While technology continues to change peoples' lifesyles, a great briefcase is still an essential component of every businessman’s wardrobe. It’s a place to stash your laptop, keep your passport when traveling for business, and house a host of other essentials while you’re traveling.
For a long time, leather has been the go-to material for business briefcases. Leather goods are a $242.85 billion industry, and there are good reasons for that. But by now, haven’t we come up with alternatives that are as good as, or dare we say, even better than leather?
Enter ballistic nylon.
Never heard of it? Don’t worry; we’re going to tell you all about it. Let’s compare it with leather so you can decide which is right for your next briefcase purchase.
Historical Leather Suitcases
First off, let’s talk about why leather has traditionally been the go-to for suitcases in the past. Leather has been used to make bags and luggage for centuries, but the modern leather suitcase as we know it today started to become popular in the late 19th century. Prior to this, most luggage was made from materials such as canvas, wicker, or wood.
In the 1880s, several companies began producing leather suitcases, including H.J. Cave & Sons in England and Mark Cross. These early leather suitcases were typically designed for traveling by train or ship - as they were large, heavy, and sturdy. They even were frequently decorated with brass hardware and leather straps to keep the inside items secure.
Over time, leather suitcases became more commonplace, however they have been plagued with a number of common complaints. One it that the leather material is very easily damaged by elements. It is not strong against water, and also can be easily scratched. Worst yet, leather shows wear quickly and cannot easily be cleaned, leading to a sadly deteriorating appearance that means it needs to be replaced frequently.
What Is Ballistic Nylon?
Ballistic nylon’s cool name gives you an insight into its history. It was originally developed by DuPont back in the Second World War. Its first use was in flak jackets worn by airmen, and it was designed to protect them from flying debris. It is not exactly Kevlar — it’s not going to stop a bullet. But it has a similar ballistic weave that gives it an intrinsic toughness.
While it may have originated in the military, it’s now a firm fixture in the fashion industry, prized for its durability and aesthetic. It’s been a go-to product for watch straps and high-end backpacks for a while now and is increasingly being used to create stylish accessories for debonair gents the world over.
Advantages of Ballistic Nylon Briefcases
Ballistic nylon has a number of advantages over leather, including:
1. Durability: A ballistic nylon briefcase is designed to last for years without fading, scuffing, and scratching. It can withstand high abrasion, perfect if your briefcase takes the occasional tumble.
2. Lightweight: Leather is dense and heavy, while a ballistic nylon briefcase is lightweight yet sturdy. Perfect if you’re toting a heavy laptop on your commute to work on mass transportation or plan to travel with your briefcase. Water-resistant: Sure, you won’t be planning to go swimming with your briefcase, but water resistance sure comes in handy if you spill coffee or soda on it. It’s also perfect for when the heavens open and you need to use your briefcase as an emergency umbrella.
3. Low maintenance: If you’ve got some mild soap and a soft cloth, you’ve got everything you need to clean your ballistic nylon suitcase. Leather, on the other hand, is time-consuming and tricky to clean. You’ll need a specialist cleaning solution and plenty of time and patience to keep it conditioned and looking good.
4. Zero animal products: More and more consumers find leather products a little distasteful, given their origins. We can confirm that no animal, cow or otherwise, had to sacrifice its life in order to make ballistic nylon briefcases. So if leather bothers you, ballistic nylon could be the perfect solution.
How Leather Compares with Ballistic Nylon
We’ve seen that ballistic nylon is certainly a worthy alternative to leather. So why do some people continue to prefer it?
Many people like the look of leather. That’s understandable; leather has a distinctive look, and it’s perfect for certain accessories like belts. Plus, early faux leathers put some people off exploring alternatives. Unfortunately, there are still terrible fake leathers out there that make people reluctant to move away from the real thing.
However, Ballistic nylon doesn’t try to be leather. It’s a high-quality material in its own right with its own distinctive look and feel. It has a woven texture that’s pleasing to the touch and reflects its shrapnel-stopping heritage. When you walk down the street with your ballistic nylon briefcase, no one could mistake it for a leather bag. It’s got a style and substance all of its own.
As a natural material, leather is absorbent and prone to staining. So while you can wipe a cappuccino right off a ballistic nylon briefcase, you’d probably be left with a coffee-colored mark on a leather one.
Another issue is UV fading. Like most natural materials, leather will change color when exposed to UV rays in sunlight for an extended period. That can create an attractive patina, but often it just makes the bag look old and worn before its time. Additionally, leather goods don’t come cheap, so you may find yourself having to pay for a costly replacement because it no longer looks its best.
Ballistic nylon doesn’t have that issue, though. It's resistant to UV rays, meaning you can take it out in the sun with confidence. Leave it wherever you like; it’s not going to fade or take on a mottled appearance.
Scratch and Scuff Resistance
Leather briefcases can look great, but you have to be extremely vigilant when using them. It’s very easy to scratch their supple surfaces, and the resulting look is not good. Scratches and scuffs are difficult — or even impossible — to remove.
On the other hand, ballistic nylon briefcases are scratch and scuff resistant. Sure, they won’t stay pristine after a bear attack, but they’re way tougher than necessary to endure everything they’ll actually go through in a day’s work.
Battle of the Bags: Leather vs. Ballistic Nylon Briefcases
Leather has got a lot of good qualities, and for many people, it will continue to have its uses for years to come. But when the team at xSuit set out to create the perfect briefcase for the modern man, there was no contest. Ballistic nylon was the clear winner.
We’re proud to introduce xBriefcase. A piece of timeless design that’s the perfect complement to business and casual attire. Plus, all the functionality you need, such as:
- Sturdy, easy to clean, scuff and scratch-resistant ballistic nylon construction
- Drop protection
- 19 smart pockets
- Padded shoulder strap and rounded handles for maximum comfort
The xBriefcase is here — now’s the time to sign up for an early bird discount.