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. Donut Backpack
This backpack can hold a lot more than you might think. Its roomy interior can fit a lot of supplies, including large sketchbooks and a 15-inch 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-repellent, lightweight, and comfortable to carry thanks to padded shoulder straps and a padded backing, which also serves to protect its contents.
2. Tanchen 4K Canvas Artist Portfolio
This 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 army green or gray.
3. Martin Universal Design Just Stow-It Messenger Bag
This bag is like a briefcase on wheels for artists. Featuring casters and a retractable handle, it’s highly convenient to pull around town while keeping all your materials in place and protected. The front unzips to reveal a brush holder, elastic pockets, and zip pockets, while the top has a flap top that conceals a roomy interior—perfect for sketchbooks, a laptop, and larger items. Additional side pockets offer quick access to your favorite tools. The boxy structure is rugged and firm.
4. Etchr Slate Satchel 2 in 1 Bag
This smartly designed satchel can hold a lot more than you’d think. Perfect for field drawing or painting, it opens up to reveal dozens of individual holders for brushes, markers, and other tools, and four elastic bands designed to hold the corners of an A4 sketchpad. You can even use it to hold a tablet! An outside pocket provides more space for extra tools, like a paint palette or paint tubes.
5. Royal & Langnickel Art Cargo Carry Bag
Designed by artists for artists, this bag boasts a sturdy, utilitarian construction. It measures 15 by 20 inches and expands to fit loads of supplies in its main compartment, easy once you open the flap. Even more can be slipped into zippered pockets of different sizes; the main one is large enough to hold sketchbooks, canvases, and paint palettes. It comes with a good-quality brush wrap and two other holders for drawing or painting tools; all three are detachable. Although this bag might appear cumbersome, it packs up very neatly, with double buckles for security, and the spread of pockets results in good weight distribution. Plus, the canvas exterior is lightweight and hard-wearing, making this a bag you can carry daily, either by a shoulder strap or a handle at the top.