The 20 Best Work Bags for Men
By Lee Cutlip / February 20, 2020 1:17 pm

We carry a lot of shit with us — laptops, books, tablets, other random things that aren’t necessary but we can’t bring ourselves to rid of. Mot to mention the emotional and mental trauma we’re required to lug around day in and day out. We’re practically pack mules.

Considering the wide variety of objects people are now expected to transport from home to work and then back again, the type of bag one uses can make all the difference. A bag ill-equipped for the job can make that morning commute all the more hellish, whether it be losing your earbuds in a black hole of disorganization or, worse, your bag breaking completely. But, we are vain creatures, and while ideally we want something functional, we often favor aesthetics over practicality. Who cares if it gives us back problems as long as it’s a nice looking bag?

Yet the market for bags both handsome and functional isn’t as slim as one might think. Brands are catching onto the idea that people can simultaneously want both (what a concept). But with more options comes more difficulty in finding the bag that is just right for you. So we’ve taken it upon ourselves to narrow down the selection to 20 work bags, broken up into four categories: totes, messengers, backpacks and briefcases. If you’re a devoted tote carrier, maybe it’s time to retire that New Yorker tote that’s seen better days for something a little more durable. Or, branch out and try a completely new style. Either way, there’s bound to be a bag for everyone.


Tote culture has taken off in recent years thanks to the proliferation of publications offering them alongside subscriptions. While those flimsy canvas totes alert strangers to just how culture and well read you are, they do little in the way of providing support. When it comes to a tote, especially a work tote, you want something sturdy. They’re a bag that often don’t allow for much organization, save for an interior pocket or too, so if you don’t carry too many things, or you’re the kind of person who throws in their shit and goes, you’re well matched for a tote. Also: it’s 2020, if you’re hesitant to carry a tote for fear of it reading as too feminine, don’t be. Trust us, no one’s going to think you’re carrying a purse.

L.L.Bean Boat and Tote, Open-Top

Rains Tote Bag in Blue

Away The Longitude Tote

Want Les Essentials O’Hare Leather-Trimmed Organic Cotton-Canvas Tote Bag

Lotuff Working Leather Tote


For the person who needs something that will provide a little more organization, look no further than the messenger bag. If you need each and every object you carry with you to have it’s designated place, a messenger will make sure things stay tidy and accounted for. Out of all the options listed, it’s probably the most commuter friendly bag, especially if you’re constantly taking public transportation. The single shoulder strap means you can just sling it across your chest to keep out of the way of other passengers (and potential pickpockets …), and if you ever need to retrieve something from it, you don’t have to go endlessly rummaging through it (to the annoyance of your fellow commuters) to find what you’re looking for.

Moleskine Slim Nylon Messenger Bag

J.Crew Abingdon Messenger Bag

Brooks England Barbican Messenger

Nisolo Loreto Leather Messenger Bag

Ateliers Auguste Black Cordura/Black Leather Messenger Bag


Unfortunately, some of us are burdened with having to carry more than others. If that’s the case for you, you need something a little more heavy duty, like a backpack. But that doesn’t mean your only options are some overly technical, burdensome hiking backpack — there are plenty of ‘packs that are both sleek and roomy. Plus, they’ll work for a number of other needs, like a carry-on or if you’re going on weekend getaway but don’t need to bring much with you. And what better way to connect with your youthful side than a good ol’ knapsack? You’ll feel just like a schoolboy again. Rest assured, you’ll look very much like an adult though.

Eastpak Padded Doubl’r Backpack

Master-Piece Link Series Backpack

Malle Navy Bonnie Waxed Canvas Backpack

Filson Tin Cloth Backpack

Coach 1941: Brown Bleecker Backpack


Do regular people still carry briefcases? Or is it only for very serious, very important businessmen? Who knows, but maybe you wanna give off the impression a very serious and important person (and we’re sure you are) and what better place to start than by toting around a briefcase? You’ll look so mysterious as passerbys wonder what important documents you could be carrying in there? A briefcase is difficult to carry daily, unless you’re extremely minimal when it comes to what you bring with you to work, but they’ll make a great impression in a business meeting or any other supremely important situation and show that you mean business. Plus, you don’t have to go the old school hard leather route — there are plenty of new iterations that in no way resemble your dad’s briefcase from the 80s.

Herschel Supply Co. Gibson Messenger

Brooks Brothers Leather Briefcase

NN07 Nylon Laptop Bag

Bleu de Chaffe The Reporter Leather-Trimmed Waxed-Cotton Briefcase

Mansur Gavriel Calf Small Briefcase

Subscribe here for our daily deals and products newsletter, The Goods.

Nota bene: If you buy through the links in this article, InsideHook may earn a small share of the profits.