If you were a VIP a century or two ago, you’d make sure you travelled in style. Whether by train or steamboat, a gentleman (or gentlewoman) most likely enjoyed the comfort of a stateroom, a separate room that offered privacy and quiet. Mission Mercantile’s Stateroom Weekender evokes this bygone era of travel, with its vintage style and hefty construction. The Stateroom Weekender definitely makes you feel like a VIP, even if traveling is a little easier these days.
ABOUT MISSION MERCANTILE
Mission Mercantile was launched in the fall 0f 2015, with the goal of creating beautiful leather goods with uncompromising quality. While the brand itself may be young, its creators are not inexperienced. Mission Mercantile is the project of the folks at Blue Artisan Group, a manufacturing collective based in Leon, Mexico. I recently got the chance to talk to Chuck Bowen, one of MM’s founders, who is clearly passionate about creating top-of-the-line leather goods. From our interview:
“We’re a mercantile on a mission. We want to serve men looking for meaning as a man while reestablishing family and heritage. Doing life together with his mission woman. We really want to bring back legacy values in a product, and take wisdom from past. Our goal is for us, and all of our customers to do life together.”
The Stateroom Weekender is made with thick, full grain leather that’s been vegetable tanned. The leather is stiff and heavy, with some natural markings in the grain that prove it’s the real deal. The entire bottom of the bag is solid leather reinforced with brass rivets. The combination of the classic overnight bag silhouette, brass hardware and the full grain leather really completes the vintage look. My bag is the Rust color, a bright, almost orange color. There’s a lighter color, Oak, and a darker one, called Oil.
The bag is a pretty simple construction with just one big pouch secured with a giant zipper – seriously, it’s one of the sturdiest zippers I’ve ever seen. The handles are also riveted onto each side of the bag, and the carry strap is thickly padded and attached with impressively sturdy lobster claws. A complaint I have with a lot of weekenders is that the removable carry strap feels like a cheap afterthought – but certainly not this one. This bag is heavy, so it’s definitely important that the carry strap and hardware are tough.
Inside it’s fully lined with an attractive grey and cream striped fabric that fits well with the vintage style of the bag. There’s a zippered pocket on one side of the bag, and a long pocket along the opposite side separated into three pouches. With the exception of the pockets tucked along the sides, the inside is wide open to pack as you please.
This is not a lightweight bag. It weighs around five pounds empty, and the stiff leather definitely adds a bulky feeling when you’re carrying it. This is not a complaint, however. I really love that I don’t have to worry one bit about packing it too heavy or being gentle with it. I can toss it around, scuff it up, and it only looks better.
The construction of the bag combined with brass feet on the bottom keep the bag standing upright, making it easy to pack and access. At the beginning, the leather makes the opening a little small, but it softens after a few uses and allows the pouch to open wider.
It’s easy to pack a weekend’s worth of clothes, and they fit without bowing the sides or affecting the bag’s shape. It’s around 20″ L x 9″ D x 14″ H, so it can function as a carry-on if needed (No private staterooms in Coach, unfortunately).
I really couldn’t be happier with Mission Mercantile’s Stateroom Weekender. It’s impressively constructed and it’s clear that no shortcuts were taken. Nothing feels cheap or breakable; this bag is absolutely a Buy It For Life (and more) item. If you’re looking for a lightweight bag or a bag that won’t turn heads, this is not the bag for you. This is an impressive start for Mission Mercantile and we’re looking forward to seeing more products as they debut. Keep an eye out for more Mission Mercantile reviews in the next few weeks!