I have been on the hunt for a bag which could tell my life’s story once I’m dead and gone. A bag I have to buy only once, which will last, and have a timeless design. Call me a metro, call me what you want. I know what I like, and what I like rarely exists…. So first I have to figure out what is most important to me, and how that manifests in this bag. A journey then, not only in pursuit of the perfect bag, but also of self discovery.
I’m a nerd, which means I commute to and from work with a 15” laptop daily. I also ride a motorcycle mostly year-round in the front range of Colorado. In a 12 month period I have gone through 100F+ and -15F with a myriad of precipitation types save for a lot of fog. If you’re wondering, I put knobbie tires on the Ninja to better deal with the snow… So, essentially I’m tough on my gear. In addition I’m a bit vain and like to look good where I go. When it’s cold I try to not look like the Michelin man, although my vanity does not extend further than my desire to be warm and comfortable on the bike.
My sense of style is questionable most of the time. I take elements of those who I admire most in life and combine them in ways which haven’t become that popular yet… So American Gentlemen of the ‘20’s, Dandy’s, the ‘50’s British Rocker, Cowboy’s and futuristic themes all influence my style. I’ve grown very fond of the Steampunkdt genre as it combines the best of classic and vintage elements with futuristic possibilities. Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow is one of my favorite movies simply for the styles and fashion themes presented in them. Materials wise, Steampunkdt is metal and leather. So, I’m looking for a bag which would look at home on a WWII dirigible then.
Papworth: Since the Brits are the icons when it comes to words like Safari, and military precision, I started my search there. Papworth has some beautiful bags, and I’m sure quite resilient, but built for islanders. Not quite sure I’d trust the snap to withstand what I’ll be putting the bag through. I mean at the heart of it, a man’s bag has to have a buckle and straps. Straps are manly. So are buckles. Snaps are more for school boys, no? http://www.papworthtravelgoods.co.uk/catalogue/computer_case_77/index.html
Swaine Adeney Brigg: In my search I came across the company who makes the Indiana Jones hat. Now that’s style and function, right? And they have to have a bag to match, no? Well, in typically pretentious British form and function the hat is much less versatile than Indy himself, and instead, to be just another film prop needing special care. I found no bags of interest. Typically British: http://www.swaineadeney.co.uk/products/poet_hat/index.html
King Ranch Saddle Shop: So I looked to Cowboys for possible answers. I mean, they are usually perceived as the embodiment of ruggedness… This shop has some beautiful gear, but not really any daily travel bags. Besides, the design seems more like the Louis Vuiton of cowboys, and something a rich Rancher or oil Tycoon would choose. Grounded then, and not in the air next to the droning of 8 massive engines propelling a hydrogen filled airship. http://www.krsaddleshop.com/shave-cases/c/804/
Schlesinger: Runner up, in part for style, in part for function, but mostly because of the small-shop feel of their website is Schlesinger. This simplicity also conveyed in their bags. If they get any flashier I might start doubting the brand. So a good possible choice then, but there is something missing. http://www.classicluggage.com/adventure_by_schlesinger_leather.htm
Belstaff: I turned back to Belstaff, being that they are a kind of standard in these types of quandaries, and this post just feels incomplete without them. The stuff of Hollywood and movies, but none of their bags in particular are built for purposes which I need satisfied.
Temple: Tied for second is Temple’s Laptop briefcase, because it just looks fantastic and has just enough space for what I need. I don’t like dead space, but its canvas and I know I can achieve that weathered look with a leather bag. It’s also outrageously expensive, I think, trying to compete with Belstaff, and not worth that kind of cash. http://shop.templebags.com/products/Laptop-Briefcase.html
Mulholland: A strong second in style, but the bag is made out of canvas, and even though I prefer the instant weathered look of canvas, I know it can’t last as long as leather. And I think the price is a bit high for what it is. http://shopmulholland.com/product.htm?Product=CA139-TNB
Which brings me to…
Saddle Back Leather: A friend recently pointed me in the direction of the Saddle Back Leather company and I just might have found my bag…. Aside the perfect styling this bag has, although maybe a bit bloated, reading the “Our Story” part of the site described the thought process with which I go about finding and deciding on most things in life, and I knew I found the right company. My only worry concerned moisture proofing, but after a very prompt and polite reply from Joe, “Lost in Hollywood”, I have no doubts this bag will keep my stuff dry… It’s pricey, but considering it will hopefully be the last bag I buy for the rest of my life, not unreasonable. http://www.saddlebackleather.com/categories/79-Briefcases/products/1655-Leather-Briefcase-Chestnut
It’s simple, elegant, but with a rough enough texture to mirror a sun and wind blasted face. Something which you could carry through the zombie apocalypse or the average office, with its good looks and ample, but not excessive, space. It might not make the cut in a NYC law-firm, but I hope to never find myself in such a hell anyway. This bag will endure rain and sleet, baked by the sun and frozen by the arctics. It will soak in salt water for fun and lounge by the beach on a vacation. It will hold and protect my memories and tools to make a living, and when I’m dead, will tell a tale of a spirit now soaring in the clouds, all engines happily pushing the journey forth.