Originally Posted by Cornellian
Yeah, it wasn't my first choice either, but I have yet to find a bag that matches the size, features and style. Most of the leather weekend bags are either large/heavy or they don't have an outside pocket. The Swaine A.B. weekenders are nice, but they are heavy, and a pain in the ass to get into.
Have you checked out brands like Lambertson Truex? Their duffles are full grain leather, really quite nice, and probably 1/3 the price of the LV. They had a sale on Gilt a while back; too bad you weren't able to catch it. BUT, even at full retail, I find them an excellent quality-to-value ratio ($500-700). Traveling a lot, I've had duffles from all the major players and really after a certain level, it all just becomes brand and styling. True, Hermes or valextra would be the best "quality," but they also cost as much as a used car. LV stuff is good, but then also top-level luggage items from Prada are actually nice, too. Nevertheless, again, the name on them adds quite a premium. To me, an $1800 bag really needs to be WORTH the $1800... and overall I'd say I don't see the vast differences between them and something like LT. If you aren't sworn to the LV, at least give a look at LT, which I think is sold through Saks or neimans, though they have a few standalone stores in the USA. Here's an LT: