Ever notice how many different kinds of bags you’re surrounded by on the typical morning commute? The sheer variety of colors, shapes, sizes, and types shows just how personal the choice is in choosing the perfect bag and how strong the sense of commitment since it’s something that is useful and used every day.
Despite the seemingly endless variety, we’ve broken down these trusted, unsung companions to their core basics to take a closer look at what each individual type offers the ultimate commuter.
Made for rugged travel allowing both hands to remain free to carry more things or to handle the unpredictable terrain of the wild, the backpack is the workhorse of the commuting world. Wearing one says getting there is as just as important as where you’re going.
Built for durability and balance, the backpack is useful if your commute happens to be through the woods, on a bike or underground in a train. Because of its shape and the large volume of space and the straps that divide the weight on both shoulders, there’s a wider choice of items, light and heavy, that can really personalize it for the owner.
The Messenger Bag
With just one strap to be slung over the shoulder or cross body, the rectangular shaped bag positioned at waist side is designed for quick retrieval on the go. Business cards, transit passes, breath mints, a protein bar, whatever the sudden need might be, a quick-draw move into the bag, should not cause a pause in the commute.
Messenger bags have less body contact so they are a cooler bag in more ways than one during the hot summer months. Good for transit rides but made famous by bicycle messengers weaving through traffic and depending on quick pick ups and drop offs.
The Tote Bag
To “tote” which means to carry, a term that dates back to the 17th century is the best name for a bag that is both versatile in its function as well as its purpose. Tote bags, often made of canvas, are spacious, always open and have loopy handles just long enough to fit over the shoulder and short enough that it won’t drag along the ground if held by the straps. Using a tote bag for the commute is only one of its many uses.
Other convenient uses include carrying gym clothes, groceries, books, leftovers from a party or whatever needs to be carried at any given moment. The tote is a way to help the environment by using it in place of plastic and paper bags. Made popular as a token of appreciation as part of fund-raising efforts, small businesses and big companies have taken note and now tote bags are a way for individuals to show their love of the things they support and the brands they’re loyal to.
The classic briefcase, boxy, leather bound, with a single handle was the ultimate symbol of corporate America and responsible for the safe and secure transport of many important documents. In popular culture the briefcase has been at the center of many plot lines involving spies and under-the-table financial transactions.
Today, it has evolved mostly in its material, from leather to canvas with padding and the addition of shoulder strap and its structure, becoming less boxy and more flexible. However, it’s slim interior, organized pockets within, sturdiness and handles for those who prefer to have their shoulders free of straps remain as the traditional signature of the classic briefcase.
Keep Calm and Carry On, and On, and On
No matter which kind of bag you use, it’s important to note that carrying anything of weight on a regular basis could affect good back health. When selecting a bag or using the one you currently have, take into consideration the following:
- Carry the smallest bag that will meet your commuting needs.
- Switch sides often if using a bag with a shoulder strap
- Thicker straps are better than thin straps
- Go from messenger bag to backpack
- Consider a bag that rolls especially if work requires heavier loads
- Select your items wisely and get rid of anything that you haven’t used in a while.
Did you know that you can save money on your daily commute? Commuter benefits allow employees to reduce their commuting costs by up to 40%, while employers can save 7.65% on payroll taxes. Download our infographic to learn more!