We all appreciate being able to carry our belongings and valuables easily and securely, in day to day life and when traveling.
Messenger bags can be a convenient alternative to a backpack, providing a versatile option that can be professional enough for a work environment and practical enough for travel.
This article will list some of the best messenger bags for women on the market this year and describe some of the factors involved in choosing the best bag for your needs.
- Top 13 Best Messenger Bags for Women 2020
- Handmade World Leather Messenger Bag
- Leabags Oxford Genuine Leather Messenger Bag
- Ecosusi Vintage Faux Leather Messenger Bag
- CoolBELL Convertible Backpack Messenger Bag
- Wowbox Messenger Satchel Bag
- iBagbar Water Resistent Messenger Bag
- Egoelife Casual Canvas Messenger Bag
- Vera Bradley Lighten Up Laptop Messenger Bag
- Rustic Town Leather Messenger Bag
- Douguyan Unisex Canvas Messenger Bag
- Ogio Brooklyn Tablet Purse
- Leabags Paris Genuine Leather Crossbody Bag
- Alibag Messenger Bag
- What Should We Look for When Choosing the Best Messenger Bags for Women?
Top 13 Best Messenger Bags for Women 2020
Handmade World Leather Messenger Bag
This unisex, genuine goat hide messenger back is hard wearing, practical and rustic looking for those who like old school vibes.
It’s ideal if you have a larger sized laptop and appreciate plenty of pockets for organization.
- Plenty of pockets, with 3 interior compartments, 2 zippered pockets and 4 external buckle pockets.
- Plenty of space for a laptop and document folders.
- Made of distressed, brown leather, and lined with canvas, this bag is waterproof and durable.
- There isn’t any padding to protect your laptop from the ground, so put the bag down carefully and don’t drop it!
- There may be some durability issues with seams opening if the bag is loaded with heavy items.
Leabags Oxford Genuine Leather Messenger Bag
This vintage messenger bag is made of genuine buffalo leather and inspired by the culture and prestige of Oxford University.
But while it does have student vibes, it’s definitely professional enough to use for work.
- Magnetic closure makes the bag quick and easy to access without having to worry about buckles.
- The main compartment zips closed for extra security under the flap and has plenty of interior pockets for organization.
- There is space for a laptop.
- Some people have had issues with the dye rubbing off onto light colored clothes.
Ecosusi Vintage Faux Leather Messenger Bag
You’ll either love or hate the bow on the front. But if you love it, then this women’s messenger bag is a great choice for carrying the essentials to work or uni.
It will fit a small laptop and some notebooks and personal items.
- Just the right size to avoid feeling overloaded and has plenty of pockets for organization.
- The magnetic clasps hold well and don’t pop open even when the bag is full.
- The shoulder strap is removable and adjustable.
- The main compartment also zips closed under the flap.
- It will be too small for some people, for instance if you have a larger laptop.
CoolBELL Convertible Backpack Messenger Bag
Large enough to fit your personal items and some changes of clothes, this messenger bag is a great option if you’re looking for something to travel with.
It is made of durable Oxford fabric with a waterproof polyester lining and genuine leather details.
- Fits 17” laptops.
- Can be converted into a backpack with straps that can be hidden when not in use.
- Plenty of storage space with 4 front zipper pockets, a main compartment and a padded laptop compartment.
- There may be some issues with durability of the stitching in some places.
Wowbox Messenger Satchel Bag
This eye-catching leather and canvas vintage messenger bag has space for a 14” laptop and all of the other personal items that you might need.
- The bottom of the bag is well padded to protect your laptop and other belongings.
- The clasps look like buckles but are actually magnets for convenient access while the main compartment is also secured with a zip to keep everything secure.
- The shoulder strap can be removed allowing you to carry the bag as a briefcase.
- Likely to be less durably over time than a more expensive bag.
iBagbar Water Resistent Messenger Bag
Made of Oxford Fabric with reinforced stitching, this bag is designed to be durable, while also looking good.
It’s versatile enough to use for work or travel, and with 9 pockets to choose from, you won’t have any issues finding a place for every item.
- The Oxford fabric is water-resistant so your belongings will be safe in a light shower.
- The padded laptop sleeve has space for a 13” laptop.
- Padded shoulder strap is comfortable to wear.
- Likely to be too small for larger laptops.
Egoelife Casual Canvas Messenger Bag
Small and compact, this messenger bag is ideal if you like the traditional messenger bag shape but want something a less bulky.
The canvas is durable and waterproof and can be easily washed.
- Made of canvas with leather details, it is scratch resistant and waterproof.
- The strap is adjustable and comfortable to wear.
- There are plenty of interior pockets for organization together with 2 external zip pockets.
- There is no padding so it is not suited for laptops.
- Too small for most laptops (13”).
Vera Bradley Lighten Up Laptop Messenger Bag
Designed especially for women, this gorgeous messenger bag comes in multiple colors and patterns so you’ll have no trouble finding one you love.
It is designed to be lightweight and easy to use with plenty of well-placed pockets.
- The laptop compartment is padded to protect your laptop from bumps and knocks.
- The bag is made of waterproof 560D polyester that is durable.
- Contains RFID technology to protect your personal information.
- 55” Adjustable strap is soft and comfortable to wear.
- A little small for some laptops (13”).
Rustic Town Leather Messenger Bag
This is a very attractive bag with a simple design that makes it versatile and appropriate for work, school or personal use.
Made of 100% genuine goat hide leather, this bag is durable and designed to improve with age, growing more vintage and attractive as it softens.
- Durable YKK zippers add reliable security to the pockets.
- The bag is lined with heavy duty olive green canvas.
- The flap secures with magnets to keep it secured over the zippered main compartment.
- There is no specific padded laptop compartment, but the main compartment is big enough for 15” laptops.
Douguyan Unisex Canvas Messenger Bag
Made of high density Eco cotton canvas, this is a great alternative to the leather messenger bags out there.
It is lightweight and easy to carry with plenty of good-sized pockets for organization.
- 4 sizeable external pockets allow for easy access to smaller items without having to dive into the main compartment.
- Convenient metal snap closures on the top flap are secure and easy to use.
- No padding for laptops but there would be space for a sleeve.
- No carry handle on the top, so the only way of carrying it is with the shoulder strap.
Ogio Brooklyn Tablet Purse
Smaller and more convenient for women who aren’t carrying a laptop around, this messenger bag is very durable, well-made and perfect if you’re looking for an alternative to leather.
- Made of 900D Polyester, this bag is durable and long lasting.
- The bag is fully padded to protect valuables such as tablets and e-readers.
- The strap is an extension of the material that makes up the body of the bag, meaning there is no stitching to come lose, the strap will cope with heavy loads.
- Definitely too small for all laptops, this is a tablet purse.
- The strap isn’t adjustable and may be too short to wear as a cross body strap on larger people.
Leabags Paris Genuine Leather Crossbody Bag
This isn’t a conventional messenger bag design, being a little longer and narrower than the classic shape.
But, it’s a very good looking, top quality bag for when you want to carry a little less.
- Made of genuine buffalo leather, it is durable and water resistant.
- Ample pockets for organizing your things.
- The shoulder strap is reinforced with nylon for strength and so that it is smooth against your clothes.
- The strap is also adjustable, extending to 120cm.
- Not big enough for a laptop.
Alibag Messenger Bag
This is another less conventional messenger bag. It is longer and narrower, effectively being a standard messenger bag on its side dimension-wise.
The shoulder strap is adjustable so the bag can be worn across the body or as a travel purse.
- 100% cotton canvas is durable and water resistant.
- The inside is divided into a main compartment with a zip pocket and 2 small compartments for a phone or other small items.
- Smaller laptops will fit lengthwise.
- There are no external pockets.
What Should We Look for When Choosing the Best Messenger Bags for Women?
Originally used by cycle couriers, hence the name ‘messenger’, messenger bags are effectively any sort of bag that is worn over one shoulder with a strap that is about hip length.
They have become a popular alternative to backpacks owing to their practicality and versatility.
They are likely to be safer than backpacks when traveling in places where pickpocketing is rife, and they allow convenient access to your belongings without having to take the bag off.
The main things to look for when choosing the best messenger bags for women include comfort, practicality and durability (I’ll leave the style factor down to you!).
Comfort primarily relates to the shoulder strap as all of the weight will be loaded on one point so you’ll want the strap to be wide, soft and adjustable.
A little padding in the bag can also benefit comfort so that hard objects inside your bag don’t press against your side.
Practicality relates to how easy it is to open and close the bag, and how easily you can organize your stuff in the different pockets provided.
Some people prefer buckles for their security but many people are choosing magnets and snap closures over buckles for the quick and convenient access they allow.
A great compromise of convenience and security for messenger bags seems to be a main compartment that zips closed, with a top flap that fastens with a magnet or snap closure.
Pockets can be the make or break of a messenger bag. Where they are placed, their size, and how they open and close are all things to consider.
An ideal combination is a couple of external pockets with secure closures for easy access to some items, and then a main compartment divided into at least 2 large pockets, with some smaller zip pockets for valuables.
Durability is decided by the quality of the material and the strength of the stitching.
After all, what’s the point in having long-lasting material if the stitching fails?
And vice versa!
Canvas, leather and good quality polyester are great options for durable materials to choose from.
It can be hard to tell how sturdy the stitching is going to be just by looking at a bag. But a safe bet is to choose a bag with reinforced stitches (ie. more than one row of stitches).
Finally, style is a personal preference, but I’ve included a wide range of styles on this list so there should definitely be something for everyone!
For more travel specific messenger bags, check out our article on the Best Cross Body Travel Bags.
Are messenger bags better for your back?
This depends on your posture and whether you’re mostly wearing the messenger bag while cycling or walking.
Messenger bags were originally designed for cycle messengers so are great for your back if cycling.
If you walk a lot and don’t any problems with your shoulders, a backpack with hip straps may a better option.
What is the difference between a satchel and a messenger bag?
Messenger bags and satchels are both worn across the body with one diagonal strap with the bag hanging at about hip length. However, aside from differences in their origins, satchels are usually leather while messenger bags are usually canvas.
Are messenger bags safer than backpacks when traveling?
They can be, yes. Keeping your belongings beside you, under your arm where you can see everything easily, is definitely going to be safer than a backpack where the pockets are exposed and you can’t see what might be going on behind you.
I really hope you’ve found this article helpful and are looking forward to entering the world of messenger bags for your carrying needs!
Be sure to comment below, especially if you’ve tried any of the bags on this list, and download our ebook for some great tips on solo travel safety.
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