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May 29, 2011

Experts' Expert: Paul Theroux's favorite luggage maker


He told the Wall Street Journal's Steve Garbarino, "I travel with one bag and a briefcase [above], both leather, made by Glaser Designs in San Francisco, the greatest luggage makers I know. My children will inherit those bags."

Wrote Theroux in an April 14, 2009 Daily Beast item, "I cannot live without my Glaser Designs briefcase, now weathered and a little bruised but still buttery colored from use. It is my office, essentially a portfolio that holds a clipboard, a pad of white-lined paper, notes, printouts, a book, a little radio with headphones, three pens and a pencil. I take it wherever I go, but especially to the beach where I sit on a folding chair and work. Glaser Designs makes the most beautiful and long-lasting briefcases and luggage I have ever seen."

Another point of view: some years ago when I was in San Francisco, one of the things I wanted to check out in person was Glaser luggage, having seen their advertisements in the New Yorker for years.

I went to their shop and handled a couple of their bags only to conclude that, while the leather was wonderful, the bags themselves were clunky and very heavy, completely the opposite of what I want in a bag, namely absolutely minimal weight and dead-easy access.

#differentstrokes, as they say on Twitter.

May 29, 2011 at 12:01 PM | Permalink


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i imagine those who have Glaser Design bags have someone to carry them

Posted by: rob | May 29, 2011 9:30:29 PM

I have to agree with you, Joe.  I switched from a very handsome briefcase (the size that hold real briefs and hundreds of pages of research, files & etc.) to Targus nylon briefcases/computer cases.  They do the job better and weigh far, far less.

As for travel - I have an Eagle Creek rolling carryon that holds 2 suits, a sports coat, 5 dress shirts, my dop kit, underwear, socks, a pair of loafers, a pair of tennies, and a full- length trench coat with room to spare.  That critter cost over $200.00  more than 20 years ago and it is holding up just fine.  I replaced a screw once.

For longer trips the Eddie Bauer duffels are great - and if you need rigid luggage (for a C-PAP machine or similar class III medical devices) the "Swiss Army" cases can withstand nearly anything and weigh next to nothing.

The only heavy cases I still use are for rifles and shotguns. They withstand everything from commercial air travel abuse to small general aviation beatings. They are damn near impossible to open without a key - preventing the theft of some valuable inherited sporting pieces. Fly rods hide, well protected, in 5" PVC sewer pipe. I can Fedex 10 rods anywhere in the US or Canada for $40.00 and nobody tries to unscrew the threaded cap. What could be so light and valuable hidden inside a piece of PVC?

The days are long gone when the airlines made you take your firearms / ice axe / fly rods on board - where they would stay in the pilot's cabin during the flight.

Much the same as has happened to knitting and embroidery - my mother would bring scissors, sets of needles, long pins that held rows of knitting while other areas were built up...I haven't seen anybody knitting on an airline for at least the past 10 years.

Posted by: 6.02*10^23 | May 29, 2011 8:46:44 PM

I once read a review of a book by Paul Theroux. It was a travel book, set in the UK and the reviewer said the subtitle should have been "'Round England in a Bad Mood." This told me all I needed to know about Mr. Theroux.

Posted by: Becs | May 29, 2011 4:31:17 PM

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