What is the difference between a satchel and a backpack and a briefcase: advantages and disadvantages of the design

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Before the start of the new school year, parents come to the school market and are lost in the choice. After all, not everyone knows how a satchel differs from a backpack or briefcase and what is better for a child to take for school. To avoid confusion, consider what is the difference between these accessories.

The main differences between knapsacks

By definition, a satchel is a school shoulder bag with a rigid frame and two shoulder straps. It is intended for elementary school children and especially first graders. A rigid back is a requirement of orthopedists. It helps to reduce the load on the back of the child and maintain a healthy posture. Back designs may vary. Each of them has its own advantages.

Advantages of backpacks

  • Hard back. Additional vertical pads serve as support for the spine — maintain posture. Padded waist reduces stress on the lower back.
  • Rigid bottom and sides. More evenly distributed weight. The geometry of the backpack always remains the same — the load is distributed equally, regardless of the degree of loading. Usually there are additional compartments and compartments inside that prevent books and notebooks from moving to the sides even while running.
  • Fixed volume increases capacity. The internal compartments can be filled to the top and not be afraid that something will be wrinkled when fastening or walking.

Disadvantages of backpacks

  • Big weight. The more different orthopedic inserts, the heavier the product. At the same time, the total weight of the school bag with the contents should not exceed 10-15% of the child’s weight. Be careful.
  • High price. Rigid frame and additional elements increase the cost of the product.

GRIZZLY backpacks with rigid ergonomic back.jpg

GRIZZLY backpacks with rigid ergonomic back.

The main differences of the backpack

The design of the backpacks is «soft». They are made of textiles — without orthopedic inserts. Just like the backpacks, there are two straps here so that children can carry the bag over their shoulders. Such accessories are suitable for high school children, students and adults.

Modern «backpacks» can be with orthopedic inserts. We will talk about this in more detail in the last section.

Advantages of backpacks

  • Large selection of accessories. In the manufacturers’ catalogs there are models for schoolchildren, students and adults; for study, city walks, shopping and travel; for boys and girls, men and women.
  • Light weight. Due to the absence of additional elements, the products are light. They are comfortable to wear on a daily basis — there is no excess weight and, as a result, additional load.
  • Low price. Less material consumption, which positively affects the cost.

Disadvantages of backpacks

  • Increased load on the back. There are no orthopedic inserts, so the load on the back is higher. This is acceptable for children with a strong spine and adults with a healthy posture.
  • There are capacity restrictions. Backpacks hold their shape worse, so when fully loaded, soft and fragile things can deform or break. To prevent this, it is better not to fill the internal volume to capacity.

Light backpacks for schoolchildren GRIZZLY.jpg

Light backpacks for schoolchildren GRIZZLY.

The main differences between portfolios

The classic briefcase has several fundamental differences from a backpack and satchel:

  • There is a handle to carry in hand.
  • It closes with a «lid-valve» on the clasp.
  • It has a horizontal orientation.

To carry the briefcase, straps and a handle, only a handle, a handle with a shoulder strap can be provided.

Portfolio Benefits

  • Rigid construction. Often accessories are made of thick leather — they keep their shape well. In textiles, a special frame is made. The weight is distributed more evenly, which has a positive effect on posture.
  • Horizontal orientation. Orthopedists recommend that the bag behind the child’s shoulders does not fall below the top of the buttocks. For short children, this requirement is met only with a horizontal design.

Portfolio Disadvantages

  • May cause curvature of the spine. If children carry such a bag by the handle, all the weight is concentrated in one hand. Often in the same hand. This is what causes the curvature of the spine.
  • Big weight. The frame makes the product heavier. At the same time, you need to remember the requirement: the weight of the bag with the contents should not exceed 10-15% of the child’s weight.

Children's briefcases GRIZZLY.jpg

Children’s briefcases GRIZZLY.

What to choose: backpack, knapsack or briefcase

  • For first-graders, a rigid back is required, and a molded frame is better. A convenient carrying handle is more of a disadvantage for children in grade 1.
  • Teenagers don’t need wireframe models. Enough support for the lower back and spine. For carrying, it is better to give preference to shoulder straps, rather than a modern shoulder strap.

When choosing a school backpack, knapsack or briefcase, look at what design elements are relevant for a child of your age. We cover this in more detail in other blog posts. Subscribe to us on social networks.