The Best Travel Bags for Guys

Carl Unger, July 01, 2015
Fares from Washington DC:

    I don't know about you, but I don't travel as light as I used to. Between my books, magazines, phone, iPad, and a rat's nest of chargers, cords, and accessories, preparing for a flight is no longer a simple process.

    Guys, a good backpack or shoulder bag is a must—something that fits all your gear and looks halfway decent while you're carting it around the airport. Sure, you could borrow your nephew's hand-me-down Jansport, but you're a classy adult male, right? Try to look the part.

    Here you'll find seven bags that are perfect for seven different kinds of travelers. But before we get to the list, let's review a few tips for shopping for the perfect travel day bag:

    • Access: You want to be able to get your gadgets in and out of the bag easily without having to empty the whole bag.
    • Construction: Invest in something well-made, especially if you travel a lot. Remember this thing will be shoved under airplane seats, manhandled by the TSA, and possibly crammed into an overhead bin.
    • Right-Sized, Not Super-Sized: Make sure you can fit what you need, but don't choose a bag that's unnecessarily cumbersome or bulky (unless you travel with the complete Song of Ice and Fire series in hardcover—in which case, valar morghulis, and you'll probably need a larger bag).
    • Comfort Counts: This will likely be the bag you use while exploring your destination. Can you imagine hauling it around Barcelona all day? If not, look for something more appropriate.

    (Photo: Genius Pack)

    Genius Pack Intelligent Travel Backpack

    For the organization nut: This is the bag for guys who need everything in its right place. Tiny (labeled) pocket for your keys? Check. Zippered pouch for sunglasses? Check. Integrated pop-out micro umbrella? You bet. The Genius Pack Intelligent Travel Backpack also includes a laptop sleeve, mobile device charging capabilities, and a compact integrated speaker. (From $59.)

    Related: 8 Tiny Travel Gadgets You Didn't Know You Needed

    (Photo: Brenthaven)

    Mercer Messenger Bag from Brenthaven

    For the stylish gadget lover: The Mercer Messenger Bag from Brenthaven hides a nerdy soul beneath its classy leather exterior. The bag features an integrated portable charging supply, padded sleeves for your laptop and tablet, and plenty of pockets for your cords and other accessories. The Mercer even boasts added padding on the bottom of the bag for that extra gadget-cradling effect. (From $299.)

    (Photo: Oliberte)

    Oliberte Flora Rustic Brown Pullup

    For the socially conscious explorer: Oliberte focuses on sustainable sourcing and supporting its workers’ rights in sub-Saharan Africa. They also happen to make some great, rugged bags. The Flora is a simple leather rucksack, but the quality and care is undeniable. It's a bag that should last as long as you do, and you'll feel good about the purchase as well. (From $125.)

    Related: How to Travel Without a Bag

    (Photo: Fossil)

    Men's Estate Saffiano Leather EW Messenger Bag from Fossil

    For the traditionalist: There's nothing basic about the Estate Saffiano Leather EW Messenger Bag from Fossil, but its straightforward look appeals to guys who appreciate simplicity. The spacious interior has plenty of room for a laptop or tablet (or both), plus books, headphones, and other travel essentials. Exterior pockets keep your phone, passport, and keys at hand, and the leather and brass details are a nice, understated touch. (From $298.)

    (Photo: Nixon)

    Swamis Backpack from Nixon

    For when you just have to be a little different: The Swamis Backpack from Nixon is a little funky. It's a roll-top backpack, for starters, and it comes in a number of bold patterns. It's also the least-expensive option on the list and offers a lot in terms of space, comfort, and versatility, not to mention a lifetime warranty. It's a unique bag for a unique gentleman, and also a pretty good bag for the avid traveler. (From $58.)

    Related: Travel Essentials That Are Worth the Splurge

    (Photo: ONA Designs International)

    Brixton Camera/Laptop Messenger Bag

    For the photographer: Whether you're a professional photographer or just an avid amateur, this may be the most stylish bag for transporting all your gear. The Brixton features padded compartments designed to hold a camera, two to three lenses, and a laptop (up to 13-inch); plus two front pockets for cords, chargers, lens caps, and anything else you might need. There's even a sleeve for a tablet. Oh, and it's handsomely constructed, either of waxed canvas with leather details or fully of Italian tanned leather. (From $289.)

    (Photo: BaileyWorks)

    BaileyWorks 253 Courier

    For the fixie-riding (but mature) skater punk: All this leather and waxed canvas is great, but for a different look try the BaileyWorks 253 Courier. Popular with the bike messenger crowd for its rugged construction and thoughtful details like a reflective strip and waist strap, these bags are handmade in the USA and highly customizable. Choose from almost 20 colors plus add-ons like cell-phone koozies and a water-bottle holder. I’ve had one for 10 years and during that time I’ve never boarded a plane without mine. Oh, and your Black Flag pin will look great on it, trust me. (From $119.)

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    Read the original story: The Best Travel Bag for Guys by Carl Unger, who is a contributor to SmarterTravel.

    (Lead Photo: Man With Messenger Bag via Shutterstock)

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