We’re huge proponents of choosing specific bags for each of the situations you’re likely to encounter day-to-day. In this guide, we’ll be covering the 12 best bags for men in each category: The best work bags for men, the best travel bags, and the best gym bags.
We’ve personally tested a majority of the bags in this review, and want to pass our understanding on to you. Every bag is designed with a specific purpose in mind.
Equipping yourself with the right bag for each activity will make your life much closer to being effortless. With that being said, are you ready to see the best men’s bags for work, travel, and beyond?
Best Men’s Work Bags
A man’s work bag needs to be versatile and efficient. Having tested and compared a wide selection of work bag options, we’ve found ourselves happiest with the briefcase style. We love these four bags below:
Best Rugged Work Bag: Filson Large Briefcase
Made in the USA from waxed twill, complete with bridle leather handles and strap, the Filson is tough as nails and made for everyday use.
Protect your laptop in this large briefcase made with our nearly indestructible Rugged Twill. Inside are four roomy full-length sections. One is the perfect size for a laptop computer. More pockets hold a battery pack, diskettes, calculator, business cards, pens, pencils and notebooks.
Brass zippers and leather pulls stand up to long-term use, and all eight of this bag’s pockets feature heavy-duty canvas stitching. Better yet, a double bottom ensures that it will keep its shape no matter how much you need to carry.
Great All Around Soft Sided Briefcase: Stuart and Lau Cary Briefcase
The Wirecutter’s vetting process for their reviews is legendary. It definitely means something that Stuart and Lau’s Cary briefcase has been named their top briefcase two years in a row.
And honestly, we’d have to agree: Lightweight and nearly waterproof, yet ultra-durable with a good carrying capacity, it’s one of the most versatile bags we’ve ever used. All and all, this is one of the best bags for men out there.
Luxury Leather Briefcase: Daveed Slim Briefcase
Stylish and minimalist, the Daveed is made of buttery soft full-grain leather.
The Riri zippers glide smooth as silk every time, and feel so good to use in both directions. Plus, the two-way zippers allow the Daveed to open extra-wide, making it both sleek in appearance and abundant in storage space.
Check out our post on how to spot a quality leather bag, featuring Daveed’s leather briefcase.
Tough and Oversized Leather Briefcase: Saddleback Leather Co. Flight Bag
As rugged as a work bag comes, the Saddleback Leather Company’s Flight Bag is unique in having no breakable components.
Instead, they use choice cuts of extra-strong leather, riveted reinforcements, and 316 stainless steel buckles. It’s a little pricey, but damn near indestructible and ready for any adventure.
The Best Backpacks for Men (work and travel)
Backpacks aren’t just for school anymore. Modern designers have come to appreciate the sleek lines and convenient over-the-shoulder storage of backpacks, and are now making products that any man should be proud to wear.
Three backpacks stand out in our mind as great combinations of style, comfort, and convenience:
Favorite Casual Everyday Backpack: Aer Flight Pack 2
Cleverly designed to transform into a backpack, shoulder bag, or soft briefcase. We love that the Aer Flight Pack 2 is versatile, affordable, and has super clean lines.
"The Flight Pack 2 is a convertible backpack designed for work travel. Its versatile design allows you to comfortably carry it as a backpack, a shoulder bag or a brief with handles. Multiple pockets for your daily essentials keep you organized and ready to work on the go."
The plastic hardware and Cordura nylon make it less suitable for (formal) professional use, but perfectly applicable to day trips, weekends, and short hikes.
Sleek Leather Work Backpack: Daveed Business Backpack
Featuring the same super-smooth full-grain German leather as their briefcase (above), Daveed’s business backpack might change your opinion about what outfits you can wear a backpack with.
It’s every bit as stylish as a leather briefcase, but offers a much more lightweight and streamlined way to pack your essentials.
Great Tech Commute-to-Work Option: Stuart and Lau Capstone Backpack
This bag is designed specifically for men who are always on-the-go. The Capstone from Stuart and Lau is shaped to allow easy access without ever leaving your shoulders.
"Designed to never leave the shoulders, smart sleeves and pockets keep items at hand, while the main compartment is easily accessed on the go by the top flap or side zipper. Waterproof pocket for umbrella or thermos, airport-friendly top loading laptop sleeve, and foam injected straps for carrying comfort."
Efficient, fluid movements allow you to grab your laptop, wallet, keys, and more without ever letting the Capstone touch the ground.
Best Men’s Gym and Travel Bags
Despite their seemingly different purposes, men’s gym and travel bags share a lot in common. You’ll likely be storing a change of clothes or two, a pair of shoes, and any accessories (phone, wallet, and
Each of the five bags below can do double duty as either a gym or travel bag:
Three Awesome Minimal Travel Bags
Minimal style and efficient functions are everything in a travel bag. In fact, it’s essential when looking at the best bags for men.
Each of these three bags has been a hit on our trips — so much so that we can’t quite decide which one we like best!
Nomad Lane Bento Bag
Named for the compartmentalized lunch boxes favored across most of Japan, Nomad Lane’s Bento Bag features similar customization options.
It’s a super cool hybrid bag, opening down the middle like a suitcase but carrying like a shoulder bag. If you fly a lot, the easy access charging port is a complete lifesaver (and TSA-approved).
J.Crew Ludlow Garment Duffel
A whole lot of bag for a bargain of a price! J. Crew’s Ludlow offers huge amounts of storage space and sport coat-carrying functionality (without wrinkling or the need to carry a separate garment bag).
A waxed cotton canvas exterior makes it a durable option for travel or gym use, and you can carry it over the shoulder or by its riveting-reinforced handles.
Hook and Albert Garment Duffel
Made of heavy-duty top-grain leather and large enough to fit a size 46 suit, this garment duffel is a real beast of a bag.
Shoe holders and external pockets add extra storage space without making the bag look bulky from the outside. And you can’t forget its garment bag-like capabilities (avoiding the need for a separate bag for your
Overall, it’s the perfect bag for weekend getaways or short business trips.
The Best Gym Bag: Stuart & Lau Regimen Gym Bag
Waterproof fabric and a full-grain leather trim make the Regimen stand out from the crowd of the usual gym bag suspects.
The separated and waterproof outside sections allow you to keep your work and gym items safely apart from each other. Meanwhile, the washable laundry bag section and ventilated shoe compartment really put this bag over the top.
Consider this the perfect work, travel, or gym bag.
The Best Durable, Rugged Duffel: Filson Medium Duffle Bag
Water repellent and simply built, Filson’s duffle bags feature one big interior compartment and two smaller end pockets.
This water-repellent mid-sized heavy-duty duffel is designed to carry plenty of cargo and built to take a beating. Features two inside pockets at each end, leather pulls, leather grip with two-snap closure, and adjustable, removable leather shoulder strap with leather should pad. Two way brass zipper
Between the waxed canvas exterior, brass zipper pulls, leather reinforcements, and heavy-duty stitching, this bag is made to take a beating and keep looking as sharp as the day you bought it.
The Bags I’ve Used the Most
Though I’ve enjoyed using each of the bags listed above, there’s a small selection that I turn to most often in my day to day life. With that in mind, here is my condensed list of the best bags for men. Consider this NY-commuter approved!
Filson Large Briefcase
Of all the briefcases I’ve used for work, I keep coming back to the Filson.
Its heavy-duty construction, storage options, and water resistance makes it my “old reliable.” If I’m in a rush to get out the door, I almost always grab this briefcase because I know it’ll handle even the roughest of weather and commutes.
Aer Flight Pack 2
When I’m looking for a bag that I don’t have to think much about, the Flight Pack 2 delivers.
It’s just such a versatile storage option, transforming from backpack to shoulder bag to briefcase without any fuss.
Plus, the price is just a fraction of many of the bags on this list. Consider this one of the easiest bags to invest in for complementing your existing wardrobe.
Nomad Lane Bento Bag
Every time I use the Bento Bag, I’m surprised at just how much space it really has. Equally stylish as a shoulder bag or handled duffle, it’s my go-to bag for trips to the airport.
Bag I’m Most Excited About: Stuart & Lau Capstone Backpack
Here’s my hot take: Anyone who brings their laptop to and from work should have the Capstone backpack.
It’s such a well-designed bag that after wearing it for a few days, it started to feel like a piece of me.
Every movement to access my stuff was smooth and effortless. Plus, it’s completely waterproof — making it a perfect commuter bag for any day of the week.
Best Luxury Work Option: Daveed Slim Briefcase
This is a slim, elegant, luxury leather briefcase perfect for the guy who prefers to travel light and doesn’t need to carry much stuff with him to work every day.
Final Thoughts: A Bag For Every Occasion
Take it from me: Once you get your bag game in place, you’ll never regret it. There’s something especially satisfying about having the right tools for the situation, every time — and the best bag to carry them in.
If you’re interested in figuring out exactly what you should be filling your bags with, check us out on Twitter. You can also find join other readers on Effortless Gent’s Facebook page, or DM me on Instagram!