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The 7 Bags You’re Not Carrying… But Should
Whether it's an overnight trip or something to hold your gym gear, the right bag keeps your pockets from overflowing and your valuables organised.
Chances are you grew up carrying a bag to school. Packed with a superhero pencil case, lunchbox and notebooks, it was more than just a bag – it was the place you crammed everything from report cards to love notes.
Nowadays your bag has to carry way more than a few pencils. We’ve curated a list of the bags we think every man should know. Each of these is exclusive to us, and we guarantee the right amount of space for life’s necessities and room left over for a few love notes.
Showing Lawrence Navy Backpack
Raise your hand if the first bag you ever owned was a backpack ? Did yours also have a lunch box with rye bread and liver pâté inside? Maybe that’s just us weird Danes.
The backpack you’ll carry today has a lot in common with the one you sported as a kid. It’s still as versatile and as functional as before, but it now boasts finer details and quality materials moving it from the playground to the office.
Showing Montreal Tan Leather Backpack
How to Choose a Backpack
No matter where you’re taking your rucksack, always look for adjustable straps that offer padding for comfort. Using a backpack for work, the gym or both? Consider the number of compartments, pockets and the size of the laptop sleeve.
Don’t think a backpack can work for the office? Don’t knock it until you try it. Opt for a leather backpack with clean lines. This doesn’t mean that canvas won’t work… just keep an eye on the tailoring and detailing. Too much detailing can skew a bit young and casual. Find the right bag with the right outfit and no one will confuse you with the summer intern.
2. Messenger Bags
Gone are the days when shoulder bags were reserved for dazed, early-morning commuters, military personnel and whip-wielding heroes. They’re now designed with your busy lifestyle in mind and for anyone wanting to go from point A to B with both hands free.
Don’t think a free hand comes in handy? Try texting while holding a latte. Messenger bag for the win.
How to Choose a Messenger Bag
Do you ride a bike to work? The planet thanks you. A messenger bag gives easy access if you need to grab something and can sit safely on your back while you steer. Double check that the carryall you choose has a zipper… less your items spill out when you make a sharp turn.
Most have a large internal space. Check for pockets, pen holders and a laptop compartment or sleeve that fits your needs. A handsome bag with no room for your stuff is a bag you won’t use.
Looking for something a bit more professional than a canvas messenger? Try a satchel. Think of them as having the class of a briefcase with the wearability of a messenger. A grown-up choice for a grown man.
3. Laptop Sleeve
There is a big discussion around here as to whether a laptop bag or a sleeve is the best way to go. They both have their merits, but since laptop bags resemble messenger bags, and you can find one in that category, the sleeve won.
Laptop sleeves closely resemble folio cases and are designed for the minimalist who doesn’t carry his life in a bag. There’s something innately sophisticated about the slim, compact design and the act of carrying something in your hand. Maybe it’s a throwback to the days when men wore bowler hats and carried the daily paper. Or maybe it’s that you can actually leave the house with just your laptop and a few papers that we think is suave.
How to Choose a Laptop Sleeve
Select a sleeve that is padded. Obviously, you’ll be careful with your laptop, but why take any unnecessary chances. Find one with a designated pocket inside and extra space for additional files – like that million-dollar contract you’re going to receive when you start dressing for the job you want!
And go for leather. This style of men’s accessory looks great because of its clean lines and quality materials. Anything else and you’ll wish you had opted for a laptop bag instead.
4. Gym Bag
Everyone can agree that different workouts require different gear. And it’s a lot of gear – trainers, workout wear, protein shake, towel, soap (always remember your soap) – needing to be packed in a duffel big enough to hold it all yet small enough for the locker at the gym.
Successful people say you should dress for the job you want. We think the same is true for the kind of sports bag you carry. Heading to the gym with one that you’re proud of just might be the boost you need for that extra rep.
Showing Shem Grey & Tan Duffel Bag
How to Choose a Gym Bag
Walking to the cross training class is one thing… walking home carrying a heavy bag after you’ve maxed out on burpees is another. Make sure you select one that is lightweight – save the extra kilos for the free weights. A detachable, padded shoulder strap will also prove useful if you find yourself with a long commute.
If you’re using one duffel bag for both work and the gym, use one that comfortably holds everything without mixing your sweaty kit and your lunch. And opt for simple lines and colours that work with your office garb.
Ah, the weekender . The name itself evokes images of autumn leaves falling outside a cabin in the forest where you sit with a glass of Chenin Blanc by a roaring fire. ...or a desperate attempt to stuff it in the overhead compartment above your tiny economy class seat as you travel home for the holiday. Weekend in the Cascades or a sleepover at grandma’s – every man needs an overnight holdall.
For many guys, upgrading from your everyday backpack to a designated weekend bag is a big step. Its rectangular shape is ideal for a few outfits and toiletries… just enough for a Friday to Sunday jaunt to the coast.
What if you live really close to mom and dad and haven’t got around to booking that cabin in the woods yet? Finding a bag on the smaller end of the spectrum can be used as a gym bag or even an ‘everything bag’ – the work-gym hybrid.
How to Choose a Weekender Bag
A weekend overnight bag is exactly what you need when your actual luggage is too big. Make sure the one you choose meets airline carry-on luggage requirements and will fit in the overhead. If you’re using it for a gym bag as well, make sure it’s compact enough to fit the ever-decreasing real estate that is the modern gym locker.
We think leather is the only way to go. It looks like you’re going or coming from somewhere great and won’t kill your look when you take it to the office on Friday. An overnight bag like this isn’t a no-thought purchase… so save up and spoil yourself with quality, supple leather . You’ll end up with a weekender that you can still use in 5 years and will look better with age… you know, when you finally do reach that cabin.
6. Toiletry Bag
The greatest overnight bag on the planet isn’t worth the leather it’s made from if, after reaching your destination, you open and see that your shampoo exploded all over your best sweater. And then have to scrounge around for a toothbrush? No thanks. And don’t get us started on the guy who packs his stuff in a plastic sandwich bag. Now you know what to get that guy for Christmas.
The weekender’s travel companion is the toiletry bag . A designated place for your must-have grooming products to journey safe and sound. Opening a quality wash bag to find that your dental floss doesn't taste like cologne is one of the small joys in life and one of the reasons why this bag category is one of our best sellers.
Showing Montreal XL Tan Leather Wash Bag
How to Choose a Toiletry Bag
While you’re not literally washing with your wash bag, it’s recommended that it be waterproof or water-resistant. Something in waxed canvas will let you be completely free from worry if your toiletry kit falls into the bath, while a quality leather option will sit nicely on the counter… just be careful if the shower gets too steamy.
How many products do you travel with? That’s the answer to the size question. Make sure it can hold all of your stuff. We’re big fans of wash bags with built-in hangers. Stays nice and dry away from the sink and you look like a seasoned traveller as you unfold it en route to the bathroom.
7. Sling Bag
Imagine yourself needing to head out for the afternoon and all you want to take is your wallet , phone and earbuds… and keys, of course. You grab your backpack and toss your stuff inside. Then you notice that your trusty bag has way more space. In goes the water bottle, a charger and tablet. In case it rains, you push a jacket inside and an apple in case you get peckish. Before you know it, you’ve packed for a trek through the Himalayas with no Sherpa to help. You’re a long way from earbuds and keys.
Enter the sling bag. A style of cross-body carrier that resembles the bum bag your uncle used to wear on summer holiday – but upgraded for this century. Your uncle knew what was up! If you need a backpack or a messenger, take one of those. If you just need a few items for the day, or want to make sure your passport stays safe while touring the Spice Bazaar in Istanbul, get a sling bag.
Toss it in your overnight bag and pull it out when you arrive. You’ll never regret having your hands free. And wear it in the front if you’re in a shady area and worry about the Artful Dodger sneaking up behind you.
How to Choose a Sling Bag
Size is the ultimate must-consider point with all crossbody bags. Too small and you can only carry a tube of lip balm. Too big and you may as well buy a backpack. Decide what you want to carry and go from there.
Still worried about the family resemblance between you and your uncle in the 90s? Opt for a leather version with minimal detailing. Leather is classic and masculine and will last long enough for you to share travel stories with your own nephews.
Some guys think that carrying a bag isn’t for the masculine. Maybe that same guy thinks overflowing pockets on the verge of bursting their seams is manly. Needless to say, we didn’t write this for him. Well, until he realises what he’s been missing and joins the ever-growing throngs of men who define their day with a well-chosen bag.
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You Asked – We Answered
Should men wear messenger bags?
Here’s a simple message for the doubters out there… yes.
No matter what name you choose to call it – saddle, dispatch, courier or carryall – a messenger bag is one necessary item in your arsenal.
What’s the best men’s bag if I ride a bike to work?
You want a bag that you can carry on your back. Look for a backpack or a messenger bag.
Make sure you can fit your laptop and lunch in there and any necessary files you need for the day.
What’s the perfect bag for the university?
You can really use any type of bag, but we are fans of backpacks for the young scholar. With space for your pens, tablet, books and energy drink, a backpack is both functional and will fit the part of academic genius.
Avoid slinging it over one shoulder after class. Wearing both shoulder straps provides a more even distribution of weight and is better for preventing injury and back pain.
Which bag is ideal for the office?
Every question about the perfect bag leads to this question – what do you need to carry? If it’s just a laptop and a few files, opt for a simple laptop sleeve.
Carrying your workout kit and lunch? Choose a men's duffel bag or a small weekender bag for men.
Consider what you wear to the office and whether your bag will match. Your favourite Batman backpack from middle school may not work with your grown-up bow tie and blazer.
How to choose the perfect man bag?
The perfect bag is the one that fits its purpose and one you’ll actually use. A small gym bag for a weekend ski trip? Not the perfect bag. A leather satchel with a pocket that fits your laptop like a glove ? Perfect bag.
Why don't men carry shoulder bags just like women?
Men don’t typically carry purses, clutches or carryalls with tassels and sequins. But a lot of men do understand the value that a bag brings to their daily routine. A bag designed for a man has a lot more than a gender-specific designation attached to it.
We asked lead designer for Lucleon for his take on the subject: ‘Men’s bags have been designed with body proportions in mind. Everything from the length of the strap to the size of the compartments is considered. The last thing you want is a bag that drags the floor when carrying it or won’t fit over your shoulder. Men’s bags and accessories are more than just a selling title or a gimmick – they are truly crafted with a man in mind.’
On which shoulder do men wear their bag?
Wear your bag on whichever side you prefer. You’ll find that zippers may be behind you when you switch shoulders with some bags, but that's a matter of functionality and not one of style.
How low or high should I carry my backpack?
Stylistically, there is no right or wrong answer. All of our backpacks have adjustable straps so you can decide which length best suits your taste.
From a health standpoint, wearing a backpack too low on your back increases the pressure on your shoulders and can lead to low-back pain. We often loosen straps to make it easier to put the bag on and take off. Remember to adjust them again once on to raise the bag higher on the back. Your posture will thank you.
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