Traveling with your art supplies can be cumbersome and even harrowing—unless you have the right bag to pack them in. If you’re a painter, you probably want separate pouches for your brushes that can keep them secure; you might even want to carry an easel. If you’re a sculptor, you likely have many oddly shaped tools. It’s important to think about organization when browsing for a travel bag, but don’t forget to consider comfort: Is a backpack, messenger bag, or briefcase-style carrier best for your journey? To help you decide, we’ve found five artist-friendly canvas or nylon bags that make commuting a cinch—whether to and from your studio, the classroom, or the great outdoors.
1. Himawari Waterproof Backpack
This bag can hold a lot more than you might think. Its roomy interior can fit a lot of supplies, including large sketchbooks and a laptop; the bag’s boxy shape makes it especially easy to slide in such items. Smaller materials can fit snugly into its several pouches, including three on the outside. Made of durable nylon, it is water-resistant, soft to the touch, and comfortable to carry thanks to padded shoulder straps and a padded backing, which also serves to protect its contents.
2. Clobeau Waterproof Art/Craft Tote
If you need to carry a lot of supplies or bulky materials, consider this tote bag. It’s not unlike a casserole carrier, made of heavy-duty canvas with a generous interior space as well as several exterior pockets. The large compartment, which measures about 18 by 11 by 10 inches, is reinforced by two steel supports that you can fold up to collapse the bag when empty. Because the side pockets and top pocket are slim and sleevelike, the entire tote maintains a neat profile even if you load it with lots of stuff. Carry it either by the shoulder strap or by its handles.
3. Tanchen 4K Canvas Portfolio Bag
This bag is a great choice for students, and not only for its budget-friendly price. The rectangular carrier is the largest option among our picks, measuring an impressive 20 by 26 inches. It can carry large sketchbooks or drawing boards, a small portable easel, all the paint tubes you want, and even finished art. In addition to one main compartment that extends the length and depth of the bag, you get four exterior pockets of different sizes that either buckle or zip closed. Choose from four colors, including army green and gray.
4. Royal & Langnickel Essentials Art Cargo Carry Bag
Designed by artists for artists, this bag reveals a spacious interior once you lift its side flap. It measures 15 by 20 inches and expands to fit loads of supplies in its main compartment. Even more can be slipped into zippered pockets of different sizes. It comes with a good-quality brush wrap and two other holders for drawing or painting tools; all three are detachable. The canvas structure is solidly made to handle a heavy load; carry it by a shoulder strap or a handle at the top.
5. Martin Universal Design Just Stow-It Messenger Bag
This messenger bag is a bit too pricey to be our top pick, but if you need lots of space, convenience, and longevity, it is certainly one to consider. It measures 16 by 18 by 5 inches and features two main spaces: a padded, open compartment and a zippered one that opens to reveal a mesh pocket and dozens of holders for brushes, pencils, and similar tools. You also get two side pockets, a hanging pouch for small tools, and another pouch for long brushes. The bag also features exterior buckles on adjustable straps that are strong enough to hold a sizable long object such as a mini tripod or portable easel.