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Messenger bags provide a simple way to carry items along with quick access to essentials. 

Roman legionnaires were the first military force to wear messenger bags. These early Roman versions were made from leather and known as "Loculus" or 'little place'. 


The first canvas messenger bags were likely worn by the British military during WWII, who enjoyed their superior weight, durability and water resistance. 

Canvas is an extremely durable plain-woven fabric usually made of cotton or linen, along with polyvinyl chloride (PVC), although historically it was made from hemp.

One of the oldest materials in the world still in use today, canvas has interesting origins.


More than a century ago, early sailors discovered their sails worked better when they were wet.


The only problem was that wet sails were heavy and added extra weight that negated the benefits.


The sailors set about trying to create the same wet effect on the sales without the added weight.


In the mid 19th century the pioneering sailors worked out how to ‘cure’ the sails, which would enable water to coat the sails but not soak them.


They would apply linseed oil to their sailcloth to achieve a waterproof effect.


From the 1930s, paraffin wax was preferred as it is less stiff but equally water-resistant.


After WWII, wax canvas grew commercially and while there are better waterproof fabrics in 2019, canvas stands the test of time for its durability and cool vintage style.


The following bags are classically styled canvas bags that will give you that vintage military look without breaking the bank.

1. Sechunk Vintage Military Style Leather Canvas Laptop Bag


Bring out your Indiana Jones with this durable and vintage looking messenger bag.

Featuring metal zippers and leather, this Sechunk messenger bag is decent quality for the money with most buyers impressed with the quality of workmanship and the numerous internal compartments for stowing your everyday essentials, including space for a 17-inch laptop.

Heavy-duty leather straps ensure this messenger won’t break on its way to deliver.

2. Gearonic Men's Vintage Canvas Satchel 

Made with premium quality and durable canvas fabric, this durable messenger features a classic shape with a flap front design, vintage brass hardware accents, and multiple pockets to keep you organized.


The two button closure front pockets and one large zipper closure compartment on the exterior offer added storage for cell phone, keys, small tools, and other frequently used accessories that you need to keep within easy reach.

The spacious main compartment (12 x 9 x 2 inches) offers plenty of space and is perfect for carrying around your books, tablet, laptop, camera or anything else. 

There is also a secret zippered closure pocket on the interior for storing important belongings such as wallet or cash. The webbing shoulder strap is adjustable comfort and convenience.

3. S-Zone Vintage Canvas Camera Bag 


Another durable and lightweight messenger crafted with soft canvas, genuine crazy horse leather and bottom rivets. This bag is intended to look worn and leather surfaces have disorderly wrinkles, scars and scratches, which only add to the vintage look.

This messenger is quite spacious and due to the provided internal compartments, well suited for use as a camera bag, carry-on luggage or for a short weekend trip.

4. Gootium Canvas Messenger Bag


The Gootium Messenger is made from customized high-density canvas, which is extremely durable and resistant to tearing.


Designed for the daily commute, this messenger is more compact than others on this list and features a minimalist design and multiple pockets for quick access to daily essentials.


All seams have reinforced stitching with wrapped binding, while brass-accented hardware ensures long-lasting durability. A great option if you are looking for a simple, well-made messenger with solid metal zips for security.

5. Vagabond Traveler Canvas Messenger Bag


Another minimalistic messenger from Vagabond Traveler. Made from durable canvas material it features a classic shape with a flap front design, vintage brass hardware accents, and multiple pockets to keep you organized.


This messenger bag has a roomy main compartment with a fully lined interior that offers plenty of space for all of your essential items.


The interior includes a back wall zipper pocket and two slip pockets while the exterior offers a front zipper pocket and side pockets for added storage

6. Rothco Canvas Map Case Shoulder Bag w/ Military Patches


Rothco are one of the world's foremost suppliers of military and tactical clothing but the brand has also become popular in streetwear circles. This cute satchel has a classic vintage look being made from heavy duty canvas in a vintage olive drab. It features a front organizer pocket, inner divider and an adjustable strap.

7. Sweetbriar Classic Canvas Messenger Bag 


The Sweetbriar Vintage Messenger Bag is a minimalistic classic and one of the best reviewed bags on Amazon, with almost 1000 positive reviews.


Rugged and durable, the Sweetbriar Vintage is designed for modern all-purpose use, it features a top handle for easy pick-up portability and a padded shoulder strap for additional comfort during long carries.


Multiple storage compartments are provided with an extra large main compartment, front pockets, and side pockets big enough for all sizes of water bottles. The Sweetbriar will fit a 15-inch laptop easily.


The front flap has a Velcro closure, a contemporary touch that works surprisingly well in providing quick access and simple closure.

8. Gootium Small Canvas Messenger


The smallest bag in Gootium’s vintage range, this mini messenger or crossbody features premium details for under $US40.


Well-made hardware with brass accents suggests long-lasting durability.


Crafted from pre-washed cotton canvas, it features multiple well-located pockets allow easy access to daily necessities. Don’t expect to fit a laptop, this bag will hold an iPad up to 9.7-inches.


Minimalist design, premium features, smart organization and a distinctive vintage style, best of all it won’t break the bank.


9. Same Direction Military Messenger


This 100% cotton canvas and top skin leather messenger bag has a nice vintage style and features leather pulls & logo patch, antiqued silver-tone zippers and hardware, durable cotton webbing strap, a handle and an adjustable crossbody strap.

The Same Direction Military Messenger is available in army green and grey.

10. Egoelife Canvas Messenger Bag


The egoelife is a very good option for your everyday carry with a clean minimalist style and a nice range of pockets for your EDC essentials.

The detachable and adjustable shoulder straps are not well padded but are comfortable to wear.

The large internal compartment is suitable for a 13 inches laptop or iPad while exterior pockets - one security pocket and two open pockets in front - provide convenience for stashing stuff quickly and securely.