The Ultimate Buyer's Guide to Men's Bags & Backpacks
Men's Crossbody Messenger Satchel Bags (Sling/Laptop/Shoulder)
Just as the name implies, this style of bag was originally introduced for the sake of transporting postal mail. And like all practical working accessories of that era, it eventually became a modern style piece. Few styles are as iconic or as practical as the messenger bag. Its usefulness alone will cause it to become your most used accessory.
The stylistic design may vary, but the basic components of the messenger bag rarely do. The bag is often designed from leather or canvas and is attached with a singular strap. The strap is large enough to wear across the body, thus allowing for even and comfortable weight distribution.
But what about style? The messenger bag has been around long enough to spawn many different variants. Choosing the right fit is all about comfort and personal preference. Here are a few of the main categories you will encounter while shopping for a messenger bag.
1. Briefcase Style
The most common material for a messenger bag is canvas. Those that are made from leather are often referred to as briefcase-style messenger bags. Other notable features of this style include a frontal flap with multiple buckles. They often sport multiple pockets on the outside as well. The large size and numerous components make this the perfect bag for carrying books, documents, and office supplies.
2. Camera Bag Style
This is another variation that focuses on adding pockets and compartments for storage. The main difference from the briefcase-style is that these pockets are located on the inside of the bag. This provides an added layer of safety when transporting sensitive materials like a camera lens. These bags are more suited to carrying a variety of smaller items rather than one or two large folders.
3 The Saddle Bag
These are among the most popular crossbody messenger bags. They tend to feature a rounded design and are made primarily from canvas. It's said that these design elements made the bag easier to carry while riding on horseback; hence the name. Luckily, you don't need to own a horse to invest in a saddle messenger bag.
The Advantages Of A Messenger Bag
The market for men's bags has expanded tremendously over the last decade. You have a lot of options at your disposal. What are the advantages of choosing a crossbody messenger bag compared to some of the more modern alternatives?
1. A Professional And Practical Combination
Some men may not like to admit it, but having a bag to carry things at the workplace is very useful. This is particularly true for people who need to transport laptops, folders, and other documents on a regular basis. But it can be difficult to find a bag that is large enough to carry supplies and still look professional enough for the workplace. The messenger bag fills this need.
The classic design of the messenger bag has remained the same for many decades. Combine that with soft brown canvas colors and the result is a bag that looks like it belongs in the office. It also happens to be nearly as large as the average backpack. That should be more than enough space to carry your work supplies from point A to point B.
2. They Never Go Out Of Style
The fashion industry is known for its cycles. Certain products become trends that are bumped out of style only a few years later. The messenger bag has been around for a long time and it hasn't gone out of style yet. As a matter of fact, it's only become more popular in recent years. There's nothing too flashy about these bags, which means there's never anything to hate. A messenger bag is always a smart and safe choice when it comes to fashion.
Choosing The Right Material
This is one of the biggest choices you'll be faced with when shopping for your new messenger bag. The two major options to consider are canvas and leather. Canvas is the traditional choice and it's a great option for people who love the classic look. It's also a material that is very easy to clean and maintain over the years.
Leather is the best choice for people who want the highest possible quality. Leather is tough and will outlast most of us if properly cared for. Leather messenger bags are often handed down for several generations and continue to look great. Caring for leather requires a little more work than canvas but it can be worth it.
Men's Weekend Duffel Travel Bags (Leather/Canvas)
Often considered the traveling man's best friend, the weekender duffel bag blends together just the right amounts of style, flexibility, and durability. A lot of flexibility means there is a lot of variety and a lot of variety can make it difficult for newcomers to find the right bag. There are a number of important qualities that you need to consider before you make any final purchase.
What Styles Are Available?
Many weekender duffel bags share some similar design features. Most often, they are short and wide bags with one or two compartments located on the outside. They often have short handles as well as a singular strap that can be worn across the body. However, there are a few different style variations available with some key differences.
1. Standard Duffel Bag Style
This is easily the most common style you'll see worn in public. They are notorious for having much more space on the inside than they appear to. This is because of their short and compact design. The duffel bag is generally the most spacious of the available styles and should have enough room to carry several days worth of supplies while you travel.
2. Mobile Weekender Bag
Also known as carry-on weekender bags, this is often the smallest size available. The wheels located on the bottom of the bag are what make this such a useful investment. These bags are designed specifically who men who frequently travel by plane. They are even designed to specifications suggested by airports so that they can be carried on the plan.
A carry-on weekender bag isn't just a cool style choice, it can actually save you money. You'll pay far fewer luggage fees by packing this bag to the brim and taking it with you wherever you go. The best material for a mobile bag like this is going to depend on where you travel the most. Keep in mind that some climates are less forgiving than others when it comes to sensitive fabrics.
3. Backpack Weekender Bag
The backpack style breaks the traditional norm of the weekender bag. They abandon the short and wide design and add additional straps. These bags are specifically designed for travelers who plan to spend time hiking or backpacking. A backpack weekender bag is much easier to carry for long hours without causing discomfort.
This style tends to emphasize space efficiency and compartmentalization as much as possible. There are always plenty of pockets, zippers, and pouches. These compartments can be useful for bringing important safety supplies while exploring a new destination.
What Other Features Are Important?
Shape and style aren't the only things you need to worry about when shopping for a new weekender duffel bag. The material bag should be another major consideration. The most common options are leather, canvas, or some synthetic material. Leather is going to cost the most but is also the most durable. Leather travel bags are great for those tough journeys that take you off of the beaten path.
Canvas bags are more lightweight, breathable, and easier to care for. They are also considerably cheaper. You can't expect the same level of durability out of a canvas bag but it will last long enough if cared for. Their lower cost makes them easier to replace once they've served their purpose.
Knowing Your Travel Plans
There is no single style, shape, or design that is best for everyone. It depends entirely on your budget, personal preferences, and travel plans. Carry-on bags are great for businessmen who spend more time on the plan than in the office. Backpack variations are more suitable for travelers seeking outdoor adventures. And the classic weekender duffel bag style is never the wrong choice.
Military Tactical Outdoor Backpacks (Camping/Hiking/Trekking)
Military tactical gear has steadily become more popular with the civilian public. The military tactical backpack is a great example of this. Gear like this was once reserved for soldiers, but now it's worn by backpackers, campers, and anyone traveling outdoors who wants to stay prepared.
The rise of tactical gear has also turned “tactical” into a sort of buzzword. A lot of manufacturers like to throw the term on their products in hopes of increasing sales. Don't make the mistake of thinking a bag is an actual military tactical backpack just because the manufacture used that word. Take the time to research the bag and learn just how “tactical” it is.
What Is The Tactical Difference?
So what sets a normal backpack apart from a military tactical backpack? For starters, some of it actually comes from a military surplus. This is the best way to guarantee that you are buying an authentic tactical backpack. These bags are designed with modularity, efficiency, and durability in mind. And they are in luck because camouflage is really in style at the moment.
But a bag doesn't necessarily need to come from the Army surplus to be considered a military tactical backpack. It only needs to meet an unofficial standard regarding the same qualities mentioned above. It needs to be able to survive in harsh environments, carry a lot of gear, and provide easy access during stressful scenarios.
What Should You Look For When Shopping?
With tactical bags taking up such a broad category you are going to run into a ton of different options. Some brands focus more on style while others are interested in features. It's up to you exactly which of these qualities is the most important. You'll need to find the balance that is just right for you. Here are some of the qualities that should influence your final decision.
Military tactical backpacks are designed to be worn for long periods of time in harsh environments. It doesn't help anything if the bag itself is uncomfortable to wear. Ideally, you want to be able to forget that the bag is even there. Though, that may be impossible if it's loaded with survival gear. You may not be able to find a bag that's as soft as a pillow but that doesn't make comfort any less important.
2. Brand Reputation And Reviews
How do you know a product is being honest when they claim to be the toughest or the most durable in the industry? You probably don't have the funds or the time to test every bag for yourself. You'll need to rely on brand reputation to guide you during the shopping process. Look for honest brands that have a strong track record. Turn to customer reviews as an honest source of information regarding the quality and durability of a specific product.
Remember, durability is one of the most important factors when considering a military tactical bag. Much of that durability comes from the fabric used. You won't be relying on cotton, canvas, or leather in extreme environments. The most reliable material on the market today is high-quality nylon. There are other synthetic fabrics becoming popular as well but none of them have the same reputation.
Put It To Good Use
Don't invest in a military tactical backpack just to let it waste away in the closet. Once you've got your bag it's time to plan your next outdoor adventure. You'll feel safer and more prepared on every climb, hike, and camping trip that you take once your bag has arrived. But that's only if you took the time to do your research and find the best possible bag.