What is a Satchel, and When Would You Use One over a Handbag?

Satchel is a smaller version of a briefcase with a strap that has been used traditionally for transporting books. Other than hanging directly down from the shoulder, you can wear the strap diagonally across the body. The satchel’s back extends to form a flap, which folds over to cover the top and fastens in the front. Unlike the briefcase, it has soft sides.

It has been a very popular item for English people and students throughout history in England and other parts of the world. The classic Oxford and Cambridge satchel has a simple pouch with a front flap. Its designs include a single or double pocket on the front and sometimes a handle on the top. 

The classic schoolbag satchel had two straps so that children could wear it as a backpack, with the straps coming in a V from the back of the bag’s center rather than separate straps on each side.

Why Use a Satchel?

Why Use a Satchel

Satchels are pretty compact and lightweight bags. They are suitable for both men and women alike for carrying their office or study essentials. They are a perfect combination of a handbag and a laptop bag, meaning that you won’t need to have two bags for work. It can also fit all the necessary things that you need to get through the day without packing excessively.

Hence if you want a bag that serves its purpose while also adding a touch of glam, a satchel is the right choice for you. Modern satchels come in various design options, especially since many luxury designers like Hermes favor its shape. For example, a satchel with a long detachable strap allows you to wear the purse as a crossbody and match it to your outfit. 

The aesthetic and physical pleasure of straps and buckles is another impressive factor in purchasing a satchel.  Even though these satchels are like bags, you cannot use them if you have many things to pack. That is why you need to use a handbag over a satchel.

What are Satchels Made of?

What are Satchels Made of

The leather used to make a satchel is strong and tough enough to carry weight without tearing. Around 300 AD, the Scottish monks used to carry their precious handwritten scriptures in leather satchels, which also provided great protection to all the things inside.

While you can replicate the satchel styles in materials like canvas, it should be made of leather if you want the satchel to last for a lifetime. Cheap satchels may be of bonded leather, but these satchels might split and break over time, so you should choose a satchel made of full-grain leather for lifetime use. 

Each part of the satchel is made of high-quality materials, such as cotton lining that breathes with the leather and strong brass fittings and zips that will not rust. You should check the stitching quality; a high-quality satchel should last for years without needing to be repaired. 

Hence, you should get one made of high-quality, original leather as it will also age wonderfully. 

Difference between a Satchel and a Handbag

Difference between a Satchel and a Handbag

A handbag is a small bag or briefcase with one or two shoulder straps. It is mainly used to carry small and light objects, such as books. It’s also likely to be more expensive, quirky, and austerely business-like than a regular bag. 

At the same time, a satchel is a type of handbag used to carry all the essential items. It is a bag that in itself competes with designer labels. It is also described as artsy, retro, a little old school, and extremely practical for usage.

Distinct Features of a Satchel

Distinct Features of a Satchel

The Design

The satchel’s design, unlike most bags, is very unique and different from others. It is a bag that has a rectangular box-like structure and a flat bottom. The sturdy design is aimed at keeping whatever you store in place. Even though it might not be as versatile as tote bags in terms of storage, it still perfectly serves its primary function of transporting books and other similar items.

The Flaps

Satchels have a one-of-a-kind design with one side longer than the other. The longer side extends over the bag, forming a flap that folds and serves as a cover. Furthermore, the closing mechanism behind the flap will vary depending on the design. Some designs make use of magnets for closing the flap, while others use fasteners like a belt.

The Straps

Satchels have either a long strap for hanging the bag on shoulders or two short handles on the top, similar to a handheld briefcase. However, most modern designs include both. They have two short handles and a long removable strap for convenience and functionality.

Using a satchel is similar to using other long strap bags. On the other hand, a satchel bag hangs diagonally across the body compared to a shoulder bag. Sometimes a satchel bag is known as “wearing” rather than “carrying” as a tote or shoulder bag. 

That is why the bag hangs at the hip, opposite to where the strap is attached. Similarly, some designs have backpack straps rather than a single long strap. This design is commonly seen among school children in Japan and Germany.

The Materials Used

Satchel bags are typically made of leather, a solid and durable material that can usually withstand heavier loads without tearing. It is ideal for satchel bags, especially when carrying heavy books. 

On the other hand, modern handbags are not entirely made of canvas or other strong material in some cases because non-leather bags are less expensive than leather satchel bags. A leather satchel, on the other hand, always has the advantage of being strong.

In addition, a leather satchel is more likely to protect its contents from rain than a canvas or cloth-made satchel. Furthermore, the leather will always last longer than other materials, especially if proper care is taken.

Satchels – Perfect for Carrying Lightweight 

Satchel bags are pretty compact, simple, and easy to carry. They serve the purpose of a small briefcase, to hold everything essential that you need for your daily tasks. It rids you of the need to buy more than one bag while at the same time offering just enough space to pack enough essentials for your work. 

A satchel bag is also made to look stylish and unique, giving the holder a unique and classy feel. Hence, if you are looking for a bag that serves its purpose while also making you look classy, this bag is the one for you.