Brief History Of Messenger Bags

Messenger bags were originally designed for carrying mail and other postal dispatches. They generally feature a long strap, so they can be worn over the shoulder or cross body, and come in a range of materials.

Over time they have been known by a number of names, including courier bags and carryalls. In America, members of the Pony Express were some of the first to carry messenger bags. They were followed by bike couriers as methods of transportation evolved. Members of the military also used a type of messenger bag for carrying maps.

In more modern times, utility linemen of the 1950s wore messenger bags to carry their tools. The De Martini Global Canvas Company designed a bag, which allowed them to keep their tools close at hand, yet conveniently out of the way, when climbing utility polls for repair work. These messenger bags were made from cotton and lined with a waterproof fabric. They had internal pockets to hold invoices, and a double strap closure system to keep everything secure.

The De Martini messenger bags also became standard issue for many messenger companies in New York in the 1970s and 1980s. At the time, they weren’t available in stores and were given to messengers by their employer. It was easy to tell which company a particular messenger worked for just by looking at the color of their bag.

Messenger bags started to become a fashion accessory in 1984, when John Peters redesigned the De Martini bag. He remade it out of nylon, instead of the original cotton, and added attractive buckles, reflective strips, and accent binding. More at

Brief History Of Messenger Bags

Brief History Of Messenger Bags


Benefits Of A Messenger Bag Over Backpacks
It can be difficult to find a backpack that gives of the same stylish vibe as a great messenger bag. Many people also feel that messenger bags are more trendy in today’s fashion climate that a traditional backpack. In addition to being a more convenient way to carry a range of items, messenger bags can make a nice fashion accessory, which perfectly compliments your personal style. There are even a number of messenger bags specifically design with the business professional in mind and a high quality leather or suede model wouldn’t look out of place on the shoulder of a person wearing a blazer or suit.

Messenger bags are also more functional than backpacks. The average backpack has one larger compartment than you toss all of your items into, with just a few exterior pockets for small items. Many messenger bags come with a divided interior, allowing you to keep folders on one side, and a laptop or tablet on the other. Messenger bags are better for those who often need quick access to a pen, or other item they like to carry in a bag. Backpacks require one to take the pack completely off their back to access the interior, whereas a messenger bag can just be swung around to to the front without having to be removed.

For those who often commute on busy subway trains or walk through crowded areas, security can be a top concern. Because of a backpack’s design, a nefarious person can easily reach into one of the pockets, or even get at the main compartment, without the wearer ever noticing. A messenger bag sits safely at your side or can be swung to the front, where you can see if someone tries to reach into it. Most also feature a top flap that adds another layer of security.

Types Of Messenger Bags
For professional use, satchels and briefcase messenger bags are best. Satchels closely resemble traditional briefcases, but are softsided instead of hardsided. They feature two vertical straps with either snaps or buckles to keep them securely closed and are often made from some type of leather or suede. They will feature a top handle, and most have removable shoulder straps. Briefcase messenger bags are thicker than other styles and can standup on their own. They are usually made from leather as well, have a large number of organizational pockets, internal and external, and feature a similar closure system to satchels.

Vertical messenger bags, often called murses, have a longer height than width, and come in a range of fabrics. They can come in any of the styles as other messenger bags, but there is some debate over whether or not men should carry them in the fashion world.

If going for that rugged look, consider a military messenger bag. These are most often made from canvas, are very durable, and inspired from previous military designs. Many have leather straps or other elements and may feature a replica military badge or patch. Some also have military lettering. The interior may or may not be divided.

Saddle bags are identified by their rounded front flap. Other than having a rounded frontal flap, they can feature the design elements of any of the other messenger bags, but commonly have a bare look with minimal, or no, external pockets. More at

Inspired by the original messenger bags of the utility linemen, organizers feature a number of pockets for those who need organization in their life. With a lot of easily accessed external pockets, they are great for fishermen, hunters, anybody who carries a lot of little items. They are most often made from canvas, cotton, or a synthetic fiber. Another bag for the practical minded is the camera messenger bag. These will come with an internal compartmentalized, and often padded, divider designed to contain a range of different camera components and accessories. The majority of their pockets will be on the inside, with just one or two external pockets for most used accessories.