Francis Bacon said, “Age appears to be best in four things; old wood best to burn, old wine to drink, old friends to trust, and old authors to read.” He’s certainly spot on…but, I’d add one more element to the list and that is fine leather goods. Age is not an enemy to well made leather, but a welcomed ally who helps take what is beautiful when new to spectacular as it ages.
Back in September of 2014, I unboxed my first piece of Sandast’s leather goods. And, I’m extremely happy to say that since then I’ve added several more beautiful pieces, which will be reviewed here in the next few weeks. Since producing the initial review on the Gregory Backpack it has been a constant companion for my wife and has traveled many, many miles with her. It has accompanied her several times on travels throughout the Pacific Northwest, trips to New Jersey and Florida. And of course it has accompanied her locally on hundreds of occasions.
After consistent use in the past 17 months here are some highlights of the Gregory Backpack:
- Plenty of storage
- Plenty of pockets/pouches for organization
- Ease of entry – this is a big deal for my wife. She pretty emphatic about her lack of interest in using buckles or lobster style clasps to get in and out of bags. She wants egress that’s quick and easy. Sandast delivers just that for her with the tuck lock closure on the main flap and the magnetic closures on the outside pockets.
- Ease of carry and comfort. This may trump style and appearance for her at times. Ultimately, the Gregory Backpack meets these needs and scores big time on the aesthetic side of things too. While on a family reunion/vacation to Disney World in the fall of 2015 she carried this bag for miles and hours at a time traipsing through the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney Springs, and Hollywood Studios. Naturally, it performed flawlessly for her and ne’er was a complaint ever mentioned.
- It gets noticed. In spite of the hordes of people standing in line after line while at Disney multiple people commented and questioned her about the pack. The same holds true of flight attendants, TSA workers, and desk clerks at hotels…the Gregory pack garners attention.
The Gregory Backpack was beautiful right out of the box. But, I must say it’s looking much more awesome now. Time and use…these are great companions for quality leather goods. As mentioned in the initial review article, Sandast uses vegetable tanned leather from Horween. One of the great hallmarks of vegetable tanned leather is its ability to develop a patina unique to the user. Typically vegetable tanned leather darkens with use and develops a much deeper and more robust color. The Gregory Backpack has ‘matured’ nicely. The cognac color is a bit deeper and the grain of the leather, which was already beautiful, is just much more prevalent and takes center stage when you take time to truly examine the bag.
The interior plaid fabric is still in pristine condition and I expect it will stay that way for many years to come. The hardware on the backpack is aging equally well too. This is the benefit of utilizing true, high quality hardware. The Riri zipper, the French made buckles, the drawstring end caps, and the Italian made tuck lock all continue to perform flawlessly and maintain their classy appearance.
As far as maintaining and caring for the leather, this is certainly not laborious. The Gregory Backpack has only had a couple of treatments with an all natural cleaner conditioner (props to DropForge Leather Care’s Leather Cream) and that’s it. Really, not much more is necessary. There are folks who will disagree – even companies who ascribe to the idea that you must “feed your leather” with their products. Perhaps that’s so with their particular bags…but, that would make me question the true quality of their leather’s tanning process if it dries out that easily.
Remember, one of the hallmarks of great vegetable tanned leather is the patina. Time and use are the way that is developed properly. To think your bag will maintain the “as new” look forever by applying copious amounts of conditioners, creams, oils, and the like is really misguided. Your great vegetable tanned leather bag is supposed to change with age. Let it. Yes, protect it – but don’t work feverishly on it in the fruitless attempt to keep it in “new” condition. “Live Your Legacy”, which is Sandast’s mantra, is exactly what I’m talking about here. Let your bag develop that legacy…it’s designed to do it. The cool part is the role you play in that legacy and what it becomes.
The Sandast Gregory Backpack is truly an outstanding product and as mentioned in the initial review, it’s well worthy of the Buy It For Life title. It’s worth every dollar. As you use it and appreciate it over time, you’ll never regret your decision to purchase it.