The Last Two Bags You’ll Ever Need

As a travel and food writer I spend a lot of time on the road, which means I spend a lot of time living out of a bag, which means I’ve come to fancy myself something of a luggage connoisseur. I’ve lived out of big backpacks, small backpacks, roller backpacks, roller suitcases, athletic bags, duffel bags, garment bags, doctor bags, satchels, and one remarkably sturdy—considering the punishment I put it through—Buddhist monk bag.

But after all those years philandering my way through the world’s luggage, this year I finally met The One—or rather, The Two. I’m ready to settle down.

HURU

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It’s difficult to imagine a bag that feels sturdier and more versatile than the HURU. The HURU’s zippers and rugged steel buckles make the lesser hardware on other bags seem hopelessly inferior. The fact that it’s made from water-resistant, Army-grade Cordura fabric gives me the peace of mind that you don’t know you’re missing until you get caught in a downpour with all your gear and your laptop in a less rough-and-ready bag. And yes, if you’re wondering, you could easily find yourself out and about with your laptop in this thing—that’s what makes me swoon for it. For me versatility is essential, and I’ve never met a more versatile bag. The HURU is as ready for a hike into the mountains as it is for a walk to the coffee shop.

The HURU has several easily accessible compartments, including a secure laptop pocket in a slot that runs parallel to the plastic stiffness base, a support system that ensures the load of the bag is carried across your entire back instead of turning one section of your spine into a fulcrum. Then there are the secret pockets for small items like emergency cash, ID and bank cards or keys, another easy access book-sized compartment, and an insulated drink storage compartment.

And finally, it’s a backpack that opens up like a suitcase, meaning it’s easy to carry from place to place—an absolutely essential feature for me—but when you decide you need that shirt that you packed somewhere near the bottom don’t have to unpack the entire thing (or worse, spend ages with your arm stuck in it fishing around blind). If you need less bag for a day out and about, the HURU’s belt doubles as a detachable fanny pack (which I love). If you need more space you can expand the HURU’s capacity from 24 to 40 liters, and still it meets requirements for an airplane carry on. If you need more than 40 liters of capacity in a backpack, you’re packing wrong.

I got an early sneak peak at the HURU but the company is now launching a Kickstarter campaign, offering a super-steep discount to the first 60 people who donate, and significant discounts for those who donate later. Early purchases ship out just in time for Christmas.

The Weekender

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Of course, sometimes a gentleman simply can’t get by with a backpack. There are those occasions—wedding weekends, business trips, etc.—for which you can’t do without a garment bag to keep your duds in reasonably good shape while in transit. And on such occasions, if you’re anything like me, you may feel invited to indulge your vanity a bit and show up in style. For trips like these, I give you: the Garment Weekender from Hook & Albert.

This bag has a lot going for it; it’s sturdily built, it comes in a wide selection of styles and all of them look amazing, and it’s a carry on-sized weekender duffel with a little slot inside to hold an extra pair of shoes. But that’s just for starters.

Hook & Albert’s ingenious weekender uses the walls of the duffel as a garment bag. Or, put another way, their ingenious garment bag zips up into a stylish weekender. With the Hook & Albert weekender, my tux stays pressed but I’ve got easy storage for my socks and t-shirts, and my bag is a fashion accessory rather than a liability. It provides the functionality of a garment bag with the style and convenience of a weekender.

Most importantly for me, both of these bags possess that magical, hard-to-find quality that I’m always looking for above all in a piece of luggage—inspiration. The HURU makes me want to head for the hills and on to far flung thrills. Hook & Albert’s garment weekender makes me want to dress to the nines and hit the dance floor after a fancy cocktail party.

I shudder to think of the sorts of adventures one could get up to with their powers combined—definitely declaring these the official bags of Snacks and Snacks.

Denver Nicks