What is a satchel?

Jun 10, 2014

What, exactly, is a satchel?

Essentially, a satchel is a cross body bag that closes with a flap. You probably had one to carry books when you were at school, like this guy:

There are plenty of variations. Some have outside pockets, and some have buckles. Almost all have a single spacious interior. Most of the time satchels are somewhat structured, almost like a small briefcase but with softer walls, and can usually stand up on their own. Frequently they have a smaller top handle, as seen below:

Satchels crop up everywhere in pop culture, particularly when a man needs to carry a bag. For all you Glee fans, Blaine Anderson carried a satchel at Dalton Academy. Alan carries a satchel in The Hangover, as does Sheldon on the Big Bang Theory, and even Flynn Rider in Disney's Tangled has one.

Of course, probably the most famous satchel belongs to the ultimate man's man, Mr. Indiana Jones. Interestingly, Indy's was actually a Mark VII gas mask bag from the second world war. More on that in a future post, but here's a quick look at the original gas mask bags:

If you're in the market, there are plenty of covetable satchels out there. I'm currently loving Kate Spade's Bow Tile Maise, the kenzie Clean Slate in Mushroom, and my favorite, Angela & Roi's Palette Cross-Body in Wine (it supports the fight against HIV/AIDS right here in the US). What's your favorite?

Photo credits:
Red Satchel: markhillary via photopin cc
School Satchel: theirhistory via photopin cc 
Top handles satchel: triplyksis
Mark VII gas mask bag: The Prop Zone

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