Kevin Standlee (kevin_standlee) wrote,
Kevin Standlee

Papa [SMOF]'s Got a Brand New Bag

Anyone who has seen me at a convention in the past ten years has probably seen my carrying an over-the-shoulder soft-sided briefcase made by Land's End. This bag has been through a lot, but it has been reaching the end of its days. I've been having to resort to lots of duct tape to keep it from falling completely apart, and the metal D-rings where the shoulder strap connects to the bag are down to only about 1 mm or so thickness and were certainly going to fail soon.

Unfortunately, Land's End doesn't make that exact style of bag any more -- if they did, I would simply replace like-for-like -- so, after one false start where I ended up ordering a bag that was much too small, I ended up with a new case, which arrived (just in time for the Japan trip) this past week.

Here we have the old bag on the left, which shows how old it is -- it dates back to the early days of the bid that led to ConJose, when we were still bidding San Francisco. On the right is the new bag, with the actual corporate logo of SFSFC. You can see how the handle of the old bag has copious amounts of duct tape on it. The bag's zipper pulls had failed long ago, and I had "temporarily" replaced them with large paper clips reinforced with more duct tape.

By the way, the blotches of "open water" on the logo on the left are not a design element -- the bag is so worn that parts of the logo were disappearing. Originally the logo was identical to the one on the right except for the lettering.

These two shots compare the "off side" of each bag. Here the amount of duct-tape repair becomes even more obvious. The new bag is about one-third deeper and has bigger and more compartments, including one with a removable laptop PC sleeve that may be handy.

So this would seem to be an upgrade as well as a replacement. But it's not an unalloyed good, and there's one element about the new bag that thoroughly disappoints me: the interior pockets.

On the left is the old bag, which had three large, deep pockets and a number of pen-loops besides the key holder. You can see here my checkbook, airline ticket/passport holder, and Day-Timer all tucked away. On the right is the equivalent area in the new bag. The pockets do not compare well at all. And while there are a bunch more interior pockets in one of the other sections of the bag, none of them are as wide or deep as the old bag. This means that those three large items you see in the left photo don't have a place they can easily fit. I can put them in the bag, and will do so, but they'll tend to float around in an interior compartment that doesn't have the right kinds of partitions to keep them where I want them. How well this will work in field conditions I'll find out in Japan, I guess.

On, and unlike the old LE bag, this bag, like way too many things these days, is made in Japan, although the custom logo embroidery was done in the USA.

So while I have a new, clean, sturdy bag, I'm uneasy about how well it will work. Mind you, part of this is that I've been using that old bag and an identically-designed one before that for roughly fifteen years now, and it's going to be a difficult mental switch to get used to finding things in different places.
Tags: land's end, sfsfc

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