From the Sporran to the Girdle Pouch to the modern Satchel, bags for men have a long (and funny) history. They have travel centuries and continents. They are both subjects of fashion and ridicule. But truth be told men need somewhere to place their valuables too. And why not add a fashion touch to your already distinguished look? After all, men accessories are a thing now. And men’s bags are more than an accessory, they are becoming a commodity and necessity.
There are several types of bags for men that exist nowadays. All of them designed to provide versatility, comfort, and a sense of fashion. Before we begin this discussion on bags for men, we will need you to forget everything you know about them. Forget that hilarious scene from “The Hangover” where Zach Galifianakis brought out the satchel for a night of craziness in Vegas.
A Brief History of Bags For Men
Before the genius invention of pockets, the history of men bags can be traced back as far back as Gaelic war times. Or perhaps even before that. Men have always had the same need as women to carry valuables, or tools and weapons. During the late 1200s, it was called a “Sporran” which stands for “bag or purse” in Gaelic. Keep in mind, that the old Welsh men customs were a kilt which is, to keep it simple, a man-skirt. Talk about a man wearing a skirt and a purse and still look badass. Needless to say, there were no pockets and a storage device was very much in need.
Subsequently, during the Renaissance era, there was the Girdle Pouch. The Girdle Pouch was a small bag attached to a girdle (a belt) that were used to carry valuables.
Valuables such as money, spices, and herbs that you could trade for other goods. Girdle pouches were a necessity during a time when people needed a device to store and safely carry currency.
Sadly for the Girdles, pockets became a thing and there was no absolute need for it. However, they did become a luxury or commodity to showcase wealth. If you think that because people back then looked so fancy with their wigs and popping clothes were clean, well you’d be wrong. Dead wrong! Unlike modern times, where people have the luxury to shower/bathe once or twice a day, back then? Mhm nope. “Swete baggers” were then “used to overpower bodily odors and showcase wealth”.
Versatility And Comfort Are Important For Men Too
As time passed, the need for storage devices that men could carry with them was still very much alive. It, well carried (no pun intended), overtime and the use for these devices which we will call bags varied from lifestyle, class, and culture.
However, there is a clear underlying need regardless of the type of bag use by different men. There was a strong desire and need for functionality, versatility, and comfort. These days if you are like most modern man, we tend to carry more and more things with us daily. Not always and depending on where you are going but it is often in case you need to bring things like Phone, phone charger, sunglasses, keys, earbuds/earphones, book, or perhaps personal care items (a must for us) such as portable toothbrush/paste, sample cologne, maybe even deodorant to freshen up, etc. All are items that will not comfortably fit in your pockets. And if they do, you will look like a guy with a funny situation going on in your pants.
More importantly, what about a medical device that can be life-saving and you have to use at any given moment?
Women are naturally more inclined to favor functionality, versatility, and comfort but these are modern times. Men require those things as well.
And So Is Style…
Now, this is even more inclined to women, as they tend to be more fashion cohesive than men but times are changing. Style and fashion can be applied to a man without taking his manliness away if there is such a thing. Having a strong sense of style is not a gender-specific quality or characteristic whatsoever. The same way we advocate for men to have a strong sense of confidence, abundance, integrity, dignity, and respect, we advocate for gracefulness. Those are our pillars of a distinguished gentleman. And with gracefulness comes your image and how eloquently and confidently you carry and posture yourself. Style stems from those two.
Whether you clothe yourself with Burlap (which we don’t typically recommend) or Suede, your confidence and posture dictate your gracefulness.
In this in case, whether you put on a fanny pack or a Gucci (we are not brand-oriented FYI) handbag, how you carry yourself with it will elevate your style and therefore your gracefulness as a modern man. There is nothing wrong with posturing yourself to a high image standard. Just don’t confuse that with arrogance.
And Finally… Our Top 5 Bags For Men
We could name a thousand different styles of men bags. From a fanny pack (or waist bag, if you want to be more sophisticated and avoid the creepiness), to a messenger bag to a tote bag to the briefcase. Bags for men come in several shapes, styles, materials, colors, sizes, etc but we will stick to our top 5 men bags to keep things simple and concise.
Note: Two factors to keep in mind what man bag to choose is the type of outfit you wear and type of occasion you will be a part of. These two factors will determine what bag to wear best and will suit your styling and necessities.
Without further ado, here are our Top 5:
#5 – The Satchel:
There are a few variations of Satchels but we have a preference for a non-leather and medium size. They are the perfect size to not categorize as a “man purse” as called in The Hangover and not big enough that will get in the way and end up being heavy.
#4 – The Messenger:
These are slightly more durable in material and less used for casual activities. They are perfect for work or a trip to the beach.
Our recommendation: Timbuk2 Messenger Bag – Click here to check it out!
#3 – The Sling Bag:
These babies are just damn practical, stylish and absolutely comfortable. You can use them for different types of occasions, activities, and easily match it to almost any outfit.
Our recommendation: Leaper Canvas Sling/Cross Body Bag – Click here to check it out!
#2 – The Briefcase:
Long lives the briefcase! This beauty has been around for decades, literally. It withstands time. The slightly more “professional” or “dapper” for the cool kids in the block, is quite a must for suits. Nobody wants to see a suited distinguished gentleman with a backpack or even worse a fanny pack. We don’t care how much confidence or gracefulness you carry with you, just don’t.
#1 – The Backpack:
There is a bit of discussion around whether this is a true man bag or not. We tend to lean towards, no it is not. It is a universal bag but the reason why we wanted to include it was for its versatility, comfort (ergonomic design and perfect for correct posture, effectively minimizing joint and muscle damage). Lastly, we decided to include it because there is a backpack that embraces the male figure in so many aspects very well. Camping, hiking, traveling, school, work, you name it.
Bonus Style: The Duffel Travel Bag
Men are simple by nature. We tend not to complicate ourselves when we do things. We live simple and travel light. You will see most modern man with a small carry on item at the airport and this is why we love duffel travel bags. They are extremenly practical and fits only the essentials (click here for more tips around this topic).
Carry-on Garment Bag Large Duffel Bag – Click here to check it out!
S-ZONE Oversized Canvas Genuine Leather Duffel Bag – Click here to check it out!
The Modern Man
Man bags are one of those “accessories”, if you will, that once you start using them you wonder how you ever lived without them before. That’s how convenient and versatile they are.
They are becoming more and a more standard and integral component of the modern man. A man convicted to its elegance, gracefulness, and confidence. Modern man that elevate themselves to a higher standard and staying true to themselves without arrogance or a false sense of superiority.
Feel free to let us know in the comments section what you think of this article or what are some of your favorite bags for men that we may not have covered.
Modern Man Advice