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Soft briefcase for travel: Ballistic or leather?

kolecho

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I need a new briefcase for daily use and frequent travel. It will have to hold a 10" x 12" notebook computer and some documents. Leather looks good and ages better, but their designs do not seem suitable for travel like ballistic nylon types (eg: Tumi etc.). http://www.classicluggage.com/BRIEFCA....01.html http://www.tumi.com/ What do you folks suggest?
 

drizzt3117

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I use tumi for most of my travel stuff, including my laptop bag, it has held up quite well...
 

globetrotter

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I like tumi balistic, as well. their messanger bag is a great option, or the various wheeled computer bags. briggs and riley is a good option, as well.
 

mano

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Over the years I've learned that when it comes to travel, be practical. Go with balistic nylon. I use a small wheeled computer carry-on that holds the computer, cables and any other material I need. When traveling, I wear my Hickey Freeman suits and leave the Brioni behind. Just not worth the wear and tear.
 

Hoya Saxa

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Go with the ballistic. It generally wears just as well as leather, but it's much lighter. This will be important as you carry your stuff through the airport, trying to make a connection that is 45 gates away ...

I must warn you, though, the Tumi nylon laptop/briefcases are pretty heavy, even when empty. There are other, lighter models out there. The drawback is that they don't wear as well.

My personal laptop/briefcase is a Swiss Army model. It's lighter than the Tumi and much less expensive. That said, I have to replace it roughly every 18 months.

Cheers,

Hoya
 

otis

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A dilemma I have struggled with for years, what bag does the well dressed man carry for business travel...I used to use my company issued ballistic nylon, then I switched to a Coach briefbag (not one w/ laptop compartment though, I didn't care for the look of those and figured I wouldn't always be carrying a computer) AND a small nylon laptop case. Somehow I always managed to get through security with a rolling suitcase, briefcase, and laptop bag while every woman in line was being stopped because she was carrying a purse plus two pieces of luggage.

A few months ago I picked up a Northface backpack to take on a vacation. On a whim I loaded all my work stuff including my laptop in it and took it on my next trip. It was fantastic, I've been using it ever since. It's kind of a funny look to wear a nice suit and carry a backpack, and I wouldn't carry in it in all situations, but for now it's been working. That said, I would tend to agree with the above advice, go with a Tumi or something similarly practical. It's just easier.

This brings to mind mind a funny anecdote I once heard about a Ralph Lauren exec who insisted on fedexing his luggage ahead of him for every trip, he didn't want to spoil his look pulling a suitcase.
 

kolecho

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I had a feeling that ballistic nylon was the way to go. Just wanted to see if anyone had different experiences. Many people swear by Tumi computer briefcasefor its durability. Is it really that good?

I have a Swiss Army one that is about 9 months old and its shape seem to be giving way. It does not stand upright properly anymore. The weight of the notebook seem to have affected it. Does that also happen to Tumi computer briefcase?

I need a new bag in any case as the one I have now is just a trifle too small for the new notebook I am getting soon.
 

retronotmetro

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I guess I am in the minority, but I highly recommend not using ballistic nylon for a business travel briefcase. I have a flannel suit with lots of pilling (and some trousers that became unusably/unfixably pilled) from being rubbed against a nylon laptop bag. Leather will not have this problem. I will never again carry a nylon laptop bag when wearing business clothes.
 

dah328

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I guess I am in the minority, but I highly recommend not using ballistic nylon for a business travel briefcase.  I have a flannel suit with lots of pilling (and some trousers that became unusably/unfixably pilled) from being rubbed against a nylon laptop bag.  Leather will not have this problem.  I will never again carry a nylon laptop bag when wearing business clothes.
What about the infamous wool "shine" from repeated rubbing against leather?  I would think that pilling would result from repeatedly carrying any bag on one's shoulder although leather bags might not be as bad as more abrasive nylon.

dan
 

ViroBono

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I highly recommend Billingham bags. Originally designed as camera bags (and used by many pro photographers), they are also excellent as travel bags - Michael Palin used one on all his various travel series. I have several in different sizes. As a briefcase, I have a Hadley Pro, which carries a 12" Mac PowerBook neatly with plenty of room for other bits and pieces. I also have a Packington, which is bigger. The 335 I use fo my camera holds my DSLR, lenses, flash, filters, chargers and so on, and the Powerbook in a sleeve. The bags are made of waterproof canvas trimmed with leather, though they are also available in Nytex, a sort of ballistic nylon. They improve with age and can be repaired if necessary. Billingham Bags Click on 'Distributors' for where to get them in the US.
 

retronotmetro

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(retronotmetro @ Feb. 23 2005,11:20) I guess I am in the minority, but I highly recommend not using ballistic nylon for a business travel briefcase. Â I have a flannel suit with lots of pilling (and some trousers that became unusably/unfixably pilled) from being rubbed against a nylon laptop bag. Â Leather will not have this problem. Â I will never again carry a nylon laptop bag when wearing business clothes.
What about the infamous wool "shine" from repeated rubbing against leather? Â I would think that pilling would result from repeatedly carrying any bag on one's shoulder although leather bags might not be as bad as more abrasive nylon. dan
I try never to carry a bag on my shoulder when wearing a suit unless it is absolutely necessary. I've never had a problem with any bags--leather or nylon--creating shine on my suits. I have, however, lost two pairs of pants to pilling caused by the ballistic nylon and webbing edges of standard Dell and Kensington laptop bags. Pants that were nearly new and worn only a few times. As they say, YMMV.
 

BjornH

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One extra angle to this is how conspicious the bag is. Does it scream 'Im a laptop - steal me.' or does it look like a bag for your papers? I have a leather one, butt ugly, but it can hold my laptop along with enough papers and an extra shirt and toiletries in a pinch. I'm hoping that thieves will take somebody else's bag before mine, as it does not look like a computer case.

The most practical one is probably the backpack, but when wearing a suit you run the risk of looking like those friendly people who go from door to door, wishing to speak to you about God. People tend not to come to the door when you call upon them...

B
 

emsny

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For me, a travel briefcase is not so much about style as about practicality. So I've always gone with Lands End - good value, too, and the best customer service policy in the business.
 

Kai

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Nylon is ugly. I have owned and used an Atlas briefcase since 1991. I carry it to work every day. I carry it on airplanes, where it has logged a million frequent flier miles. It holds my lap-top, my documents, and whatever else I decide to cram into it. About twice a year, I will clean it with leather cleaner and rub a bit of leather cream on it. It looks better today than it did the day I purchased it. I think it will likely last forever. I may well pass it down to my son. It is supremely practical, and it looks worlds better than any nylon bag ever made. My briefcase is the "Churchill" model: http://www.classicluggage.com/BRIEFCA....01.html
 

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