Backpack or Messenger bag: Which is right for you?

Backpack or Messenger bag: Which is right for you?

It can be difficult to work out which style of bag is the right one for you. This decisions usually boils down to Backpack or Messenger bag. We’ve delved into the details of each to help you make the right choice based on what you need.

Messenger Bags

Messenger bags are landscape orientation, which means the opening is on the widest part of the bag. This bigger opening is easier to access, can fit in laptops and other big items and enables you to see everything clearly so you don’t waste time digging around looking for what you need.

The single strap on a messenger bag allows you to swing it around your body without removing it. The ‘messenger swing’ again gives you quick and easy access on the go.

Finally, messenger bags generally make less contact with your body, as they stay  by your side. This allows your back to breath more easily, resulting in less sweat during the summer.

While the single strap is great for easy access, it does mean that the weight of your bag is carried all on one shoulder. This can get uncomfortable with long periods of use, and could exasperate and back problems you currently have.

The design of a messenger bag means they generally don’t come with huge amounts of capacity - you won’t find a 60 litre one on the market. However, if you’re buying with day-to-day use in mind, you probably won’t be carrying huge amounts around with you anyway.

Messenger bags do come with a bit of a reputation for being less stable than a backpack. If you’re moving, especially on a bike, they can swing around and get in the way. However, if you buy some stabiliser straps, this doesn’t t have to be a problem.

Kovered’s picks: The Medway Messenger Bag, The Mersey Messenger Bag


The two straps on a backpack make them perfect for carrying heavy loads. The weight gets evenly distributed across your shoulders, making it more comfortable to wear and better for your back and posture over time.

Backpacks are also more suited to a wide range of activities - from just commuting to work to long outdoor hikes. This versatility means you’re likely to only need the one style of bag.

Backpacks sit vertically on your back, so they’re easier to pack well for larger loads or weekends away. The weight can be loaded nearer to the shoulders making it easier to carry, and any overspill can be strapped easily to the outside of the bag.

Although we just went through all the positives of a backpack sitting on your back, it can be a problem if you’re security conscious. You can’t see what’s going on behind you, making them an easier target for pickpockets.

Backpacks are ‘portrait’ in orientation, which means the opening of the bag tends to be smaller, while the body of the bag is usually quite deep. This can make it hard to reach the bottom, and find exactly what you’re looking for.

Lastly, backpacks tend to have a bad name in office environments. They’re seen as the less smart option, and don’t always pair well with a suit and tie. However, opinion is starting to change, and with vintage styling from kovered, who’s to say your backpack isn’t the smart timeless option.

Kovered’s picks; The Tamar Macpack, The Thames Rollover, The Taw Rollover

Overall, when it comes to picking between a messenger bag and a backpack is comes down to what you’ll be using it for on a daily basis and the features you’ll need for that. Whatever you decide though, Kovered have a great range of both - all in our protective waxed canvas.

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