Note: this item was provided for review.
The Cary Briefcase is Stuart & Lau’s offering for the daily office worker’s go to briefcase. Or, rather, here’s how they put it: “the Cary is our functional and timeless take on your every day carry.” That too.
This is a a timeless bag, and its made for modern gear with modern materials. It’s a zero break in needed type of bag, and easy to use. Let’s dive in.
When I first saw this bag, I immediately loved the looks of it, as it mixes both classic styling for a shoulder style briefcase, as well as marrying in modern touches throughout. The bag itself is a mix of leather and a very smooth and somewhat shiny nylon. It pays homage to many bags before it, most notably the Filson Original Briefcase, but with a more dapper individual in mind.
It’s a bag that will stand out, but stand out for the right reasons — being versatile enough to match whatever style you are wearing that day. The bag comes in array of colors from a stand out navy and orange to an all black model. I tested the olive and black color way. The design is stellar, and I don’t think the pictures do the bag justice.
This bag is as close to a perfect briefcase size as any I have used. Big enough to hold water bottles and devices, svelte enough to never feel like you are lugging a bag you could also live out of. It has the right width and height, and a slim depth to the bag — making it ideal for daily carry to the office.
Inside there’s a padded laptop compartment well suited to holding a single laptop (up to 15”), and depending on that laptop you can squeeze an iPad in there too. There’s ample pockets throughout the bag as well.
One thing to note is that the bag is tapered so it is slightly wider at the base than the top (for depth not width), this mostly doesn’t matter, but can make it a challenge to zip the bag shut if you over stuff it. I have not yet been unable to not zip the bag, but it can ruin the lines of the top of the bag if you have too much stuff at the top of it — such as stuffing a rain jacket in the bag. That’s why it has a special area for an umbrella, or so I assume.
I’ve been testing this bag as my primary daily carry to and from the office, which involves a stint on an express bus, and a few blocks walk to the office (then the reverse). Some days I have one iPad in the bag, others I have had two iPads and a laptop — and everything in between. I’ve been impressed with the utility of this bag, so much so that I am going to find it hard to put this bag away to test the many other bags stacking up in the queue.
Here’s where the bag shines:
- Zero break in leather, as it is soft and supple from the start. This makes the strap stay on your shoulder even when you don’t cross body carry the bag. (Which I never found necessary.)
- The three front pockets are fantastic sizes with a little grip. Often open top pockets are a mess, the bag shifts too much and your stuff falls out. Not so here. The lining offers enough friction to keep stuff mostly in place. The three pockets are ideally sized for phones and a pair of sunglasses, and separated to make life better.
- The inside is great with two mesh zipper pockets deep in the bag for less used smaller items and well thought out open pockets for notebooks, pens, and other items. Again, these pockets don’t spill your gear everywhere, even a small Altoids tin will stay put — as it should be.
- The bag comes with a foldable tote bag in the back pocket. And I could refold that tote to fit back in said pocket, this is a really nice touch for commuters as it gives you a small bag to throw extras in when you weren’t expecting extras. It takes up so little room, there’s no sense in not keeping it in the bag.
- There’s no external branding, as it should be. (Actually the brand is embossed on the shoulder strap pad thing, but still, basically none.)
There are a couple misses on this:
- The small zippered pocket on the rear of the bag for wallets or a phone, causes the top of the bag to flare out oddly and overall isn’t something I’ve found useful. I want it to be a great spot for AirPods, alas it is not.
- The feet on the bottom of the bag are not my favorite. I don’t like feet on bags in general, but these are also metal and thus have me worried about accidentally scratching a desktop.
I’ve spent a lot of time using this bag, and I simply cannot find enough to complain about which would preclude me from even remotely wanting to stop using it. It’s great looking and functions extremely well.
As I said, this is going to be a bag I use a lot. I like it that much. It is well made, well designed, and looks stellar. My overall take on this bag is that it punches far above its weight and is a great modern take on a classic bag style.
The bag is priced well, and it’s now my top pick and recommendation for those looking for a great briefcase.