2.0
Killspencer is a Los-Angeles based company that makes premium leather bags. Our editors have used Killspencer bags for years at a time and experienced only minor wear and tear, and we can testify that the company’s leather bags will last for many years. These bags are hand-made to last, and you can have them monogrammed for an added touch. This is a modern briefcase that’s handsome and practical, and it puts other work bags for men to shame.