A new carry-on and a clever compact wallet

One of the first rules of experienced travelers is to avoid checking bags at all costs. That usually means using the most efficiently-designed baggage to maximize what you carry on. The default suitcase has become the 22-inch (22 x 14 x 9 inches) rollerboard that’s the maximum size you’re allowed to take on board and store in the overhead bin. The second bag that’s allowed is one that can fit under the seat in front of you. While there are many options, from a small duffle to a computer briefcase to a large tote bag, there’s a new product designed to specifically match the available room under most economy seats. It’s a rectangular-shaped, square-cornered bag designed to make use of every available inch.

Waterfield Designs, the company that designs and manufacture its bags in the Dogpatch area of San Francisco, calls this new bag the X-Air Duffel. It has compartments for clothing, computer , iPad and your other gear. When slipped onto the handle of your rollerboard, you have the maximum capacity for getting on board without having to talk your way past the luggage police. It can also be carried as a shoulder bag.

Here’s a summary of this new product:

  • Lightweight, Durable, Elegant: Handcrafted from waterproof, high-performance X-Pac textile, full-grain leather accents, and YKK zippers, the duffel’s design keeps weight to a minimum and strength and style to a maximum. 
  • Mobile Office Compartment: Includes a TSA-friendly padded laptop sleeve (up to 16-inch MacBook Pro), a tablet pocket (up to 12.9-inch iPad), and multiple accessory pockets.
  • Fits Under Most Airline Seats: Sized to maximize airline personal item capacity, enabling travelers to carry more onboard and avoid checking luggage.
  • Suitcase-Style Access: Spacious main compartment fits multiple packing cubes; keeps items stable and organized with compression straps, organizational pockets, and a key tether.
  • Easy-Access Pockets: Front quick-access pockets secure with self-finding magnetic Fidlock® buckles. Flush side pockets expand to hold large water bottles or other essentials. A full-length rear pocket stows magazines or quick-stash items.
  • Multiple Carry Options: A wheeled suitcase passthrough, the company’s Supreme Suspension Strap, and 11-inch leather-wrapped handles (for a hand or shoulder carry) provide ultimate convenience. 
  • Interior Visibility: Gold, water-resistant lining ensures stored items are easily visible.

Like all of the company’s products, they’re made to last almost forever. They’re constructed of really good materials, including leather and durable fabrics, assembled with rugged stitching, and fitted with strong and quality hardware. This new bag costs $459 and is available in several colors.

The ultimate small wallet

My search for a small wallet designed to hold 6-12 credit cards, license and insurance cards, along with some currency, and businses cards, led me to a unique wallet design that I discovered on the internet and have been using for the past six months. It’s the best wallet I’ve ever come across because it holds everything I need in a very small, elegant package. It’s the Swallow Minmalist made by Willow Craft Goods, a family owned and operated company located in Decatur, Texas.

The wallet is very cleverly designed to provide separate compartments for your various cards and bills that make everything quick to access. The wallet is held together using just two steel rivets, avoiding stitching that eventually can fail. The wallet is made of beautiful thick leather that will last forever.

The model I’m purchased is the Swaddle Wallet in the original size. Here some pictures of my actual wallet in use. I paid $79 for it and consider it a real bargain. More important than the price, it’s a design that has worked perfectly for me, better than any other wallet I’ve owned.

by Phil Baker