Over the years I’ve used a number of different briefcases or daily bags, ranging from a Lands End “business briefcase” to a knockoff of a Coach leather attache, to a backpack – and several others. Thanks to Doug Dyment over at onebag.com, I’ve recently learned about Red Oxx and their line of extremely rugged carry-on bags and “adventure” luggage, and subsequently purchased their “Air Boss” carry-on. Red Oxx was founded by a former Green Beret Captain and parachute rigger, and all of their products feature extraordinarily robust materials and construction, and are backed by a lifetime, no hassle warranty.
I was so impressed by the quality of the Air Boss that I purchased one of their “Metro” bags about a month ago, substituting it for the backpack I had been using. As you can see below, I opted for the “safari” color combination; the bag is available in 12 different colors.
Simply put, this bag (like the Air Boss) is built like a brick house. Here are the full specs, per the Red Oxx website:
- Claw shoulder strap
- Fabric:1000 weight urethane coated, Dupont certified Cordura nylon
- All zippers #10 YKK self locking
- Thread: #92 bonded SolarMax nylon
- All seams double stitched and bound
- 3250 welded D-rings, nickel plated
- Stainless steel Mil spec snaps with Red Oxx logo
- Zip knots on all zippers
- Heavy duty luggage tag
- Embroidered patch logos
- Box stitched on carrying handles
- 4 lb. closed cell foam padding
- Available in 12 colors
- Made in USA
- Lifetime Warranty
- Dimensions: 17″Lx3.5″Wx11″H
- Capacity: 654 Cubic Inches
The materials, build quality and attention to detail are superb. A close up view of one of the #10 YKK zippers and the “monkey’s fist” zipper pulls:
The D rings and shoulder strap latch are wildly over-spec’d – they look as though they’d last a lifetime, plus!…
The “claw” strap, made of reindorced heavy gauge rubber, is comfortable, “gives” a bit under load, and won’t slip off your shoulder at all – even if you’re wearing something like a synthetic wind shirt:
The attention to detail is impressive as well. The mil spec snaps on the front pockets are designed so that you can slip your finger or fingers behind the male half of the snap to facilitate closing it – in other words, you don’t have to press the female half against the male half and whatever’s behind it… very clever:
In terms of compartments, there are zippered compartments front and back which will accomodate file folders and magazine-sized materials. The two front pockets measure appx. 4″wx7″hx2″d and will handle PDA’s, cell phones, a small digital camera, and so forth. There are elastic pockets on both ends of the bag which accommodate standard sized water bottles.
Inside, there are two divider pockets on the outside which have (polymer) buckle snaps to secure them. These dividers are made of a heavy gauge synthetic mesh, and both feature several pockets of varying sizes for business cards, small notepads, frequent flyer cards, and so forth. One of these mesh dividers has a number of narrow pockets for pens. I was a bit concerned about that smaller items might come out of these pockets as none of them zip closed or have snaps or any sort of closure, but in a couple of months’ use this has never happened. Here’s a view of the inside of the bag:
I should mention that the entire inside of the bag is lined with closed cell foam padding for protecting whatever’s inside. Here’s a picture of my (large, old, heavy) Dell laptop in the bag:
The bag will carry a lot of stuff, and I’d be astonished if any of the components ever failed – this thing is just way overbuilt.
Impressions and Comments
I love the bag but let’s be honest: if you work on Wall Street, this isn’t the bag for you. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but this – particularly in the safari color combo – has a workmanlike, utilitarian look to it. Yesterday, and I am NOT making this up, I was at an offsite all day meeting. After taking my laptop and a couple of other items from the bag, I tossed it on the floor in front of me, beneath the table I was sitting at. My boss took one look at it and said (I am not making this up!) “Nice bag, where’d you get it – Menards?” It is utilitarian in appearance, but frankly that’s part of its appeal for me, plus it’s a bit unique and I truly appreciate the robustness of its construction. And, in our business, I’d feel perfectly comfortable walking into a customer’s office with it (which wasn’t necessarily the case when I was using the backpack.)
One thing which I wish Red Oxx had included is a key retainer of some sort inside, as I’m paranoid about losing my car key when traveling.
At times I wish the bag was slightly larger, but of course there’s a downside to that, as you may just tend to carry more as a result. Those wishing for a larger bag can opt for the “CPA” briefcase, which is 7″ wide, vs. 3.5″ wide for the Metro. Thus far the Metro’s size hasn’t been an issue. I’m able to carry everything I need in it, including the “11 essential things” I’ve written about in the past. The CPA is $10 more than the Metro.
Which brings me to price. I’m a firm believer in the old adage, “you get what you pay for.” Quality doesn’t come cheap – the Metro is $140. Is it worth it? Only you can answer that question. For me, this is a nearly indestructible bag (see the testimonials at the Red Oxx website) that’s unique and handsome. I think it’s worth every penny. Every time I close one of the zippers, look at the hardware on the bag, or hoist the strap onto my shoulder, I appreciate the build quality and feel of this bag. It’s that nice. What’s my boss know, anyway??
If you have questions or comments, let me know. Thanks for visiting and travel safe!