I entered the workforce at a weird time — March 2020, to be exact — just as quarantine began and many Americans were thrust into working-from-home to prevent the spread of Covid-19. In the ensuing years, I’d settled into a morning routine: wake up at 8:30 and make the long commute from bed to desk. But as the return to the office loomed, several questions immediately came to mind: What time should I wake up? What should I wear to the office? How do those express subway trains work, anyway?
I wondered how I should carry my laptop, headset and chargers on my commute. As a student, I carried a backpack, but that option felt at best cumbersome and at worst, a little juvenile. And on hotter days, my shirt would be drenched with sweat underneath the backpack and straps. I needed something that was compact enough for the crowded subway but still had enough space for my essentials. A messenger bag — with its slim profile — seemed like the perfect, sweat-proof solution. When I first laid eyes on the Timbuk2 Classic Messenger Bag, its colorful, clean design drew me in. The bag’s functional construction — with its interior pockets and space to hold drinks — sold me, and it’s become a wardrobe staple I can’t live without.
I bought this bag for myself this past holiday season, in anticipation of my office’s spring return to office. My bag (size small) has enough space for my 13-inch work laptop in the laptop pocket, as well as my wired headphones, wireless headset and charger, phone charger, laptop charger, water bottle and set of gym clothes with room to spare. The triple-toned design — I have the Eco Rind Pop colorway — makes it a stylish accent to any outfit I wear to the office. It uses both velcro and buckles to close, so my gear always feels secure.
The bag is available in extra small, small, medium and large sizes and in 11 different color patterns, including Eco Amber, Eco Army and Eco Monsoon. My small-sized bag has a capacity of 14 liters and weighs 1.7 pounds.
Other commuter bags to consider
If you want to expand your search for your ideal commuter bag, here are a few other highly rated options.
Select contributor Kevin Cortez called this tote bag from Incase his “ultimate carryall for my commuting needs.” He likes the “minimalist” design and large capacity of 23 liters. The tote, which has a padded pocket for protecting your laptop, can fit his 15-inch Macbook, phone chargers, three notebooks, a novel, water bottle, phone, wallet, snacks and a deodorant stick.
Our colleagues at Shop Today recommended this bag from Dagne Dover as one of their favorite laptop bags. The bag is made from water-resistant neoprene, and the brand says the bag is both insulating and shock absorbent. The interior lining is made from recycled plastic bottles. The bag comes in seven different colors and five sizes: extra small, small, medium, large and extra large.