Whether you’re toting art to an academic critique or commuting to a studio, you need a good portfolio to get you there damage-free. Handling large artworks, even if flat, can pose quite a challenge. But we’ve got your back. After hunting down the best portfolios that can do it all—store, protect, and move with ease—we’ve rounded up our five favorite rigid versions that will prevent pieces from bending and creasing. They’re all suitable for travel, but they also make for a convenient alternative to a flat file cabinet if you don’t have the space for the latter. Read on to find the one that’s best for you.
1. Daler-Rowney Cachet Classic Portfolio
This black portfolio is sophisticated, durable, and protective. The hardboard cover is coated in kivar—a latex-saturated bookbinding paper—for stability and strength. It features reinforced corners to resist dings, and it opens to reveal a slim pouch for artwork. Formed by three-sided flaps, this interior is lignin- and acid-free to keep works from degrading if stored for a long time. Everything stays in place thanks to a trio of fabric ties that keep the portfolio tightly closed.
2. Prat Start Premium Portfolio
Do you think manual ties are a nuisance? The speedier alternative is a zipper closure (although that, of course, can wear out over time). We’ve encountered no zipping issues with Prat’s portfolio, which is designed to be carried like an attaché. Like a standard suitcase, it opens to reveal elastic cross-straps to hold down artworks; this method is relatively effective, but it doesn’t apply pressure across the board as the Daler-Rowney design does. The smooth interior also includes inner pockets. Finished with a thick and stiff polypropylene outer shell, this portfolio resists bending when stood upright.
3. Prestige Lite Zippered Portfolio
You don’t want to skimp on protection when it comes to storing your work, but large portfolios can be expensive. This 23-by-31-inch black case from Prestige provides a good middle ground between cost and quality. The polypropylene exterior is stiff, heavy duty, and water resistant, and the carry handle is double-stitched for a secure attachment. The interior is a simple open space with no dividers or inserts, but it is smooth to prevent artworks from getting scratched.
4. ProFolio by Itoya Black Poster Binder
This portfolio is an excellent option for artists who not only want to transport and store their work but also display it in a pinch. Like an oversized binder, it opens to reveal 10 clear pockets for holding and viewing your art while preventing pieces from rubbing against each other. The clear pockets are inserted on rings so you can easily remove them or add more. On the outside, a cover of reinforced nylon guards against bumps while keeping the overall structure lightweight, and a double-stitched handle provides convenience.
5. Alvin Prestige-Elegance Portfolio
Go hands-free when you travel with this portfolio, which is a step up from others on our list. Protected by stiff nylon canvas sides, it contains two full-width interior pockets for works up to 24 by 36 inches and is finished with a hard-wearing shoulder strap. The 4-inch gusset gives extra strength to the bag while allowing for bulkier contents. Thoughtful features include four chrome studs on the bottom to protect the base and additional pockets for tools.