At Venuelust, we’re all about experiencing luxury travel in uncommon ways. We love exceptional locations and off-the-beaten-path venues. We prescribe to the philosophy that boutique hotels and unique locations have so much more to offer--both in local knowledge and overall experience--than mainstream chain resorts and tourist meccas.
We also tend to apply this affinity for the unorthodox to all-things travel-related, even our luggage. As avid travelers, having the right bags on hand for any particular trip is absolutely imperative for a seamless experience. So today, we wanted to break down some of our favorite off-the-beaten-path luggage options for every type of traveler.
FOR THE ADVENTURER: Saddleback Leather
Although this Texas-based leather company lacks a famous brand name or well-known logo, we’d gladly take these bags overseas with us over other mainstream leather brands any day. While you won’t find Saddleback luggage on Fifth Avenue or in upscale department stores, it definitely doesn’t lack in luxury. (The first place we came across Saddleback, in fact, was in Capri, a locale that’s no stranger to all-things high-end, where we ran into a group of travelers who had nearly 30 of the company’s bags with them.)
Combine Saddleback’s slogan,
They’ll fight over it when you’re dead,
with the fact they use only the finest of leather and incorporate no breakable parts (like zippers or snaps), and what you end up with is a perfect balance of both performance and luxury, function and style.
One of our favorite Saddleback pieces is the Side-Pocket Duffel, which fits as a carry-on in most cases and can be either carried or worn cross-body. While it may look relatively small, it’s roomy enough to fit everything you need for a 3-4-day trip (5-7 days if you’re bringing lightweight outdoors clothing).
The side pouches are great for easy access to things like sunscreen, water bottles, glasses and cell-phone chargers, while the interior of the bag has enough depth to it to hold a good amount of even heavier winter clothes and hiking boots. We recommend the Tobacco stain (above) if you want something that gets more character with each trip you take (the Tobacco stain will show scratches and other markings). If you want a more refined aesthetic, opt for the bag in Dark Coffee or Black instead.
Another one of our Saddleback favorites is the Waterbag (above), perfect for adventurer seekers who want to keep their belongings safe from the elements. Purposely designed without pockets to optimize room, this is one of those throw-in-and-go pieces you’ll want to bring with you on everywhere you roam. Constructed entirely from one piece of leather, we love that this bag is water-tight when rolled.
Also, the straps allow you to compress the bag--making it a carry-on that can fit a week's worth of gear. This bag is all about fitting everything you can into one, water-tight, element-immune, rough-and-tumble piece of luggage (and looking good while you do it).
The company's travel goods don't stop at just luggage, though--Saddleback handcrafts everything from passport cases to camera bags to small pouches for electronics and super handy cord-wraps (above) for the adventurer who doesn't mind a little organization.
FOR THE TOTE ENTHUSIAST: Love 41
Founded by Suzette Munson (the wife of Saddleback’s owner, Dave Munson), Love 41 approaches luggage with the same philosophy: that quality luggage should be more about performance than a recognizable logo. Love 41’s designs tend to have a more feminine aesthetic than Saddleback’s, but deliver the same exact quality. Her pieces are perfect for the woman who covets a catch-all purse that can hold everything from extra layers of clothing to a fully-stocked makeup bag to a laptop.
We especially love the Zipper Leather Tote (above), named for a camouflaged zipper that allows the bag to expand an extra five inches. This is the perfect bag to take with you on a plane as your carry-on, or on a short trip where you know you’ll be shopping and returning home with more items than you left with (hence the expandable zipper). Our favorite part of the Love 41 line, though? Proceeds help support the work of Africa New Life Ministries.
FOR THE FASHION GURU: Eddie Harrop
If you’re looking for a luxury travel bag that screams red-carpet-worthy, look no further than Eddie Harrop’s Voyager Collection. Each piece from the line is handcrafted by local artisans using extremely high quality leather.
Fashion-forward details like fringe and contrasting coral panels adorn the strikingly beautiful pieces in this season’s Voyager line, making it the perfect carry-all for anyone looking for a bag that both performs and makes a strong statement. Attach the included strap one of two ways and throw this super-chic bag over your shoulder for a fashionably-late run to your gate.
FOR THE SEASONED JETSETTER: Rimowa
We’d be hard-pressed to do a luggage roundup without including this iconic brand in the lineup. Great for the high-end jetsetter who’s all about ease and efficiency, Rimowa luggage has a storied and proven history in the travel space. Founded in 1898, the company's bags and aluminum cases quickly became sought after by luxury travelers in the 1920’s.
Rimowa began with a focus on lightweight, compact luggage solutions--a goal that, over a century later, still clearly drives every product the company makes. Rimowa bags are great pieces to invest in, as they'll hold up for years and really are at the top of their class as far as performance goes.
If you’re not so keen on the weight of all-leather bags and are looking for something more practical (but just as stylish) instead, we recommend any bag from Rimowa's polycarbonate line. Pictured above is a piece from the SALSA AIR collection, the lightest of the entire polycarbonate SALSA line.
Volume of these bags ranges between 22-105 L in size--leaving you plenty of options when choosing your perfect bag (or bags). The ball bearing-mounted wheels are our favorite feature and make it a breeze to push, pull or pivot even your most packed bag. The futuristic design and striking hues (in everything from Ice Blue to Ultra Violet) are sure to turn a few curious heads at the airport, and the company’s signature grooves are a recognized and historic design element.
FOR THE SIMPLICITY SEEKER: Shinola Detroit
Known for its impeccable leather goods and design nod to nostalgia, Shinola Detroit crafts everything from watches to journals to bicycles. Its leather bag line, though, is a true force to be reckoned with that's withstood the test of time. With an aesthetic that’s strikingly simple, we can’t get enough of their buttery leather and timeless, understated designs. Shinola designs mainly smaller travel pieces, perfect for overnight business trips or short weekend getaways.
The Runwell Backpack (above, right) boasts padded shoulder straps that offer some serious comfort, while the Medium Tote (above, left) has multiple interior and exterior pockets, perfect for stashing smaller items on the go. Either are great for young professionals who want to invest in a piece that will be in style for years (and miles) to come.
Whether you're an avid adventurist or only dabble in travel for business, the right bag will make all the difference.
Do you have any luxury luggage sets that you love? Share your favorite brands with us in the comments section below...