A couple lessons learned concerning carry-ons - dirt and losing stuff
I've almost always had black Cordura or ballistic bags that I travel with. Now I understand the reason for why black = the international color of travel. About six travel sessions ago I obtained a Foliage gray backpack from a tactical manufacturer. PERFECT size, has some MOLLE attachments. I put an Admin pouch on the side for pens, deck of cards, gum, etc and I've put a few morale patches on that for fun.
This bag is perfect for shoving under the seat on flights and etc. Lost one of my patches doing that (lots of things to grab onto your bags under there), which wasn't the end of the world because it was a $3 patch that is easily replaceable. Worse, though, is how dirty this bag has already gotten and that's after only a handful of flights. I'm not a germophobe and I don't really get nuts about the germ part of it, but I am a bit grossed out/disappointed about how utterly FILTHY the planes and airports (probably that security belt feeding stuff into the x-ray, etc) are. Shame on them!
I have about 8 flight weekends between now and Christmas, so I suspect my foliage gray bag will be black by then anyway! LOL
My most used travel bags have been Tom Bihn Sapphire Brain Bag and Cafe Bag, they look new.
I believe, I bought them in the end of 2006 or 2007.
What a great counter argument to those who say all my bags are black because I'm boring!
On a serious note, one downside to black bags is that they can get lost in a sea of other black bags in the airport, on the luggage belt or in a conference room. I try to place something like a colorful keychain or luggage tag hanging from the bag to make it stand out in a crowd.