Well, the Librarian in me requires that I revive this thread instead of starting a new one. Plus, it was such a delight to see the adventures of my friend Adrian that I hoped to get an update from him.
I need a new briefcase in which to carry my 15" laptop both back and forth to work and also for occasional air travel (3-4 times a year).
Now, I'll freely admit that a large portion of my criteria are subjectively based. "How it looks" is important. I'm not really into the pure "messenger" look; while my job isn't high profile, and I do deeply value high-level functionality, I'm not going to be riding my bike anywhere, and I prefer to have some easier access to outside pockets without opening up the whole bag.
Budget is always an issue, and I always feel better when I consult you guys before spending any money. I'm trying to stay near $200.
If you have any first hand experience with something like this, I'd be very grateful for your feedback.
- Quality. Something that you rely on regularly should bring you joy. No, I won't define it further.
- North American manufacture
- A little bit bigger than JUST a laptop. Want ~5+ inches of depth to accommodate other crap.
- Outside pockets accessible without too much fuss
- Shoulder Strap
- Not hideous looking
Thanks to oldschoolboarder, I looked into Crumpler, Tumbuk2 and Chrome. For various reasons (mostly aesthetic and/or financial) I just wasn't really moved.Saddleback
has some really beautiful products made in the USA that do not seem to be in my price range, even used on Ebay.
This left me with three overall styles (which feel like AKC groups) - Sporting (canvas/leather - good combination, but pretty informal), Tactical (Nylon, light, very smart, ugly, inexpensive), and Leather (heavy, stupid, gorgeous, expensive).Sporting
I looked at Orvis
$99-450 - The inexpensive ones are imported and the leather ones are too expensive. Not much information available on the lower models.LL Bean Sportsman's Deluxe Briefcase
$99 - hard to find independent reviews (except on their site). Imported. I feel like I need to touch it to determine my quality measure. The plastic buckles are ugly. The configuration looks good, and I can live with the appearance.Eddie Bauer Adventurer Field Bag
$99 - See LL Bean above, but I'm less enthusiastic about the appearance. They also make a full-grain leather bag I can't afford.Duluth Pack Executive Portfolio
$265 - the Made in USA, guaranteed for life version of the above style. Expensive. Filson Original Briefcase
$248 - might be too small. Expensive. So, I probably would want the even more expensive Briefcase Computer Bag
$300. Has anybody ever been sorry they bought Filson?TacticalKorchmar Lincoln
$180 - might be too small. Could use a little more information. They have other, more expensive leather bags that are lovely.Tom Bihn Empire Builder
$220 - Great shoulder strap. Really smart. Really ugly.Red Oxx CPA
$155 - Excellent shoulder strap. Really smart. Still pretty ugly.Skooba Satchel V.3
$99 - Very good shoulder strap. Really Smart. Imported. Still fairly ugly.Leather
(that I might be able to afford)
Various models from Amerileather, McKlein, Ebags and Kenneth Cole at Ebags
$80-150 - Most likely imported. I'm just really suspicious of the build quality of these bags. Does anybody have experience with this iteration of "Columbian" Leather? I know I'm not risking "much" to order some of these, but the prices seem too good to be true, and I just can't believe "full grain leather" for those prices. Rustic Leather Briefcase
$329 - A little too much money, not very high tech, and kind of heavy. But top grain leather handcrafted in the USA. Look at it!Copper River Bag Buckhorn Sierra
$175 - See Rustic Leather, but more affordable. I could use a little more information on this model. Not sure if it's big enough. They have other models with snap closures, which seems just bizarre.
I'm eager for your opinions and experiences.
Hoping this compilation might help other folks in their journeys.