I seem to about the only person travelling these days who actually carries their bags, rather then wheeling them around like trolleys. Am I plain stupid or am I the only one still to have arms? I know that airport corridors are getting longer and longer these days, but is it really necessary for small carry-on bags to be kitted out with wheels like they were the back end of a semi-trailor?
Anyway, this little bit of a rant in the way of an introduction was actually kicked off by a charming young lady from Bulgaria who gazed in admiration at my bag while we were standing one behind another in an airport check-in line recently. She said how much she liked it, and then mentioned some major international baggage brand (can't remember which one) and I said no, this bag is made by a craftsman called Alan Mackenzie who works out of the Isle of Arran in Scotland (I actually shun major brands for their banalisation of everything they touch, added to severe overpricing to cover their advertising expenditure).
This is not some form of reverse snobbery on my part. The bags (I have a large one and a small one) were a gift from my mother, who is a good supporter of fine craftsmen, and I use them a lot since they are practical, strong and simple. They are of the Gladstone bag type, being made of canvas with leather reiniforcements in all the right places. They have lasted very well, apart from the linings which tend to tear away from the main body.
Here is a picture of the two of them, taken, at my feet, in another airport queue recently:
The small one is known as an "overnight" size, and the big one a "weekend" size. I guess it depends how light you travel. I use the small one for a weekend and the big one for a week's journey, unless I have to carry a camera and a portable computer as well as personal stuff. They are nice and flexible too and are really easy to spot on any baggage delivery system (the big one I tend to check in as I hate people cluttering up planes with huge suitcases) since nobody has anything resembling them. But just don't expect them to come with any wheels. They will save your arms a session at the gym instead! You may get a shoulder strap which can be unbuckled when needed, as on my smaller on the right. I lost the other strap.
If you want more information on these bags, here is an official picture and a link to Mackenzie's web site. They make them in leather also, but I go for these, and they are cheaper as well.