best messenger bags for biking of 2019

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Bike messenger bags have taken off over the last couple of decades. We can see bike commuters carry them almost everywhere. 

The primary reason why the messenger bag is so popular among the cyclist is that you don’t have to take them off to load or unload your stuff.

In this article, I’ll be covering five of the best messenger bags for biking to make your life easier whenever you’re bike commuting.

In hurry? Here is Our Pick: Timbuk2 Especial Cycling Messenger Bag 

Disclaimer: I mention some products that I’m an affiliate for is this post. If you buy via my link, then I get a commission — thank you!

Comparison Table

IMAGE

PRODUCT

BEST FOR OVERALL

Timbuk2 Especial Cycling Messenger Bag

Highlights: 500D Ripstop Cordura Nylon material, water-resistant, magnet buckles, fit up to 15-inch laptop.
(Read the review)

BEST FOR OVERALL

PRODUCT

Timbuk2 Especial Cycling Messenger Bag

Highlights: 500D Ripstop Cordura Nylon material, water-resistant, magnet buckles, fit up to 15-inch laptop. (Read the review)

IMAGE

PRODUCT

BEST COMFY BAG

Chrome Mini Metro Messenger Bag

Highlights: 1050 Denier Ballistic nylon material, EVA foam back panel, fit most 15-inch laptops
(Read the review)

BEST COMFY BAG

PRODUCT

Chrome Mini Metro Messenger Bag

Highlights: 1050 Denier Ballistic nylon material, EVA foam back panel, fit most 15-inch laptops(Read the review)

IMAGE

PRODUCT

BEST FOR BUDGET

Kemy Messenger Bag

Highlights: Zipper is waterproof, reflective logo,fit most 14-inch laptops. 
(Read the review)

BEST FOR BUDGET

PRODUCT

Kemy Messenger Bag

Highlights: Zipper is waterproof, reflective logo,fit most 14-inch laptops. (Read the review)

IMAGE

PRODUCT

BEST ALTERNATIVE

Banjo Brother Messenger Bag​

Highlights: Ballistic fabric construction, removable laptop divider, fit up to 14-inch laptop.
(Read the review)

BEST CONTENDER

PRODUCT

Banjo Brother Messenger Bag​

Highlights: Ballistic fabric construction, removable laptop divider, fit up to 14-inch laptop. (Read the review)

IMAGE

PRODUCT

BEST CONTENDER

Leaper Retro Messenger Bag

Highlights: Durable canvas material, wear like cross body, fits up to 13- inch laptop.
(Read the review)

BEST CONTENDER

PRODUCT

Leaper Retro Messenger Bag

Highlights: Durable canvas material, wear like cross body, fits up to 13- inch laptop. (Read the review)

Buyer’s guide

Laptop compartment

In general, they should have at least one pocket or compartment to accommodate your laptop. If you must carry your laptop everywhere, you should check the size of the messenger bag. 

To ensure your laptop can fit into the bag, you have to check the dimension of your laptop. So that it can fit into the laptop compartment. Here is some guide of the laptop compartment size:

  • Small: Fits up to a 13-inch laptop
  • Medium: Fits up to a 15.6-inch laptop
  • Large: Fits up to a 17-inch laptop

Unlike laptop backpack, most messenger bags don’t have a specific design for laptop. So, they lack thick cushion or padding to protect your device. A laptop sleeve is recommended to keep your device safe from bouncing, knocking and scratching when biking.

In general, they should have at least one pocket or compartment to accommodate your laptop. If you must carry your laptop everywhere, you should check the size of the messenger bag. 

Organization

When riding a bike, you want to make sure to balance the load properly, and the bag sits well on your back. Choose a messenger bag with plenty of pockets for organizing both inside and outside of the bag. 

A standard laptop messenger bag usually has a few pockets and holding spaces for your laptop and stuff. You may find there are some external pockets for quick access to your small items.

The bottom line here is to pack and keep your items organized to distribute the weight evenly across your shoulder.

Shoulder strap design

The shoulder strap is the most crucial aspect to consider as we carry the bag on one shoulder. If the strap is too thin, flimsy, and poorly padded, it will make you uncomfortable and may cause neck and shoulder pain. If you carry anything heavy, the straps will hurt you.

So, here are some of the specific shoulder strap features for biking:

  • It is adjustable.
  • The shoulder strap is wide, soft, and padded.
  • It includes a cross strap or stabilizing strap to add stability to prevent your bag from swinging around.

Waterproof

When you’re going out biking, sometimes you may encounter unexpected rain. A waterproof or water-resistant messenger bag material can keep your stuff dry inside.

A fully waterproof messenger bag usually will cost you a bit higher than the water-resistant bag due to the material used. 

But for most people, a water-resistant messenger bag is good enough for biking to school or work. You can add a rain cover just in case of heavy rains.

A good design of messenger bag also plays a vital role to keep the water away. For example, the Timbuk2 Classic messenger bag (read the review below) has a Flap corners fold into place feature to keep the water out.

Miscellaneous Features

Some of the messenger bags might have unique features to enhance practicality and safety. Here are the areas that you should take a look for:

  • Buckle: Sturdy buckles ensure your strap and flap fastened tight to keep your belongings safe. An excellent buckle design like magnetic buckle is great for quick release.
  • Reflective material: For your safety, especially when biking at night.
  • Compression straps: Allow you to minimize the volume of your bag when not fully loaded.
  • Grab handle: For “grab and go” when in a rush situation.

Best Messenger bags for biking reviews

best messenger bag for biking reviews

Finding the messenger bag that is suitable for biking is quite challenging. There are just a few options out there.

I did some research and looked at several laptop messenger bags on the market and selected five. I’ve reviewed these five messenger bags for biking and highlighted some pros and cons for each bag

If you’re bike commuting to work, school, or through the town – Timbuk2 Especial Cycling messenger bag is excellent for cyclists.

Click the image to see the latest pricing on Amazon.

One of the major highlights of this messenger bag is the material quality. The 500 Denier Ripstop Cordura Nylon material is superior due to its water-resistant characteristic. It is famous for its military equipment application.

There is a waterproof TPU liner on the inside of the top flap to prevent water from penetrating the main compartment. 

When you close the top flap, both edges of the bag come up higher, and it folds over. As a result, it adds extra protection from the water when you get caught in the rain.

On the interior, you will get a pretty standard main compartment for your stuff, zippered pocket, water bottle pockets, and a separate pocket for your laptop. Then, there are two pockets on the exterior.

The large version of the Timbuk2 Especial messenger bag can fit up to a 15-inch laptop. If you’re biking with a laptop, I’d recommend you getting a laptop sleeve for extra protection.

What I love about this messenger bag is the magnetic buckle closure straps on the flap, which is so easy to open with one hand while still sitting on the bike. 

The shoulder strap is adjustable, padded, and comes with stabilizer strap. It is reversible. So, if you’re left-handed, swap the shoulder strap setting up the side clips.

Overall, the Timbuk2 Especial cycling messenger bag is an excellent bag for biking. With reflective panels to ensure you safe, especially when biking at night. However, the bag is a little bit heavy for some people.

Pros

  • Durable material
  • Magnetic buckles
  • Reflective panels for safety
  • Extra waterproofing features

Cons

  • Heavy
  • The shoulder strap design could be better

Chrome has been around in the market since 1995, and they are among the leaders when it comes to providing high-quality bags. Their Chrome Mini Metro messenger bag is one of the most popular bags for bikers across the country.

Click the image to see the latest pricing on Amazon.

The messenger bag is stylish, waterproof, practical, and durable. The bag is probably the close rival to the Timbuk2 Especial Cycling messenger bag in terms of quality.

The bag is designed with a synthetic woven fabric 1050 Denier Ballistic nylon material that is known for its weatherproof, higher tear strength and abrasion.

The bag is a bit compact but can hold a capacity of about 20.5 liters. It has plenty of space to carry your accessories, mini bicycle tire pump, papers, books, a pair of shoes, and some clothes for everyday commuting.

This Chrome bag features a broad strip of Velcro under the top flap. It is created for ease of use in mind when you can pull it up to access your content inside the bag. 

However, some people might find this feature a bit annoying because it is loud when open. It’s a very unpleasant experience, especially when you are in the library or the office.

The organization of this bag is very simple without a lot of pockets. You’ve got slots on either side that are made for water bottles and a couple of other pockets for other things. On the outside, there are a few small pockets for quick access.

While the bag can accommodate up to a 15-inch laptop, it lacks a dedicated padded section for your device. If you’re going to ride a bicycle with your computer, I highly recommend you to purchase an extra laptop sleeve for protection.

The cool thing about this bag is the shoulder strap design. It is designed with a seat belt buckle, which is super convenient for you to take it on and off. 

The shoulder strap is extensive and designed with EVA foam back. It is breathable and reduces the burden on your shoulder. There’s a cross strap to add stability when biking. 

The iconic Chrome Mini Metro messenger bag is undoubtedly one of the most rugged and stylish bags for bikers. All the inside liner is made with 18oz truck tarpaulin to enhance its waterproofness and durability. 

Pros

  • Seatbelt-style release buckle with bottle opener
  • Waterproof
  • Sturdy, rugged and reliable
  • Excellent stitching quality

Cons

  • Lack of compartments and pockets
  • No separate padded section for laptop

Kemy messenger bag is an excellent choice if you have a tight budget but want something durable and practical for everyday biking. It is very stylish, lightweight and versatile messenger bag that you could get without breaking the bank.

Click the image to see the latest pricing on Amazon.

It has a surprisingly a lot of slots and zippered pockets for organization of small items. The inside of the bag is quite roomy to keep your books, water bottle, keys, cables, etc. There is an excellent padded section that can fit up to a 14-inch laptop.

One of the nice features about his messenger bag is that it has two lock straps to attach your bag to the bicycle frame. You can mount the bag on the bike frame so you can take a short break along your journey.

The shoulder strap is comfortable, and there is another cross strap available so it can stay in place on your body when it is slung over the shoulder.

The shoulder strap buckles have a unique design which allows you to take off whenever you want to detach it easily.

The bag is made from nylon material. Although it sounds cheap, it is very durable, lightweight, and waterproof. It has three primary colors, which makes the bag looks stylish and impressive.

Last but not least, Kemy Messenger Bag has a reflective logo on the top flap to provide security when biking at night.

If you’re a bike commuter, this is the most comfortable for your ride.

Pros

  • Stylish (tricolor)
  • Lightweight
  • Affordable price
  • Comfortable shoulder strap

Cons

  • Side pockets are too small for a water bottle
  • Strap connection gets squeaky as it rotates

The founders of Banjo Brothers, Eric Leugers and Mike Vanderscheuren, are two friends who are passionate about cycling. So, they know what a make an excellent bag for a cyclist.

Click the image to see the latest pricing on Amazon.

Banjo Brother messenger bag is a medium size bag that is a great bag for everyday use. It is a super sturdy bag that is made with ballistic fabric construction with a hanging liner. This feature virtually makes the bag waterproof.

If you’re carrying your laptop, there is a removable divider to separate your device from getting scratched by other stuff inside the main compartment. 

The length dimension of this bag (14.5-inch) probably allows you to carry any device no larger than a 14-inch computer. 

This messenger bag is enormous. With a capacity of 1100 cubic inch or 18 liters, you can carry a lot of stuff there, like books, clothes, lunch box, etc. 

You also get a holster for your cell phone. But for some people, they may keep the cables there and keep the cell phone inside their pocket pants.

There are multiple small pockets and a zipper pocket on the outside for better organization. While having ample storage is good, but it means that the weight is heavy is fully loaded.

Another highlight about this Banjo Brother bag is the strap can be worn over either shoulder. 

The shoulder strap pad slides easily into a different position on your shoulder. It comes together with a stability strap for back support.

As for safety features, the bag has reflective piping on back and tab for safety light. 

Overall, the Banjo Brother messenger bag is an excellent alternative bag for biking. It is spacious, well made, and affordable.

Pros

  • Durable material
  • Adjustable for left or right shoulder use
  • Waterproof
  • Removable laptop divider

Cons

  • Cell phone holster pretty much useless
  • Heavy if fully loaded

If you’re tired of the standard looking of a messenger bag and want something else, let me introduce you to the Leaper Retro messenger bag. This bag looks similar like a backpack except that you need to wear it like a cross body.

Click the image to see the latest pricing on Amazon.

This bag is made of soft and durable canvas material with Polyurethane (PU) leather decoration. It gives you an aesthetic leather style without the need to spend on expensive genuine leather. The drawback of using the canvas material is that it is not waterproof.

Unlike any messenger bags that I’ve reviewed above, this messenger bag has a lot of pockets – just like a backpack. On the inside, there is one section that can fit up to a 13-inch laptop. 

The section is quite small. It may be suitable to carry a slim laptop or tablet. By the way, it is not padded. You have to get an extra sleeve for your computer. 

In addition to the features, this Retro messenger bag also includes several multi-functional pockets scattered throughout the bag for convenience. 

The flap itself has two magnetic clasps that secure it so it will stay closed, but still give you easy access when you need it. 

Please take note that there are two versions of this bag – medium and large. For the larger version, there is one outside mesh pocket for carrying a small water bottle while the medium doesn’t have this feature. 

One of the best things about this bag is the shoulder strap can be switched from left to right and vice versa. 

Whenever your shoulder feels pain, you can cross the bag to the other shoulder by changing the clip. The shoulder strap is padded but may not as good as other bags.

Leaper Retro messenger bag is a great bag for biking. It is sturdy, stylish, inexpensive, practical and multi-pockets. However, it is lacking of “waterproofness” which is crucial when get caught in the rain on a bike.

Pros

  • Plenty of pockets
  • Lightweight material
  • Interchangeable strap for either side

Cons

  • Not a waterproof
  • Only carry a small size of laptop or tablet

Final Thoughts

It is a tough decision to pick the best messenger bag for daily bike commuting. What makes me chose Timbuk2 Especial Cycling Messenger Bag early on is the superior build quality.

The bag not only has an excellent waterproofing feature but also designed with a separate 15-inch laptop compartment. This feature is excellent to protect your laptop from being scratching with other stuff in your bag.

In all, choosing a bike messenger bag is an extremely personal decision. You will need to balance the budget with the requirements of your space and lifestyle. But, following our buying guide and top five list will help you greatly in your daily bike commuting.

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Joe

Joe

Joe is an engineer by profession who spends as much time in front of a laptop screen when he is not working. His mission is to make this website very useful and helpful by sharing some tips and guides that could help you to find your best laptop bag, accessories and related stuff.

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