Satchel vs Messenger Bag

If you’ve used these two terms synonymously, worry not, because your bag mix-up is forgiven. Many people don’t even know that there is a difference between these bags. The satchel and messenger bag do look extremely alike, as they both have similar, blocky structures and a strap or two.

Due to their stabilizing strap, these bags are ideal for people who prefer being hands-free when carrying a bag. They’re ideal for students and office use, as both bags have the perfect blend of style and functionality.

However, the trained eye can easily tell satchels and messenger bags apart, and hopefully, by the time you are finished with reading this article, so will you.

Here, we are going to an overview as well as a breakdown of satchel vs messenger bags so that you can understand their similarities and differences better.

Messenger Bags vs Satchel Bags: The Showdown

Satchel bags, particularly, leather satchel bags, originated in Roman times. Thanks to an early form of this bag, Roman soldiers carried rations, personal belongings, and so on. The satchel bag was referred to as “Loculus” which literally translates to “little place” in Latin. It is presumed that they made these bags from goatskin.

Satchels were almost exclusively used for carrying things from one place to another as the cross-body strap was convenient and made things easy to carry. That was until the 17th century, which is when fashion trends picked up on the leather satchel. This bag became the fashion statement that you could wear on one shoulder. The leather satchel was firstly a staple of men’s style, and later a unisex marker of style.

Satchels are known for their box-like structure in a rectangular shape, flat bottom, and two straps – a long strap and a shorter one. The long shoulder strap is there so than the other so that it could be worn diagonally across the body, with the bag resting on the opposite side of your body.

These cross-body bags were and have always been connected with scholarly pursuits, with their shape specifically adapted to make carrying books (a much more precious commodity than now) even easier and safer. From Scottish monks to Shakespeare (literally) – everyone was using satchels. In the nineteen fifties and sixties, satchels became a part of standard school equipment for British school children and even came with two straps, making them the perfect backpack.

Later on, this bag gained more popularity thanks to its functionality, style, and the Indiana Jones movies, With a simple pouch and a front flap, slowly but surely became a staple part of the classic English schoolboy look.

VS Messenger Bag

No one knows exactly when the first messenger bag was created, but we do know that it is of American origin. In the start, this bag was used by messengers to carry important documents and by postal workers for carrying mail; hence the name.

Pony Express workers and couriers were the first ones to formally carry a messenger bag. The Messenger bag was designed to be carried while riding a horse, later bike, or motorcycle.

They had pockets inside, secure means of closing such as clasps or buckles, and two wider shoulder straps for cross-body wear; they were not available in store. They were exclusive deals issued by companies up until 1984. The thicker cross-body straps allowed complete freedom of movement, as they kept the bag stable.

Also known as courier bags or carryalls, they were first made from canvas and lined with waterproof fabric. After 1984, they were created from nylon with added buckles and reflective stripes. Leather messenger bags gained popularity in the nineties and became the male style statement of the time. The leather messenger bag remained a fashionable bag ever since.

Messenger bags shouldn’t be confused with tote bags. Tote bags are often bigger than messenger bags, and most of them have handles (meant for in-hand carry). The classic tote bag with bigger handles perfectly fits on one shoulder, however, it’s not ideal for keeping your things organised. The only thing that these bags share with the messenger bag in its early form is that they are both made from the same material: canvas, nylon, and other similar materials.

Some compare the messenger bag with the sling bag due to their similar structure. However, sling bags are much smaller in size, and usually have long, thin straps to wear on your shoulder or across your chest.

Satchel VS Messenger Bag: The Differences

Satchels vs messenger bags, firstly, have different origins, are from different time periods, and were traditionally made from other materials. Satchels are made from thinner and softer leather that adjusts to the body while holding its shape. Messenger bags were made from waxed canvas and other waterproof material. The upgrade to using leather for messenger bags came way later.

The satchel bag was conceived during Ancient Roman times and used to carry rations, while the messenger bag originates in America and was officially created around the nineteen fifties.

Even though both satchels and messenger bags can be worn diagonally across the body, with either bag resting closer to your hip. However, messenger bags often have extra shoulder strap padding creating a more stabilizing strap, as they were designed to be carried on your back while giving out mail on a bike.

The messenger bags often seems more formal and gets associated with the briefcase, making this bag ideal for a formal office event or an important business meeting. It’s right in between being more formal than a backpack but being less formal than a briefcase. Satchels, on the other hand, are seen as a more casual bag – worn for school and leisure. In the satchel vs messenger battle of formality, the (leather) messenger bag wins.

The Satchel Bag, Winner Or Not?

The only real person to decide who wins in the satchel vs messenger bag battle is you. At the end of the day, you are the one who’s going to choose which bag suits you and your needs better.

May the most functional and fashionable bag win!

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