5 Types Of Bags Every Modern Man Should Own

Image Credit: Mismo

A man’s choice of bag says a lot about him. Using the same battered old backpack day in, day out, may have been accepted as a teenager, but having a considered selection of purposeful and stylish luggage is the true mark of sartorial maturity.

Whether it’s something to carry a few spare outfits for a weekend away or protection for your 9-5 essentials, these are the bags every stylish man needs in his life.

All-Weather Backpack

You can’t choose the weather. What you can do, however, is select a backpack that’s properly equipped to withstand whatever the elements throw at it. Kiss goodbye to soggy files and folders, and say hello to a technical, all-weather backpack.

What Is It?


For a bag to be considered truly weatherproof it should be able to withstand a good old-fashioned downpour. That means having at least some degree of water resistance. Gore-Tex is widely known to be the best fabric for letting air in while keeping water out, yet there are a range of new performance fabrics on the market that perform just as well, including ripstop or coated cottons and nylons.

Joints are particularly susceptible to water ingress so keep an eye out for things like taped seams and waterproof zippers.

Why You Need It

Aside from the obvious reasons to invest in an all-weather bag, there’s the style aspect. On paper, these highly practical vessels may not sound particularly visually appealing but thanks to the ever-growing popularity of techwear and utilitarian design, there are some very slick options available.

Shop the likes of Filson, Steele & Borough, Mismo, Patagonia and The North Face for some wardrobe-friendly styles that perform as good as they look.

48-Hour Leather Holdall

Whether it’s an overnight business trip, a weekend city break or travelling back home for the holidays, taking an 80l hardcase is probably a little excessive. Enter, the holdall.

What Is It?

This roomy leather receptacle is the perfect partner when it comes to leaving home for a night or two. A good one will feature a large zip-up compartment, sturdy handles, a detachable shoulder strap and perhaps even a few external and internal compartments for organising your belongings.

Yes, there are lots of different materials and styles to pick from when choosing a weekend bag, but leather is proven to stand the test of time, both in terms of looks and structural longevity.

Why You Need it

There’s something liberating about knowing you have everything you could possibly need in the next 48 hours, neatly slung over your shoulder. That’s the beauty of the humble holdall. It’s stylish, sophisticated, is able to store everything you need, and nothing you don’t.

Plus, buy a high-quality model from a trusted leather-goods brand and there’s no reason your offspring won’t be able to reap the benefits, too.

Luxe Tote

While the canvas tote will always be a hipster hallmark, a premium version – put together with consideration and care – can be a valuable addition to a gentleman’s luggage roster.

What Is It?

If the holdall is everything you need for 48 hours, neatly slung over your shoulder, then the luxe tote is the same thing condensed down to a day. It’s a home for your laptop, your shades, your lunch and anything else you may need to see you through a day at the office.

Materials vary but quality is often reflected in the price. Look out for formal, black leather versions if you need it to work with tailoring, and nylon, suede or cotton canvas for a more relaxed feel that wouldn’t look out of place on vacation.

Why You Need It

Although their style appeal has grown over the last decade or so, backpacks still aren’t for everyone. If you prefer to carry your daily essentials as opposed to having them cling to your back, a luxe tote is a good compromise.

Conversely, a leather briefcase can come across a little too stuffy at a time where the lines between formal and casual are becoming increasingly blurred. Opt for a classic black, grey or navy for ultimate versatility, but don’t be afraid to opt for a bolder colourway and/or print if you want to make a statement.

Gym Bag

Keeping yourself in shape is one thing, keeping your bag game in shape is another. So, before you stuff your sweaty workout gear into that tattered, plastic drawstring monstrosity, consider upping your luggage game with a purpose-built gym bag instead.

What Is It?

A good gym bag is designed with its intended use in mind. It should be a sizeable vessel in which you can comfortably store workout clothes, training shoes, a water bottle and maybe even a protein shake or other  supplements. The finest options boast dividing pockets for clean gear, dirty gear and shoes, as well as antibacterial linings, so that everything inside doesn’t necessarily have to end up smelling like a high-school boys’ locker room.

Why You Need It

Carting your gym shorts and trainers around in your everyday backpack may have been acceptable when you were a child taking PE lessons. These days, though, you’re a man – and you need a bag to reflect it.

Keeping gym gear separate from work gear should be a no brainer. Plus, the larger size means you’ve got room for a tennis racquet, football, basketball or whatever other weird and wonderful equipment your leisure activities may require.

Leather Messenger Briefcase

When it’s time to saddle up for the week ahead, this leather workhorse will always be the number one choice. Slick, stylish and about as versatile as it gets.

What Is It?

Sitting somewhere between a satchel and a briefcase, the leather messenger bag offers all the best of both worlds. With an easily accessible flap opening, practical shoulder strap, additional carry handles and plenty of storage for a laptop, folders and even your lunch, it’s the perfect receptacle to see you through the working week.

Why You Need It

A leather messenger will be the last bag you’ll ever buy for work. Nothing else will suffice once you’ve begun using one. Its leather finish and sleek shape make it smart enough to be wheeled out with tailoring, while its softer edges and casual styling renders it much less stuffy than a traditional hard-sided briefcase.

Again, be prepared to splash out with a reputable leather-goods brand for best results. The likes of Carl Friedrik, Troubadour and Berluti produce some extremely attractive options.

Paddy Maddison

Paddy Maddison is Ape's Style Editor. His work has been published in Esquire, Men’s Health, ShortList, The Independent and more. An outerwear and sneaker fanatic, his finger is firmly on the pulse for the latest trends, while always maintaining an interest in classic style.