Backpack or Messenger Bag? It was a no brainer…

Backpack or Messenger Bag? It was a no brainer…

As a traveling writer, I need portable processing power. I write books about the ancient world and write business content for the modern world. So I can be working in an airport, on a Greek island, an industrial factory, or a client’s city office. I can sometimes be found writing in the bough of a tree in Richmond Park with legs perched on my bike.

Laptops are my office, and the next location is my employer. Traveling writers must also deal with the reality that inspiration can strike at any time: in the middle of the night or on the road. So like a photographer who never parts with his camera, I always have my laptops with me. This means I need versatile bags that can go anywhere by any mode of transport.

I’m something of a traditionalist. I prefer classic cars over modern SUVs, and I like tweed jackets on a Sunday at traditional pubs, not sweatshirts in fast eateries. I don’t know if that makes me ‘old fashioned’, a ‘traditionalist’, or simply ‘a lover of classic style’. This probably explains why the Kovered range caught my eye. I looked at alternatives, I priced competitors, but I was always drawn back to the strong but elegant lines and Taw rucksack-styled backpack, and the heritage feel of the Mersey messenger bag. But which one?

Frankly, I didn’t see the purchase price as an ‘expense’; I saw it as an ‘investment’ because they looked built for years of writing. So, after quick some deliberating, I purchased both. Because when I write I often need two screens open: one for online researching or viewing a client’s website, and the other for crunching the keyboard with inspired words. And as any mobile businessman will tell you, working two screens almost doubles productivity.

My MacBook Air 13” in its case slides snugly into my Taw rucksack, while my Chromebook 15.6” slips securely into my Mersey satchel (with leads, mouse and jacks). There is still room for a rain jacket, hat and a book or two in the Taw, while my Mersey comfortably takes my wallet, phone and keys in separate zipped pockets without a bulge in sight. I slip my messenger bag slips over my should when traveling, but in more formal client meetings its handheld like a briefcase. Either way, it gets noticed, and we all know what they say about first impressions.

As a writer whose imagination drives him, I can’t help by fancy that Hemingway would have chosen a Kovered backpack to carry supplies when chasing U-boats off Cuba, and Churchill would have carried his speeches to the nation in a Mersey messenger bag. I know Laurie Lee walked to the Spanish civil war with something similar on his back, and Laurence of Arabia rode the desert with a canvas and leather bag. And call me romantic, but didn’t Harrison Ford have a familiar-looking canvas-and-leather messenger bag when saving the world in Raiders of the Lost Ark?

So back to the original question: backpack or messenger bag? Well, for me it wasn’t a process of elimination; it was a perfect pairing. I wear them with jeans, shorts, and suits in all weathers. It’s a very creative organic relationship and I think it’s going to last.

David Grant purchased the Taw backpack and Mersey messenger bag in tan. He is a round-the-world yachtsman, inventor, and published author of several books on Alexander the Great; his commercial writing website can be found at

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