Bike bags are getting more and more sophisticated, often combining pannier performance with the ease of use and versatility of the messenger bag. The Messenger bag from the d'Azur range by Dutch bike luggage specialists Basil is designed to be a combination of casual styling, rugged materials, handy features and on and off bike useability.
In an aged, sandy sort of colour canvas fabric, the d'Azur isn't a bag that screams out 'laptop inside' and is styled very much true to its name, as a messenger bag.
You could literally transport tropical fish in Polaris Aquanought courier bag thanks to its seamlessly welded, waterproof old-boots-tough construction. With 80s-style neon livery it's more akin to a pannier than a messenger satchel so you won't be an undercover cyclist once you hit the office.
The dhb Blok 18 messenger bag is a budget-priced courier satchel refreshingly free of road warrior pretensions. Attention to detail is generally excellent, with imaginative graphics and an LED tab that places the humble blinky in pole position. However, persistent discomfort in my left shoulder suggests the triangular stabilizing strap doesn't distribute weight as effectively as more traditional designs.
Courier bags like this Pacific Outdoor Equipment Vancouver have a couple of advantages over backpacks for short journeys. One is - theoretically - ease of access: you can swing the bag around on your shoulder to delve into it. Another is that the bag sits lower on your back, so you don't get as sweaty. (For me there's a third advantage: I can carry heavier loads as there's no strap running over the raised metal plate holding my broken collarbone together.)
Basically the love child of messenger bag and office satchel, Lezyne's town caddy is literally organised down to the last millimetre and undeniably very stylish for shorter hops. Codura/nylon construction is what you'd expect at this end of the market and does a very reasonable job of keeping the contents safe and dry while resisting the rough and tumble of urban riding. However, the omissions of stabilising strap(s) (or even Klick fix brackets allowing it to cadge lifts on a rack) mean it's impractical for faster paced/longer haul duties.
You'll probably know Abus as the German lock-meisters but the Dryve is part of their march into the world of bags and helmets.
The Dryve seems to be designed with the British cyclist in mind, made as it is from waterproof sturdy and durable 1000D Kodra, with waterproof seams, waterproof external zips and with a drawstring baffle over the main compartment to further keep the elements from the cargo, although the last feature can get in the way of swift contents access.