Help me choose!
Please help me choose a bag! I'm mostly trying to decide between the ID, the Empire Builder, and the Western Flyer.
I basically need a briefcase to carry books/files/pens/small electronics and sometimes a laptop that looks solidly professional day-to-day (although a sleek backpack would not be out of the question). I am not doing a lot of air travel right now but might ramp up at some point during the life of the bag.
I'm not particularly fond of the flap and collapsing contours of a typical messenger bag, nor do I want something that looks boxy like a typical laptop bag. The ID looks interesting (despite its messenger bag foundation) and I particularly like the water bottle holder (having a water bottle kicking around inside a briefcase is awkward, tends to rumple papers/books, and is an accident waiting to happen). I like the Empire Builder but wonder if it isn't too structured/boxy, looking too much like a laptop bag, esp. with that big plastic clip in front (also lacks the water bottle holder). The Western Flyer is sleekly attractive (and the backpack straps useful for big loads/long distances) although it lacks obvious places for pens/biz cards/etc. (water bottle) and I wonder if it isn't just too big and "suitcasey"-looking for "briefcase" use. Further complicating matters, the Brain Bag looks nice but probably is too big and if investing in a backpack I would probably go for something more geared to hiking use.
If the Empire builder were a little bit sleeker (no big plastic clip), had a place for a water bottle like the ID, and hidden backpack straps like the Western Flyer, I would probably be sold immediately. Instead I need to figure out what to compromise.
Thanks for input.