Looking for a lightweight dapper office bag/briefcase
November 30, 2021 12:47 PM   Subscribe

I'm open to any material, though probably prefer canvas or waxed canvas as material that provides a good balance of weight and sturdiness. I'd like a bag that looks smart, has some structure so that it can stand by itself, and has pockets or compartments that allow for staying reasonably organized. I often see nice canvas bags that slouch or have one big central compartment so that everything sloshes around in one space. Browsing online, I really liked this: www.satchel-page.com/products/aviator. However, it is way outside my price range. Does a bag like this exist for under about US $150?
posted by Ensign to Shopping (9 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Duluth Trading Company has their bags on sale today.
posted by Comet Bug at 1:26 PM on November 30, 2021

Lands End has a waxed canvas briefcase- right now on big sale when I look, <$60.
posted by clew at 1:28 PM on November 30, 2021

Are you open to secondhand/new-without-tags? I get all my fancy bags on eBay, and I have a very nice canvas briefcase with interior compartments from Ernest Alexander. I'd also recommend Billykirk, Makr, Coach (up to a point), Jack Spade (also up to a point), Orvis, Barbour and a general search for "canvas briefcase", using the filters to exclude anything not in the US and to choose materials. Basically, I tend to like bags that retail for, like, $300, but I cannot realistically pay $300.
posted by Frowner at 1:29 PM on November 30, 2021 [1 favorite]

This one is also way under your price limit on sale.

I think waxed canvas + leather trim may be hard to come by in that range. I have a Buffalo Jackson I really like. I also like Pad and Quill’s bag, but it looks like they discontinued their waxed canvas.
posted by supercres at 1:29 PM on November 30, 2021

I was thinking more messenger bag, but it may not look as cool.

Here are two that may be worthy of consideration... Though they don't look like office bags at all.

Reproduction Swiss "salt and pepper" shoulder bag for $100. Looks like a mix between messenger bag and briefcase bag.

For a bit more military-ish look, there's Romanian Surplus Canvas Bread Bag for $30

Searching on Amazon shows a ton of both leather and "water resistant canvas" bags from $40 to $80.
posted by kschang at 1:56 PM on November 30, 2021

I got a similar Tumi bag on The Real Real (used) and have been very happy with it.
posted by sepviva at 4:50 PM on November 30, 2021

This one might be a little too minimal, but I had one and it was the perfect size for a laptop and a couple other small things.
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 6:18 PM on November 30, 2021 [1 favorite]

Seconding BlackLeotardFront. Waterfield/SF Bags are pretty great.
posted by VyanSelei at 7:51 PM on November 30, 2021

Yessss Waterfield. I bought their Bolt briefcase for $269 about 10 years ago and carried it daily until COVID, and it still looks as new as the day I got it. I just love it: it's a total pleasure to carry and use.

I did a super-long laptop bag hunt (with a spreadsheet and criteria grid!) and I remember hesitating for weeks before buying it, because it was expensive and I bought it off their website, unseen. But I have never regretted it. Expensive/excellent laptop bags are worth a financial stretch IMO, especially if you use them daily. A bad one can just wreck your day a little, every day.

The Bolt's available in waxed canvas, stands by itself, and has excellent smartly-designed interior pockets. It fits great in any work environment; I've never felt like it was too much or too little. It just blends in.
posted by Susan PG at 5:50 PM on December 1, 2021

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