Best Messenger Bags for College
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OIWAS Messenger Bag
It’s made of 600D waterproof material and there are lots of compartments to hold his stuff. There’s a sleeve for his laptop at the bag and there is a main compartment which can hold his folders, tablet or another item.
There are two pockets at the front which are ideal for reading books.
A zipped pocket at the front is ideal for a phone.
Perhaps one of the downsides of this messenger bag is that the laptop compartment isn't padded. However, you can easily get round this by purchasing a padded case for his laptop instead. Amazon sells a basic one which is great value.
G4 Sling Bag
There’s enough space for his phone, keys, wallet and a tablet.
It can be worn around his front or across his back, making it ideal for travel (he can keep his bag on the front if he feels concerned about picket pockets and for easy access to his stuff as well).
It's great for hiking or exercising and has a dedicated water bottle pocket.
The strong padded straps make it super comfortable to carry.
It’s available in lots of different colors and designs.
Timbuk2 Messenger Bags
Timbuk2 is expensive but their bags are designed for quality and to last. The bags come with a lifetime guarantee so should see you through college and longer!
Timbuk2 Classic Messenger
The main body is made of rugged 150D poly tweed.
It features a front pocket with a zipper pouch that has a key fob so you always know where your keys are. Behind this, there's a zipped side pocket which is perfect for storing items such as a phone. You can get to that pocket without opening the main part of the bag.
Inside the main compartment there's a water bottle pocket. There's a padded internal slash pocket, great for loose papers, tablet or a laptop. It's the perfect messenger bag for keeping all your stuff organised and handy.
There's an easy to adjust shoulder strap. Additionally there's a cross strap, so if you are on your bike the bag will be secure and won't get in your way.
It comes in different sizes to suit your needs.
Carhartt Messenger Bags
Carhartt Men's D89 Messenger Bag
There is an organization panel at the front with a pocket for a phone, notebooks, a key holder and more.
Inside there is a main compartment with a dedicated laptop sleeve.
It’s made of rugged 600D Poly Ripstop with rain defender and durable water repellent and reinforced with a 1200D polybase.
There’s an adjustable shoulder strap for easy carrying.
Estarer Computer Messenger Bag
It's made of water resistant canvas - if you’re buying for a climate where you experience a lot of heavy rain or snow there are probably better choices but otherwise it will be fine.
It has a shoulder strap and a carry top handle.
TIMBUK2 Lightweight Flight Messenger Bag
The bags from Timbuk 2 are designed to last so you won't have to worry about quality.
It’s fantastic for organization with an internal organizer for pens, phones and other small items
An internal padded slash pocket is great for storing files and the bag fits a tablet or laptop (depending on which size bag you purchase).
The bag has been designed with heavy duty buckles, a low profile top grab handle and reflective tabs for visibility.
There’s a removable cross body strap for cross body stabilization (great for when he is riding a bike). The fully adjustable shoulder strap has a super comfortable strap pad.
Best Value Messenger Bags
Levono Messenger Bag Shoulder Bag
It features an integrated laptop compartment that comfortably fits most laptops up to 15.6”. There are range of internal pockets for accessories and a spacious main compartment for books and other items.
It's lightweight and has an adjustable shoulder strap so you can use it as a messenger bag. The shoulder strap can also be removed and carried with the handles.
When choosing a messenger bag consider the following features:
Shoulder straps - If you do cycle, look for a strap which gives the bag a lot of stability. Features which tend to give more stability include wide straps, straps that aren't removable and are sewn in (removable straps often tend to wobble at the point where they're attached). Adjustable straps are also useful. You can adjust them according to your height and if you do cycle adjustable straps will make it more comfortable to carry on the bike. Thick padded straps offer more comfort.
Additional handle - Would you like an additional handle (grab handle) to pick up the bag as well as your shoulder strap. This will enable you to carry it as a briefcase as well as a messenger.
Size - You can get messenger bags of all sizes. Obviously small messenger bags carry less stuff but are easier on your shoulder. You can get an expandable messenger bags too.
Weatherproof - If you're going to be out and about in all weathers, look for waterproof bags to protect your stuff.
Organization - Would you like compartments for cellphones, electronics, an MP3 Player and key holders?
Reflective strip - A reflective strip can be advantageous for bikers, cyclists and walkers making them more visible to traffic.
Read on for suggestions of the best messenger bags for college students and some more top tips to get the best bag for you.
Backpacks Vs Messenger Bags
Cyclists/ Commuters - If you cycle, commute on public transport or walk to college a messenger bag is probably best. In busy environments on trains and buses it could be easy for other people to get inside your backpack without your noticing. The design of messenger bags make the bag and its contents more secure when cycling and easily accessible for the cyclist or walker.
Look - Messenger bags tend to look more "cool" than backpacks, so if you're looking to make a fashion statement a messenger bag might be a better choice.
Shoulder ache - Due to the style of messenger bags you have to wear them on one shoulder which can lead to your shoulder aching. As backpacks distribute the weight evenly across your back they tend to be better for the health of your back.
Capacity - Generally backpacks tend to have a larger capacity than messenger bags but this isn't all the time, it depends on the exact bag that you buy. So, check the capacity of the backpack or messenger bag when comparing bags. Generally if you will have to carry lots of large textbooks with you go with a larger capacity backpack or messenger.
Accessibility - Messenger bags are more accessible. Generally its easier to get your stuff in and out especially when you're on the go.
Multiple Use - The bag you choose may depend on whether you will use it for any other reason. For example if you also need a bag to go hiking or travelling, maybe a backpack would be a better choice. Messenger bags may be better for everyday use.
If you think you would prefer a backpack, check out this article on the best backpacks for college students.
Make Your Own Messenger Bag
Messenger Bag Quality
Material thickness - look for a bag with a thicker material which will obviously be more durable.
Snaps and zips - check snaps and zips. Check they are working and seem durable.
Double stitching - look for double stitching for better durability.
Messenger Bags for Your Laptop
Dakine Messenger Bags
In Hawaiian slang, "Da Kine" means the best and the company has lived up to this standard through attention to detail, focus on accessories and a notoriously thorough design process.
Messenger Bag Material
If possible you want your material to be hard wearing but consider whether you want it to be waterproof, washable or wipe clean too.
Many bags are made out of nylon or PVC. These types of materials are water resistant.
Both nylon and polyester are strong and durable but lightweight too.
Canvas is a heavy duty fabric so great for durability and can be washed too.
Cotton is another washable material, although not so durable if you want to carry heavy items.
Another fabric that's used to make messenger bags is leather. Leather is strong, durable, easy to clean and maintain and looks good. The downside is that it does tend to be expensive