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The 2015 Badger & Blade Awards – Best Leather Goods

2015 Winner – Leather Goods

Maxwell Scott Flero $752

2015 Badger & Blade Awards

Whether draped on a shoulder, or the buttery leather handles filling your palm – when you have a Maxwell Scott leather bag in tow, you’re on an adventure.

As a globetrotter, I spend a good deal of time on the road. Over the years I’ve devised quite a system, toting a mix of Eagle Creek, Tumi and Swiss Army bags, organizers, in all shapes and sizes. I could have a bag ready for any kind of 2-6 day trip you could imagine, in under 5 minutes. Transporting my belongings from one place to another was a mere consequence of travel and quickly became a very cold and mechanical experience. I was ready for a change.

I managed to stumble into a remarkably beautiful, full-grain leather trolley at Brooks Brothers for a song. It had been at the San Francisco store the entire season, with no one brave enough to cough up the ridiculous price – so they wildly slashed the price to get it out the door. The lovely pebbled chocolate fudge colored leather beckoned, so I took a leap in luxury and it rolled out with me. Fast forward six years later, and I’ve traveled with it a mere three times.

While the stunning, thick leather is gorgeous, it’s heavy. The beautifully hand stitched zippered leather side pocket that opens up into an elegant business card holder, but it also juts out of the side of the bag, and gets brutalized as others try to violate the laws of physics and mash their oversized bags into overhead bins. The wheels are handy and roll as if they’re on ice, but they poor balance of the bag and narrow wheelbase cause the bag to rock and easily fall over when the pace exceeds a trudge. The shape is elegant and unique and gets dozens (dozens!) of comments from seasoned travelers, pilots and TSA agents – unfortunately though; it doesn’t carry much cargo for its exterior dimension and weight. Every endearing quality of this piece had a matching fault. This was a failed experiment.

When Maxwell Scott contacted me for my opinion on their travel bag, I was intrigued, but my expectations were low. I’d seen hipsters carry duffle bags at airports, but never a seasoned traveler. I was doubtful it would end well. For those of you with attention deficit disorder and just want the conclusion, I was wrong, it won the award and you can click here to buy the style of bag I thoroughly battletested.  Want to find out more? Read on…

When I first laid eyes on the beautiful medium sized Flero in classic tan, I knew I was going to be making some friends at the airport. What I wasn’t ready for, was how wildly practical and efficient it turned out to be. Fitting items in this duffle is a complete breeze and the shape and size of this Medium Flero is ideal for trips of a week or less without having to worry about bringing a few souvenirs home. On a shorter trip, load it up part way, and tighten the straps and you’ve got a feather light, easy to maneuver setup.

2015 Badger & Blade Awards

When paired with Maxwell Scott’s Attaché, you can still look sharp, while lugging your dirty laundry around on the last day of your business trip.

2015 Badger & Blade Awards

Unlike a trolley styled carry on; the leather duffle is much easier to hurriedly toss into an Uber at the airport, without having to support the awkward frame of a roll on. While it may seem trivial at first, the ergonomics, feathery weight and perfect handles really make transporting this bag a breeze.

2015 Badger & Blade Awards

Paired with Saddlebacks superb front pocket backpack, you can easily handle a two week trip, as I did in Japan. Looks pretty good in the overhead bins of the Shinkansen in Tokyo Japan, no?

2015 Badger & Blade Awards

The hardware on the bag appears to be custom made for Maxwell Scott, and looks and feels of the utmost quality. The included matching ID tag is a welcomed touch.

So far this bag has accompanied me on trips India, Japan, Israel, Abu Dhabi, Mexico, Germany and no less than two dozen trips within the United States.

Highlights:

  1. Jaw dropping, conversation starting beauty.
  2. Outstanding quality – the perfect mix of being sturdy enough to withstand a beating, yet not overbuilt so as to be heavier than it needs to be.
  3. Superb ergonomics. Even when heavily loaded, it never causes undue fatigue and seems to defy the laws of physics.
  4. Unexpected benefit – everyone was particularly gentle with the bag, and in foreign countries (India) they treated it like it was made of gold and made quite a scene over it.
  5. Practical travel companion. Items don’t jostle around when loaded lightly (unlike rolling luggage) and can better conform to overhead bins, unlike a hard roller. All the pro’s of a smaller bag, but tons of space if/when needed.

2015 Badger & Blade Awards

Room For Improvement:

  1. Shoulder strap is thin and doesn’t distribute weight well when heavily loaded.
  2. Generates an awful lot of attention.

You can purchase this bag on the Maxwell Scott website.

 

 

 

 

Joel

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