Finding the Perfect Bag

When I was nine years old, my dad carried a "man bag". I called it a purse. Of course, had I looked in the mirror, I would have seen my lime green fanny pack.🙄 My dad never went anywhere without his bag. It held a few effects but also, all of his loose change. I used to sneak into it and "borrow" a few lira, (Italian currency back in 1989/90) from the outermost pocket. A little lockable gusseted pocket that was always the heaviest part of the bag.

Through high school I carried a backpack. When I entered higher education, I stayed with a back pack. When I finally went into the workforce however, I switched to a messenger bag. It held most of what I needed. A book, some medicine, a notepad, pen, and probably a Game Boy of some sort. My first messenger bag was a cheap $10 bag I bought at Ikea after eating too many meatballs.

The Ikea Flort 

The next messenger bag I bought because technology had advanced. I now had an iPad and the other effects as well. I went to Fossil and bought this canvas bag (not pictured). It was great. In fact, it still is. It's held up over the years. It's got a camo print design and is a mixture of leather and canvas. It held most everything I needed. I eventually grew out of it. Why? I wasn't into the look. I'm not a hunter or anyone who would identify with camo. So I gave the bag to my son who may or may not use it someday.

The next bag I bought was a $75 leather messenger bag with waxed canvas inside. It's a no frills bag. It held mostly everything I needed. I say "mostly", because sometimes I ran into an issue holding more things that just didn't seem to fit. It's also on Amazon. Find it HERE.
The leather/waxed canvas bag.
No frills!
Since this classic and no frills leather bag seemed to be too small at times, I went pocket crazy. Also, I got away from the classic flap covering for a messenger bag. I hate the flaps. You can NEVER get into them easily. It's always a fumbling mess. Especially when you've got coffee in your hands..which is like me...all the time. So I bought this next bag, which turned into...a backpack. Lots of pockets lots of padding. Rigid. A super nice bag, especially for a carry on. The eventual issue? It was too big and it wasn't "professional enough" in terms of the look. You can buy it HERE.
The great travel bag that was too big
and "unprofessional". 

Then, one day...I was going through some things and I found dad's bag. When I held it in my hands, the soft leather and awesome craftsmanship of this Italian bag was just too much. I had to use it. It fit my 12" iPad Pro, my notebook and all my other items nicely. It's a vertical bag too, so it made it easy to grab and go. Sure the look was a little dated...I didn't care.

Dad's original bag.
It didn't take long for the weight of my items to snap the shoulder strap of the bag. I took it to a leather repair shop where it was expertly repaired. One week later, I broke the carry handle. I was
crushed. I scoured the web for a similar bag. It had to have:

-No flaps
-Five compartments that close
-2 slip-pockets
-A single handle
-A Shoulder strap
-Must be vertical.
-Leather (preferably black)
-Silk or rayon lined
-Oh, and it has to hold the 12"iPad Pro

Guess who makes that bag today? No one. Yep, Dad's bag was a one of a kind. I couldn't find a version of it anywhere. Even when I said, "Price is no object." No one made it. I did find a similar bag. A PU (Polyurethane) Faux Leather bag with almost the same design except it was missing one slip pocket. A whopping $36 on Amazon. Find it HERE.
The "almost" Dad's Original bag.
$36 on Amazon.
It lasted about 4 months before the handles ripped. Total bummer considering I am not carrying an insane amount of weight. You can see the pictures and my review of the bag HERE on Amazon. The game was now afoot. I needed a new bag. I checked out everything I could find. I even sent my friends and family out in a frenzy looking for something to meet my prerequisites above.

I couldn't find anything. I didn't want to buy the PU bag again. I wanted to buy a heritage bag. Something I could pass on or, at the very least, beat the crap out of it. Take it on trips, be a carry-on, be a briefcase, be a bag I just grab when I leave the house.

I checked the Goodwill for used items. Nothing. I eventually went to the mall to look around. Maybe I could find a luggage shop or something. That's when I came across Wilson's Leather. I went in, with all four of my kids. The woman who assisted me showed amazing patience. Also, she was super attentive to what I was looking for. I remember saying, "Sorry, I'm just really particular about stuff. Especially when I'm going to spend hundreds of dollars." She totally understood.

I just didn't find anything I liked. Everything was either too deep (thick), had a flap, or didn't have the real estate needed. I mean, I'm a secretary and a dad of four kids. There just isn't anything in the world I shouldn't have with me... ALL. THE. TIME.

Maybe it's a sign. Maybe I needed to thin out what my everyday carry was. You might ask about what my everyday carry is. I'll compose this as a post soon. So hang tight.

So I went back home. I went to the Wilson's Leather website. I found two bags. I gave up the idea that it had to be vertical. ( It killed me.) Of the two, one was a black Italian Lambskin bag. It was thin. The other was a pocket laden  classic bag. I bought both--regularly $600 total, I paid shipped to my door about $201. I suppose I lucked out. I waited a whole seven days to receive the bags. It was painful realizing that this wasn't an Amazon Prime deal. No two-day shipping for this guy.
The Lambskin Bag.

It was a Friday afternoon. I received the bags. I opened them both up, examined them and packed them both with everything from my in-use bag. The Italian Lambskin bag was busting at the seams. I liked it better, but I couldn't keep it. I checked out the other. It was like a giant hobo bag with additional garbage bags inside. There was no rigidity to it. I couldn't stand it.

The bag w/out form. :(
I had posted on the web that afternoon my extreme disappointment in trying to find something. Lots of great suggestions. Just nothing that spoke to me. I really didn't want to go to a backpack. So the next day, my family and I went back out to the mall. I brought the two bags with that I had bought online. They allowed returns in the store. I also brought my oldest son Griffin with me. I said, "Griff, you know what I need. Help me find this bag, man." I looked in the store for about 10 minutes.

The nice lady from before remembered me and held the other bags at the counter for me while we looked. It took Griff about five minutes to come to me and say, "Dad, how about this one? It looks like you. Plus no flaps." I was immediately intrigued. I also liked another bag. It had flaps, but small ones. One side had buckles which I had trouble operating. Griff looked at me and said, "Dad, I can't let you get that bag. If you can't operate those buckles now, you're gonna hate it later." I had to agree.

An unflattering look at the bag I almost kept....
So, I bought the bag he suggested. It held everything I needed plus some. I wasn't 100% on the size of the bag, in fact, I made some real concessions with it. It wasn't vertical, it didn't have all the slip pockets I wanted and it had a double handle. In the end I had to fall in love with what was available. Maybe that's okay.

When I returned my other two bags, and I went to buy this one, I expected to owe $40. Instead I still got a refund of $91. So I spent less, and walked out with a great bag. Maybe one day I will find IT. I remember a movie I once saw in which they said something along the lines of, "It's not the right guy, it's the right now guy." Maybe that's this bag. It's the right now bag. Who knows, it may turn into the right bag. The seeming end to the saga? Not yet.

It took 4 days for this bag to rip. :( So, I returned it and received store credit for $103. I walked out without buying another bag there. They just didn't have anything else. As you can see from the pictures, the design flaw is apparent. It's pulling in a way that would be conducive to anything ripping.

I went home, melancholy over a bag. It just feels like in this day and age, there should be a bag that can do what I need and not fall apart! But apparently not. So I thinned out what I carry on a day to day, seemingly not prepared for all situations. And I tossed my effects into an old friend. The original Ikea bag, The Flort, pictured earlier.

Right after returning the bag that ripped, I walked my son to Gamestop, and while he was looking around, is when I ordered it. I love immediate gratification, and while I tried to subdue this passion, I went ahead and spent $17 on the latest iteration of Ikea's "euro style" bags. Instead of driving out there which takes 50 minutes each way, I spent $10 on shipping. So $28 whole dollars.

I have zero expectations. If I've learned anything about looking for the perfect bag, it's that it likely doesn't exist. If the above works out, wonderful! If not, well, I still have that $103 to spend at Wilson's Leather. Here's hoping...


  1. Finding the right bag is a difficult thing I've found. I went the expensive route and picked the Large Front Pocket Backpack from although now at this stage in my life, I wish more than anything that I would have purchased the traditional briefcase or their messenger bag.


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