Spring Refresh: Bags

For me, Spring starts on the Monday practice round at The Masters.  It doesn’t matter what the calendar says, when they start poking it around Augusta National, it’s Spring.  That said, we’re all still neck deep in ‘hunker down’ mode…avoiding the cold, staying in, eating an extra serving, and re-watching season one of “Game of Thrones.”

Here’s an idea: get ahead of the game while you have some time.  Besides getting in the gym for an extra few sessions, or passing on that extra Samoa, start doing a little refresh in preparation for Spring.  We’re going to cover a few different non-health aspects that’ll have you ready for warmer temperatures.

First, let’s talk about your bag.  I don’t care what you do for a living, you have to carry stuff around with you.  Whether it’s your computer or tablet, files and folders, or books and research materials, there are certain things that your fanny pack won’t hold.  This is the bag that you carry more than anything.  Next to your wallet and watch, it’s the most important accessory that you have on your person.

If you are happy with your current getup, then take an hour and give it some love.  Condition the leather, clean the canvas, ensure all the hardware is in good working order.  These bags take a beating every day, and need to be shown the love.  Next, dig in.  Clean it out.  Old pens, receipts, papers, junk, etc.?  Get rid of it.  Stay organized.  Third, assess the functionality.  Your work bag should work for you.  What type of job do you have, and what are you required to carry around?  If your network is cloud-based, then why do you need a big bulky bag when everything is accessible from your laptop?  On the other hand, if you are a “red pen” person, and like the feeling of hard copies, then a larger bag may the the route to go.

Here are a couple rules for your work bag: First, make sure it fits your work culture.  Second, make sure it works for your work.  You shouldn’t need a second bag to compensate for your bag’s shortcomings.  Here are a few examples, with examples:

From top left:

1. Tumi Harrison Leather Briefcase:  The utility player.  The brown leather briefcase is great for just about anyone, except those in an extremely casual environment.  Then it looks like a gift.
2. Jack Spade Dipped Slim Leather Briefcase:  A good slim option for the tech savvy.  Plenty of room for devices and chargers, and that’s about it…because that’s all you need.  This bag is for the New Balance with wool trousers crowd.  And horn-rimmed glasses.  An irony.
3. J.W. Hulme Co. Editor Briefcase:  Similar to #1, but in black.  One of these has to be on the list.  This option is for worker bees that rarely wear anything but high quality black shoes, and tolerate the subway, but would rather have a driver.
4. Filson Original Briefcase:  Another utility player, that will span about 80% of work environments.  This will work for the seasoned executive that has probably had his for 20 years, or for the new analyst that just got his for graduation.
5. Rag & Bone Derby Briefcase:  The business casual version of a briefcase.  Very utilitarian, but good quality and works in a variety of situations.  For the guy that gets his loafers re-soled every three years, and his Barbour re-waxed every two years.
6. Barbour Tartan Leeboard Bag:  The brighter the briefcase, the more casual it is.  This tartan version is for those that live in cooler climates with lots of rain, and wear jeans to work everyday.  And is starting to re-think his beard.
7. J.W. Hulme Co. Freemont Tote:  For the worker that carries a bunch of stuff, but is organized.  Organization is key, otherwise this tote bag becomes more like your significant other’s purse.  And you DO NOT want to treat your tote bag like a purse.  Ever.  Totes are great for guys that wear a sport coat everyday, as you don’t carry them with the shoulder strap.
8. Filson Zip Tote:  “I have stuff, I need a bag”.  Very utilitarian.  Serves the purpose.  For the guy that brings his lunch to work everyday.
9. Orvis Businessman’s Backpack:  The hands-free option for those that live on their phones, two-thumb style, especially while traveling.  This bag is for workers that spend all day traveling or in a courtroom.  Plenty of room for anything needed for a 12-hour workday.  Built to last, just like you.

Me?  I’m a Filson 257 guy with a Jack Spade zip-tote (similar) on overflow days (rare – about 2-3 times a month).  I do have my camera with me quite a bit, and I carry that in a Filson Medium Field Bag with a DOMKE padded insert.

What are you carrying?  Why?



  1. WWS
    02/24/2015 / 10:12 PM

    Orvis Battenkill Briefcase, picked up at a flea market for $24!

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