Know Your Bags: Cambridge Satchel Vs Messenger Bags

There was a time when no one wondered about the name of a certain type of bag. You just got a bag that was convenient for your stuff. These days, you do not only need to know the types of bags, but you also need to work your bag into your outfit.

We will be differentiating between two types of men bags, the Cambridge satchel and the messenger bag. You may have thought they were the same, but they are not. We will be highlighting what you need to know to differentiate both types of types and decide which one fits your routine/person more.


The messenger bag got its name from America where it was commonly used by messengers who delivered mails in the post-World War II era. The messenger bag is a sling bag with one hand which can be worn diagonally across the body. It is usually placed on the opposite hip or thigh, and the hand is usually adjustable. Messengers traditionally wore these bags against their hips, pulling it forward to access the contents as necessary.

Messenger bags were originally used to deliver important items so they come with a secure lock that is fastened with zippers or buckles or strap as the case may be. The nature of messenger bags makes them very comfortable for walking and riding/biking as the bag can be worn while riding.

In the present times, messenger bags have come a long way from being used as a storage bag for messengers. The functionality and style of the 21st-century messenger bag have allowed flexibility in its use. You can easily find a messenger bag that can fit as a business bag and casual bag that way killing two birds with one stone.Cambridge Satchel

A satchel is simply defined as a bag that has straps. A satchel bag usually has one hand and is worn diagonally across the body. Satchel bags originated from Rome, Saccellus or saccus bag which is translated as sack was the original name for satchel bags in Latin.

Satchel bags first featured as items for Legionaries and other politicians in Rome. The use of satchel bags later spread Europe, even before the discovery of America. The Cambridge satchel bag style is a simple bag with a flap which extends from the back to the front and is secured at the front mostly with buckles front. Cambridge satchels also came in the form of backpacks with two straps; these backpacks also have a front-overlapping flap. Cambridge satchel backpacks usually have two straps which are connected in front to form a V and are common backpacks for students in England.

Satchel bags were in existence way before the messenger bags, and they are assumed as part of the inspiration for messenger bags.


The Cambridge satchel bag and messenger bag are two types of bags which cannot be easily differentiated. One could mistake one for the other. And we wouldn’t blame you much; they are quite alike.

The differences between these the Cambridge satchel bag and the messenger bag are not very distinct, so we will be pointing them out in the simplest way. Here are the differences we found out.

Cambridge satchel bags are made of leather mostly, although this leather is slimmer than the ones used for making briefcases. A Cambridge satchel bag is like a briefcase but with a simpler and more flexible design.

Messenger bags, on the other hand, are made traditionally of canvas instead of leather as with satchel bags. They were originally made to be mobile stores for materials, and they still play that function today.

Another difference between the Cambridge satchel and messenger bag is the origin. While messenger bags originated during the World War II to post-World War II times, the satchel bags had been on the scene for much more longer.

The origin of the messenger bags is assumed to be America as it was first used by World War II couriers and messengers. The satchel bags originated from the Roman empire, although the use of satchel bags quickly spread to Europe.

Messenger bags were originally designed for durability, and this has been a feature till date with the materials which can be natural or synthetic. Most messenger bags are made to be waterproof.

Although messenger bags were first used by messengers, there are now used by people in the different sectors, and the newest designs include durability, style and efficiency. Satchel bags, on the other hand, were made as petite versions of briefcases, and they still play the role of briefcases.

In differentiating between a satchel and messenger bag, the material and design are key; the messenger bag from canvas and other natural/synthetic material while the Cambridge satchel bag is made from leather.

The design of the Cambridge satchel bag has also been pretty much the same since its inception with a flap in front that is mostly buckled. Zippers are not commonly found in Cambridge satchel bags as opposed to messenger bags.


We have been able to differentiate between the Cambridge satchel and messenger bags tracing the origin and describing the design and functionality. We hope you will be able to differentiate between these two types of bags with the information we have provided. The messenger bag provides more flexibility in terms of design and functionality although the satchel bag is also very functional and can serve as both a casual and formal bag.

Satchel and messenger bags are available today in different sizes and from different manufacturers and in different colours. They are also available in a variety of designs; there is one to suit every need.

These two types of bags are also among the top choices for men. They serve everyone, from the nerdiest nerd to the business executive. For men who do not do so well with the traditional briefcase, the Cambridge satchel bag and messenger bag are two types of bags that they will be comfortable with.

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