The Best Tactical Messenger Bag [5 Great Choices!]

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What is a Tactical Messenger Bag? 

A tactical messenger bag is a versatile carrier that utilizes compartments to store and efficiently carry materials that are convenient for a wide array of uses. They are used to remain on the go while frequently revisiting the materials needed as you move.

The tactical bag provides a unique take on organization, security, and portability not found in a traditional messenger bag or backpack. Whether you are a frequent traveler, a business associate, or are simply in need of an organized bag to hold important or sensitive items, the tactical messenger bag may be the right choice for you.   

Article: The Best Tactical Messenger Bag Image: Tactical Shoulder Bag on White Background

Historically, messenger bags were created for mail services to help store and deliver messages and materials sensitive enough to not be let out of sight.

As the times have shifted, they have become suited towards a diverse amount of professions including campers, photographers, lawyers, teachers, officers, and outdoorsmen. In a world designed for heightened preparedness, the tactical messenger bag may be the perfect solution. 

Why Use a Tactical Messenger Bag? 

When it comes to bags, it may be difficult to identify which kind of bag is the right option, as there are many to choose from. There are a plethora of options including backpacks, satchels, and duffel bags, but none work quite as efficiently as a tactical messenger bag.

They maximize comfort, style, and purpose as the quintessential carrier on the market. Although made for more active users that remain operative, they can be functional in a myriad of experiences. They can be adjusted to meet your comfort level and have a secure closing for privacy and security. The versatility of a tactical messenger bag allows them to be an appropriate attachment for a formal business meeting or an outdoor fishing trip.   

They are specifically convenient as the materials in the bag are stored and accessible in an easy-to-reach manner. They are multifaceted, more manageable than a traditional backpack, and in many cases, can help carry much more specifically targeted supplies. If you’ve ever found yourself losing pens, papers, or supplies at the bottom of your backpack, then a messenger bag may be the appropriate substitution.

What Materials are Tactical Messenger Bags Made From?

You will find that the materials used to make tactical messenger bags vary based on utility and style. While many are made using durable, breathable materials such as polyester or nylon, others can be made using leather or canvas. If you’re going to be in an area where your bag might be wet or exposed to other elements, the leather option is perhaps not the best for you. 

See Also:  Best Messenger Bags for Air Travel [Top 7]

What is MOLLE?

The MOdular Lightweight Load-carrying Equipment (source) is a standard used to allow compatibility between a wide variety of pouches and accessories. A standard for military use, tactical messenger bags with a MOLLE system can be significantly expanded and customized.

Traveling with a Tactical Messenger Bag

When traveling, it’s important to keep some of your essential items on your person, such as identification or passports, currency or credit cards, and a camera for sightseeing. Many of us have experienced the discomfort and disturbance of having to lift a backpack off of our shoulders, hoist it around, and retrieve our items from the pack, only to have to replace it and repeat the process soon after.

man waiting for subway with messenger bag

With a messenger bag, you not only have quick and easy access on your travels, but you can guarantee yourself the peace of mind of having items of value in front of you. If pickpocketing is a concern, the tactical messenger bag will eradicate that fear.   Their convenient size also makes them great for light travel, as they can fit into any overhead compartment on a plane, train, or a bus.

Due to heightened security measures in airports all over the world, it is also beneficial to have a smaller bag so that you can pass through checkpoints easily. Simply open your bag, display its contents, and you’ll be on your way in no time. 

To help minimize your selection process, here is a list of some of the best tactical messenger bags while highlighting some of their most notable features. Here’s a quick list, the details are after the table:

Berchirly Mens Messenger Bag Vintage Military Canvas Crossbody Bookbags Schoolbag Satchel For 17.3Inch Laptop
Our Choice!
5.11 Tactical Unisex Overwatch Messenger Bag, Shoulder Strap Laptop Carrying Case, 18 Liter Capacity, Black, Style # 56648
Direct Action Small Messenger Tactical Bag Olive Green 6.6 Liter Capacity, Ideal for Laptop, ipad or Tablet
Allen Company Pride6™ Base Tactical Messenger Bag, Courier Bag, Shoulder Bag, with Laptop and Conceal Carry Pocket, Internal Pockets, Tightening System, Green/Black
First Tactical Ascend Messenger Bag, Coyote
Product
Berchirly Men Vintage Military Canvas Messenger Crossbody Bag
5.11 Tactical Unisex Overwatch Messenger Bag
Direct Action Messenger Tactical Bag
Allen Base Tactical Messenger Bag
First Tactical Ascend Messenger Bag
Benefits
Vintage style, comfortable, and practical
Stylish, comfortable, and practical
Designed for military/law enforcement, functional, and secure
Weatherproof, organized, and adjustable
Rugged nylon fabric, multiple compartments, durability
MOLLE?
Berchirly Mens Messenger Bag Vintage Military Canvas Crossbody Bookbags Schoolbag Satchel For 17.3Inch Laptop
Product
Berchirly Men Vintage Military Canvas Messenger Crossbody Bag
Benefits
Vintage style, comfortable, and practical
MOLLE?
Our Choice!
5.11 Tactical Unisex Overwatch Messenger Bag, Shoulder Strap Laptop Carrying Case, 18 Liter Capacity, Black, Style # 56648
Product
5.11 Tactical Unisex Overwatch Messenger Bag
Benefits
Stylish, comfortable, and practical
MOLLE?
Direct Action Small Messenger Tactical Bag Olive Green 6.6 Liter Capacity, Ideal for Laptop, ipad or Tablet
Product
Direct Action Messenger Tactical Bag
Benefits
Designed for military/law enforcement, functional, and secure
MOLLE?
Allen Company Pride6™ Base Tactical Messenger Bag, Courier Bag, Shoulder Bag, with Laptop and Conceal Carry Pocket, Internal Pockets, Tightening System, Green/Black
Product
Allen Base Tactical Messenger Bag
Benefits
Weatherproof, organized, and adjustable
MOLLE?
First Tactical Ascend Messenger Bag, Coyote
Product
First Tactical Ascend Messenger Bag
Benefits
Rugged nylon fabric, multiple compartments, durability
MOLLE?
See Also:  The Best Rolling Briefcases for Lawyers? [9 Great Options!]

Berchirly Men Vintage Military Canvas Messenger Crossbody Bag

Berchirly Mens Messenger Bag Vintage Military Canvas Crossbody Bookbags Schoolbag Satchel For 17.3Inch Laptop

DimensionsVaries – Smallest is 12.6 x 11.4 x 4 inches
WeightVaries – 2.2-2.8 lbs
MOLLE?No

This vintage-style messenger bag is best suited as a comfortable yet practical bag. With an interior design that matches the exterior and aged brass buckles, it makes for a particularly aesthetically pleasing bag. Its made of high-density canvas and 100% cow leather for a durable approach.

This bag is available in a range of colors (black, various brown shades, army green and navy) and a range of sizes that will fit a 13 inch to 17 inch laptop. The old-fashioned design makes it perfect for everyday usage regardless of whether your target environment is the rugged outdoors or if you want to maintain a subtle indoors approach.   

Key Benefits: Vintage style, comfortable, and practical. 

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5.11 Tactical Unisex Overwatch Messenger Bag

5.11 Tactical Unisex Overwatch Messenger Bag, Shoulder Strap Laptop Carrying Case, 18 Liter Capacity, Black, Style # 56648

Dimensions19.5 x 14.2 x 1.9 inches
Weight2.6 lbs
MOLLE?Yes

This tactical messenger bag from 5.11 is designed to be practical but stylish. Made from 100% 500D Nylon, this bag is rugged enough for work in the field, but its trim style doesn’t look out of place in an office or a swanky hotel lobby (so long as you don’t trick it out with a lot of attachments to the external MOLLE – that changes the look quite a bit).

The 18L capacity of the main compartment, together with the many internal and external slip pockets provide a lot of carrying capacity and organization (there’s even an external bottle holder). The strap comes with a shoulder pad and the rear panel is a soft mesh – both give significant added comfort.

Key Benefits: Stylish, comfortable, and practical. 

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Direct Action Messenger Tactical Bag

Direct Action Small Messenger Tactical Bag Olive Green 6.6 Liter Capacity, Ideal for Laptop, ipad or Tablet

DimensionsVaries – smaller size is 9.4 x 13 x 4 inches
WeightVaries 1.89 to 3.0 lbs
MOLLE?Yes

Switching it up now with a more military/law enforcement oriented bag. Available in a range of camo and outdoor-oriented colors, this bag is made of high quality Cordura 500D, treated to give it a water-resistant coating.

The main compartment is lined with velcro allowing the possibility for additional customizable space. There’s a full-width rear zipped pocket, a padded internal laptop sleeve pocket, laser-cut MOLLE system and sturdy YKK zippers. Combined with the double stitching, this is a tough bag. What it’s missing is other external pockets, you have to open the main flap to get inside. This adds security at the expense of easy access.

This bag has a tough and sturdy appeal, making it both visually drawing yet still secure and protected thanks to its internal compartments.

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Key Benefits: Designed for military/law enforcement, functional, and secure. 

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Allen Base Tactical Messenger Bag

Allen Company Pride6™ Base Tactical Messenger Bag, Courier Bag, Shoulder Bag, with Laptop and Conceal Carry Pocket, Internal Pockets, Tightening System, Green/Black

Dimensions19.8 x 14.3 x 2.9 inches
Weight2.5 lbs
MOLLE?No

A reliable yet attractive option, the Allen Base Tactical Messenger Bag is available in a dark green with black enhancements. Perfect for safely transporting your laptop, tablet, or any other fragile electronics, you can enjoy a virtually hands free commute knowing all of your valuables are securely stowed.

This bag boasts adjustable features such as the holster and the padded strap, a variety of zippered pockets to keep your items from moving around too much while you are in transit. Made of double-layered Endura fabric, it is tough and waterproof.

Key Benefits: Weatherproof, organized, and adjustable. 

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First Tactical Ascend Messenger Bag

First Tactical Ascend Messenger Bag, Coyote

Dimensions21.8 x 15.9 x 3.4 inches
Weight3.1 lbs
MOLLE?No

Patriot Outfitters is offering this sleek “field to office” style bag which features the ruggedness and durability of a field quality bag with the dependability and subtlety of an office-appropriate one. Available in both black and coyote tan, the bag has six different exterior pocket compartments and three interior drop pockets. It is made from 500D and 1000D nylon, with rugged YKK Zippers and Duraflex hardware, so you know it’s going to be able to handle any heavy load you want it to carry.

Key benefits: Rugged nylon fabric, multiple compartments, durability.

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Which Bag is the Best? (Buyer’s Guide)

When purchasing a tactical messenger bag, it is important to have an idea of what will work best for you as there is a wide variety of options. The main questions to ask yourself are:

  • What am I carrying? Does this bag require laptop protection, are there enough pockets if I’m carrying a lot of smaller items that need organization?
  • What do I need immediate access to? Is it ok to open the whole bag, or are there some things I need immediate and regular access to (in which case external easy-access pockets are a must)
  • Where will I be taking this? If you’re more likely to be found in the boardroom than the backwoods, then perhaps you want something that blends in a bit, rather than rocking full camo with half a dozen external MOLLE attachments

They are secure, durable, resourceful, and (can be) stylish which means there are also a multitude of options. It is difficult to rate the “best” tactical messenger bags as you will need to find the one that best suits your personal needs. There are plenty of questions to consider including the size, weight, material, comfort, durability, and style, which only allows you to be more satisfied with your purchase.

Having said that, we do have a favorite. As a great all-rounder that can go anywhere, but is still expandable as needed, our choice is the Overwatch Tactical Messenger Bag from 5.11 Tactical:

5.11 Overwatch Unisex Tactical Messenger Bag
With a durable ballistic nylon construction, many zippered compartments and MOLLE extendability, this bag can cover all your needs, while being discreet and stylish enough for any office environment

Last update on 2022-10-04 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API