Thu, Apr 07 - 3 Minute Read

What Is A Man Bag? How to Carry and Wear One

At just a touch over 20 years old, it’s amazing how poorly the 1999 Friends episode called “The One With Joey’s Bag” has aged. 

In case you’re not familiar with the episode, it’s where we get the “man bag” name from—and it’s also where a lot of the hate for a single-strap bag’s supposedly effeminate look comes from. 

That ridiculous tide has turned though, and the man bag is becoming more popular than ever. We’ve proudly reclaimed the name, and figured it’s time to set the record straight on what exactly a man bag is (and how to use one).

What Is A Man Bag?

Collins Dictionary gives what we think is the best definition of a man bag: “A small bag, usually with a shoulder strap, carried by a man and designed to contain personal articles.”

What exactly constitutes a “small bag” is up for debate, but in practice it pretty much means anything short of a full-sized backpack or briefcase. 

Sling bags and messenger bags count, but a double-strap backpack doesn’t really fit the bill. Additionally, most man bags are designed to look on the professional side rather than the casual side; sportier single-strap bags are more commonly called “fanny packs”.

Types of Man Bags

The major differentiator between a man bag and any other type of storage is the single-strap design. Other than that, man bags can come in a very wide range of sizes, each designed for different types of everyday carry.

Our Man-Bag, Dammit is probably the most convenient way to carry your bare EDC essentials — wallet, phone, keys, pen, notebook, etc. It’s our first recommendation to guys looking for a classier way to carry their gear without graduating to a full size messenger bag or backpack.

A step larger, and you have our Satchel series. 11 inches is the right size for carrying a tablet, while 13 inches or 15 inches will let you pack a larger laptop and are perfect for commuting to the office. We also have options for a high class leather man bag in our Jones series, made with rich full-grain Madone leather.

Curious to know which bag will fit your gear? Perfect — check out our sizing guide to find the right fit for all your tech.

How to Carry and Wear A Man Bag

There are two main ways that you’ll wear one of our man bags: Either over one shoulder, or across your body.

An over-the-shoulder carry is quick and convenient, and won’t wrinkle your dress shirt in the same way a cross-body carry does. But it’s not as secure of a hold, and it might slip off your shoulder if you’re not careful.

A cross-body carry is the preferred way to wear a man bag when you’re on the go. Put the strap over your head and one arm, and you’ll have a secure hold on your bag wherever you go. Smaller bags tend to work better for this, as you can rotate them around to grab your essentials when you need them.

What’s Next?

Adding a man bag to your everyday carry arsenal is a perfect way to focus on a slim, minimalist gear selection. 

Exactly how much bag you need will depend on what you’re usually carrying — and that can be tough to estimate without seeing the bags in person. So why not check out our video collection on YouTube to get a better idea of exactly how much can fit in each bag, and how to pack them for maximum organization?

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