Cycling Bags

Best Bike Messenger Bags for Commuting: Top 7

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Messenger bags are the companion of choice for most cyclists on their daily commute. These bags make it easy to transition from the road to the office with minimal fuss.

Below you’ll find a collection of the best commuter messenger bags currently available. We’ve taken into account everything from durability, space and (of course) price.

  1. Chrome Industries Citizen Night Messenger Bag

    A durable and stylish messenger bag designed for nighttime visibility and ample storage.

  2. Timbuk2 Classic Messenger Bag

    A versatile and durable bag designed for daily use with multiple pockets and adjustable shoulder strap.

  3. Mission Workshop Monty Messenger Bag

    A weatherproof and rugged bag designed for urban cycling with a roll-top closure and multiple pockets.

  4. Chrome Industries Mini Metro Messenger Bag

    A compact and waterproof bag designed for daily use with a padded laptop sleeve.

  5. Ortlieb Twin City Urban

    A waterproof and durable messenger bag designed for urban commuting with a reflective logo and shoulder strap.

  6. UrbanTourist Kulie

    A versatile and stylish messenger bag designed for urban exploration with adjustable straps and multiple pockets.

  7. Sweetbriar Classic

    A simple and affordable messenger bag designed for daily use with a large main compartment and adjustable strap.

Are Bike Messenger Bags Good for Commuting?

Messenger bags are all but essential for the daily commute. Not only do they help you to carry all your supplies to work, but they also keep everything dry and ordered. The best messenger bags will be waterproof, weatherproof and lightweight.

They’ll also come with a range of other features to make your life easier, all without breaking the bank. Finding the right messenger bag makes the commute (and therefore your morning routine) much easier. With so much choice it can be difficult to know where to start, though, so we’ve done the research for you.

Bike Messenger Bags [PROS + CONS]

“Smart” and suitable for the officeCan be uncomfortable on one shoulder
Good for organising itemsNot as durable as backpacks
Easy accessCan interfere with range of movement

Messenger Bag vs Backpack for Bike Commuting

The messenger bag vs backpack debate has been raging for as long as cyclists have been commuting! Everybody has their preference, but as a general rule messenger bags are better for the commute because they feature more organised internal compartments. They’re also much easier to pack/unpack.

Some people find that backpacks are more comfortable because they place weight squarely on your back rather than all on one side. This ultimately comes down to a matter of personal preference, though. Messenger bags are also more accessible as you ride along, perhaps to grab a drink while you’re stopped at traffic lights.

They also fit the commuter “aesthetic” better and simply look more professional than backpacks. Although backpacks are sometimes considered more robust, that really comes down to the product. A well chosen messenger bag can be just as tough as any backpack.

Bike Messenger Bags: Key Features

There are lots of features to look out for when choosing a messenger bag. Space is obviously important, but it’s not as simple as choosing a large bag. The best messenger bags maximise space via some kind of internal sorting system (pockets and zips, for example) to keep your items in good order.

Water and weatherproofing are absolutely vital. There’s nothing worse than arriving at work to find that all your papers and possessions have been soaked through – even worse if you’re carrying electronics like a laptop computer or tablet. Messenger bags shouldn’t just be made from waterproof material, they should be totally watertight with secure fastenings.

Comfort is another key concern. This means a well padded strap that doesn’t cut into your body as you cycle but remains secure. Bags shouldn’t be cumbersome, flap about or chaff, and nor should they be excessively heavy. The best messenger bags are super lightweight but still retain their shape.

Finally, look at the price. Luxury brands are great, but you can often get all the same (if not better) features for a fraction of the cost.

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Best Bike Messenger Bags [Top 7]

1. Chrome Industries Citizen Night Messenger Bag

  • UK Flag £189
  • US Flag $205
  • EU Flag €205

Prices are approximate

Waterproof Rating: Resistant
Size: 33 x 55 x 18cm
Volume: 24 L

High visibility detailing

Multiple internal pockets

 Lifetime guarantee

The 24 litre Citizen Night bag has attained something of an iconic status amongst cyclists over the years. Its modern aesthetic, streamlined design and cool range of features make it easily one of the most popular messenger bags in the world. Safety should always be the top priority and this bag has you covered. It features a range of reflective strips and embellishments that light up after dark but remain low-key during the day.

Waterproofing is also top of the range. The outer nylon shell is coated with slick DWR and there’s even a tarp liner for additional protection. An industrial strength hook and loop accessory means that the bag stays secure across your shoulder (yet loose enough to change shoulders if necessary). It’s pleasingly easy to access, too. The buckle is quick release for dipping in and out and you even get an integrated bottle opener.

24 litres is a lot of space, and this bag can easily hold a 17 inch laptop. The interior is nicely arranged with multiple pockets for item sorting. You should have no trouble keeping things like phones, pens and tablets organised. There’s even room for a pair of shoes in the spacious rear pocket.

2. Timbuk2 Classic Messenger Bag

  • UK Flag £80
  • US Flag $89
  • EU Flag €89

Prices are approximate

Waterproof Rating: Resistant
Size: 27.5 x 33.5 x 13cm
 14 L


Recycled materials

11 colour options

If you’re after a more classic, retro messenger bag, then look no further than the Timbuk2. We think it might be the most stylish bag on the list and its unique patterning stands out from the crowd. It comes in 11 different colour combinations, each one of them a throwback to days gone by. Timbuk2 has built on 30 years of experience with this product and it really shows.

It’s crafted from 100% recycled polyester for the environmentally conscious and weighs just 1.7lb. That lightweight feel does come at the expense of internal space, which is limited to just 14 litres (quite small compared to some of the other offerings here). The bag makes the most of that space with a series of internal pockets, however, so you’ll be able to keep everything nicely organised.

The exterior is water resistant against light rain and the slick material makes it extremely easy to clean. The shoulder strap is adjustable to suit your riding style, there’s an external pocket for a water bottle and a loop for attaching lights.

3. Mission Workshop Monty Messenger Bag

  • UK Flag £220
  • US Flag $200
  • EU Flag €200

Prices are approximate

Waterproof Rating: Waterpoof
Size: 25 x 40 x 13cm
 21 L

Roll top fastening

Waterpoof YKK zippers

Two big laptop sleeves

The Monty is the bag to go for if you’re after extra protection. It features a roll top to keep your possessions dry in even the worst weather (although this can also be used as a traditional fold-down, depending on the occasion). Milspec webbing and secure, YKK zippers further bolster the all weather defences.

It’s spacious, too. The 21 litre capacity is divided into a series of organised pockets. These include two big sleeves (13 and 15 inches) for laptop storage, an internal zipper pocket and 2 quick access cargo pockets. Bags really don’t come much more organised than this. As a result, the storage feels even more generous than the 21 litre capacity suggests.

Elsewhere, the bag is crafted from durable 1000d nylon and comes with aluminium hardware. The cross chest stabiliser can be detached. It’s by no means the cheapest bag here, but if you’re willing to pay for a high level of protection, great organisation and quality materials, then look no further.

4. Chrome Industries Mini Metro Messenger Bag

  • UK Flag £147
  • US Flag $160
  • EU Flag €160

Prices are approximate

Waterproof Rating: Resistant
Size: 30 x 50 x 7cm
 20.5 L

Liner dividing wet/dry items

Quick release buckle

Fold top

Despite its name, the Mini Metro isn’t quite as small as you might imagine. With a 20.5 litre capacity, you won’t be short of space and it can hold laptop computers up to 23 inches. It also features a floating bucket liner to divide wet items from dry – perfect if you need to store a coat or shoes after a cycle through the rain.

The fastening is quick release (with an attached bottle opener) and the compression straps are reflective for nighttime/low light cycling. That makes a real difference in the winter months and helps to keep you safe. Shoulder straps are padded and comfortable with a stabilising strap to assist with balance and security.

A tarp liner and nylon shell take care of waterproofing and the bag closes with a big, fold-over flap to keep moisture at bay. It has a more “rustic” and “outdoorsy” look, making it perfect for weekend adventures as well as weekday commutes.

5. Ortlieb Twin City Urban

  • UK Flag £135
  • US Flag $115
  • EU Flag €115

Prices are approximate

Waterproof Rating: Resistant
Size: 30 x 39 x 12cm
 9 L

Two bags in one

Outside pocket

The Urban lives up to its name with a neat, contemporary design. It has a trim, tailored look, perfect for cyclists with a firm eye on style. As such, it’s made with two purposes in mind: a cycling messenger bag and a more general, all-purpose shoulder bag. Depending on which way you close the flap, the bag can be mounted on your shoulder or strapped to your bike rack.

That dual nature does make it one of the smaller bags on the list, however, at just 9 litres. Still, you’ll be able to store a laptop, tablet and a range of smaller items like phones and chargers in the internal compartments. As all good messenger bags should be, it’s weather and water proof but softer than most. The fabric has a pleasant, luxurious feel.

There’s also a zipped pocket on the outside and the shoulder strap is made of soft cotton. It’s worth noting that the outside pocket isn’t waterproof, so avoid storing any electronics in there!

6. UrbanTourist Kulie

  • UK Flag £110
  • US Flag $90
  • EU Flag €90

Prices are approximate

Waterproof Rating: Resistant
Size: 35 x 43 x 8cm
 5 L

Dirt cover included

Attaches to bike

Zippered outer sleeve

A messenger bag with a difference, the Kulie isn’t carried over the shoulder like a traditional messenger. Instead, it attaches to your bike via a special clip. That makes it the ideal bag for anyone who doesn’t like the weight of a messenger on their shoulder, or feels that carrying a bag affects ride quality.

Once detached, of course, it slips easily over the shoulder like any other messenger bag. Features include a velcro outer fastening for quick access and a zippered outer sleeve to hold essentials like your phone. The side and bottoms are harder than other bags so this is a fantastic choice if you’re transporting valuables.

Inner webbing keeps smaller items like chargers and pens in place. The bag is water resistant but comes with an extra layer of protection too. You have the option of fitting a dirt cover, which puts an additional barrier between the bag and the elements.

7. Sweetbriar Classic

  • UK Flag £60
  • US Flag $40
  • EU Flag €40

Prices are approximate

Waterproof Rating: Resistant
Size: 27 x 35 x 2cm
 15 L approx

Budget option

Quality materials

Spacious interior

The Sweetbriar is the perfect no-frills, affordable messenger bag. It’s a quality product without an accompanying large price tag and it comes in seven different colours. The design is, as you would expect, simple, but this bag uses premium materials. A heavyweight 100% cotton canvas comes with metal accents and the front flap is velcro for easy access.

Inside you’ll find a spacious compartment with two pockets. There are also some side pockets for smaller items (perhaps a water bottle) and the shoulder strap is nicely padded. Despite these pockets the bag only weighs in at 1.2lbs, ensuring that it fits the “lightweight” category.

The only concession that the Sweetbriar makes is in terms of padding. There isn’t much (so the bag doesn’t hold its shape as well as others) and you might be advised to keep your laptop in a sleeve. Otherwise, this is the perfect budget option and it even comes with a 1 year warranty.

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