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Empty Your Pockets. Carry Your Essentials in a Crossbody Bag Instead

This handy accessory gives you space for your EDC and then some.

crossbody bags

Crossbody bags, however trendy they may be, are incredibly practical. Our coats and pants (sometimes even hats and sneakers if you're into streetwear) usually offer plenty of pocket space, but who wants a tangled mess of keys scratching your leg or jangling around as you walk? If you carry anything more than a tiny card holder, you probably wish you had a place to put it other than your back pocket, right? What happens with the oddities you inevitably pick up throughout your day? You need a (safe) place to keep all of it. Cue the crossbody bag.

Not only does the style give you extra room for your EDC (and then some), but it frees up your hands to open doors, text (but not when crossing the street) or checkout at a coffee shop or cafe. In my opinion, the best part about a crossbody bag versus a backpack or even a messenger bag is the proximity of its contents. Removing your wallet from a crossbody is way easier because the bag is right there in front of you, on your front side. When you're done, you just drop it back in and zip the bag back up — no fussing with throwing it back over your shoulder, slinging it back over your head or questioning whether you really did close it or not (you can just look down and check).

They make a ton of sense for folks that commute (or fly), too. A big backpack doesn't really fly on a crowded subway; flight attendants will definitely notice you're ultra-large tote (making it more likely they'll ask you to stow it above), but they probably won't bat an eye at your compact crossbody.

What to Look for in a Crossbody Bag

Ideally, your crossbody bag comes with compartmentalized pockets within — even if it's just a simple nylon or mesh divider. This way you can toss your keys and an iPhone, for example, into the same bag without the latter getting scratched. It's smart to be sure the bag zips shut, too. Sure, a velcro-closing one might look cool and feel a bit easier to open, but you shouldn't worry about whether something's secretly fallen out.

A waterproof exterior is important, too, albeit not necessarily vital. The bag might be big enough to wear under your rainproof shell but that doesn't make accessing your keys when you arrive at your apartment or office — or your phone when you feel it vibrating — all that easy.

Be wise about the size of the bag as well. Bigger crossbody bags are typically classified as messenger bags and are far bulkier. Crossbody bags, by design, shouldn't be capable of carrying a small load of groceries home — just your wallet, keys, phone, headphones, camera and maybe a water bottle. That being said, there's no real set formula for these types of bags. Some are small and hang down near the hip. Others wrap more tightly around your torso. Pick what works best for you. These are all by definition crossbody bags, but there are subtle differences between them nonetheless.

The Best Crossbody Bags for Men

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    Best Overall Crossbody Bag
    Fanny Sling

    • Compartmentalized pockets
    • Contoured shape for comfort
    • Five colors
    • Water-sealed zippers
    • Waterproof

    • No strap for carrying when you take it off

    Moment's Fanny Sling is the ideal crossbody bag. It's the right size; it has compartmentalized pockets for a phone, your keys, wallet and even a camera within. Plus, it's contoured to wrap nicely around your chest or shoulder blades, depending on how you wear it. There's even a 4-inch expander for a packable jacket or some paperwork you're carrying. Pick from five different colors, each with water-sealed zippers and an adjustable strap. (For reference, it can store three 12 oz cans of beer.)

    Best Upgrade Crossbody Bag
    Lens Crossbody Utility Pack
    C.P. Company

    • Waterproof
    • Hangs flush against your torso
    • Three colors
    • Two pockets so you can separate fragile items

    • Non-flat items make the bag bulky

    Editor’s Note [5/25]: The Lens Crossbody Utility Pack is currently out of stock as of this update. As an alternative, we recommend the Khaki Nylon Crossbody Messenger, also from C.P. Company. It has similar crossbody style and is a similar color. But it is a bit more expensive and a bit bigger.

    Rather than bulge out like a backpack, C.P. Company's Crossbody Utility Pack hangs flush with your torso. That means bulkier items might make the pack uncomfortable to carry, but it doesn't become deformed with your usual EDC inside. It comes with two separate zip pockets with their own mesh liners and an easy-snap spot for even more essentials. Plus, the entire thing's made from Nylon B, which makes it completely waterproof.

    Best Affordable Crossbody Bag
    The ReNew Transit Bag

    • Available in four colors
    • Made from recycled polyester
    • Comfortable to carry on your front or back

    • No much compartmentalization within
    • No handle for carrying in hand
    • Bag isn't reinforced so it bends with too much weight

    Available in four sleek, simple colors, Everlane's The ReNew Transit Bag makes commuting with and carrying your necessities no task at all. (Bye, bulging pockets!)

    Field Bag
    The North Face

    • Comfortable to carry
    • Rear pocket to protect your phone
    • Two colors
    • Made from recycled materials

    • Unless tightened, the bag hangs by your hip
    • No strap for carrying by hand

    It doesn't matter whether you carry this out on the trails or on the train: It'll do the same job. The North Face's Field Bag is the right shape to wrap tightly around your body or hang near your hip. (The former's more comfortable, to be fair.) Choose from either vintage white or this plain black, and reap the benefits of a mini backpack. That means a dedicated sleeve on the backside for your phone, a spacious center pocket and an adjustable strap.


    • Available in seven different colors
    • Soft-lined interior pouch for a phone or sunglasses
    • Back is padded for structure
    • Made from water-resistant recycled nylon
    • Has an easy access front compartment

    • Magnetic strap isn't as foolproof as a buckle
    • Not the most aesthetically interesting

    Bellroy tops our guide to backpacks, so it's only right they fit into our crossbody coverage, too. The Sling is built on the same principles: to be simple yet super convenient. There's a front pocket for your phone, a soft-lined interior pouch for a pair of sunglasses and a ring to attach your keys to. It's big enough to store a full-size water bottle but yet comfortable to carry.

    Core Pronto Water Repellent Crossbody Bag

    • Strap be converted to fit around your wrist
    • Made from upcycled materials
    • Water-repellent
    • Available in three colors

    • Small even for the category
    • Doesn't zip shut

    As I mentioned above, crossbody bags come in all shapes and sizes. Ideally, they're big enough for your EDC and a few extras. Sealand's is not. The absolute minimum fits in here, but that doesn't make it a bad bag. For what it is, I love it — a place for your bare necessities: a phone, a few keys, a wallet and AirPods. The exterior's made from water-repellent, upcycled polyester, and the strap can be adjusted so that the bag hangs like a tote or tightly around your wrist.

    Springer Powr Waistpack

    • Water-resistant
    • Super simple
    • Available in several different colors

    • No internal dividers
    • Smaller than others
    • Flimsy, but that makes stuffing it easier

    Eastpak makes, in my opinion, the best cheap backpack. So, surprise, surprise that the brand's taken a similarly affordable approach to the crossbody bag. It's so simple, and that's quite refreshing in a category rife with hyper-modified bags with pockets and storage capabilities no one really ever uses. No, there isn't a divider within, meaning your phone might get scratched if you it in there with a ring of keys, but that's a minor issue. (They make carabiners, you know?) Trust that this option will keep its contents dry, protected from pickpockets and comfortably snug to your person.

    Climbing Chalk Crossbody Bag

    • Cool shape
    • Has a dedicated front pocket for a phone or keys
    • Can store a lot
    • Made from 50-percent recycled materials

    • While cool, the shape doesn't lend itself to easy carrying
    • The strap is not adjustable
    • No compartmentalization inside

    Inspired by a simple climbing chalk bag, Gramicci aptly named Climbing Chalk Crossbody Bag emphasizes form over function. That's not to say it isn't functional, because it totally is, but it isn't as comfortable to carry as, say, Everlane's, for example. The strap is not adjustable so you can't tighten it to carry the bag across your chest, but the bag itself offers a ton of space for much more than your PKW (phone, keys and wallet).

    Canyon Crossbody Pack
    Tanner Goods

    • Compartmentalized interior
    • Dedicated front pocket for your phone
    • The strap is adjustable
    • Can fit a water bottle
    • Foam padded so it holds its shape
    • Doubles as a dopp kit

    • No handle for carrying in hand
    • Waxed canvas will need cared for

    The Canyon Crossbody Pack is big enough for a water bottle and some snacks but slim enough to be slipped beneath a jacket or an oversized hoodie. Besides its versatility, the naturalness of this option proves most impressive. There are leather accents and the exterior's cut from 10 oz waxed canvas, an equally waterproof alternative to nylon or polyester.

    Fleece Cross Body Bag

    • The fleece exterior is unique
    • Better matches most outfits
    • Buckle strap is easy to use

    • Fleece exterior obviously isn't waterproof
    • You're paying for appearance over performance
    • Not compartmentalized within
    • Only has one pocket

    Considering its fleece construction, you shouldn't risk ruining this bag by taking it out on rainy days. That is a major drawback, I know, but how often do you see fleece bags? (Answer: rarely, if ever.) As such, that makes Napapijri a nice option at an affordable price. But don't expect much in terms of pockets. There's just one zipper pouch, and it doesn't have dividers.

    Mountain Sling Bag
    Topo Designs

    • Made from 100% recycled nylon
    • Comes in four colors
    • Comfortable to carry
    • Has a handle so you can carry it by hand
    • Compartmentalized within to protect your phone
    • Has an easy access exterior pocket

    • Too big to be layered beneath a jacket

    I'm a big fan of Colorado-born brand Topo Designs' Mountain Sling Bag. Why? It's the right size; it mixes outdoor and city influences; and the inside is just compartmentalized enough. There's plenty of free space within but also a zipper pouch for fragile items. Plus, there's a hook to attach your keys to so they don't jangle as you hike or run. And, best of all, the bag's 100-percent made from recycled nylon.

    Lenox Bike Bag
    State Bags

    • Can be attached to the front of a bike
    • Perfect for city commuters
    • Water-resistant
    • Has two zipper pockets

    • Doesn't hang flush to your torso
    • Sacrifices specialization in favor of universality
    • The handlebar straps dig into your chest if it's tight across it

    State Bags turned its most popular Bike Bag into something you can carry, too. It's the convertible of crossbody bags, if you will. That means when you're riding to work or just for exercise, the bag easily attaches to your handlebars. When you're done riding, removing it only requires to clicks and it can go right back across your chest. I will say, though, the bag definitely cuts some corners in favor of versatility, but these are minor complaints. I found that the handlebar straps do dig into your chest if you wear it super tightly.

    Heritage Shoulder Bag
    Herschel Supply Co.

    • Feels a lot like a backpack
    • A dedicated front pocket helps you access things you need often

    • Can't really be worn across your chest
    • The roomy interior lets things bang around if you're in motion
    • Isn't top of the line in terms of water resistance

    Herschel makes an endless assortment of backpacks and duffle bags — shoulder bags, too, clearly. This one looks and feels a lot like the aforementioned backpacks, but streamlined. There's still a roomy, unstructured interior pocket, but it's balanced out by a zippered front one for your valuables. It's on the bigger side, by the way, so you couldn't layer it beneath a coat — or at least I wouldn't recommend it.

    Etna Sling

    • Made in San Francisco
    • Super lightweight
    • Has leather trim
    • Comes in three colors
    • Has compartmentalized pockets
    • Made from military-grade nylon
    • Waterproof

    • Front mesh pocket isn't practical for smaller or easily damaged items

    The Etna Sling is an easy-to-carry crossbody made in Joshuvela's independent San Francisco studio using military-grade materials. The hardware is all brass; the nylon is waterproof and rip-resistant; and the mesh pocket gives you room for larger, less fragile items. Although they show a model carrying their phone in there, I wouldn't. Think: water damage, dings off poles or other pedestrians, etc, etc. Otherwise, this bag checks all of the boxes. It's big enough for your essentials and little more, and it compartmentalizes them so they don't damage eachother.

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