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.
Updated July 2023: We added the Bellroy Tokyo, the Wandrd Rogue, and an explainer on messenger bags.