From the beginning of the pony express in 1860 to the modern bicycle courier shooting across the city of London, the humble leather messenger bag has evolved from simple necessity to a modern fashion icon. Traditionally the bag is worn across the body and to the rear to make cycling or riding a horse for that matter easier but as it’s evolved the humble messenger has made it’s way into the business world with the addition of the top handle blurring the lines between messenger bag and briefcase. We get asked a lot in store at mishnóc to advise on different leather laptop bag options and what we think best suits the individual. Below we give our two cents on how to pick the leather bag that suits you.
What material should it be manufactured from?
No question here that it should be leather. There is a reason that since the beginning of time man has tanned leather for use in bags, book bindings and numerous other areas and this is that it works. Leather is durable, natural and hard wearing and unlike cheap pollutant plastics it ages well rather than wears badly. The only other material I would consider would be nylon for the reasons that it is lightweight and hard wearing.
Leather Messenger Bag or Leather Briefcase ?
You need to give this one a bit of consideration. I have pictured a classic full flap leather messenger bag below. In this case it’s the Foster from our range. It’s design has not changed in over 150 years. A cross body shoulder strap allows you to wear this bag across the body and a full flap front keeps everything in. This particular bag is perfect for A4 documents and ideal for laptops up to 13.3″. I call this kind of bag “Casual Quality” and what i mean by that is while is quiet obviously casual in style it does cross over if you need it in a more formal setting because of it’s “Quality” characteristics. In short if you are looking for casual quality then a classic styling is most definitely for you. You can see our range here. If you re not quiet there yet keep reading. We will get there.
The evolution of the top handle.
Over the last 20 years or so the messenger bag has evolved. Like all classics it reinvents itself to different generations. With many of us now carrying various laptops and other tech for meetings and appointments our carrying solutions need to reflect this. Enter the top handle. A simple evolution but a vital one. Take a look at the “Berlin” pictured below. I am using this bag myself at the moment to carry a 15″ laptop and I love it. It’s amazing the versatility the top handle allows you. Being able to go from wearing it across body to carrying it by the top handle it makes travelling and moving about in crowded spaces a dream and the option to remove the shoulder strap and just use the top handle tidies everything up when I’m in an office environment. This top handle feature is an evolution in the messenger design and leans in to leather briefcase territory. Take a look at that evolution here.
How do i know I am buying Leather ?
The short and unfortunate answer is that you don’t. The purchase ultimately will come down to trust. I often tell people that leather like Gold, Silver precious stones and so on is only as good as the persons word that you buy it from. With so many leather imitations out there you can technically call any of them leather but look out for decent sellers who also have brick and mortar stores. You should not go wrong here as people selling inferior quality goods tend to disapper from the High Street once customers get wise to them.
Should i buy a branded product? I’ve seen a really cool natural looking bag really cheap online.
Hmm as a rule yes. Branded is the way to go. Once a product is branded someone has put their name to that product and testifies that it is what it is. A branded product will have gone through refinements in leather tanning, design and construction, while earthy cheaper products will in general lack the functionality you need. Poor quality linings, inferior zippers, poor tanning of the leather leading to unusual smells and so on.
How do i know if it will fit my laptop ?
Ok lets keep this really simple. Try not to get too bogged down in this one. Just because you find a listing for a bag that says it will take your 15.6″ laptop does not mean it is the best bag for your 15.6″ laptop. Many of the best leather laptop bags that we sell are in fact not even meant to be laptop bags. Our guide is that you look at the width of the bag then take 10mm off this. If your laptop is this size in width or smaller your sorted.
Any other questions?
If you need to know anything else just comment below and i will endeavour to answer you or possibly ad the question to this guide.