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What Makes or Breaks a Bag: Handles

Posted by Edward Wang on
What Makes or Breaks a Bag: Handles

What Makes A Good Bag Handle, And Why Is It Important?

You probably put a ton of thought on how your bag looks and what goes into it. What about the details of the bag? Material, weight, strength, width, padding, and more. These all factor in and play a large part in how comfortable that bag is for you. Today we'll take a quick look at how the importance of bag handles and why they're all different. 

Without knowing it, much thought goes into one of the most used parts of the bag. Depending on how much, what kind, and the quality, bag handles can be extremely comfortable or very basic. In most cases, most begin by taking a piece of fabric (usually a 2" high), and however long the designer would like. Then they would fold the fabric over itself in half and begin sowing the open edge together. 

Typically, a backpack will have some handle at the top between the shoulder straps. These grab handles range from a simple layer of nylon webbing to fully-padded grips. Larger bags with more features may also have multiple grabs handles around the other sides of the bag. Simple handles are just pieces of fabric. Others place different inserts such as memory foam, cushions, metal slab and so on to allow for a more comfortable hold. Many bags now including Anello and Fjallraven allow for a longer handle that buttons together. We find that these types are often in the way and lose the functionality of the button clasp. 

Here are some handles that are often seen on bags.

  • Basic Handles: Often made with a piece of fabric. Simple and for the occasional grabbing, it's sufficient.
  • Cushioned Handles: Usually, insert of foam or cushion of some kind, it allows for a more comfortable hold for longer periods of time. 
  • Hard Handles: Some are made of aluminum, wood, titanium, rubber and so on. A harder and easier to grab instantly. It adds a unique look but may be uncomfortable to hold for longer periods of time. 
  • Material Handles: Leather is the one that's quite popular and ages well with wear. Comfortable and looks great as long as it looks consistent. 

As you carry your bag around, you can mitigate some slack by carrying your backpack short distances by its top handle. As mentioned above, many bags nowadays also have extra handles. Most backpacks from the 18L and up can have two handles around the bag. Bags such as Evergoods CPL24, Wandrd Duo Backpack, and Modern Dayfarer's Dayfarers Backpack have two handles. Once you go larger, for example, the Wandrd HEXAD Access Duffel 45L, it has multiple handles for easier handling of the bag. Examples of where they could be located are on the side, bottom, or hidden in the back panel. In addition, compression straps, fidlock straps, and straps also add other ways for users to grab or hold their bags. With all these options, they allow for multiple diverse ways to carry your bag or even navigating your bag while on your body. 

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