We see a lot of great products at BestLeather, mainly due to the fact we seek out exemplary companies to review with. I’ve had the supreme pleasure of taking a look at several products from WotanCraft. This time around we’re examining the WotanCraft Phantom Travel Backpack, a strikingly designed pack that aims to handle all of your carry needs and look damn good doing so. Does it fit the bill? Let’s find out.
The Phantom’s exterior shell is entirely made from vegetable tanned cowhide Italian leather. The red spine plate uses English Royal Saddle cowhide leather.
It has a thick, substantial feel to it and emits a luxurious leather scent – I’ve wore the pack as a hat more than once just to enjoy the aroma. All compartments feature a velveteen lining which translates into an incredibly tech friendly bag. High strength metal hardware accentuates the bag along with bronze YKK rustproof coated zippers. The bottom of the pack features high density foam lining to provide shock absorption to interior contents. Bag roughly measures 11”x 6” x 19” I’d estimate the capacity around 1,500 cubic inches. The bag weighs approximately 4lbs 12oz empty. The main compartment has zippered top access with flap. Side non zippered compartments use a strap to knob closure and the front pocket is button fastened.
The Phantom is a pretty straightforward pack. Styled after traditional rucksacks, the Phantom has the large top accessed main compartment. Inside of that there are 2 slotted pockets good for water bottle, telephoto lens, etc.
The waterproof camera insert (Sold separately Size XS) can be positioned at the top of the bag’s main compartment, and thanks to the vertical zipper on the back, you can still access your other gear from underneath. The back of the Phantom is padded and the stiff red leather backbone adds rigidity to the pack.
The side cylindrical shaped pockets have pull tabs and are great for water bottles or similarly shaped objects. The pouch on the front has a button closure and is great for storing medium sized items such as thin hoodies or snacks. Overall its a very functional strap, with some tradeoffs. There are no sternum or waist straps so heavier loads might be more strenuous, also due to the lack of padding on the shoulder straps. I wouldn’t try hiking with the Phantom but normal everyday loads are more than manageable.
The Phantom is truly a striking pack. Simply put, it refuses to blend in. I feel with the black color you’ll either gravitate to it or opt out. I would really like to see this bag also offered in brown someday. The leather is of such a fine quality that the pack exhibits a subdued sheen. Unlike cheap “genuine leathers” or even worse….bonded leathers that reflect light like Uncle Phil’s head from Fresh Prince, the Phantom seems to absorb light.
This enigmatic luster gives the bag an understated testimony to the skill and craftsmanship involved in its conception. Aside from the hidden top opening, the lack of zippers, velcro and other modern pack features really make the Phantom a timeless bag that will never feel dated. The red spine on the back panel lends just the right amount of intrigue. Just looking at the bag is comparable to watching a suspense thriller while indulging in tiramisu…all the while riding top speed at Le Mans; all in the span of a few seconds.
The WotanCraft Phantom Travel Backpack is on another echelon entirely. For a more down to earth guy like myself, it would be hard for me to comprehend the thousand dollar price tag. Sure, you can get a bag literally one tenth the price that does as much. However I like to play devil’s advocate and defend the point most owners of high end watches argue, it’s not that they just “tell the time” but its the thought, complexity, skill, inspiration and passion that are involved that set them apart from others. I feel this is true for the Phantom, although in the words of the great Levar Burton, “But you don’t have to take my word for it.”
Also note WotanCraft’s Christmas Special is still on which offers free gifts based on purchase amount.