Mens Bags: The ultimate Guide (2018)

Are you thinking about buying a new bag, but you're not sure what it should look like and what requirements it should meet?

If you’re asking yourself:

"What's the perfect bag for the university?"

"Which bag is ideal for the office?"

Then you’re in exactly the right place here!

We’ll help you buy your new favorite bag and show you what you should pay attention to when making your choice.

In the following article, you’ll get to know the different men's bags, learn all about their materials, care tips and current trends. Thus, you will well be informed when buying your next bag and should find exactly the model that suits you and your life.

Herschel bag blue


1. You should know five types of bags

Have you often wondered what is the right bag for everyday city life? Or whether a duffle bag or the classic weekender is more suitable for your next trip? Or which men's bag should one generally carry for which occasion? In the following post, we answer these and more questions and finally shed light on the dark world of men's bags.

Weekender Bag

Men's weekenders - the classic bag for men

Whether for business trips or short breaks, the Weekender bag is ideal for traveling. It is a real space saver and the model of the modern men's bag. Nowadays, in addition to its practical features, it is also considered as a chic accessory, which generally enhances any outfit.

When buying a good men's weekender, however, you should make sure that it has a comfortable shoulder strap in addition to handles. Especially if you’re traveling a lot, it can become quite uncomfortable after a while to carry the packed bag only by hand. The best solution is a detachable shoulder strap, which you can store at any time in the interior of the weekender bag. Thus, you benefit even on longer walks through the maximum comfort and are well equipped for any adventure.

The allrounder bag has become increasingly popular with men in recent years, as it is so wonderfully simple and uncomplicated and fits any style, whether for a business or casual outfit.

Let's consider the selection of the material. Since weekender bags often have to accompany many trips, where they always serve as a faithful companion, they should be particularly stable. The most classic and usually the most expensive is the leather version. A huge advantage of good leather is that it is almost indestructible. Thus, you can carry a leather men's weekender for many years without any problems. With proper care, it will still look like new even after years.

With a weekender bag made of fabric, ideally you should make sure that it is sturdy material. For example, canvas is very stable, especially if it has been additionally coated and waxed, as has been the case for generations with the Filson brand of bags. However, if you are looking for a modern weekender, Cote et Ciel offers a very interesting and futuristic design concept. Later on, we will provide you more further information about the individual materials and how you can clean them.

  • classic tote bag for men
  • ideal for business trips or weekend trips
  • have a large main compartment
Herschel Duffel Bag

Duffle bags - the sporty counterpart to the weekender

Duffle bags and weekenders are relatively similar. At first glance, the differences are not obvious to many. Precisely for this reason, the two types of bags are also often combined.

Basically, duffle bags look sportier and are more likely to be used as a companion for the city or the gym. Since the duffle bag is used more for everyday use and less for travel, its interior is usually a little smaller.

But the design of the inside again turns out to be pretty much the same for both bags. A large simply kept interior without many extras and compartments offers space for your clothes or anything else you want to transport. In most models, you can accommodate important items as well as little things in outer pockets.

Another respect in which the two bag types often differ is the material. While Weekender bags often use heavy materials such as waxed cotton or leather, duffle bags are mostly made of synthetic lightweight fabrics like nylon and polyester. This in turn is a decisive advantage for sports activities. Nylon and polyester breath more and are water repellent, which is a great advantage when transporting sports equipment.

If you are looking for a bag for sports or if you just like to be out and about during your free time, then the duffle bag is a great choice.

  • casual carrying bag
  • ideal for the city or for the gym
  • casual version of the classic weekender
Messenger Bag

Messenger bag - the practical shoulder bag for men

The messenger bag is originally from America. Due to the practical adjustable shoulder straps and their compact shape, they were especially popular among bike couriers. But enough about the messenger bag’s story, let’s get to the benefits of the bag.

Due to its high degree of functionality, a messenger bag is an ideal companion for the office or the university. By default, the practical working bag has plenty of usable storage space and contains more inner compartments than any other type of bag. Especially if you’re looking for a messenger bag for everyday work, it’s advisable to make sure that it has a sufficiently large and padded laptop compartment.

Of course, the interior should also provide enough space for DIN A4 size folders and ideally have more inner and outer pockets for your technical accessories. Let us now move from the interior of the messenger bag to another important point, which is often neglected when buying bags.

As everyone knows, bad weather is not uncommon in Germany. Bags of an outdoor character, such as the Sandqvist Messenger left in the picture, are ideal for this purpose. So that your laptop as well as your documents remain dry even on rainy days, we recommend that you use a water-repellent material, especially if you are out and about a lot. A mixture of polyurethanes and polyester is great in this respect. A nice side effect of the material is that you do not have to worry about caring for your messenger bag. You can just clean it with a wet sponge.

  • practical shoulder bag
  • originally used by postmen in the 19th century
  • casual alternative to a briefcase

Men's briefcase - the classic for the office

The trend of men reaching for their bags has become increasingly prevalent in recent years. Just a few short years ago, the world was still quite different, with bags being associated with women's fashion. However, one type of bag has been in demand for decades in both the worlds of both men and women: handbags.

We’re referring to the classic men's briefcase. A briefcase impresses with a high degree of functionality and provides orderly storage space for documents, notebooks, pens and everything else you need in the office. The briefcase compares well with the messenger bag, and is more commonly used in office settings, though less often on casual occasions. But what type of bag carrier are you? From a purely optical point of view, two genera are particularly evident.

The classic leather briefcase has always been an elegant accessory for every business look. It is usually carried in the hand using two carrying handles and less often with a shoulder strap. One special advantage of the leather briefcase is its great longevity. It is not uncommon for a briefcase to serve as a faithful companion throughout your professional life. The choice of color is of course a matter of taste. But we recommend classic colors such as brown or black, especially for business occasions.

But if you're more of a casual type and prefer a casual look in the office, then a modern canvas briefcase might be a better fit for you. A prime advantage in terms of comfort is the removable shoulder strap, which is much more frequently a standard feature of most modern briefcases than is the case with classic leather versions. The interior of in modern briefcases is also often more functional with a variety of inside pockets and padded laptop pockets.

What you ultimately decide is of course up to you. However, when you buy your new men's briefcase, you should satisfy yourself not only of the choice of material but also of the high quality workmanship.

  • classic bag for the office
  • originally used by postmen in the 19th century
  • casual alternative to a briefcase
Tote Bag

Tote bag - the alternative in the city and while shopping

When talking about a tote bag, many men don’t even know what it is. No, it’s not a completely new type of bag that just came out recently. "To tote" is the English term for carrying. As the name thus suggests, the tote bag is a simple and uncomplicated carrying bag.

It’s really a shame that it’s only now gaining fame as a men's bag. The women's world, on the other hand, has been profiting for years from the advantages of tote bags. As the bags are incredibly handy for shopping and running errands in the city, they have become increasingly popular with men over the past few years.

Several fashion labels have also noticed this and are launching new and more masculine tote bag models for men on the market. The tote bag is generally characterized by its large and simple interior and its silhouette, which is comparable to a standard grocery bag.

Now receiving a lot of hype, the tote bag has existed for long time. The so-called "jute bag" became a political statement for fair trade and was intended to point out an ecological grievance. Nowadays, it is simply a practical accessory and is considered an environmentally friendly alternative to the plastic bag.

  • modern tote bag
  • ideal for shopping or for the city
  • also known as a shopper

2. Materials at a glance

When making a purchase decision, not only the type of bag, but also the material plays an important role. There are big differences and important issues that interested people should consider before buying.


Cotton / canvas

The term canvas describes cotton (originally hemp), which is woven by a tight weave pattern into a strong and very resistant fabric. One big advantage of canvas is its enormous load-bearing capacity. The material withstands heavy weight and has the practical feature that its fibers swell when they come into contact with water and close the fabric. For this reason, canvas is water repellent and is ideal for the production of bags or backpacks.

Due to its very rigid structure, canvas is not used in fashion outside of accessories. Only in the case of cloth shoes are its positive characteristics often put to use. The German term for canvas is “Leinwand”. This also reveals one of the original purposes for the durable material.

Artists use the fabric because it can be stretched tightly on wooden frames and its natural surface creates its own look. Canvas was also popular in traditional seafaring. Due to its high tear-resistance and compatibility with salt water, the natural material was perfect for large sails.

One disadvantage of canvas is that the fabric becomes permeable to too much water. As a result, contents are no longer protected in heavy rains. To solve this problem, however, there are many manufacturers who subject their canvas bags to additional surface treatment, making the material even more robust and completely waterproof. In addition, canvas bags are harder to keep clean than the alternatives made of leather, nylon or polyester.

  • very resistant
  • water-repellent
  • high load-bearing capacity
  • permeable to water in heavy rain
  • heavy


Leather is one of the most popular materials in bag production. Cowhide is the most commonly used. High quality leather bags are mostly made of calfskin. The advantages of leather are obvious. It is both robust and durable, but also elegant and timeless. In addition, the material is easy to clean and looks even better aged than new.

Leather consists of a smooth surface on the outside (grain side) and a rougher inside (flesh side). In addition, it is tanned during production. Here it is important to inform yourself whether the leather of the bag was vegetable or chrome tanned.

Chrome tanning is not as elaborate and is much cheaper, but entails some serious disadvantages. For example, the tanning process uses chromium and aluminum salts as well as some other chemicals that are harmful to the environment. In addition, with this type of tanning, residues of highly toxic chromium compounds often remain in the leather, which can be carcinogenic or even mutagenic on skin contact. Therefore, anyone who is interested in a leather bag, should instead spend more money and opt for a bag made of vegetable tanned leather.

One disadvantage to be mentioned is that leather is not waterproof without additional impregnation and must be regularly maintained.

  • elegant and timeless
  • sturdy and durable
  • age can have a positive effect on the look
  • permeable to water without impregnation
  • regular care necessary


Nylon is a relatively modern bag material. The polyamide synthetic fiber is extremely light and flexible. These are also the biggest advantages of the synthetic material and at the same time the reason why it is being increasingly used for bags. A bag made of nylon has almost no weight and can be folded small and stowed anywhere. Another advantage is that nylon is completely wind and weather resistant. Even when it rains a nylon bag keeps its contents dry. The smooth surface is easy to clean and impresses with its pleasant feel.

In most cases, however, nylon is used more for sports bags, making it less suitable for use in the office, for example.

  • almost no dead weight
  • resistant and very flexible
  • can be folded small
  • not completely waterproof
  • can discolor through the sun


Like nylon, polyester is a synthetic fiber. The two materials are very similar in many properties. Both fabrics are convincing due to their tear resistance and lightness.

However, unlike nylon, polyester is even more water-repellent and breathable and can be said to be completely waterproof in a blend with polyurethanes. This mixture is often used for rubber boots and raincoats, as well as for the RAINS rainproof bags. Another advantage of polyester is its great shape retention and heat resistance.

  • completely waterproof with polyurethanes
  • very light and easy to clean
  • high resistance to tears
  • is made from petroleum
  • potentially irritating to the skin

3. Care tips - this is how you keep your bags clean

Most men are already used to caring for their dress shoes and know what they need to consider when cleaning the various materials. This in advance: Don’t worry, with respect to cleaning, bags are significantly less care intensive than men's shoes.

Leather Material

Cleaning leather bags

In the case of leather, the topic of care plays an important role in addition to cleaning. As with cotton bags, cleaning is relatively easy, with the only exception that you should not put a leather bag into the washing machine. For stains, as described in the previous section, you can simply go over the dirty area with a clean moist cloth until the area is slightly dampened. However, if the stain is more persistent, put a little leather cleaner on a cloth and work the solution into the stain.

After 2-5 minutes of contact, you can go over the place with a damp cloth until the residue of the cleaning agent is gone. Then simply dab the damp area with a dry cloth. All you have to do now is wait about 30 minutes until the leather bag has dried and you can assess the result.

You don’t have any leather cleaner? Here is a suitable home remedy: Just take a few drops of mild soap in your hand and mix them with perfume-free dishwashing detergent and a little water.

Let's continue on the topic of care. So that your freshly cleaned leather bag does not dry out now, you should best use a leather moisturizer. Work the care cream with a dry cloth in circular movements into the material. Alternatively, you can also use an ordinary mild moisturizer creme.

As soon as you get the impression that your bag looks too dull or rough, it is advisable to take care of it with traditional moisturizer.

Finally, it is highly recommended to massage the leather with a soft cloth. This will help the surface of the bag properly absorb the care product and restore the shine of the bag.


Cleaning canvas/cotton bags

If you own a cotton bag, you may have noticed that it is very sensitive to dirt and that lint and dust are immediately visible on the fabric. However, it is particularly beneficial for cotton that you can clean it very quickly without a lot of effort. For stains, you can just pick up a sponge with lukewarm water and mild soap and gently go over the affected area.

But what happens if you have a major mishap and the sponge alone is not enough? This too is not a problem because:

Cotton bags can be washed without any problem at 30° in the gentle cycle of the washing machine.

However, if you only want to eliminate the dust that tends to settle on the surface of cotton bags, then we recommend a good old lint roller. This will give you wonderful results and your bag will look almost like new.

Nylon Material

Cleaning nylon bags

A nylon bag is a blessing when it comes to cleaning, because they are generally very resistant to dirt. Incidentally, with the synthetic nylon fabric, you don’t have to be afraid of moth attacks, because organic materials are the only food on the menu of small insects. However, if you ever find a stain on your nylon bag, you can easily clean it by hand-washing it in lukewarm water. A mild cleaning agent can serve wonderfully as an aid. After cleaning, you can simply let the bag dry in the air.

Polyester material

Cleaning bags made of polyester

Polyester behaves similarly to nylon overall. One difference is that polyester breaths more and is water-repellent. In this case, you can easily clean stains on your polyester bag with a damp cloth and shampoo. In the case of tough spots, commercial baking soda is a wonderful home recipe.

Just sprinkle a small amount of baking soda on the dirty spot and rub it in with a little water. After 1-2 hours of exposure, the stain can be easily removed from the fabric.

As in all areas of fashion, there are always new trends in men's bags. The trends are expressed in colors, materials or bag styles.

What colors are always ok?

The simple answer is black. Black bags are timeless and really match any outfit. They look elegant, do not attract too much attention and ideally complement any look. It does not matter whether it's a briefcase, messenger or weekender.

Brown is another timeless color for men's shoulder bags and briefcases. Brown leather bags stand for classic style awareness and are especially well suited for the office. Note, however, that a brown bag does not always go with every outfit.

For black clothing, you should exercise caution with brown bags.

What about brighter colors?

Of course, bags for men exist in all colors. But for every color except black, you should keep in mind that your outfit has to match the color of the bag.

Especially for looks without bright colors, you can add a good accent with a colorful bag.

Seasonally, it can be said that pastel shades are well received in summer, while stronger, darker colors are worn in winter.

Herschel duffle bag

6. Inspirationen

Even though functionality is not to be underestimated, men bags convince mainly through their appearance. Here are some pictures for inspiration. I hope we could teach you the advantages and disadvantages of the different types of bags and materials.

We would welcome your feedback on the article or your personal bag shopping experiences!