Life Skills

The 8 Best Summer Bags For Men: Stylish, Practical & Lightweight

  • Jun 25, 2024
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The 8 Best Summer Bags For Men: Stylish, Practical & Lightweight

It’s one of the most common style mistakes we see. A man will be wearing a perfectly good outfit – nice pieces, well styled and thought through – but he’ll ruin the whole thing by slinging a hideous, tattered old rucksack or stuffy leather satchel over his shoulder before heading out. A chain is only as strong as its weakest link, and your outfit is only as good as its least stylish component.

Don’t be that guy. There’s no need to be. All you have to do is put the same thought into your bag as your clothes and you’ll always look the part. You need an assortment of bags to cover different situations, from jetting off on a city break to heading into the hills at the weekend.

The bags featured below are designed to cover all bases for summer. They range in size from large suitcases to packable wash bags, but they’ve all been chosen to enhance your style rather than distract from it. So, without further ado, here are the styles you should consider.

Leather Holdall

Carl Friedrik

A proper leather holdall is one of those rare items that gets better with age. The more you use it, the more it will develop its own unique character, and if you buy well and look after it, there’s no reason it won’t outlast you.

It’s timeless, grown-up and goes with everything. It’s perfect for packing whatever you need for a weekend away, a business trip or even a post-office gym session.

Size-wise, you want something that’s big enough to accommodate a change of clothes, a change of shoes, a wash bag and extra bits and bobs. Even better if it has a laptop compartment and a few zip pockets for valuables.

Don’t cheap out, either. Yes, leather luggage is expensive, but think of it as an investment – if you’re prepared to stump up the cash initially, you’ll have to spend less in the long run.

Elevated Tote

Battenwear

You don’t necessarily need a big bag for nipping down to the beach, heading for an afternoon at the park or just strolling around town from cafe to bar at the weekend. Nine out of 10 times, a simple tote bag will suffice. And while there’s nothing wrong with that canvas tote you got free from the bookshop or record store, there are better options if you know where to look.

Spend a little bit more and you can get something more stylish and durable that can act as another element of your outfit rather than just a tool for a job.

We like a nice nylon tote with a pop of colour, particularly those of the slightly oversized variety that will happily hold a beach towel. Adsum, Battenwear and Arket have great options that fit the bill.

Wash Bag

Mismo

We see you, stuffing your electric toothbrush, contact lenses and aftershave into a plastic sandwich bag. Not exactly the behaviour of a stylish man, is it? And, unsurprisingly, it’s entirely avoidable if you can bring yourself to part with the cash for a proper wash bag.

A good wash bag will be the perfect size to fit all of your essential toiletries inside so that you can pop them into your main bag without getting toothpaste stains on your T-shirts or risking the sole of a shoe coming into contact with your toothbrush head.

You can go super fancy with a little leather number or keep it casual with canvas. For the former, we recommend brands such as Velasca, Dunhill and Smythson, and for the latter, check out Porter-Yoshida & Co., Topo Designs and Sunspel.

A Proper Suitcase

Carl Friedrik

Proper suitcases are expensive, but they’re worth splurging on if you travel a lot. Having a top-tier suitcase will make packing easier, airport transit less stressful and provide valuable peace of mind when placing your belongings into the care of potentially heavy-handed baggage handlers.

When it comes to high-end luggage, you have a couple of options. You could choose a classic leather option like those offered by Globe-Trotter or Louis Vuitton, or you could opt for a more modern hard case.

In our opinion, the latter is the best option, and the best brand in the business is Rimowa. Unfortunately, prices tend to be well over the £1,000 mark, so if you’re on a tighter budget, check out Carl Friedrik and Floyd, too.

Suit Carrier

Mismo

Ever tried travelling with a suit? It’s almost impossible to arrive at your destination with anything other than a crumpled mess. And if you’re straight off the plane or train and into a meeting, you probably haven’t got the time to do anything about it.

Prevention, as they say, is the best cure. That means arming yourself with the right bag for the job: a purpose-made suit carrier. But we’re not talking just any old suit bag you were given at the drycleaners, we’re talking an all-singing, all-dancing pieces of luggage that looks the part and can carry all of your other bits and pieces too.

A good suit carrier will allow you to transport tailoring without creasing it. Some fold in half and clip together, while others can be wrapped around a holdall. It should also have a few zip pockets for accessories. Bennett Winch makes some of our favourites.

Nylon Messenger

Porter Yoshida & Co

Messenger bags are super practical, but they can also look a bit boring. To enjoy all the benefits of this type of bag while keeping it fresh and current, we’d suggest going for a slouchy nylon number that’s less structured and more relaxed.

A bag like this is perfect for the office as it’s comfortable to carry, easy to swing out of the way on packed public transport and handy for unzipping and accessing your belongings on the fly without taking it off.

It’s great for summer, too, as it leaves your back free to breathe. For some solid options, browse COS, Snow Peak, Porter-Yoshida & Co. and ARCS.

Folio

Carl Friedrik

A backpack or messenger bag is overkill if all you need to transport is a few documents. This is where a folio comes in. It’s essentially a large leather envelope, just the right size to hold some A4 documents and maybe an iPad, and you can simply carry it under your arm.

Folios are great for warm weather when you’re nipping to the office and don’t want a bag making you sweaty and creasing your shirt up. They look pretty sharp, too.

Outdoorsy Backpack

Osprey

Heading into the hills this summer? That flimsy old backpack of yours probably isn’t going to cut it if you’re walking further than a couple of miles. If you’re planning to really get out into nature, you’ll need something comfier, bigger, more breathable and more supportive.

A proper hiking pack is perfect for carrying extra layers, lunch, water, and anything else you might need to hit the trails. It’ll be nice and padded in the back, with some even providing specially designed mesh backplates for ventilation.

Take a look at brands like Osprey, Arc’teryx, The North Face and Patagonia, all of which have plenty of practical yet stylish options.


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