How to Carry a Messenger Bag: Keeping Things Safe with Style

How to Carry a Messenger Bag: Keeping Things Safe with Style
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If you’re feeling confused about how to carry a messenger bag, then you’re in the right place. The increasing trend of messenger bags for men and women has shown that they can be worn on one shoulder and across the body in the front, back or side, so which is the right way?

Generally, carrying a messenger bag the right way is all dependent on you since your lifestyle, and your reasons for having a messenger bag will both affect how you should be wearing it to make it work best for you.

How to Carry a Messenger Bag?

The way you wear your messenger bag will be affected by a small number of factors. Messenger bags have adjustable straps so they can effectively be worn in various ways, at different lengths on your body.

How to Carry a Messenger Bag

​On One Shoulder

For short distances on foot, it is perfectly reasonable and acceptable to wear your messenger bag on just one shoulder. It’s the quickest and easiest way to put your messenger bag on and to remove when you arrive at your destination. Similar to the way a handbag is worn, a messenger bag can be adjusted to sit anywhere beneath your elbow height, right the way down to just below your hip height.

Things to Consider

  • Practicality: Carrying a bag on one shoulder needs pretty consistent adjustments to sit on your shoulder correctly and to make it stay in place. The shorter the strap, the more control you have over the swing of the overall bag, so this may be more comfortably worn at a shorter height so that the bag doesn’t keep bumping into you.
  • Ease of Access: One of the great reasons for owning a messenger bag is the ease with which you can access your belongings. If your bag is slung slightly too high, then you may find it difficult to see inside and find what you need, and worse if your bag is slung too low, you won’t be able to reach into the bottom to retrieve what you need.
  • Safety: If you wear your bag on one shoulder then there is a higher risk of it being snatched. Before you realize it, someone could grab your bag off you and run, and unless you can run faster than them, then you may not see your bag again.
  • Weight distribution: If you are using your bag to carry a laptop or books, then carrying it on one shoulder will inevitably cause more strain on one side of your body; hence, if using your messenger bag for heavier items, you are better off carrying it across your body.


  • Quicker and easier to do
  • Better ease of access to items in the bag


  • Least safe
  • Doesn’t stay in place
  • Bad weight distribution

Across Your Body

The most popular way of wearing a messenger bag is across your body, which is slung on one shoulder to hang at the opposite hip. This way of wearing the bag leaves your hands free for other things which add to the convenience and practicality of owning a messenger bag.

Things to Consider

  • Practicality: If you are cycling, then wearing your messenger bag across your body is definitely the way to go. You can easily swing the bag behind you when you get on your bicycle, and you can easily swing it back around for access when you are stationary.
  • Ease of access: If you’re wearing your bag slung across your body, then you can easily swing it from the back to the side and the front. Just like when you carry your bag on one shoulder, the shoulder strap height should be adjusted so that you can reach the bottom of your bag easily with your arm extended when the bag is situated at the side or front of your body.
  • Safety: Wearing your messenger bag across your body gives you extra safety from bag snatchers. You are also less likely to take your bag off, put it down, and potentially leave it behind somewhere.
  • Weight distribution: Wearing your messenger bag across your body provides better weight distribution than when worn on one shoulder. However, not as much as a backpack would where the weight would be evenly distributed on both shoulders.


  • Better for traveling
  • Safer
  • Better weight distribution


  • Harder to get on and off

The Better Way to Wear a Messenger Bag

All things considered, the best method when it comes to how to carry a messenger bag is across your body. Since it is slung at a length where it hangs quite closely to your body, you can reach to the bottom of the bag quickly to retrieve contents.

Wearing your bag across your body will also provide the safest and most practical way of carrying your belongings from place to place. Those few extra seconds you spend pulling it over your head will be worth it!

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