Briefcase nice enough for office, but tough enough for field work?

OK guys, I have a fashion/function conundrum for you. I'm officially an office worker in a business casual office. But, my job entails spending a fair amount of time in environments where gloves, earplugs, and safety glassses are required.

I need a briefcase, attache, or messenger bag that's nice enough for office casual environment, but can be taken into environment I mentioned above. I'm not plunking a $$$ briefcase down on a dust and oil coated surface.

I need the ability to stuff a 3 ring binder, notepad, organizer, and small toolkit in it. I don't carry a laptop. I want a large organizer section and a detachable shoulder strap.

I'm pushing 40, so the youth and sport oriented canvas bags are out of the question. Functionally, the Bucket Boss Pro Contractors Briefcase is ideal, but it's not nice enough for the office.

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I would look at the products from Filson.  They are very classic looking yet very durable.

I agree with David.  I've had this bag for over 10 years.  It has travelled the world with me, including some not-so-nice places.  It is scuffed, but showing the charactar of age.  I wouldn't trade it for any other.

David and Monte - Filson makes great stuff, but at $300 it's more then I care to risk. I'm not exaggerating about the dust and oil coated surfaces.

Corey - I had not considered laptop bags previously. I know Ful, Targus, and Wenger make bags with rubberized bottoms and rubber feet. It opens up some very pragmatic possibilities.

Shane - The Hard Knocks briefcase is one of the ones I'm considering.

Halliburton favorite of the oil patch and drug dealers check ebey

Go military canvas bag from a surplus store.  Or a simple tan canvas bag from a travel store. The other option is frankly two cases, field and dress work.

Or leather bag

I was going to recommend an LL Bean waxed canvas briefcase, but even theirs is $200 now. 

Since when has LL Bean tried to put themselves up with Filson, Mullholland, etc. The Duluth trading one looks good too - but it's also spendy. 

I'm starting to think David's suggestion of two cases, may be the only reasonable route. 

Check out for a mind-numbing variety of business cases/bags.  The site has fairly extensive filtering capability to help narrow down your search.  Personally speaking, have had success with the house brand - well thought-out designs and durability, for the price.

As much as I would like a distressed leather or waxed canvas "dress" briefcase, and a cheap Rothco for "field" work, I'm having a hard time working out the logistics of two bags.  I'm afraid that the pragmatic route of a laptop attache or messenger is going to be the one I take. 


I have been checking out  As well as Staples, Office Depot, REI, etc.  Right now my top contenders are the Samsonite Xenon 2 Tech-Locker briefcase, Targus CityGear Topload, Duluth Trading Co. Hard Knocks Briefcase, and the Victorinox Avolve Commuter Brief.


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