7 Tips for Choosing the Best iPad Pro Messenger Bag (Expert Advice)

If your looking for how to choose the best iPad Pro messenger bag, you've come to the right place. In this article, we're going to cover 7 of the most important things to consider when looking to transport and protect your Apple tablet in an over-the-shoulder style bag. 

We'll review some of the "must-have" features along with some of the details you may never have thought about. The goal is for you to come away from this post with some concrete knowledge about what to look for when choosing the best iPad Pro messenger bag for you. 

ipad messenger bag bundle

Though it's only been a few years, it seems like a lifetime ago that there was only one iPad. The original "magic" tablet was the last of the great Apple keynote, Steve Jobs introductions. Now we have what seems like more Apple tablet models than we have Apple laptop models.

Just like their Apple laptop brethren, if you are going to move your Apple iPad through the world, it will need to be protected. Especially if you're moving the largest member of the family, the 12.9 along with other items. An excellent way of doing this is with a messenger style, shoulder bag. 

If you are an owner of a 12.9 iPad Pro, you know that the tablet is big. It can be somewhat cumbersome at times. Even the new, 3rd or 4th generation models feature a big piece of glass. A big piece of fragile glass. When you combine this with the vulnerable aluminum edges, you have a recipe for an accident waiting to happen. Unless you know what to look for when shopping.

top view of an iPad Pro messenger bag

Searching for the Best iPad Pro Bag

Let's start out looking at why someone would choose this style of bag over a smaller, more compact cross-body bag or tablet backpack. The reason comes down to needing to carry a lot more than just your Appel tablet. If you need to carry your 12.9 iPad Pro and things like gym clothes, headphones, lunch, other personal items, etc. then a messenger bag is a great option. 

Backpacks can also carry a lot of things but they tend to get big and bulky as the requirements increase. The bigger the iPad Pro bag the more it's going to weigh and that's before you start adding your stuff. That is something to keep in mind. 

Before we get started going over what to look for, let's address the elephant in the room: price. If a bag costs $250, it better be one of the best iPad Pro bags out there. 

For this list of top shopping tips, we're going to exclude models made of leather. While the features we'll be highlighting can be found in more than one iPad leather messenger bag, we'll be discussing bags made from man-made materials like nylon and polyester. 

The features we'll be reviewing can be found on bags for well under $100. Bags under $50 will tend to be short on features, quality or both. We would suggest excluding models in the sub-$50 range for this reason. While they might offer a low buy-in price, they probably offer little long term value. 

messenger bag plus free ipad sleeve


The Right Bag to Protect Your iPad Pro

If any bag you purchase doesn't protect and keep your Apple tablet safe for the long haul, it's failed. This is why we chose to start our list with this key feature. The best iPad Pro 12.9 messenger bag will have several provisions to protect your tablet.

Look for built-in padded sleeves, removable sleeves or even an additional sleeve to use separately that fits inside the main compartment of the bag. The key is that the sleeve should isolate your Apple tablet from any other items you might be carrying. This is vital for protecting your 12.9 or any other size tablet you're carrying. 

Protect Everything Else

Along with protecting your Apple tablet, the bag should protect everything else you want to carry. Look for waterproof fabrics to keep out the rain and snow. A zippered closure will do the same. Look for a padded and lined interior space. 

Padding between the liner and the exterior fabrics will help absorb impacts keeping contents safe. This is especially important if you're traveling on public transportation on a regular basis. Crowded buses and trains are "high impact zones", notorious for making things difficult on your bags and their contents. 

Another often overlooked feature is the color of the interior. For many people who are used to interacting with bags with black interiors, having a brightly colored interior that makes finding your stuff easier is a revelation. Not all of them have it. Look for a design whose designer has paid special attention to this simple but very important detail. 

Front panel organizer

The Foundation of the Best iPad Pro 12.9 Messenger Bag

Let's talk about the bottom panel. This aspect of messenger design is often overlooked by potential shoppers until after it's too late. One of the most important panels on any bag especially nylon or polyester messenger bags is the bottom panel. 


Because for most of its life, the bottom panel is going to be the contact point between the world and your bag. It's going to take a beating. It's also the first point of wear for most models. Once this part wears out, you'll once again be shopping for a new bag.

Another way to put it is, the bag you choose is only going to last as long as the bottom panel. Look for a design that uses special, high durability materials in the critical area of the bottom panel. This should be a key to which model you purchase. 

Comfort is Important

Like a pair of shoes, if any bag is uncomfortable to wear and interact with, you're not going to be using it for long. Many designs just use a large sheet of fabric to create their rear panels with no thought to padding whatsoever. 

Look for designs that feature a padded rear panel of some kind. 

If you live someplace that has warm summers, look for a breathable, padded rear panel. Having a material that will breathe and allow for the heat to transfer from your body out and away from the bag can be priceless in the hot dog days of summer. This might not be something you're thinking about if you're searching for a bag to purchase in the middle of winter.

This is why we mentioned it here.

Along with a padded rear panel, look for a wide shoulder strap with some sort of pad that can minimize the pressure. A small pad that will spread the load will also go a long way to making sure your bag is comfortable to use in the long term.

A Lightweight Messenger Bag for iPad Pro 

As mentioned earlier, the problem with many backpacks is, as they grow they get heavy and bulky. A well-designed messenger bag will be able to handle a large volume while at the same time remaining relatively lightweight. 

Often you will find that as prices for messenger style bags climb, so does the weight. More expensive models justify their price increases by using tougher, more durable materials. This is fine if this is what you want or need. 

Many Apple 12.9 users are well aware of the weight of their tablets. It's heavy! So buying a heavy shoulder bag to carry it around in seems counterproductive. Again, there seems to be a sweet spot between durability and lightweight design in the $50-$100 price point. 

Anything below $50 will not have enough padding to protect anything. Anything above $100 is getting into the costly materials category which will add additional weight. Look at different models and find the balance that is right for you. 

secret hidden pocket for phones

iPad Pro Bag Storage Options

The best iPad Pro messenger bag will have multiple storage options within the same design. Many shoulder-style bags have one big open area in the main compartment and that's it. 

The idea is that you throw everything you need to carry in one general place and cross your fingers nothing gets damaged. This is not a very smart nor respectful way to design a bag to carry an Appel tablet. 

Look for designs that feature a thoughtful collection of pockets, compartments, and organizers so you'll have a place for everything. Moreover, having several places to put your items will keep things from rattling around inside the bag, keeping your 12.9 or other Apple tablet as safe as possible. 

The best messenger bag for iPad Pro will have a safe place to store your Apple tablet and other devices like your phone. Having a wide array of pockets and compartments will offer this.

In addition, look for places to store your phone that can be reached without having to open the main flap of the bag. If this is important to you, make sure the design you choose has these storage features. 

highest rated messenger bag for ipad

In Conclusion

Choosing the right design to transport and carry your Apple tablet is not hard if you know what features to look for.

• Good, lightweight designs featuring man-made materials can be found in the $50-$100 price range. 

• The design you choose should offer excellent protection for your 12.9 plus solid protection for anything else you want to carry.

• Materials should be weatherproof and offer a zippered main compartment for even more security. 

• It should have a bottom panel made of a tough, ultra-durable material for long life. 

• The interior should be trimmed in a bright color that makes finding your items easy. 

• The rear panel should be padded, preferably with a breathable material so it will be comfortable even in summer. 

• The bag should offer multiple storage options in addition to a safe place for the table. 

Taking this 7 top tips into consideration when shopping for a new iPad Pro messenger bag should ensure you'll find the best design to meet your needs. 

The MacBook Pro equivalent of this Messenger can be found here - MacBook Pro Bag

 "The best iPad Pro messenger bag is the one that best meets your needs..." 


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Jody K. Deane
by Jody K. Deane September 30, 2016

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