Backpacks vs. Messenger Bags For Commuting

So you just started riding everywhere by bike and need a way to transport your clothes, snacks, and whatever else you’ll need to survive the day. First, take a moment to congratulate yourself on committing to an all-around happier commute. But now let’s work out the details: How are you planning to haul all that gear?

If you’ve got a dedicated commuter bike, throwing a rack on it and adding a basket or panniers is the way to go. But if you’re using that same bike for other types of racing or riding, you might not want to deal with the added rack weight. In that case, your decision comes down to two basic bike-bag options: Backpack or messenger bag.

Let's attempt to solve this age-old dilemma by exploring some of the pros and cons of each: 

  1. Ease of Use

Both are easy to use, but if you’re going to be fishing for things frequently throughout your day, nothing beats a messenger bag. Then again, does anyone who isn’t a courier need to get into a bag that often? Messenger bags can be easier for accessing your stuff on and off the bike. Those concerned about ventilation also favor messenger bags.

  1. Storage Capacity

Messenger bags often offer a lot more storage space than traditional backpacks; however, messenger-style backpacks can be as cavernous as any messenger bag. If need to carry tons of stuff on your commute, you should probably reconsider a rack option. 

  1. Appearance

The stereotype is that anyone rocking a backpack will look like they’re toting a stack of math books and a sack lunch to middle school. But there are plenty of backpacks from companies like Mustache Trading that are easily as professional as a side-slung bag if you care about such things. 

  1. Back Health

On a personal note, I started as a bike messenger in my early 20s using a messenger bag and switched to a backpack as the years wore on, in part for comfort reasons.

At Mustache Trading, we provide high-quality leather backpacks, and messenger bags at an affordable price. Shop today!