Thursday, January 31, 2013

Business travel made stylish, courtesy of The Colonel

Greetings, one and all.....checking in today from windy Richmond, Virginia.  I had loads of fun getting here yesterday, as my home area in central Kentucky was afflicted with heavy wind and rain early yesterday morning, and my flight connection in Atlanta was delayed 90 minutes by the same.  But I'm here, and arrived safely, so that's what counts.

As promised, today's entry concerns a new item in my business travel arsenal.

You no doubt recall my past mentions of Colonel Littleton, the unique "purveyor of fine accouterments in the Americana tradition."  My gateway drug happened to be the No. 48 Phone Holster, which led to the No. 5 iPad Pocket, then the Front Pocket Wallet, then the No. 3 Mousepad and finally the No. 3 Key Ring.  I'm looking around the hotel room to see if I failed to mention anything!

Anyway, all through this period of becoming more familiar with and fascinated by the Colonel's operations and products, I had very much wanted one of their superb briefcases.  I wasn't entirely sure of which one would be best for me, but I felt confident that all would be well made of quality materials.  Having visited their store in Lynnville, Tennessee last summer and seeing these items firsthand didn't help, either.  So I was torn, and wasn't sure I could justify the expense of buying one of these exquisite cases.

I believe I had mentioned my issues with my now-former briefcase, as the leather trim had split in multiple places.  This didn't add character, it just looked shabby, so I felt a replacement was a "when" and not an "if" item.

Over the holidays my wife and I began to discuss this, and we came to the joint conclusion that I should view this process as an investment, and not an expense.  Something I could pass along to my grandson, one of these days!

I also had the good fortune to have received cash from a couple of folks over Christmas, so I had that money and some other bucks stashed to apply to the purchase.

Came down to this...which one to buy?  I looked at the options and had my wife (who had no dog in this fight) do the same, and I finally decided on this:

http://www.colonellittleton.com/shop/bags-and-such/business/no-1-saddlebag-briefcase.html

Sorry, I don't have a good digital camera, but click this and you'll get the idea.  Unique appearance, plenty of capacity, OUTSTANDING leather quality, and, well, there's that certain something you get from an item like this.  Like the looks you get from other fellows in the airport, as you can tell they've noticed the case, even if they say nothing.  Or the shuttle driver from my hotel, who asked me "Is this handmade?" and "Where did you get this?"  I love telling people the story!

Now, I've made three car trips and one flying trip (which I'll conclude tomorrow, so that counts) using my new Saddlebag Briefcase, so here are my overall impressions:

The bag holds a LOT of stuff.  More than you might think if you see it empty.  Three large compartments, one of which has an organizer panel sewn into it (the dividers are canvas, which I expect will last forever AND saves a bit of weight).  On my trips I've brought my Macbook Air, plus power brick, my iPad (in its No. 5 Pocket, of course), compact earphones, pens, keys, legal pads, my travel itinerary and a few other things.  And I am sure it would hold more if I needed or wanted it to!

It's not as heavy as I thought it might be.  That's a good thing when you're hiking through airports.  And the buckles are actually snaps (if you visit the link click on the video and watch and listen to the Colonel describe this, you'll love it!), so that makes it very easy to produce the computer for the nice folks of the TSA and airport security.

The handle looks like it might be a bit uncomfortable, but is actually fine, despite the load I have piled into this case.  The top of the case is flat, as you can see from the photos you'll find at the above link, but the handle has a leather sleeve surrounding the cut-out, thus providing some cushioning.

I detest shoulder straps ordinarily, but this one is pretty good.  Looks good on the bag, even though it's removable.  I'm leaving it in place.  I've used it every time I've carried the bag, with no issues and little discomfort.  My only other comment about this is that I'd like it if the strap pad was a little longer, but as a big man with very broad shoulders, that's more my problem than an issue with the bag.

About the only other minor adjustment is that this bag does not attach to a rolling suitcase, but if I lower the pull handle one notch, I can put my hand through the handle and grasp the suitcase handle simultaneously.  I may try to identify another solution.

Can you tell what a happy guy I am?  My wife dropped me off at the airport yesterday and I pointed to the bag with a big goofy grin.  She grinned back and nodded.  SHE KNOWS ME TOO WELL!

Thinking about a portfolio next.  After all, there are many more Colonel Littleton items still available where this came from!





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