Name: Solo 15.6-inch Urban Hybrid Briefcase
What it is: A roomy polyester briefcase that converts to a backpack or shoulder bag, all weighing less than 2 pounds. The padded, easily adjustable backpack straps can be tucked away in a pocket made for that purpose, and the padded shoulder strap easily detaches and stows away. One large cargo area, with two padded dividers, can hold your laptop, iPad, Kindle, etc., while still accommodating plenty of work-related files. Two exterior compartments can take smaller items such as a passport, a phone and even your weekend supply of socks, underwear and toiletries. The briefcase handle has magnetized snaps, a refreshing change from Velcro.
The good: This is the perfect “personal bag,” as the airlines call them. That means it’s not a checked bag or even a carry-on. It’s incredibly versatile for a traveler who wants the most out of every bag. For a long weekend, this is all I would need — the heck with a carry-on — and I wouldn’t have to compete for an overhead bin. It can slide under an airline seat while easily holding all the clothes I would need for a few days, plus my iPad and other small electronics. Use a compression bag and you don’t even have to sweat the storage space. For the business traveler who wants a more refined look, hide away the backpack straps when the time comes. Otherwise, while on your trip, use this to carry that bottle of wine, loaf of bread, summer sausage and chunk of fine cheese out on a day hike and picnic. Like I said, the perfect personal bag. And don’t worry about smudges; the charcoal color hides a world of dirt.
The bad: I know today’s plastic can wear like iron, but the buckles and connectors are made of plastic, which can give me pause. But metal accouterments on bags are heavier and pricier.
Available from: solo.net, overstock.com and amazon.com