KANZEK's Guide On How To Choose The Perfect High-Quality Work Bag

Undoubtedly, a practical work bag is a paramount accessory for dynamic men and women. This only gets more relevant in our tech era where one carries a phone, tablet, laptop, notebook, documents and other essentials. It just seems like the more technology advances and job positions evolve, the more stuff we need to carry around, huh.

So, how can one choose the perfect high-quality leather bag for use at work?

There is a bunch of parameters to take into account for the 101 of picking a quality leather work bag, those include but are not limited to:

  1. Functionality
  2. Practicality
  3. Sturdiness and Craftsmanship
  4. Leather type and quality
  5. Zippers and accessories quality
  6. Weight
  7. Overall design

Obviously, the order of those is up to your own preferences. You may and should ask yourself what is the key feature or priority you're looking for and adapt your choice accordingly. It is yet on purpose that I put them in that very order. Remember, we said we wanted to pick a business bag fit for office and work needs, right?

Let's dig into those criteria.

  1. Functionality

A zoom on the functional interior of a KANZEK's bag.

You must have spent enough time struggling with various bags for you to finally figure out what functional features you should be looking for. Recall all those where the heck can I put my charger moments?

It may be special-sized pockets and compartments for your passport, phone, tablet, laptop, charger, notebook, documents, business cards, pen, keys or even makeup for women handbags. So just focus on those features and see if the bag you're looking at answers your needs.

At KANZEK, we designed our Business Bags Collection with this criteria being our number one priority. For men, our soft briefcase is compact and highly functional. For women, our extensible work tote features a functional detachable portfolio.

Let's sum it up:

  • Pockets: is there enough pockets with various dimensions?
  • Compartments: same goes here
  • Overall size: will your laptop perfectly fit inside?
  • Extensibility features: does it allow for a work/night-out balance?

  1. Practicality

"Your work bag needs to make life easier for you, not the opposite."

Donatella Versace said that "A business woman needs a successful mix of design and practicality.", for gents, Don Draper or Harvey Specter says it all, right guys? Your work bag needs to make life easier for you, not the opposite. So when you look at that killer feature or design the bag you want has, would you say it is really practical or not?

One word to keep in mind here, "Easy". The rule of thumb goes like this:

  • Easy to carry around
  • Easy to open and close
  • Easy to store your belongings in their right places
  • Easy-access to pockets and compartments
  • Easy to adjust it to your needs by keeping or detaching straps and other parts for instance
  • Easy to have it fit in various situations
  • Easy to get complimented with. Ok, kidding.

  1. Sturdiness and Craftsmanship

You're preferably paying for a long-lasting daily companion. You don't want your zippers to break during that business meeting you're arriving late to, nor the straps to break and have your laptop fall and crush the toes of the old lady standing next to you in the subway. So how would you go about making sure your next leather work bag is sturdy enough?

Handwork in the workshop for assembling a bag.

The thing to focus on here is craftsmanship and the quality of the materials that go into the making of the leather bag. While some details can't be seen even while holding the bag in your hands, some guiding tips can help. For straps, you wanna make sure they're made out of a single piece of leather. You also want to ensure the stitching is rock-solid through a top-notch thread being used, such as Nylon thread which we use at KANZEK. But a bag's sturdiness and quality is also affected by its leather, zippers and other accessories that we're going to discuss on the next two paragraphs. Check out this hilarious video from Saddleback Leather highlighting what makes a sturdy and quality leather bag.

  1. Leather type and quality

When it comes to leather, its quality can drastically vary from one type to another and from a hide to another. To keep it short, leather quality and its main types go like this:

  • Genuine Leather
  • Top Grain Leather
  • Full Grain Leather

A hide of vegetable tanned lamb leather with a proprietary patina.

Full Grain Leather is the best type of leather you can get. As it stems from the full hide and has the top-layer of the hide, it contains all the grains and the strongest fibers. It's sturdy and beautiful as it reflects the natural feel of the leather, oftentimes containing scars and imperfections which truly convey the beauty of this material. Top Grain comes next and is basically a refinished full hide to take off the scars and imperfections.

Of course, we could talk about ways of differentiating one from another, but unless you have the hide in front of you it's no easy task. Well-tanned Full Grain leather is thick enough and has the coloring (the tanning) that goes all the way from top to bottom. But a quick rule of thumb is this one: if Full Grain leather is used, be sure that you'll see it in the description of the product, should you read only "leather" or "genuine leather" then you know what to expect.

At KANZEK, we use Full Grain calf leather with a strong thickness and impeccable tanning process and on some other bags we use vegetable-tanned Full Grain lamb leather. On both, we focus on picking the best hides with an exceptional patina.

  1. Zippers and accessories quality

The silliest thing to happen to your bag would be a broken zipper. We would all agree on the paramount importance of having rock-solid zippers to seamlessly open and close your bag a zillion time, right?

A zoom on the zippers of a KANZEK's bag.

It is for this very reason that a top-quality leather bag and especially your top-notch work bag must use the best zippers in the market: Riri, Lampo or YKK Excella zippers.

We loved the look and feel of the metal YKK Excella zippers, which is the premium line from YKK. Our bags hence use Antique Gold, Golden Brass, or Antique Silver metal Excella zippers to make sure they will last for a long long time.

  1. Weight

Are you willing to multi-task and work out while carrying your work bag? Probably not. You know how painful it is to walk around with a cumbersome and bulky bag so try to pay attention to your next work bag's weight. For instance, while the average women's handbag weighs 5.2 pounds (2.35 Kg), it should ideally be under 2.2 pounds (1 Kg). For women, a functional work tote is usually heavier than a compact flapbag or a hobo made of lamb leather that would be perfect as light-weight solutions. For men, a compact soft business briefcase or a business portfolio would always weight less than a satchel or messenger bag.

  1. Overall design

Finally, your potential next work bag has passed the crash-test. Now is time for you to focus more on its design - let's not fool ourselves, it is probably after you first liked its look that you even started considering purchasing it. Answering a few questions here can guide you through your final decision:

  • Do I like the exterior design?
  • Does this design and feeling it conveys fit my personality and style?
  • Do I like this color and does it go with most of my clothes?
  • Does the look I'd have with this bag fit for specific situations? For a business environment?

With a selection process like this on on mind, we think you should be fine when picking your next work bag. At KANZEK, we did our utmost to build a Business Collection with highly functional and practical work bags taking all those criteria into account. Most importantly, we set up a collaborative concept where our customers help us build the bags they want. So don't hesitate to shoot us an e-mail or comment with your thoughts and questions.

What would make a perfect work bag for you?


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