Sometimes you need something to hold your laptop. Other times you need a carry on. Then sometimes you need something that will hold it all. Harmattan Design’s The Traveler is a very large duffel bag made entirely of Italian vegetable tanned full grain leather, and will hold everything you need for an extended stay while maintaining a high fashion look. Read on to find out more about our experience with this duffel and get an exclusive limited-time BestLeather discount!
ABOUT HARMATTAN DESIGN
Harmattan Design is headed by Radu Zarnescu of Romania. Radu and his team of leather workers have years of experience designing and building goods for others, but wanted to do things their own way. Since recently finishing their first successful fundraising campaign, they continue to sell their four most popular designs on their own website. Harmattan’s goals include using the highest quality materials and maintaining reasonable prices.
The Traveler is essentially one large bucket of 5-9oz, veg-tan, full grain leather. This leather comes from Italy, and is tanned with Harmattan Design’s own custom concept. It’s very soft and has a gentle suede feel on the outside, and is left largely unfinished and fuzzy on the inside, with no lining to wear out.
Hardware is all cast iron and nickel plated to a chrome-like finish. The main pocket and two small pockets on the side are closed with a stiff but sturdy zipper.
All seams are single stitched with polyester thread. I noticed a couple loose stitches on one corner of an inner pocket, but stitching elsewhere is solid. The bottom corners of the bag are each reinforced with a riveted patch.
The Traveler features dual handles on the top, and a two-layered shoulder strap with a small pad. Both handles and the shoulder strap buckle are stitched to the main body and reinforced with rivets.
Harmattan Design offers a lifetime warranty against manufacturing defects.
The Traveler is big! The volume is around 50 liters, but I think an application example may work even better to show just how much this duffel can hold:
Without even trying hard to overstuff the traveler, it easily held all items pictured below, including 3 pairs of shorts, 3 pairs of pants, 7 T-shirts, dress shoes, flip flops, laptop, headphones, etc. – more than enough for an extended trip.
The two side pockets are very small, so besides perhaps a wallet and some keys, you’re going to want to have a dopp bag or organizer of some sort for your smaller travel items. Having no inside divider leaves you free to carry very large items if needed.
The dual handles give a good sense of strength, though both may be a bit much for small hands. You could carry it with one handle, though the bag will tilt to one side a bit. The strap is great for slinging over your shoulder or using-cross body, and has a good range of lengths.
One functionality concern I had was a fairly sharp smell inside the bag when I first received it. This did, however, fade with time and hasn’t ever transferred to my clothes or other items. Some others that I showed the bag to even liked this smell when it faded a bit, though I didn’t fancy it. Harmattan Design tells me this smell is a result of their tanning process.
The Traveler is definitely meant to travel in style. A true Italian piece, it has an edgy fashionable look, with a color that is soft and can range from mustard to deep orange or brown depending on the light. I expect the patina to continue to deepen with time.
Included with each Harmattan Design bag is a small swatch to test leather treatment. Their custom leather concept takes in conditioner well, and the color can be made to alter quite a bit if desired. The following side by side pictures are of my swatch in different lighting (warm on the left and cool on the right) and with different levels of conditioning.
If you like the lighter brown/mustard yellow color, go easy on treatments…but if you want a deeper brown shade, soak it in. I do recommend at least some treatment, as the very soft suede-like leather drinks water spills as easily as it does conditioner.
The Harmattan logo is printed gently into the side of the duffel and on the shoulder strap. The small round accent cutouts in the handles and shoulder pad are a nice touch.
I have received plenty of compliments on The Traveler. It’s a handsome duffel that will definitely stand out at luggage pick up.
Harmattan’s Design’s The Traveler is made with great materials, holds a ton of luggage, and has a high-fashion look. The smell and loose stitch gave me a bit of pause, but after some time, a camping trip, and a roadtrip or two, the stitch has held strong and the inside has only a faint smell.
If you’re liking the look of this bag and need a large duffel for travel, The Traveler will fit the bill. The 100% thick vegetable tanned leather and polyester thread construction should last for many years and serve you well in your travels.
For a limited time, Harmattan Design has decided to offer BestLeather readers an exclusive 35% discount on all of their products! Use code BESTLEATHER at checkout.