Messenger bags have been used since ancient times when they were used to transport messages and goods by foot couriers. In the U.S., they have been around for at least as long as the Pony Express delivered mail in the mid-1800s. Designed with a long strap to be worn across the body during a horse or bicycle ride, they are made of a variety of materials, including canvas, plastic, nylon, cloth, and leather.
Similar to backpacks, messenger bags were designed to provide comfort for anyone carrying bulky items, as well as easy access to the bags’ contents. Typical features include adjustable shoulder straps, quick-release buckles, and room for accessories. The design allows items to be accessible without the need to remove the messenger bag, as one would have to do if carrying a backpack.
Both functional and fashionable, messenger bags are also a highly popular accessory, used by everyone from cyclists to commuters, students, and executives, as well as fashionistas wanting to make a personal statement. They are also known as satchels, carryalls, and courier bags, with a smaller version, referred to as a sling bag.
MegaGear Camera Messenger Bags
Camera bags are available in a wide variety of styles, including backpacks, shoulder bags, and sling bags. The most common is a traditional shoulder bag that is also referred to as a messenger bag. MegaGear offers a stunning collection of leather camera messenger bags in a selection of convenient sizes and exciting colors, designed specifically for mirrorless, instant, and DSLR cameras. They are ideal for the safe, comfortable, and stylish transport of cameras, accessories, and other equipment. But you don’t have to be a professional photographer to carry one - maybe you will just fall in love with one of our models and use it for something entirely different.
All of our camera messenger bags offer the following features:
- Genuine Italian Leather Camera Messenger Bag
- The choice between Vertical or Horizontal Carry Style
- Lightweight, Compact Travel Size
- Heavy-Duty Shockproof Lining
- Removable, Adjustable Crossbody Strap (53.1 inches)
- Buckle Closure and Secure Tuck Clasp
- Exterior, Interior and Side Pockets
- Unisex – Appropriate for Both Men and Women
- Suitable for many camera models including Leica, Canon, Sony, Nikon, Fujifilm, Panasonic, Olympus, Pentax, and Samsung
Check out our collection:
The History of the Modern Messenger Bag
Everyone agrees that today’s messenger bags are modeled on a satchel designed in the 1950’s by the De Martini Globe Canvas company for telephone linemen to access their tools while perched high on telephone poles. They were made from cotton canvas, had a waterproof lining, and featured two closure straps and a small inside pocket for invoices. They were not sold in stores, but rather provided by companies to their employees. In 1984, design changes were made, including the use of nylon instead of canvas, and adding binding, buckles and reflective stripes. This version is still produced today.
The modern messenger bag has the same basic design: a rectangular bag with a long strap to be worn either across the body or over the shoulder. They are made from a wide variety of materials, with leather being the most chic and popular. They are prized for their versatility and functionality, and are available in a vast array of design options. More casual than a traditional briefcase but more professional and formal than a backpack, these unisex accessories are perfect for virtually any environment.
How Does a Messenger Bag Differ from a Laptop Bag or Backpack?
In deciding which is best for you, the most important thing to consider is use. You should ask yourself how you will be using your bag. Will you be carrying a lot of stuff? Will be you walking or biking long distances or carrying it for a lengthy commute? Do you need easy access to its contents? How important is it for your laptop to be protected? Will you be braving the elements?
The messenger bag and laptop bag have a few things in common. Most messenger bags and laptop bags have a cushioned laptop compartment that is made from foam thick enough to absorb shock if the bag gets bumped or dropped. Both are typically waterproof, or at least water-resistant. This is an important feature since both bags are meant to be carried outdoors and should be able to withstand the elements. But here are the differences:
Laptop bags are more casual than messenger bags, and often less stylish. They have more of an “on the go” design and appeal, and they don’t always go well with business attire. They are definitely not suitable for biking. Both messenger bags and backpacks are popular for walking and biking while carrying around a lot of things, including computers, accessories and cameras.
Messenger bags are more professional-looking than laptop bags and backpacks. Compared to backpacks, they make it easier to access its contents. If you are wearing a backpack, you have to take it off each time you need to get at something that is inside. However, messenger bags are not designed to carry heavy or bulky items and can put stress on your shoulders. They hang low, which makes wearing one while riding a bike more difficult, and can be clumsy and unstable.
You don’t necessarily need to be a professional photographer to want to own a camera messenger bag, which is designed to make a photographer’s job easier. But its design is meant to accommodate cameras and their accessories, including lenses, batteries, chargers and transfer cables. Camera bags are distinguished by one large interior compartment as well as several smaller interior and exterior pockets.
The Best Material for Messenger Bags
There are four basic choices for messenger bag material: canvas made from cotton, hemp or linen, nylon, leather and faux leather, often referred to as PU leather or “pleather.” Canvas is the least expensive and easiest to care for. Most canvas messenger bags can be machine-washed and are available in a wide variety of designs and colors. However, they may not be waterproof.
Nylon messenger bags are durable and water-resistant, but they scratch easily and have a limited lifespan. But nylon is sensitive to heat, so many of them are not machine-washable.
Faux-leather is less expensive than genuine leather, and is durable and water-resistant. It can be embossed with a variety of patterns. The downside of faux leather is that it appears almost too perfect and uniform. It simply lacks the character and cache of real leather.
And then, of course, there’s real leather. Leather messenger bags for last for years, develop a patina and become more beautiful over time, and make a strong fashion statement with their timeless beauty and appealing look and feel. Leather is more expensive, and requires some effort for its care and maintenance, but for many this trade-off is well worth it.
Leather Messenger Bag Care and Maintenance
Leather is an excellent choice for messenger bags because of its durability, elegance and timeless appeal. Leather is available in a wide range of qualities, patterns and colors to satisfy every taste. But unlike canvas, nylon and faux leather, genuine leather requires special maintenance and care.
In general, leather can be cleaned by wiping it with a dry cloth. Stains and spots can often be removed with a damp cloth or, if necessary, by adding a small amount of non-detergent soap such as castile, to the cloth, gently rubbing in a circular motion. It should never be spot-cleaned.
For tougher dirt and stains, there are many commercial leather cleaners that are appropriate for the particular type of leather your laptop bag or sleeve is made from. You should always test a discrete area first. After applying, any excess moisture or cleaner should be removed with a dry cloth.
Leather should never be left in direct sunlight or subjected to oversaturation with any type of liquid. Regular dusting and monthly cleaning should keep it in tip-top shade. If it gets wet, it should be allowed to dry naturally – most water stains will evaporate over time. You should never use a blow dryer or apply any substance that is not made specifically for use on leather.
You should also apply conditioner to moisturize the leather at least twice a year. It should be applied with a soft cloth in small amounts - too much conditioner can be detrimental. A good conditioner will be readily absorbed by the leather to nourish the fibers and maintain flexibility. If leather is not conditioned, and starts to lose its natural oils, it can crack. Conditioner can also protect leather from stains, deepen its color and enhance its patina.