Bryer Leather The Barrel Review – $495

It’s rough being a writer for BestLeather…I’m forced to spend hours scouring the Internet for beautiful leather goods and accessories. It’s tough! I found Bryer Leather on Instagram and was immediately impressed with the quality of their products, and thought it would be a great fit for the BestLeather audience. Bryer Leather decided to send me an all leather version of The Barrel, a weekender bag.

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Bryer Leather is a small workshop based in San Diego, California. Their product line includes duffels, wallets, messenger bags, laptop cases, and more. Everything at Bryer Leather is made to order and fully customizable. If you have a specific color scheme, lining type, or want to personalize it at all, they will do their best to meet your needs. As a growing operation, Bryer will do their best to fulfill your custom order within 1-2 weeks.

Thomas Brierton, founder and designer, writes:

Being a San Diego native, surrounded by beauty and natural resources, I was always drawn to the very basics of creating practicable items with my hands. From the time I was 12 and crafted a wooden spoon so my mom had an ‘awesome’ cooking utensil, to the time when I won First Place for fine woodworking when I presented a guitar I built from scratch in the Annual San Diego Fair.  The quality materials that are made available when you have the capacity to understand how to work them is unending.

After feeling I had become a fairly good woodworker, I got my hands on a piece of leather, and from some videos and old books, I created my first wallet. From then on, I knew this was what I had to do; the satisfaction I get when I see something go from a piece of raw material into an impeccable piece with practicality never ceases to amaze me.

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The Barrel is constructed impeccably. Double stitched seams and copper rivets hold the duffel together, resulting in a sleek and classic look. The Horween Leather, as always, looks absolutely gorgeous, especially as a duffel. The Horween leather is extremely soft and supple, with a protective waxy sheen.  Bryer did well not to over-accessorize The Barrel, letting the two-toned leather take center stage. The brass hardware and copper rivets are understated and complement the color well. The bag comes with a nice matching shoulder strap held on with a brass lobster claw clasp. The carry handles are double stitched and attached to the bag with a hefty milled D-ring.

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What’s so great about this bag is the fact that nearly everything is customizable. The standard Barrel comes as a wool felt body accessorized with Horween leather, but there is an all-leather option as well. The thread comes in black, navy, tan, red, and brown. The $405 price includes a choice between four colors of waxed canvas – tan, navy, charcoal, and olive. Bryer even allows you to choose other liners, so if you have a piece of fabric that’s special to you, or just want something one-of-a-kind, you can get in contact with Bryer and they’ll happily install your very own fabric as a liner. All their items are handmade to order, so I’m sure if you were interested in further customizations, they’d be happy to oblige.

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At 18″L x 9″W x 9″T, The Barrel is the perfect size to function, well, as a weekender. I have no trouble fitting everything I need for a two or three day trip. The inside of the bag is open except for two small compartments in the liner, on one side, good for holding small items that you don’t want rolling around. One thing I appreciate about this bag is that the zipper doesn’t go all the way to the ends. That’s nice for certain bags, but for weekenders it gets annoying when your stuff spills out the sides. It’s a small detail that I’ve grown to appreciate!

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The Barrel is an excellent choice for a weekender, especially if you are looking to customize certain aspects, particularly the liner. It’s handmade in the USA, using beautiful, high quality materials. The price is high, but the gorgeous Horween leather and excellent construction will serve you well for years and years, especially considering Bryer Leather’s lifetime warranty.

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