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So, I am lucky to be able to walk to work, about 2.5 km. Until now I would walk in in my work clothes (suited and booted) but these days I prefer to wear casuals on the way in and get changed in my office.
I own some nice casual bags but none of them were quire the thing for when I had a bigger load. I love my filson "briefcase" but stuffed with files and other stuff the single shoulder carry was killing me.
I decided to go the backpacke route, and wanted a bag-for-life smart casual style Saw this Troubadour bag and liked the look of it. It arrived a couple of weeks ago and I'm very happy. The leather is lovely (veg tanned with a water resist treatment) and the bag very comfortable. The only issue I have is that despite claiming the material the back of the pack is made from prevents swamp back I have not found this to be the case at least on very hot days (in Ireland 22 - 24C is "very hot".
Another point worth mentioning, which should be obvious from the pics, is that there is minimal organisation. You get a padded laptop slot which will fit a 15 inch laptop. Note, this us unfortunately not padded at the bottom, ie if you drop or put down the back with any appreciae impact there is not much between your laptop and the surface the bag lands on. This doesn't bother me. You get a front pouch with elasticated slot for your phone or similar shaped object and a couple of pen loops. Inside the logo patch affixed to the laptop slot can be used to loop a cable/cables (its only stitched in the middle) which is quite handy. Otherwise its just one big compartment, which for this kind of bag is what I wanted. The capacity is given as 21 litres by the makers which seems correct to me.
(Edit : there Is a quick access zip pocket shown in the pics too which I forgot about. I use it for my keys for which its perfect. It's not big enough for much else. For example neither my phone (admittedly Samsung note 9) or wallet (bellroy slim sleeve) will fit in it. I also put my Sony ear bud headphones in their case in there (Sony wx-1000 for size reference).
Straps are very nice (leather surface, the same molded foam type material as the back underneath. The bag is very comfortable to wear.
The lining is some kind of synthetic. It feels quite pleasant and "lux". No idea how it will wear but the bag has a 5 year warranty and the makers offer to repair at cost if possible for life after that, so I assume pretty durable.
The other option I considered was the Frank Clegg Hampton Backpack in chocolate. I am a big fan of his (i own a couple of briefcases and a duffle) but preferred the troubadour because:
- its slightly lighter, probably because the back is not leather.
- I did think the back panel of the troubadour would be more breathable. Not sure I was right but sweating through a shirt onto a leather pack would not be great for the leather over time.
- I didn't like the front pocket on the Clegg which has faux buckles and is secured by magnetic snap closures.
- I somewhat but by a clear margin preferred the look of the troubadour.
- the straps of the troubadour are far more adjustable in the "orthodox" way for a modern backpack. The clegg backpack has rang buckles to adjust the straps.
- I felt the Troubadour would cope with rain better (Ireland remember).
- The troubadour had a luggage pass through (very minor advantage).
Price was not a deciding factor but I was pleased that the troubadour worked out at 690 euros shipped, just over half the cost of the Clegg. I know Frank.Clegg make great bags, and I own 3 of them, so I'm not suggesting the Clegg backpack is not worth the money.
That said the Troubadour is also clearly of a decent quality (I can't say how far off "Clegg standards" it might be but it is a quality leather backpack and represents value in my opinion.
I would far prefer if Troubadour had not branded the front of the bag but it is not a major issue in the overall because I like the bag so much otherwise.
Edit : this is the Generation Slipstream. You can get the same model made from mostly synthetic vs leather for a lot less.