The packing light is refreshing. In the face of EDC, do-it-all duffel bags, and big, bulky backpacks, those carrying simple laptop bags look like minimalists — and the quiet good kind, not the fashionable type. Plus, to be fair, you can do just about anything on a laptop these days: make music, record videos or vlogs, work remotely, file homework for your college classes, or waste your small fortune in crypto.

Briefcase vs Laptop Bag vs Messenger

Laptop bags leave little room for anything else, but are easier to carry than a briefcase. It’s the real divider between briefcases and laptop bags: the shoulder strap. To be a laptop bag, it must have a strap. You to carry a laptop bag, while you squarebriefcase. Some laptop bags, however, can double as briefcases, as their bodies have loops for a removable strap. In fact, most laptop bags are made this way, with the versatility of being both.

The messenger bag is the largest. If it looks like the bag can hold a water bottle, an umbrella, or a pair of shoes, it’s a messenger bag. A laptop bag should contain a laptop, maybe a few computer accessories (like a charger), pens and pencils, your own accessories (phone, wallet keys, etc.) and a small stack of papers, but nothing more. You can also tell a messenger from a laptop bag by the strap of the former. Laptop bags tend to have thinner, less padded straps because they support less weight. Messengers are modeled after what mail carriers wear, which is why suspenders are usually so pronounced.

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    The best laptop bags for men

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    Best Laptop Bag Overall

    Billykirk No. 508 Standard Issue Slim Briefcase

    Made in New Jersey, Billykirk’s No. 508 Slim Waxed Canvas Briefcase is both an easy-to-carry laptop bag and a tough briefcase. The fabric strap detaches at both ends of the bag and the looped straps in the center form a handle. Inside, there’s room for a 16-inch laptop, books and paperwork, plus your cables. It is finished with leather trim and YKK hardware.

    Best Upgrade Laptop Bag

    Original Filson Briefcase

    Crafted in the USA from heavyweight waterproof cotton twill, Filson’s original briefcase features a detachable handle that converts it into a laptop bag. But this handle is no joke. It is not a flimsy piece of fabric but rather an adjustable leather strap with a padded center. There’s a flap that folds over the zippered compartment to protect your laptop from the elements, even if you forget to close it. There are also pockets inside to store business cards, keys and other small items.

    Best Affordable Laptop Bag

    Incase City Market Tote

    Although not technically a laptop bag, it is a tote with a laptop sleeve. To be honest, it’s probably the easiest bag to carry around as it’s the weight distribution we’re all most used to – next to that of a backpack. There is a padded flap sleeve inside, as well as a zipped pocket for your phone or wallet.

    This laptop bag from venerable luggage disruptor Away opens like a book, giving you easy access to everything inside. The nylon strap prevents it from opening completely, so you don’t lose small items hidden in the many pockets and sleeves of the bag. There’s a large one, pressed against the outer wall of the bag, for your laptop, which comes with a snap button to keep the machine locked in place.

    Leatherology Knox Slim Laptop Bag

    This is probably the slimmest bag on this list. There’s enough room for your laptop, necessary documents and laptop accessories (like a charger, dongles and even an extra mouse or keyboard). But its slender frame makes it the ultimate laptop bag. This is what i imagine when i hear “laptop bag” because it has a simple two-sided interior, with one pocket for your laptop and one for the rest, and a single exterior zippered pocket for a phone and other slim essentials.

    Eastpak Acton CNNCT Briefcase

    Although Eastpak’s Acton CNNCT briefcase offers plenty of internal organizers for thin items like a laptop, folder or files, there is very little side space, so things like an umbrella or water bottle water will have to stay at home. What you’re packing will be protected by the bag’s tear- and rain-resistant cordura exterior.

    Barbour waxed leather briefcase

    Barbour brings its love of waxed leather to laptop bags with these hybrid briefcases. It features removable straps, luxury leather components and fancy brass finishes. True to Barbour fashion, the interior is lined with tartan and everything is waterproof.

    This is a great example of a laptop bag that makes a better case than a bag, but will still pass for either. Due to its rectangular shape, this polyurethane bag does not quite match the natural curvature of our body. This makes it difficult to wear with the chest strap. Instead, try single shoulder or without the strap (even if that would just make it a briefcase).

    Laptop bags make a lot of sense for commuters and business people traveling for work. When traveling, especially for a few days at a time, bags can quickly become cumbersome. Having a slimmer laptop bag over a chunky messenger or even a full backpack allows you to attend meetings and conferences without worrying about the extra weight dragging you down. Tumi’s trusty laptop bag comes with a back pocket to slip it on a suitcase trolley and a pocket for your passport and other travel documents.

    Shinola’s premium leather messenger is much slimmer than your traditional shoulder bag, but that’s because it only has dedicated space for a laptop and your other work essentials. Plus, unlike the rest of these laptop bags, the Slim Messenger’s strap doesn’t come loose.

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