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Your ‘Business Traveler’ Guide to the Season’s Best Messenger Bags and Backpacks

Five backpack options for every type of traveler

by Laurie Brookins

October 11, 2022

Photo: / Bogdan/Adobe Stock

Most messenger bags and backpacks used to feel either youthful and collegiate or the ultimate in hiker chic, but no longer. Many of the latest styles exude a sleek vibe rooted in both tech and fashion sensibilities, without skimping on features any commuter or traveler appreciates. Chief among those is the inclusion of a laptop sleeve that allows the wearer to feel good about the safety of their most precious piece of office equipment. This quintet of options takes a something-for-everyone approach to ensure you’re traversing the airport or office corridor in style.


The League Flap Backpack by Coach is sure to be noticed in this luxe, deep-turquoise hue. Crafted of calf leather, the unisex piece features an inside laptop sleeve that accommodates a device of up to 13 inches, as well as cell phone and multifunction pockets. The exterior includes zip and slip pockets, adjustable shoulder straps and a zip access to the interior for easy access.
$595, at


Brooklyn-based ONA originally designed its signature Brooklyn bag to accommodate cameras, which means it comes with a plethora of handy padded pockets that are removable. The messenger-style bag with adjustable shoulder strap fits a 13-inch laptop and is crafted in an antique cognac leather that’s only going to get better with age.
$469, at

Cole Haan

American brand Cole Haan launched its Grand Ambition collection in 2019 as a showcase for products designed with cosmopolitan women in mind, and the collection has only attained a more refined air with subsequent iterations. Among the newest looks is this convertible leather backpack in a rich hue dubbed Winetasting. The straps can be adjusted into a shoulder or cross-body style, while a padded sleeve fits a laptop measuring up to 15 inches. In addition to six interior slip or zip pockets, this backpack includes a trolley pass, meaning it can be fastened onto your carry-on handle to roll through the terminal with ease.
$330, at


If you work on a Mac, chances are you know Incase, the Southern California-based brand founded in 1997 to support and showcase Apple products. While the company got its start crafting MacBook sleeves that are as sturdy as they are stylish, in recent years Incase has expanded its offerings to protect and carry all your Apple devices. The EO Travel Backpack, seen here in sleek, durable black nylon, blends the ease of a laptop-friendly bag with the capacity of a weekender, with a separate zippered and expandable compartment ideal for overnight travel.
$199.95, at


From Detroit-based brand Shinola, this Runwell Backpack is crafted in a smoke-hued natural-grained leather that will acquire a lovely patina over time, while nicely offsetting its matte-nickel hardware. A padded back computer pocket allows effortless access to a laptop measuring up to 15 inches, while a front exterior zip pocket keeps keys and other essentials also within easy reach.
$995, at