What is a Messenger Bag? Courier Bag? Satchel? Tote Bag? Briefcase?

Time to demystify what the difference is between all the bags on the market!  Lets face it, it can be very confusing.

Messenger Bag

Our favourite due to the great back story.  In the 1860s in the US, the fastest way to get post across the continent was to use the Pony Express.  This was a relay system using 25 stations with fresh horses at each post. The competition with their methods took 20 days, the Pony Express had it down to 10 days.  Carrying word of Abraham Lincoln’s election as President was completed in record time of 7 days 17 hours. To speed up the transfer of messages from horse to horse, The Pony Express was said to have first designed large leather messenger bags called mochilas.  These would easily fit on a horse and also be easy for a rider to carry on foot.  The birth of the messenger bag's design.

Today the main feature of the Messenger Bag is a long strap worn across the body or the shoulder with the bag being designed mostly from leather or canvas. There are however no limitations to materials.  Purists will say a messenger must never have a handle.  I mean, if you were to mount your steed today, the handle would get in the way, getting access to messages would be more difficult, it is less streamlined... 

https://besmashing.com.au/collections/laptops-messenger-bags        

Courier Bag
The Courier Bag is the same as a Messenger Bag.  Same same, but different.

Satchel
The Satchel has evolved from, "a bag made from cloth or leather for children to carry books" to..."a bag with a flat bottom and a shoulder strap."  The common thread is that the material should be soft.  Some satchel examples below: 

https://besmashing.com.au/classic-style-genuine-leather-messenger-bag

Briefcase

"A briefcase is a flat, rectangular container, typically made of leather, for carrying books and papers."  This is a fairly unkind description of course for a bag that can be rather James Bond stylish.  See below for a particularly modern rectangular container.

Laptop Bag

Self explanatory and finally as long as it does it's single job in life you can run riot with handles and hybrids and really select something custom fit for your needs.

https://besmashing.com.au/collections/laptops-messenger-bags?page=1

Tote Bag
I love the tote bag because no-one has messed with it's classic design too much yet. No arguments, it is a large open bag with two handles and an open top.

https://besmashing.com.au/products/womens-genuine-leather-tote-bag

 

I hope this has been helpful.  The idea was for this to be a buying guide out there for you when you are looking for your bag.  The big problem I find is there is no conformity with the retailers.  You will merrily go off looking for a satchel and find what you want in the messenger section.  I can only apologise for the time wasted and hope I can save some of that for you here.  

Good luck, please reach out if you have any questions and your comments are appreciated.

Regards

BeSmashing    

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