Man-bag. Murse. He-purse. Call it what you like, but you need one. Finally men in the U.S are following the European example and carrying their day-to-day gear in a bag instead of stuffing it all into a wallet, and then jamming that into a back pocket.
Cameras, iPads, iPhones, chargers, e-books and — yes — even wallets need a place to go, and what follows is our roundup of the best bags to put them in.
And who knows? Maybe one day your adult males will stop wearing baseball caps and shorts and start dressing like grown-ups instead?
Best MacBook Bag
If you like your bags to be organized, then the Acme Made Clutch is for you. It’s designed to take a 13-inch MacBook, but can carry just about anything else thanks to a profusion of pockets — there’s even one to hold CDs! Add in a removable shoulder strap and a handsome shell and the $100 you just spent on it starts to look like a bargain.
Best Minimal iPad Bag
This ultralight bag is made from bump-protecting, water-shrugging felt, and offers just enough space for the essential: your iPad will just squeeze in along with a slimline case, and there are pockets sized for a wallet and a phone. And that’s it. If you’re a take-it-all-with-you kind of person, then move along. If you have some discipline, or just hate lugging a lot of gear, then check out this Italian-made marvel.
Best Camera Bag
With cameras in everything from our iPhones to our iPads, it’s easy to forget about regular compacts and SLRs. If you use one, then Ona’s Brixton is a great way to carry it. Low-key, with a handsome leather and waxed-canvas body, the Brixton won’t make you look like a dork. It has space for camera, lenses, a MacBook and anything else you might want to toss in. Which is just as well: At $260, you’ll probablyt want to use this bag for everything.
Best Bag Insert
Photojojo Any Bag — $59
Photojojo’s Any Bag Insert turns any and every bag you own into a camera bag. The waxed-canvas exterior is handsome enough for standalone use, and it has several exterior pockets for batteries and other accessories.
Pop it onto another bag and it becomes a padded insert with movable dividers. What’s more, it’s light, meaning that you can carry it without putting your shoulder out. Bonus for cyclists: this fits neatly inside an Ortlieb handlebar bag.
Best Messenger Bag
This is the lightest, smartest, easiest-to-use and comfiest bag I have ever owned, and you should buy one too. I have had one for 2-3 years and it still looks like new. The Zero is made from lightweight “Performance Tweed” fabric, the strap can be cinched short for riding a bike, and the main chamber and two front pockets can be supplemented with internal, velcro-fastened pouches.
I use mine as a daily man-purse, and as a weekend bag when I go away (I travel light). It’s the best bag I ever owned — period.
Best Waterproof Bag
Chrome’s messenger bags are the ones used by actual bike messengers. They’re tough (and usually a little heavy), they’re easy to wear and they last pretty much forever. And the Rolltop adds a watertight closure to the already waterproof tarp lining of these iconic bags.
This one has the trademark seatbelt fastening on the strap, some external pockets for your phone, and is big enough to keep a 17-inch MacBook Pro in the dry compartment with a few bottle of beer in the wet side.
Our resident leather-fetishist and deputy editor John “Last Century” Brownlee loves the Indy for its spacious main chamber (big enough for an iPad and a (paper!) book) and the smaller microfiber-lined front pocket which polishes your iPhone’s screen as you slide it in and out. The Indy is also one of the manliest-looking of murses, thanks to its rugged, leathery good looks (much like the face of the present-day Harrison Ford). No, it’s not cheap, but then quality rarely is.