Shortly after I unloaded both barrels of righteous patriotic fury on Manhattan Portage, I got a note from an employee there pointing me towards their Made In USA Collection. So the company continues to have a minor percentage of their line assembled in this country. That’s good news and I hope that their Made-In-The-USA line is the beginning of something for MP, not a vestigial tail of ethical manufacturing.
But why get anything from them when you can get a bag that is built like a Sherman tank and is absolutely guaranteed to be made here?
Five years ago, my TUMI backpack, which was a gift from my father back in 1998 or thereabouts, was stolen out of my Town Car. I was just short of suicidal at the time. I’d kept the bag in perfect condition for over a decade; it had my initials stamped onto it; it was USA-made and made without shortcuts in an era where TUMI did that sort of thing. There was no question of replacing it with the modern generation of Chinese junk from TUMI. I had to find something else.
The photo at the top of this article is my personal Waterfield Bags taxi-color messenger bag, delivered to me in November of 2010. I’ve taken it to nearly every state in the Union and it’s gone with me to places as diverse as Singapore and Barcelona. I’ve dropped it off a motorcycle at speed, used it as a wheel chock for a race car, stuffed it until I had to pull the main zipper with both hands to close it, and frequently loaded it with fifty pounds or more of books and/or tools. I’ve used it probably four out of five days since November of 2010.
There’s only one problem with this bag: I don’t think it will wear out in my lifetime. So I have no real reason to buy another one, other than a desire to have another color for variety’s sake. So if you’re looking for a bag, I’d encourage you to take a look at Waterfield. They are not cheap, not by a long shot, but I think the price is fair for what might be the last bag you ever buy.