5 Best Messenger Bags For School

I love my Chrome messenger bag. It is one of the best messenger bags for school, and it’s my go-to choice for carrying my laptop. However, when I am not using my Chrome messenger bag, I’m using my all black backpack. A messenger bag is a popular choice for people who need to take their laptops and other belongings.

It’s an efficient way of storing everything you need in one central location that can be easily accessed, even when sling it across your body. With various materials available to choose from, picking the right one for you may not be as easy as it sounds. Use this guide to help make an informed decision before a messenger bag for college.

Check out our top picks if you are in a rush and don’t have time to read the article:

One thing you should think about is what material would be best for your requirements? Leather bags are naturally water-resistant, but they can become hard and stiff if they get too wet.  In case you are a vegan, look for messenger bags that have canvas or synthetic materials.  They frequently cover synthetic materials like nylon with an exterior layer of waterproof coating, and faux leather allows water to roll off your things without damaging them effortlessly.

One of the downsides to canvas is that it can be relatively heavy compared to other materials but does offer a hardy option that could stand up well in inclement weather. So don’t be afraid to toss that heavy animal behavior book into your messenger bag. Especially if you have a heavy-duty Chrome bag.

The perfect college messenger bag may not match every student’s needs, but here you will find excellent options for all. Some people are looking for a stylish bag that can withstand rugged use, while others are looking for a versatile one that easily converts into a backpack to carry heavy college books.

Consider these unique factors before you make your final choice in choosing a collegiate messenger bag. If you have back problems then a rolling backpack might be better!

The Best Messenger Bags For School

#1 Chrome Citizen Messenger Satchel Bag with Iconic Seat Belt Buckle


Chrome Citizen Messenger Satchel Bag Seat Belt Buckle 24 Liter Black
  • Fixed, padded, ergonomic shoulder strap with stabilizer strap
  • Front organizer panel with zipper pocket
  • Iconic seatbelt buckle with bottle opener for easy on & off
  • Floating TPE bucket liner with separate wet/dry compartments
  • Fits most 15” laptops, padded laptop sleeve recommended

Chrome is one of those brands that define the messenger bag. If you are looking for the best messenger bags for school, this is it, hands down. While this bag makes a tremendous collegiate messenger bag it also makes a great airplane carry-on.  It has a classic look with a stylish seat belt clasp. Most Chrome bags have a large bottom, so they can even handle a bulky box of

anatomical flashcards.

Chrome also makes a mini version of this if you don’t carry your books back and forth to class. If all you need is a laptop, a change of clothes, and a few snacks, go with the Chrome mini bag. Otherwise, this standard Chrome will hold everything you need and then some. The great thing about the bag is that it’s waterproof. You won’t have to worry about lugging around a college umbrella. Just wear a rain jacket and keep everything else inside of the waterproof Chrome messenger bag.

Manufacturers Specs

  • It holds a 17″ laptop
  • Waterproof tarp liner
  • Nylon outer shell
  • Reflective Straps

What We Like

  • Waterproof
  • Great inside pockets
  • Solid construction

What We Don’t Like

  • The strap is not long enough for some users
  • It does not come with a pocket on the strap

a collegiate messenger bags for school is a Chrome bag worn by a person with blond hair and an olive green bomber jacket

#2 Carhartt Messenger Bags for School


Carhartt unisex-adult Cargo Series Hook-N-Haul Messenger Bag, Black, Large
  • 500-denier Cordura® ripstop nylon with Rain Defender® durable water repellent
  • Dedicated padded back compartment can hold up to 15-inch laptop and cell phone pocket
  • Adjustable shoulder strap with removable anti-slip pad
  • Large main compartment with organization on the front
  • Front flap conceals two stow pockets

The Carhartt Cargo Series Hook-N-Haul Messenger Bag is a large messenger bag for school that’s great for outdoor use. Carhartt makes it with durable Cordura ripstop nylon with Rain Defender, which is water repel so that so you can take it anywhere. This bag has an organization panel on the front wall and mesh zippered pockets on the back wall. You can also attach other bags to it using the Hook-N-Haul system, making this choice customizable.

The bag’s main compartment is so large that it can fit clothing, books, and laptops.  It has a padded 18-inch laptop compartment that has quick access for your cell phone as well as two side release buckles. The Carhartt logo is on the front of the bag, and an adjustable shoulder strap has an anti-slip pad.

It will definitely hold that heavy microbiology textbook!

Manufacturers Specs

  • It holds a 17″ laptop
  • Waterproof
  • Cordura ripstop with Rain Defender for the outer shell
  • The front flap conceals the two organization pockets

What We Like

  • The Carhartt messenger bag for school has plenty of pockets for organizing
  • Small bag, but it holds a lot
  • The anti-slip on the shoulder helps keep it in place.

What We Don’t Like

  • It tends to collect pet hair, so you have to use a sticky roller.

#3 Timbuk2 Commute Collegiate Messenger Bag


TIMBUK2 Commute Messenger Bag, Black, Small
  • The best classic laptop messenger bag for hauling your laptop, iPad, lunch and layers to class, the office or that meeting two time zones away
  • TPU liner for easy cleaning and keeping the elements out. Reflective hits
  • Internal pockets for both laptop and tablet carry

As far as school messenger bags go, the San Francisco company Timbuk2 never disappoints. They are known for durability, comfortability, and convenience. This messenger bag for school has a heap of storage space, meaning you’re able to carry all your essentials in one place. It also includes a laptop compartment which means your laptop will be safe through any journey you have planned.

The main pocket is for other items such as books, folders, or anything else you may need throughout the day. Apart from this, this bag features a front zipper and cross strap to make it easier for you when on the run.

The Timbuk2 collegiate messenger bag is perfect for people who are always on the go because it contains external water bottle pockets. No matter what you’re doing, you’ll always have easy access to your things with this bag! Be aware that there is a difference between a messenger bag and a backpack.

Manufacturers Specs

  • It holds a 15″ laptop.
  • The waterproof inside pocket where you keep your laptop
  • Cordura ripstop with Rain Defender for the outer shell
  • The front flap conceals the internal pockets
  • Dedicated front easily accessible pocket for a smartphone

What We Like

  • Adjustable crossbody strap
  • Featuring a removable strap that lets you carry it like a briefcase
  • Large front section with the ability for it to expand as you add more things
  • Durable bag (which might be too heavy for some smaller people)

What We Don’t Like

  • Underneath the front flap, there is no top zipper
  • The internal pockets do not have a velcro closure (so if the top flap is left open, the interior items can spill out)
  • The front pocket on the flap needs to be more significant. (some of the larger phones won’t fit)

#4 Berchirly Vintage Military Canvas Messenger Bag


Berchirly Military Canvas Leather Messenger Shoulder Bag Crossbody Fits 13.3" Laptop Khaki
  • 90%canvas, 10% leather
  • 100% brand new and High quanlity canvas & cow leather
  • Large single compartment; One main bag and four outside bags and one inside bag
  • Retro eco-friendly casual life tyle, large size with multiple pockets, ideal for keeping personal belongings.

We recommend this shoulder bag for school if you do not care about your messenger being waterproof. It comes in 7 colors and has high-quality canvas and leather. The Berchirly is an inexpensive bag; you will have to pay more if you want a higher-quality one. So do not expect this bag to last year.

The Berchirly Vintage Canvas Messenger Bag is a simple, casual, and stylish bag that will add a touch of style to your outfit. With an adjustable shoulder strap, you can keep all of your college belongings organized in this messenger bag, thanks to multiple compartments and pockets.

The main compartment has one large area and one small chamber inside the flap. There is also an inside zipper pocket for keeping small items like keys or wallets safe. The outside of the bag has four smaller pockets with zippers for storing cell phones, wallets, charging cables, pens, or sunglasses.

Manufacturers Specs

  • The XL will fit a 15″ laptop (comes in multiple sizes)
  • Not waterproof
  • Wash separately and hang to dry
  • It has a large main compartment with inside and outside pockets.

What We Like

  • The magnetic buttons are a nice feature. (much quieter than velcro)
  • The bag comes in multiple sizes
  • Four outer pockets (2 large and two small)

What We Don’t Like

  • There is no dedicated spot for a water bottle
  • The shoulder strap doesn’t stay put
  • The color in the photos looks different from the actual bag you receive
  • The cotton material is thin

#5 Manhattan Portage 25th Anniversary New York Messenger Bag, X-Small


Manhattan Portage Mini NY Messenger Bag With Zip Pocket And Spacious Compartment Water Resistant Cordura 1000D (Black)
  • Spacious interior compartment
  • Strong hook and loop closure
  • Smaller interior zip compartment
  • Water Resistant

The best small messenger bag is the classic Manhattan Portage Messenger Bag. In NY, you will see many people carrying one of these small messenger bags while riding the subway. The great thing about Manhattan Portage is it comes in multiple colors, has a padded laptop area, and has plenty of pockets to hold your items.

A small messenger bag is suitable for when you do not need to take your laptop to school. The tiny messenger bag will fit an iPad, phone, and other small school supplies.

Manufacturers Specs

  • Water-resistant
  • 11 x 7 x 4.5 inches 
  • Multiple colors
  • It Will not fit a laptop

What We Like

  • Tiny size
  • The velcro allows you to close the bag, so items will not spill out securely.
  • The adjustable shoulder will allow any type of person to wear it comfortably.
  • The bag comes with a velcro blocker hook, so if you are in class or an event where you need to go in and out of the bag and don’t want the extra noise.
  • The red lining allows you to see what’s inside the bag easier
  • Inside zippered pocket

What We Don’t Like

  • The material is very stiff. (needs time to break in)
  • The velcro is loud (the company made a solution for that)

Things To Consider Before Buying A Messenger Bag for School

Size :

A messenger bag’s size is one of the most important factors to consider before buying.  The perfect-sized messenger bag for school will have a little bit of room so you can carry your laptop, tablet, and notebooks, as well as your pens and pencils. However, too much extra space in a bag could lead to not finding anything, especially when you have a lot of books and more oversized items inside of your shoulder bag for school.

Material and Durability :

One of the main reasons you will be buying a messenger bag for school is to carry your books and laptop. You want your bag to hold up for years without tearing or ripping. When they make a bag with nylon, it makes them lighter weight, but they aren’t as strong as canvas bags. Some bags are made with canvas and maybe a lot heavier, but they will last for years. When it comes to these bags, you might have to decide more important: weight or durability.

Organization :

If you’re like me and need organization in your life, then a messenger bag will help. It helps stay even more organized, which leads to better studying and less stress throughout your journey at school. There are all types of messenger bags for school; there are many pockets and some with no pockets. The perfect bag for the organization will have a sleeve or pocket where you can store your laptop and a separate pocket for all of your supplies.

Price :

When it comes to price, you’re probably wondering how much is too much when it comes to buying one of the best messenger bags for school? You want something that will last for years, but you don’t want to pay hundreds of dollars for one. Look for the best price-quality ratio you can find. Don’t just buy something because of its brand; some brands are overpriced.

Compartments :

Most of these bags will offer you pockets inside so you can organize all of your clothes, pens, laptop, wallet, chargers, water bottles, and other supplies. Some even have padding for extra protection in case you drop it. These pockets are great for holding smaller items, but it might be difficult if you need to get something out quickly because the openings can be small or against your back.

Padded Shoulder Strap :

Some bags come with padded shoulder straps, so they are more comfortable to carry. A padded strap for your shoulder bag for school might be a must-have for you if you have a long walk from your car to class or have to walk home carrying all of your items. Although, keep in mind that thicker padding will make the bag heavier.

Comfort :

The best way to find out which messenger bag is the most comfortable for you is to try it on. Although this is not always feasible when shopping online, I hope to help you tell you what some of these bags feel like. Some have a thick padded strap that goes across your chest, and others just have a thin nylon strap that may hurt your shoulder. They make some straps out of mesh, so they stay cooler when you’re wearing them in the summer heat. Our list features all of the best messenger bags for college that are also comfortable.

Security Features :

It’s always a good idea to consider investing in a shoulder bag for school with security features. Some bags come with zippers that you can hook your keys onto to avoid getting lost, and others come with RFID technology. RFID  protects your credit cards and other items from thieves that use scanners or readers. If you feel like there might be a lot of pickpockets in your area, or you want to take extra precautions, then look for one of the best messenger bags for school that can lock the bag.

Rain Proof :

Don’t you hate it when it starts pouring and your stuff gets soaked? I know I do. Well, that won’t happen to you if you buy one of the best waterproof messenger bags for school. A waterproof bag is especially important if you go to one of the Caribbean vet schools, where it rains on a daily basis. The waterproof bags have a rainproof coat on them that is water repellent. Using a waterproof messenger bag for college will keep all of your stuff safe and dry when Mother Nature decides to show her wrath.

What Is A Messenger Bag And Why You Need One

Messenger bags are a cross-body style that you can wear against the lower back, then pull around to either side or front when needed. The technique makes them perfect for wearing while walking and biking. The messenger bag is a shoulder bag that couriers use, but ordinary people like students use them too! No matter what your standard backpack essentials for college are, they will also fit in a collegiate messenger bag.

The messenger bags are a modern take on an old idea. The first messenger bag was made for couriers who transported essential documents. It had to be securely closed to protect its contents, which eventually led them to create fashionable yet functional styles like buckles, clasps, or zippers that would add style without taking away from functionality!

A genuine Messenger Bag will always have somewhere safe where you can store all your goodies while still having easy access. Messenger bags are more stylish, versatile, and accessible than backpacks, and a messenger bag is an excellent alternative to a backpack for some people.

The Different Types of Messenger Bags For School

Straight: This is the most traditional type of messenger bag for school. It has one large pocket in front, and it comes with either a smaller pocket on top or sometimes no extra pockets at all.

Crossbody Bag: A crossbody bag is like a standard messenger bag without extra straps to go across your chest or back. Because you wear it against your back, it’s a perfect bag for protecting your laptop while still offering the quick access that we all want in a messenger bag!

Sling Bag: If you don’t like carrying your bag on one side or another, but you like to quickly get into the main compartment, you should look into purchasing a sling bag. A sling bag is another type of tiny messenger bag with one strap that goes across your chest but doesn’t have any extra straps to go over your shoulder.

Laptop Messenger Bags: The main compartment on these bags is usually big enough for a laptop or tablet, making them perfect for students who are always on the go.

 5 Benefits Of Using A Messenger Bag For College

  • It’s simple to get into, no matter whether you’re sitting, walking, or standing.
  • Some people prefer the look and style of a messenger bag versus a backpack.
  • Most of them are waterproof.
  • If you bike to school, they are comfortable and accessible while you are riding.
  • In a chair, you don’t have to take the bag off; you can simply slide it towards your front without removing the strap.


When it comes to messenger bags for school, there are many options available. You can go with a waterproof one, one that’s small, or one with a lockable zipper for extra security. The best thing you can do is find out your needs so you know which style will suit them the most.