Messenger Bag vs Backpack: Which One to Get?

Messenger Bag vs Backpack: Which One to Get?
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If you are someone who needs to take a lot of things when going to school, work, or any other activity, you might be thinking about which bag is best to use. This is where the debate of messenger bag vs backpack comes in.

One cannot deny that these two bags can be comfortable to strap around the body, and at the same time, they are also roomy. So what should be your deciding point? Of course, the style and design of the bag should always be in tune with your lifestyle and activities.

In this article, we are going to talk about the advantages and disadvantages of using a messenger bag and a backpack. Also, we are going to discuss how both of these bags are best used so that you will have an idea if they have a place in your daily activities.

What Is a Messenger Bag?

A messenger bag is a bag that you can strap around your body or just carry around as a substitute for a briefcase. They come in a lot of styles and design, ranging from casual to professional.

Usually, there are exterior pockets that make it easy for you to get the things that you need immediately. As for its main compartment, depending on the size of the bag, you can fit in a small laptop, a tablet, an iPad, and other documents.

For some designs, they have a slip at the back so that you can securely put your messenger bag on top of your luggage. There are also special features like pen pockets and phone pockets.

The messenger bag has been the go-to bag of professionals. Instead of using briefcases, many opt for messenger bags because they are more dynamic and flexible.


  • Lightweight
  • Fashionable
  • Can fit a lot of things
  • Comfortable to strap around the body
  • Some designs can stand on their own
  • Versatile
  • Not bulky


  • Does not have the capacity to protect its contents
  • Not that durable
  • The strap can eventually wear down the sides of the bag

A Messenger Bag Is Best for…

A messenger bag is best to be used for shorter trips as well as carrying lighter loads. Now, when we say lighter load, this means that you can put in your laptop and a bit of paperwork but not two notebooks. Doing so will ruin the shape of the bag and will put too much strain on the strap.

Furthermore, not all messenger bags are waterproof or water resistant. Therefore, if you happen to use one that does not have that feature, your things will surely get soaked.

On the other hand, it is a good bag when you are someone who commutes on a regular basis. It will not be too heavy for you, and it is not that bulky to hit other people accidentally.

What Is a Backpack?

We continue this messenger bag vs backpack discussion with the bag that is known as a real heavyweight contender. This is the case because the backpack is designed to carry a lot of things. It also has a lot of interior and exterior pockets.

What is great is that there are special pockets where you can put things to prevent them from wrinkling or getting too warm. Most backpacks are also waterproof and water resistant, so even if it is raining, your things will stay dry.

There are two ways on how to carry a backpack. The usual way is, of course, putting it on your back, but you can also carry it around using the bag handle at the top of the bag. The second way, however, is counterintuitive, as this will put a heavy strain on your hand, especially if the bag is packed full.


  • Can carry a lot of things at once
  • Perfectly balanced
  • Comfortable to use
  • Keeps your things secure and dry
  • Has anti-theft features
  • Durable


  • Can be bulky
  • On the heavier side
  • Not great for the daily commute
  • Limited stylish options

A Backpack Is Best for…

A backpack is best used for longer trips and for those who tend to carry a lot of things. Meaning, if you need to take your laptop with you, as well as a water bottle, notebooks, cables, and other necessities, this is the better choice.

At the same time, a backpack is best to be used by people who suffer from pelvic instability. This is because carrying a bag on the back can provide proper equilibrium to the body. Furthermore, for those who go to places where there is a drastic difference in temperature, a backpack is a good choice because it can hold its own against excess moisture.

More than that, if you are an active person who tends to leave a bag on its own for it to be dragged around or pushed, this is a good pick. Your things will remain intact even though you torture the bag with a lot of rough activities.

On the other hand, even though it has a lot of exterior pockets, you might find it hard to reach what you need instantly because you always have to shift the bag’s position on your back to reach that pocket.

Messenger Bag vs Backpack: The Lowdown

If you must really choose between the two, we suggest getting a messenger bag. We chose this one because you can use it every day, and it is very versatile.

For the backpack, you can still use it every day, but there is a bit of hassle associated with it. Given that it does carry a heavier load, surely, you do not need that much stuff for your daily activities, right?

For some of the disadvantages of the messenger bag, you can make up for it by simply choosing a design that works with your activities. For example, if you tend to get wet a lot, then get a waterproof one.

Also, if you are concerned about your things getting shuffled around, get a design that has designated compartments for specific things like a laptop compartment or a document pocket.

Final Thoughts

It is really hard to just pick one of the two bags. If you can, you can get both as they serve relatively different purposes.

Just like what we said in the beginning, choose one that fits your routine. If you like to carry around a lot of things, go with a backpack. However, if you only take the necessities and a little bit more, the messenger bag is the better option.

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