What Is The Difference Between a HOBO, TOTE, and SATCHEL?

Tony Anderson
5 min readJan 25, 2019


Tote vs. satchel vs. hobo, are there any differences? Well, they share some common ground but their differences are evident. A tote bag, for instance, comes in a large size and square or rectangular shape that can carry almost anything. While satchels ranges in different sizes and hobo bags come in a fun crescent shape.

When people go out to shop for a bag, they are often confused about choosing one. This is because there are so many different types of bags and each comes with a different name. Hobo, tote, and satchel are just a few of them.

These three are actually my favorite kind of bags, mainly because of their capacity to carry most of my daily essentials and they come very handy whenever I travel.

If you are looking for the best shoulder bag for you, here is a little dose of handbag 101! We will get to know these three types of bag and their uses. So please keep on reading below.


What is a satchel bag?

Satchel bags became popular in the 1700s among schoolboys as a means of carrying books. This bag ranges in size, but it typically comes in mid to large size with a flat bottom and two short handles on top. It is often with a strap that diagonally crosses the body, with the bag hanging on the opposite hip.

But take note that satchel bag is different from messenger bags, the latter is typically made of canvas while satchels are made of leather.

What is a hobo bag?

While hobo bag is characterized by its crescent shape, slouchy posture and a long strap designed to be worn over the shoulder. This type of bag is typically large-size and are made from soft, flexible material that tends to slump or slouch when it is set down.

This bag is called hobo bag since it looks the same shape with the bindle on a stick that hobos are portrayed as carrying over their shoulder in cartoons and drawings.

What is a tote bag?

A tote bag, on the other hand, is a large and unfastened bag that comes with double handles. This bag is often referred to as “carry-all” bag and is usually made from sturdy materials like nylon and canvas with leather handles to be able to handle a heavy load.

What are they used for?

Satchel bags are definitely the most versatile bag I ever own. They are perfect for both working men and women. They hit the sweet spot between being an everyday handbag and a laptop bag; this means you no longer need to carry two bags to work. It can perfectly fit all the basics you need to survive the day, plus your gadgets too.

via Amazon.com

So if you are looking for a bag that serves its purpose and has a touch of glamour, then the satchel is exactly what you are looking for. Nowadays, it even comes in different designs, especially that many luxury designers like Hermes favors its shape. For instance, there is satchel that features with a detachable long strap so you can wear the purse as a crossbody and suit it according to your outfit.

Satchel can be the only bag you need for your day-to-day work. So make sure you invest in a satchel bag that is sturdy and of good quality. This can we can’t afford something sloppy, this needs to last longer.

While tote bag is large and can carry almost anything, it can be best used whenever you are shopping. It is known as the “shopper’s bag” for a reason. This bag can be very handy when you are going abroad and planning to go shopping. It will definitely come handy when you find yourself a little more than you can carry.

Tote bags are also perfect when you are heading to the beach. You can just stuff it with everything you will need, towels, toiletries, sunhat, extra clothes, flipflops and so much more. It will absolutely fit everything.

A tote bag is usually worn both its short straps upon one shoulder. It has a simple structure with minimal to no pockets at all. Tote bag also comes in various materials, colors, and sizes, making it extremely versatile and able to be used on different occasions.

It ranges from a classic canvas tote that is ideal when you will be doing your weekend errands to a sleek leather tote you can conveniently carry around documents from one meeting to another.

But if you are getting bored with your regular totes, satchels and other purses, a Hobo bag can be an exciting addition to your collection. Legend has it that a late fashionista took note from the cartoon characters, the hobos, and tied her belongings in a stylish handkerchief, giving birth the hobo bag.

via Amazon.com

Its crescent shape makes the bag both formal and casual, so it’s perfect when you are traveling light. You can use the bag to bring all your personal needs:

  • While you are touring the city during the day (it’s wide, loose shape is just amazing, it gives you plenty of room to stash all of your belongings).
  • For a day of shopping (the body is expandable, so you can just stuff it with your shopping goods).
  • You can turn it into a formal bag for a romantic dinner at the end of the day.

I highly recommend a leather hobo bag since it has great versatility, being able to transition from day to night with ease.

Final Thought

Tote vs satchel vs hobo, which one do you think will suit you best? Now that you know the uses of each bag, I know you will be able to make a good choice and find the one worth investing in.

Anyway, if you still have any more questions, please leave it in the comment section below. I would absolutely love to hear from you.

The article is written by Tony Anderson — Blogger on Unbelievabletrip.com