Let's face it, you probably don't treat your bag as well as you should — whether you're tossing it into the trunk of your car next to a pair of muddy boots, sloshing motor oil all over it in the paddock next to your track car, or cramming it into a tiny overhead compartment. Rather than changing up your lifestyle, you really need a bag that can handle some abuse. The Chrome Blckchrm Collection ($200-$280) features welded waterproof construction, industrial strength velcro, weatherproof Hypalon outer shells, and urethane-coated YKK zippers, so you know they can handle just about anything. Choose from a roll-top duffel bag built to carry all your gear, a go-anywhere roll-top backpack, or a seatbelt buckle messenger that will never let you down.
Every once in a while a design collaboration comes along that forces you to look twice, drool a little bit, and then say "okay, just take my money." This time, it's the Woolrich x Topo Design Bag Collection ($40-$250), which includes a duffel bag, a backpack, and a dopp kit. They started with Topo Design's expertly crafted bags and finished them using high-quality woolen fabrics from Woolrich. What they ended up with is a line of bags — gorgeous in their simplicity and practicality — available in distinct colorways like buffalo plaid, navy, charcoal stripe, and blaze orange. Each bag is made in the USA, includes thoughtful details like sturdy zippers, parachute cord loops, heavy-duty hardware, cognac leather accents, and much more.
Okay, so perhaps it's a bit of a paradox to have a fabric that's designed to be easily spotted and blend in with its surroundings — but that doesn't mean you should like these Chrome Reflective Camo Bags ($95-$170) any less. They come in three choices of camo (a black urban camo, a tan desert camo, and a green wilderness camo), and feature glass-bead-woven fabric that reflects light up to 100 feet away. They are waterproof, welded, and durable enough to withstand a serious fall, making them a great choice if you get to and from work on two wheels.
Even if you aren't Bruce Wayne, you still need space to stow away all your gadgets when you're on the job — the Coach Bleecker Utility Tote ($400) has a pocket for everything. Outside pockets on the sides and front give you quick access to frequently-used items, while the zippered interior has slots for your more valuable gear, and at 15 inches wide, it's just the right size to fit your MacBook. Available in olive or navy canvas with leather trim, it's the perfect companion to your casual workday getup (even if it doesn't come in black).
When you have no choice but to travel with a bunch of gadgets, your biggest concern is getting them to your destination in one piece. The Cocoon Slim Backpack ($80) takes the stress out of traveling with your gear, so you can worry about making it to your flight on time. The main pocket has sleeves designed to fit a 15-inch macbook pro and an iPad (both are made from faux suede to prevent scratches). The secondary pocket features a rubberized, woven elastic organization system that holds your gear in infinitely-customizable configurations. Water resistant nylon on the exterior and waterproof zippers keep everything dry throughout the trip. And at three and a half inches deep, it's the perfect size to carry on.
Even if you don't spend your weekdays working outside, you can still add a touch of outdoorsy ruggedness to your daily carry with the Filson Tote Briefcase ($360). It's made in the USA, and constructed from durable cotton twill, oil-finish tin cloth, and lined with dry-finish shelter cloth. Plenty of pockets on the outside, and two dividers on the inside let you organize everything you need for the day, while bridle leather straps secure it closed. Available in either tan or otter green.
While new to the game, the folks at Everlane know a thing or two about making great bags. Now they're taking a totally new approach to classic carryalls with the Everlane Reverse Denim Collection ($30-$95). They've combined two fabrics normally relegated to pants into one sturdy, stylish material. By turning denim inside out and fusing it with khaki twill, they created great-looking, waterproof weekenders, backpacks, totes and dopp kits that won't blow your travel budget. Stitched leather accents and straps finish out these rugged accessories that you won't want to leave home without.
When is a backpack not a backpack? When it's part of the Bootlegger Modular Pack System ($190). This new series of bags is based on a single Triple-Tamp Suspension back panel that connects to each of the bags and provides the shoulder straps, while also allowing for instant adjustment of the fit, moving the bag closer or farther away from your back depending on the conditions. The full set includes the suspension, a hydration pack, a normal day pack, and a dry pack and should ship this summer; other combinations that only include the suspension and one or two of the bags are also available. But where's the point in that?
Most backpacks are designed purely to hold stuff. The Tessel Jet Pack Backpack ($60) is designed to do that too, we suppose, but also instill a child-like sense of discovery. It aims to do so via its back, which is inspired by geometric building blocks and encourages you to play with the interlocking triangles. Other features include a small outer pocket for phones, wallets, and such, and a main interior with a faux fur-lined laptop compartment, an integrated iPad sleeve, and slots for pens and pencils.
Get all the utility of a traditional briefcase with none of the pretentiousness by carrying a Topo Designs Mountain Briefcase ($150). Available in three different colorways of 1000d Cordura, this everyday carry is cleverly designed to be carried like a traditional brief, over the shoulder with a strap, or like a backpack. In addition, it offers a padded laptop sleeve with a Velcro closure, a large main compartment, a zippered interior storage pocket, an open notebook pocket, pen slots, another zippered pocket on the exterior, and two bottom cinch straps for holding jackets, umbrellas, or other goods.
Pack everything you need for a full day of shooting with the Chrome Niko Camera Pack ($180). This rugged, unassuming bag features a waterproof denier outer shell, a tarpaulin liner, a customizable interior compartment for lenses and flashes, a padded laptop compartment that'll hold anything up to a 15" MacBook Pro, a quick-access compartment for essential gear, Velcro straps on the front for a tripod or skateboard, and plenty of pockets for cables, memory cards, and other miscellaneous gear.
If you're carrying important cargo — and by important, we mean "people might kill me for it" important — protect it (and yourself) with the Tumi Tegra-Lite Bulletproof Briefcase ($6,000). This limited edition attaché case is made using 65 layers of advanced Tegris polypropylene thermoplastic composite to provide durability and impact resistance while maintaining a light weight. Inside, you'll find vachetta leather trim, an iPad pocket, a file divider, accessory pockets, a false bottom to conceal items of the highest value, and — of course — a handcuff attachment.