Customer Review

42 of 43 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not a Gladstone, But Still a Good Buy..., February 8, 2012
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This review is from: Floto Luggage Venezia Duffle Bag (Apparel)
I've been hunting for a leather Gladstone bag for a long time but had found one that was affordable. Then I came across these Floto duffle bags. At first, I was hesitant to buy it because I was sure that at this price point the bag had to be cheaply constructed and would probably not last the many years that I require for it to be a good value. Still, I was intrigued because of the consistently high reviews it was receiving from my fellow Amazon shoppers so I decided to roll the dice and ordered the bag.

Just in case there was a problem, I payed the extra $17 and ordered the bag that was being offered directly by Amazon instead of the independent seller with the lower price. The bag arrived two short days later. As previously noted by another reviewer, the bag arrived in a box that I felt was rather oddly shaped for an item of these dimensions. It was flat. Inside, I discovered the squished bag wrapped in a disposable plastic sack. My initial thought was that this had not been Amazon's best packing effort; but, as after removing the duffle from the plastic sack, I noted a small manufactures tag that explained that any folds resulting from the packing process would smooth out once the bag was unpacked and used for the first time. So I guess that is how the bag was sent to Amazon from Italy. I unpacked the bag 2 days ago and as promised, the folds are already gone.

The bag itself does not have the metal big mouth frame that I like in the Gladstone. Instead it follows the design of traditional Italian clam shell style duffles and has a zipper (that unfortunately is not brass) that essentially splits the bag into two halves lengthwise. The bag is larger than I had envisioned, which is a good thing. The interior is lined with a thick colorfully printed canvas that will surely stand up to years of use and there is one zippered pocket. The leather possesses a lighter feel than I had expected but still appears to be rugged enough to stand up to some abuse. The finish is waxy but smooth and the color consistent throughout. The brass buckles and leather handles appear well attached and sturdy.

The only flaw in workmanship that I noted was in the stitching on one side of the duffle. There is what appears to be an errant colored or stained thread that makes it look like they had missed a stitch when in fact they had not. Ultimately, this doesn't concern me because I fully expect the bag to become bruised and develop a healthy patina over the next several years of use. In my opinion, it arrived with a character mark.

Apart from the aforementioned blemish, the only thing that might be worrisome for some buyers is the extremely strong tanning off-gases that the bag releases when you first unpack it from its plastic wrapper. I had read about these from some of the other reviewers and frankly though they were just making much ado about nothing but I was wrong. The off-gases are very strong and required the bag to sit for two solid days on my balcony to become tolerable. Fortunately, after it was properly aired out, the bag was fine. I only mention this because you will definitely have to air the bag for a couple of days and should figure that into the equation prior to ordering if you will be using the bag soon after receiving it. In other words, don't order the bag with the expectation that you will be able to use it immediately with allowing it a few days to acclimate and air out.

All things considered, I am happy with my bag and feel like I made a good purchase. It may not be a Gladstone, but it is still a good buy.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jan 5, 2013 10:09:11 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 5, 2013 10:19:13 AM PST
PRODUCT REVIEW UPDATE -

It is now nearly a year that I've had this wonderful bag and I have had the opportunity to use it at least a dozen times since purchasing it. The bag is still in excellent shape and is frankly, getting better with each use. It's leather has developed a soft, almost buttery hand while the color has remained consistent throughout. The interior canvas has likewise performed according to expectations and remains in great - nay, almost new condition. The handles are still firmly attached and sturdy. My initial concerns over the plastic zipper have so far proven unwarranted, as it remains in good working order and seems to hold up to the stresses of a sometimes over-stuffed bag well.

The only complaint I'd like to lodge with Floto is about the strap. The strap works well and is durable, but it is very uncomfortable for a bag of this size. I think that it is better suited for a smaller shoulder bag of some kind, but not a duffle that can easily pack 20 Lbs. of essentials for a 3-day jaunt. Floto is obviously aware of this concern because they sell a "Super Strap" as an accessory. My advise to Floto is that they should think a little bit more about their customers upfront and provide the correct strap for the job from the onset, even if it increases the price point a bit. That being said, my advise to the consumer is this: order the Floto Super Strap at the same time you order the bag. This will save you some discomfort and frustration in long security checkpoints and lines at the airport, etc.

Esthetically, the bag is an head turner. It gets tons of looks of admiration from other airline passengers, baggage porters at hotels and random passers by. It fits neatly and easily into the overhead compartment on planes, trains and buses. It fits in the boot of even the smallest cars and always comes out looking as stellar as it did going in.

Overall, I am very happy with this purchase and I feel confident that I will continue to enjoy this bag for years to come. The price IMHO continues to be a bargain, even after you figure in an extra $50 for the very much needed Super Strap. Because of this, I think that my initial rating of 4 Stars remains accurate.

The bag still isn't a Gladstone, but I really don't care much about that anymore because now I carry a Floto...

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 28, 2013 9:30:53 AM PST
Vega says:
Thank you for the nice review.
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Location: Miami, FL

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