Pad & Quill makes some of the most handsome leather goods for the modern world, and its Gladstone Leather Briefcase is no different. This bag harkens back to the day of gentlemen with newspapers tucked under their arms and an Ascot on their head. This bag has an air of permanence and longevity, and yet it’s designed for people with modern needs.
The bag features a smooth, hinged top that spreads to reveal a large opening. The bag doesn’t collapse inward when it’s empty or open; it retains its shape thanks to its sturdy structure, making it easy to sort through the contents. The inside is lined with a tough herringbone fabric that seems like it will hold up well.
For me, the bag is heavy. It weighs more than four pounds, and that’s a lot for an empty bag. But with the weight comes confidence that it’s constructed out of durable leather.
I’ve always been a big fan of Pad & Quill’s leather goods. I reviewed one of the company’s roll-top messenger bags last year and still use it. The leather has aged nicely, with light scrapes and scuffs adding to the character.
This bag has a traditional look thanks to the contrasting stitching. It might not be for everyone. It looks Western more than most modern leather goods. For me, I dig it, as the stitches convey a sense of confidence in the quality. It looks the part.
Pad & Quill’s Gladstone bag has all the right organizational pockets. There’s a small exterior pocket on one side and a large, open pocket on the opposing side. Inside there’s a padded laptop pocket, a zippered pocket and several small spots, including a few spots for pens and pencils. This amount of organization is rare in most leather bags. I’ve found most leather bags offer just a few compartments and instead look to the user to bring their own small bags to hold cables, cameras and the like.
This is a good-size bag and able to easily hold a full-size laptop, DSLR and a lens or two. It’s thicker than a water bottle and has ample room to hold everything a person needs for a day.
The top is secured with a looping strap that feels a bit superficial. The hinges are tough enough to keep the top closed and the strap is a bit tough to secure. Maybe I need to use the bag a bit more. Over the couple of weeks I carried this bag, I never used this strap nor felt like the top would accidentally open without it. Maybe this strap should be detachable?
The Gladstone costs $500 (though it’s on sale for $420 at time of publication) and it feels like it should last. It’s a lovely leather bag that uses a proven hinged opening. The leather is thick and durable. For me, that’s a winning combination.