Where do people physically shop for messenger / travel / other bags?
August 15, 2014 6:08 PM   Subscribe

Where do people physically shop for messenger / travel / other bags? I want to see them in person.

AskMeFi loves bags, as do I. It seems like every other week there is a question on how to find the perfect bag. It needs to have room for a tablet, or a water bottle, or whatever. It should be manly or girly or leather or vegan. I've seen links to a plethora of good-looking bags but it is very difficult to judge size from a website, especially one that doesn't feature photos of a bag on a model, and this is important to me. Where do I go to see these in person? Preferably a bunch of different brands in the same place? I've tried REI (mostly backpacks) and department stores (mostly purses). Where are you all finding these perfect bags in real life? I'm interested in all types of bags for the sake of this question.
posted by Morrigan to Shopping (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
This will be pretty location-dependent. Where do you live?
posted by dayintoday at 6:12 PM on August 15, 2014 [1 favorite]

Larger cycling shops will frequently have a good selection of messenger bags.
posted by Blue Jello Elf at 6:18 PM on August 15, 2014 [1 favorite]

The Dude section of a department store has messenger bags. Another option is Office Depot, Staples, etc.

Luggage/leather shops will have them too.

Try TJ Maxx, Marshalls and Ross. I just went looking for a quilted computer bag and came up empty, but they had plenty of messenger bags, in Purses, Mens and luggage.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 6:22 PM on August 15, 2014 [1 favorite]

posted by mdonley at 6:42 PM on August 15, 2014 [1 favorite]

TJ Maxx, Marshalls, Ross. Buffalo Exchange or Crossroads Trading Company. Nordstrom Rack. It also really depends on where you live. The bike shop suggestion is dead on.

It also makes a huge difference depending what you want.
posted by bibliogrrl at 6:43 PM on August 15, 2014 [1 favorite]

I bought a Tumi bag and a Baggallini at a Kaehler Luggage in a mall.
posted by BibiRose at 7:07 PM on August 15, 2014

Echoing tj maxx, Marshall's, and Ross and adding Burlington Coat Factory and REI.
posted by brilliantine at 7:33 PM on August 15, 2014 [1 favorite]

Big university bookstores tend to have super functional bags.
posted by tipsyBumblebee at 7:48 PM on August 15, 2014 [1 favorite]

I bought my bag at Macy's 6 years ago and its been going strong since. They had a large selection at the time, dunno if that's changed since.
posted by Carillon at 9:00 PM on August 15, 2014

The Apple store usually has some messenger bags at a very high markup on display.
posted by mmascolino at 8:23 AM on August 16, 2014

Many of the best brands, like Tom Bihn, are only available online or in company stores. Timbuk2 is available at REI. I've only seen Chrome available in one store - in Chicago. It's not easy to see them in person - I've had the idea to open a messenger bag store, carrying all the best brands, just haven't gotten around to it yet. :)
posted by kdern at 10:47 AM on August 16, 2014 [1 favorite]

Brooklyn Industries is great and in a large # of cities
posted by bluedeans at 3:26 PM on August 16, 2014

If you're looking for functional, outdoorsy, or stuff with a military/tactical vibe (or actual military design) you might want to try army-surplus shops. Many of them carry bags that are specifically designed for police, EMTs, firefighters, or military use, as well as camping and hunting gear.
posted by Tara-dactyl at 5:10 AM on August 18, 2014

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