Southwind Leather Two Slot Cardholder Review – $34

Wallets are everywhere and they’re made from just about every type of material known to man. So, what’s the deal with highlighting yet another wallet here on BestLeather? Well, we keep finding unique ones that stand out for one reason or another. Such is the case with the Two Slot Cardholder from Southwind Leather.


About Southwind Leather

Southwind Leather, based in the United Kingdom, is the progeny of Dan Mroz. Dan hails from the southern part of England and has been fully immersed in leather crafting since 2012. BestLeather featured one of his excellent Bridle Leather Belts not that long ago.

All of Dan’s pieces are hand cut and hand sewn – he does not use any machines in the production of his crafts.


The Southwind Two Slot Cardholder received for testing features french buffalo calfskin in an attractive shade of color called rosewood. The leather is really incredible – super thin, tight grained, yet supple and looks to offer many years of wear. It also has a slightly waxy finish that offers up a luxurious sheen.


The two slot cardholder is an appealing piece. In a not close up view, it looks fantastic. When you get up close and examine it though, it’s apparent that it’s handmade. This appearance can elicit two contrasting reactions: initially there will be those folks who will downplay it because the stitching isn’t perfectly even and the leather isn’t trimmed proportionally on both sides while others will look at this and appreciate it for just those same features, which quickly identify it as totally handmade.



This is not a large wallet at all. It’s very small to be exact. I have found myself using this exclusively for “date nights” with my wife. When we go out, I only need a couple of cards on me: my debit card, a credit card, my license, and some cash. So, in that role, it functions perfectly. I would be hard pressed to use it daily, as I just simply can’t fit everything in it. I don’t think I’d try to carry more than 5, maybe 6 cards total in it. If you’re a true minimalist, this might be just the wallet for you. The Southwind Leather Two Slot Cardholder is also an excellent business card holder. It will hold about 10-12 business cards easily between the two slots.


In the role I’ve assigned to it, it’s splendid. It’s got a great feel to it. I often find myself just fiddling with it because of the calfskin leather’s feel. I’d be a happy man if I could get a chair made with this leather…wow, that would feel great!


I’ve been on somewhat of a journey with the way this little wallet looks. When it came out of the box the first time, my initial reaction was, “wow, it’s great”. Then, I looked at it a little closer. The stitching and the uneven trim caught my eye and became a turn off. Now, I look at it and think, wow…that’s some small stitching and it’s all done by hand…I’m impressed and could never come close to doing that myself.”


I appreciate what Dan has created here and think it’s a solid little piece. I’m sure as Dan continues to refine his craft that his stitching will get even better. Leatherwork is a journey and skills take time to be sharpened and refined. And, I’m okay with that. What I have is a uniquely crafted piece of uber-quality leather molded into a useful little wallet that I get to enjoy every time I take my wife out or attend a more formal function where I don’t want to carry a full sized wallet.



As mentioned earlier, the Southwind Leather Two Slot Cardholder is a pretty small option to serve as an every day wallet (unless you are a hardcore minimalist). But, I believe that it is a great contender for a more formal, special occasion wallet. It’s fashioned from some really luxurious leather and it’s 100% handmade. At $34, it’s not going to break your budget either…so, you’ll definitely have a few bucks to fold up and put into it. And while you’re putting it in your Southwind Leather Two Slot Cardholder, you’ll enjoy the feel of that awesome leather too.

*Dan is also offering a great special right now exclusively to BestLeather readers (thank you Dan). Use this code, SPECIAL 10, during checkout on his site and you’ll receive 10% off of your entire purchase. Enjoy!

Quiver Pen Holders Review – $24, $27 & $31


I like pens. I really like nice pens. As a writer and editor, I’m very partial and dependent upon pens. Even in the digital age that is upon us now, it’s imperative to have a good pen or two at the ready. I despise losing a pen and, if I may confess, I even hate losing a cheap pen. What’s even worse is when you desperately need a pen and you can’t seem to find one. Enter Quiver – an innovative company located in the suburbs of Chicago, Illinois.


About Quiver

Quiver is another one of those great companies that has emerged and grown from creating a solution to an everyday problem. The problem is that of losing pens and not having one handy when it’s needed. The folks at Quiver, who are devoted Moleskine and Rhodia notebook users, have come up with several ingenious designs to aid in preventing pen “loss-age” from striking at those most inopportune times. Best of all, they utilize fine leather and attractive thread in these unique pen holders.



Quiver products feature attractive American Nappa leather and are hand assembled in Old Mexico by their own set of skilled craftsmen. The thread used to create their eye-catching stitching is heavy, waterproof, marine grade thread. Each piece created by Quiver goes through an extensive triple inspection process. Needless to say, when your Quiver pen holder arrives, you are receiving an expertly created piece.



I received three of Quiver’s most popular designs to test. Being a long time fan and user of Moleskine notebooks I was eager to test each of the Quivers out thoroughly. I received a Single Pen Quiver for Pocket Notebooks (fits A6 notebooks that are 5.5” – 6.5” tall) in brown leather with matching thread. It holds a single pen on the spine of a pocket notebook. I also received a Single Pen Quiver for Large Notebooks (fits A5 notebooks that are 8” – 9.5” tall) in dark black leather with bright yellow thread. It too holds a single pen on the spine of a notebook. The final version that I have is a Double Pen Quiver for Large Notebooks, which fits the same A5 style as mentioned earlier. This version is also in dark black leather and features a bright orange thread. The Double Pen Quiver holds two pens or pencils on the front cover of a notebook. Each of these holders features the debossed Quiver logo on them too. It’s also important to note that Quiver will deboss your company’s logo on these pen holders through their corporate gifts custom order process.


I have used all three of these Quivers for over a month now and it’s amazing how quickly they just meld into being part of your daily routine. All three designs perform their duty perfectly while at the same time making their presence known uniquely in the way they are mounted to the notebooks. I can honestly say that I’ll never be “Quiver-less” again while using any type of notebook. I now consider myself Quiver-dependent for life and I’m really happy about that…because it also means I will always have a pen available when needed!


Each of these pen holders mounts easily to the notebooks. Thanks to the ingenious elastic straps, they fit snugly and line up on the notebooks with ease. They do change the way the notebook lays on a table or desk and that’s probably the only drawback to them. But, that is really a very minor drawback and something I have quickly dismissed in favor of the benefits they provide. If you’re like me, I stuff my Moleskine with other papers, receipts, business cards, etc. that I gather from meetings and travels. So over time all of my notebooks begin to bulge a little. But, isn’t that why they feature those elastic closures? So…no big deal.



All three of the Quivers that I have look amazing. The Pocket sized Quiver creates an attractive contrast with its rich brown leather when it’s mated with a black Moleskine. I’m sure it will look great if it’s paired with Rhodia or Leuchtturm too. The black leather of the Large Notebook Quivers – both in single and double pen versions are equally eye-catching. The use of contrasting threads combines to really set them off from whatever type of notebook you choose to use.


The orange thread of the Double Pen Quiver that I have was specially created for Rhodia’s notebooks. The Rhodia family crest features this same color (which is also featured on their easily-noticed notebooks). So, if you’re a Rhodia fan, the black leather Quiver with orange thread is definitely the one to order.

Even though these are small add-on components, people notice. I was surprised by just how many people took note of them and asked about them. Since I’ve had them, they have been commented upon or questioned at just about every in-person client meeting I’ve attended. And, what I think is even cooler is that the general response to them is “what a fantastic idea…and they look beautiful too” or “man, I desperately need one of those – I lose my pen all the time”.


It’s hard to say which one of the three Quivers I like best because they all look fantastic and perform their dutiful task admirably and fashionably. I do find myself carrying my large notebook with the Double Quiver the most. Perhaps that is because I’m still insecure about not having a pen…so having two on hand is more reassuring. But, that doesn’t make it my favorite. The Pocket Quiver is looking better as it ages. I’m really looking forward to the patina it will develop over time (and I’ll make sure to report on it here for you as well). For now, no judgment is being cast as to a clear favorite. Perhaps in one of the follow up reports on the Quivers there will be a clear favorite – so stay tuned.



The price point on these pen holders is extremely reasonable considering the quality components, handmade attention to detail, and rigorous quality inspection process. If you’re an avid notebook carrier and more importantly – if you’re a fan of never being without a pen or pencil, then we encourage you to visit Quiver’s website, create your own customized pen holder, and order it right away.

Gordy’s Camera Straps – $19 & $49

As a society, we benefit dramatically by those folks who look to solve a problem for themselves and then see their solution blossom into a successful business. Often times this seems to occur with the simplest of items – items that seem to get overlooked because they solve a common problem and blend into life’s activities with ease. Such is the case with Gordy’s Camera Straps. Continue reading “Gordy’s Camera Straps – $19 & $49”

Dr Martens 1460 ForLife Boots Review – $180.00

On April 1, 1960 the first pair of Dr. Martens boots hit the pavement in England. In 1964, Pete Townshend walked out on to a stage to perform with a new band called The Who wearing a pair of 1460 boots. Townshend’s affinity for Dr. Martens boots became well-known during those days. Teens around the world saw him, listened to The Who’s music, and took note of the boots. And as they say, a legend was born – Dr Marten’s boots had been introduced on the world stage and the world embraced them.


About Dr Martens

The Dr. Martens brand has been an iconic player in the leather footwear world for many decades now. While there is still an association with the rebellious “angst” of youth, the boots, shoes, and clothing developed over the years by Dr. Martens has persevered and made its way into just about every niche of society. Yes, Dr. Martens boots were and still are associated with various youth sub-cultures – but, you’re just as likely to see a young (or “well-seasoned” aka old) professional donning a pair of DMs these days too.



Take a couple of minutes to watch the DM video on their construction. Notice all of the handwork that takes place in addition to the machines used. High grade leather – tough, heavy gauge thread – Goodyear welt – and some unique construction components all merge together to create an attractive, very comfortable and long wearing boot.

In addition to DM’s use of high quality leather, they’re well-known for their AirWair soles, which was born out of a partnership with a German duo in the late 1950s. The AirWair sole is an air-cushioned, extremely comfortable to wear sole that is oil resistant, offers excellent long term wear, and great traction.


I received a pair of Dr. Martens ForLife 1460 Boots in Dark Brown. Out of the box, these are the most comfortable boots I’ve worn. For full disclosure, I’ve owned several pairs of Dr. Marten shoes, boots, and sandals over the years. The 1460 boots have not disappointed – they are comfortable from day one and you can wear them all day, every day.


The Dr. Martens ForLife 1460 Boots feature a lifetime guarantee (hence the moniker, “ForLife”). That’s right…they will repair or replace these boots for as long as you own them. Another nice feature is that they include an extra set of laces and a container of DM’s Wonder Balsam, which is a concoction of coconut oil, lanolin, and beeswax. It comes with an applicator sponge making it easy to apply the balsam to your boots in order to keep the leather conditioned and protected for years of beauty and durable service.

As previously mentioned, these boots are comfortable. The leather is soft and supple and the AirWair sole cushions every step. Truly, you’ll enjoy wearing them.



The Dr. Martens ForLife 1460 Boots come in four classic colors: black, DM black, dark brown, and oxblood. My dark brown pair are ideal for my personal style. I can wear them with jeans and they look great. Or, I can wear these boots with khakis and they’re dressy enough to not look out of place in more, slightly formal situations.

One of the things I have always liked about the shoes, boots, and sandals I’ve owned from DM is the stitching. It’s thick, heavy duty, and exudes a certain rugged durability that I appreciate.


Dr. Martens boots grab people’s attention too. On countless occasions while out and about, I’ve had friends, and even complete strangers, comment favorably on this pair of boots.

My only complaint – and this has been long-standing with DM’s and other boots of this same style – is that I have to unlace 3 or 4 eyelets in order to slip them on. Picky, picky, picky…I know. Yes, that’s incredibly minor in the grand scheme of things, but I had to mention it. I would be a mess trying to get ready in the morning if I had to put on a pair of DM’s boots that have 14 eyes to lace up!



The Dr. Martens ForLife 1460 Boots are an incredible buy at only $180. Solid construction from quality materials, out of the box comfort, and a lifetime guarantee for that price? Maybe you should order a few pair…

One more thing to note: if you ever find yourself in London, do visit one of the five Dr. Martens stores. Personally, I think the store in Covent Garden is the best!

Update: 11 Months Later Review

I missed doing a six-month follow up review on these boots and I’m about a month early on an official one year review…but, I wanted to get this update on the Dr. Martens 1460 FORLIFE Boots out there for our readers.

These boots have been a consistent ‘go-to’ option ever since they arrived last year in July (my initial review for the Dr. Martens 1460 FORLIFE Boots was published on September 6, 2014). The boots continue to wear well. Actually, they show hardly any wear at all. They have molded perfectly to my feet and I can wear them all day long, multiple days in a row, and my feet feel great the entire time.


The attached photos were taken just this past month and, as you can see, they’re still looking fantastic! There are a few scuffs here and there, but nothing that a good cleaning and treatment with the Wonder Balsam won’t cure (which is included with any purchase of Dr. Martens FORLIFE products).


I look forward to many more years of great use with these boots. And, I wouldn’t hesitate at all to purchase another FORLIFE style from Dr. Martens. Finally…I do plan to update again on these boots in time. So, be sure to check back. Thanks!


Tox Leather Shiny MacBook / Document Case Review – $75 to $95

You’ve taken the time to save and make an investment in a computer that will work well for your personal or business use. The Apple MacBook, whether it’s the Air, Pro, or Pro Retina, is a marvelous machine. Now that you have doled out all that money for it, don’t get skimpy on purchasing a case to protect it.


About Tox Leather has reviewed a couple of other pieces for Eser Dasdemir, owner and “chief artisan” of Tox Leather. Tox Leather is boutique shop located in Istanbul, Turkey that is committed to quality, eco-friendly, hand-made leather goods. Be sure to visit the Tox Leather website. Since publishing our review of their Cigar Cases, it appears that Tox has rolled out a great looking, new website and is offering some new items too.



The Tox Leather Shiny MacBook Case is well constructed. As with Eser’s other items, I’m not sure of the origin of the leather, suffice it to say that it’s definitely cow leather. The case features a true to the name “shiny” exterior. This certainly has its perks: you can easily wipe it off if you spill something on it and the case will easily accept a clear polish or protectant. It also appears to scratch easily. The case arrived with a couple of sizable, noticeable scratches on the front of it. However, this does not detract from the looks of the case. It just adds to the sought after patina that most leather aficionados desire.

The edges of the case are cut precisely and the hand stitching has been executed perfectly. The use of a slightly darker color, heavy gauge thread adds to the already attractive, professional look of the case.



The Tox Leather Shiny MacBook Case performs it duties well. It’s especially nice if you’re off to a quick meeting and only need your computer and a notepad. You can quickly load up your laptop and off you go, feeling confident that your precious Apple product is protected and enmeshed in a stylish case. It’s small enough in size that it can easily be tucked into a backpack or larger messenger bag. I say “larger” messenger bag because it’s too big for my Swiss Army Packsaddle Bag. However, I don’t see that as a drawback – my bag protects my laptop on its own. I rather see the Tox Case as a means to protect my laptop when I don’t need to carry other items with me.


The flap can be secured two ways: you can slip it under the strap or you can slide the flap into the external pocket. Either way, loading and unloading your laptop and papers is a breeze.


As mentioned earlier, the Tox Leather MacBook Air Case is an attractive, professional looking case. It gets noticed too. Having carried this to a couple of local meetings with clients, I’ve experienced several positive remarks and questions about the case. The color of the leather is great too. If you want, Eser makes the same case in a deep black leather too. Just look on the site and you’ll see it listed separately.




The Tox Leather Shiny MacBook / Document Case I have is sized for a 13” MacBook Air. If you’ve shopped around for other cases on the Internet, you’ll know that for $85, this handmade leather case is a bargain. And, it pulls double duty acting as a document case too. So, avoid the factory produced nylon and plastic cases that the masses use and get yourself something that is crafted with care, will protect your expensive laptop, and last for years – go visit the Tox Leather website.

Thorogood 1892 Wisconsin Collection Portage CXL Roofer Boots Review – $305

The Thorogood 1892 Wisconsin Collection Portage CXL Roofer Boots, made by Weinbrenner Shoe Company of Merrill, WI. That’s a mouthful of a name for a pair of boots. But, these boots are just as substantial, if not more so, than the name they carry.


About Weinbrenner Shoe Company

Iconic American success stories are awesome and the story of Albert Weinbrenner, son of a German immigrant and cobbler, holds true to form. Albert began his apprenticeship at age 13 working for his father. By his early 20s, in his spare time, Albert was designing work boots specifically for the trade jobs his friends had around Milwaukee, Wisconsin. In 1892, at the age of 27, Albert started his own cobbler business with partner Joseph Pfeifer.

Weinbrenner and Pfeifer enjoyed immediate success – becoming well known for their “jobber” boot. Today Weinbrenner Shoe Company is still based in Wisconsin and employs over three hundred people in the local area.



Here’s the quick hit list on what the 1892 Portage Collection Boot is made from and how it’s made: double layered Horween Chromexcel, triple stitching, Goodyear Leather Welt, and Nitrile Cork Outsoles. These boots are built to last – forever.

According to Richard Martens, International Sales Manager for Weinbrenner, the original Portage Roofer boots were designed specifically for men who spent their days on roofs. The laces extend forward, closer to the toe than conventional boots. This was to allow more flexibility since roofers were bent over frequently. The side panels of the boots featured a double set of leather reinforcement panels to provide stability while working. These design elements have been carried over into the modern version of the Portage Roofer boots and create an extremely robust, durable boot.



Again, in my conversation with Richard from Weinbrenner, I was given a casual, but totally honest, warning that “you’ll earn the right to wear the Portage boot”. He was definitely correct. These boots have two layers of leather and triple stitching – they’re a wee bit stiff when you get them. It takes a little time to break them in properly. Yes, you definitely earn the right to wear the Portage boots every day. I have to admit, there were a couple of points where I was tempted to try an aftermarket insole, thinking maybe a swap would help. However, I pulled the “stock” insole out and it was immediately apparent that the insole was not the issue. It’s deeply padded and features a thick, cushy heel cup. So, I stayed the course…a wedding, a couple of trips to church, an evening out with my bride, and suddenly the boots were “there” – I had them just where I wanted them…comfy and ready for full, daily wear.


Once you have the boots loosened up and fitting your feet well, you’re in for a treat. Simply put, this is a very comfortable pair of boots to wear. They slip on and off easily with the 3 lace hooks up top. The sole of the Portage boots is made from Nitrile Cork. These are the first boots I’ve ever had with that type of outsole. Initially, I was a little worried about slippage. However, that is not an issue at all. Nitrile Cork is extremely oil and grease resistant. The sole on the Portage boots features a fine grain and offers superior traction and long term wear. And, once the boot has been broken in, the outsole is very comfortable.


Look at the pictures – these boots rock. Their styling is very different from most of the other boots you’ll see out there. While the original Portage boots may have been designed as “jobber boots”, today they exude style and class. They look good in almost any situation. And, people notice them. I’ve had many occasions where people commented on these boots. The uniqueness of the lace pattern is probably the first thing people notice. Add to that the Horween Chromexcel and the heavy duty, triple stitching and you’ve got a recipe for some seriously stylish boots.

The boots on their first full day excursion. Very comfortable!
The boots on their first full day excursion. Very comfortable!

The only thing I’m not completely sold on yet is the laces. Yes, that’s a seriously minor thing to pick on but, I’m just being honest. While I like the color contrast they offer to the brown leather, I wish they too were leather. I may invest in a pair of lighter tan colored leather laces and see if that does the trick.



At $305, the Thorogood 1892 Wisconsin Collection Portage CXL Roofer Boots are a serious bargain. Yes, I said bargain. In the realm of quality, leather boots $305 is definitely a deal. They’re made in the USA, sport hefty construction, use Horween leather, and offer excellent style and durability. You can’t go wrong buying a pair or two, or three of these boots. Just remember that break-in period and plan accordingly.

Tox Leather Cigar Cases – $86 & $76

Fine cigars encased in leather to protect and preserve. It’s an iconic, masculine combination that has been appreciated for well over a century. Leather is a pervasive companion to cigars and it’s tough to find accessories that are unique. However, at Best Leather, we have found a designer who is creating stylish, unique cases for cigars.



About Tox Leather

Tox Leather, owned and operated by Eser Dasdemir, is based in Istanbul, Turkey. Tox Leather was established in 2013 after Eser had been designing and making designs for years as a hobby. Eser is dedicated to creating 100% handmade leather items – all hand cut and hand sewn, from animals used for human consumption. Tox Leather does not use any type of exotic leather and is an eco-friendly operation. Eser creates tobacco accessories, electronics cases, personal accessories, and bags.



The Tox Leather Stylish Cigar Case comes in thick, brown or black cowhide leather and comes in two sizes – robusto or double corona. My case came in brown and is very pleasing to the eye. Eser has also done a nice job of tastefully placing the Tox Leather logo on the flap. This horizontal style case is capable of several different sizes of cigars and in various numbers too, making it a great case to use if you’re planning to share a few cigars with your friends.

It’s made from three pieces of leather. The flap, which is also the back piece of the main case, is turned over to utilized the rough-out portion creating a two-tone affect to the case. The simple slip through strap secures the case closed with a sturdy snap. And, it’s expertly hand-stitched.


The Tox Leather Binary Cigar Case also comes in thick, brown or black cowhide leather. And, it’s available in two sizes as well, robusto or double corona. My case is black and has a very classy look to it. It beckons you to fill it with quality cigars. This is a vertical style case and is capable of 2-3 cigars, depending on size. It will easily accommodate two cigars in tubes. Again, this is a great case to carry if you’re planning to share cigars with other people. It too is made from three pieces of leather. It does not use the rough-out side of the leather, instead completing the exterior profile in a deep, rich black smooth finish. The strap is reversed giving the piece additional character with the rough-out displayed. Again, it just adds a little pizazz to the case. It too is crafted from three pieces of leather and hand-stitched.


Both of these cases are sized and shaped well. Even though each will hold multiple cigars, their profiles are still fairly slim. I believe they will travel without difficulty in the chest pocket of a blazer or suit coat and certainly will not take up much space in a briefcase or messenger bag.

There’s one very small thing that I wish could be changed on both of these cases. The strap used for closing and securing the cases hangs below the case just a tad too much. I know, that’s really a minuscule issue – but for me, I wish they were trimmed just a tad shorter by perhaps a quarter of an inch or so. In trimming the strap down just a bit more, it would fit more easily in a coat pocket or come unsnapped by inadvertently if snagged.



One thing that impressed me with Tox Leather right away was presentation. I opened the package to find nice, burlap bags emblazoned with the Tox Leather logo. Inside were natural colored paper bags that contained the cigar cases – each with stylish tags on them with the Tox Leather logo. It’s just an impressive way to receive your products and says a lot about the pride of workmanship Eser has in Tox Leather’s products.

I’m unsure of the leather source and thread source, but in examining both, they are of high quality. These two cases are very eye-catching. I think they are equally attractive and impossible to say that the brown case looks better than the black case. I’m definitely looking forward to pulling these cases out when I get together with a few of my buddies. I know that they’ll instantly be envious. – that is, until they order their own.



If you’re a cigar fan, then you know there is a myriad of accessories out there – including cigar cases. What’s always refreshing is to find an accessory that’s unique, at an attractive price point, will perform well, and last a long, long time. At $76 for the Tox Leather Binary Cigar Case and $86 for the Tox Leather Stylish Cigar Case, they definitely tick all of those boxes. When you pull one of these cases out at the next gathering at your local cigar bar or in the backyard of a buddy’s house – it will get noticed and appreciated.

Waltzing Matilda Tom’s Bag – $450

Many hear the words “Waltzing Matilda” and immediately think of the song by Tom Waits (although the correct title for his song is Tom Traubert’s Blues). Others know it as Australia’s unofficial national anthem. Yet others know the title from the original poem written by Australian poet Banjo Paterson back in 1895 – he also penned other famous pieces such as The Man from Snowy River. Now the name Waltzing Matilda is becoming synonymous with quality, handcrafted, made-in-the-USA fine leather bags, and footwear.


About Waltzing Matilda

Not only is Waltzing Matilda committed to being made in the U.S.A. – they take it a step further by only using leather and other materials that are 100% sourced from the U.S.A. And, to top it off, all of their products are handmade. “Like a fine whiskey, Waltzing Matilda leather goods improve with age. The passing of time, use and personal journeys add depth, character and substance to these modern heirlooms.” Probably the best way to understand Mike Balitsaris’ passion for his products, how they’re made, and what they’re made from is to watch this short video of him discussing Waltzing Matilda.


Waltzing Matilda from Jesse Brass on Vimeo.


The Waltzing Matilda Tom’s Bag is created with leather from S.B. Foot Tanning Company in Red Wing, Minnesota. And, as mentioned in the video, Waltzing Matilda uses heavy gauge thread from Maine Thread Company. The leather used on the bag is incredibly soft and floppy. One of the unique features of Waltzing Matilda’s products is their use of hides that may not “pass muster” with other companies. In the photos here, you can see stretch marks on the front flap and what is probably a barb wire scar on the on the back of the bag. Some say those marks detract from the beauty of the bag. I tend to disagree, especially when one considers that there is always discussion about how everyone wants “patina” on their leather products. In my opinion, you’re just getting a head start on the patina process. And, what’s the story behind those scars and marks? I’m curious…I like stories and, again in my opinion, those marks simply add to the back-story of a piece of leather that has been beautifully crafted into a bag that I hope to carry for years. Waltzing-Matilda-Toms-Bag-3 Back to the construction − in discussing Waltzing Matilda with Mike, he also enjoys incorporating old, or “up-cycled,” components into his products. In the case of the Tom’s Bag, the stud closures are from WWI Swiss Army ammunition pouches. He also uses hand forged rings from a local blacksmith for the strap adjustment. The use of these elements just further enhances the back-story that comes with the Tom’s Bag. Waltzing-Matilda-Toms-Bag-5


The Waltzing Matilda Tom’s Bag is great for every day carry. The main compartment is roomy – large enough to carry a tablet or even a 13” laptop computer and other miscellaneous items. I’ve also used it as a quick, on the go photography bag with much success. It can carry two full size dSLR cameras with lenses and a few other items making it ideal for quick photo shoots. The inside flap pocket is large enough to handle a phone or iPod and the smaller slot is idea for business cards, or my favorite – customer loyalty cards that I don’t want to carry in my wallet.


The outside pocket under the flap is an added bonus where you can slip your headphones in the pocket, some change, etc. And you’ve got one more business card sized slot available. The strap is long enough that the bag may be worn cross body without issue. It’s also easily adjusted so that it may be worn on the shoulder conventionally too. There is not a handle on the bag and initially, I missed having one to grab. However, with use, I found that the bag functioned just fine and I forgot about the lack of a handle. It’s also important to note that there isn’t a way to secure the main flap of the bag. If you tend to turn your bag upside down, this may be an issue. I, however, have not found this to be an issue. Another little item to note is the stud closure on the small outside pocket. While I like it a lot, the back of that closure is exposed inside the pocket. It’s a little sharp and may potentially scratch a small electronic item or snag something inserted into that pocket. I wish there was a small piece of leather sewn around the backside of it to eliminate any issues. This is not an issue with the stud closure on the inside pocket.


There is only one thing that worries me about the bag and that is the stitching where the strap joins to the bag. It is an area that I’m going to keep an eye on over time. It’s probably going to be just fine – however, I wish that there were a couple of bar-tack stitches across the very last set of top stitches just to serve as reinforcements to prevent separation of the strap from the bag.



It looks great. The exposed stitching is pleasing to the eye. The soft floppy leather gets a lot of attention from people. They’re surprised at how soft it really is – and yes, they frequently ask to touch it. The stitching, the strap rings, and the stud closures are also items that get noticed and remarked upon frequently.



The Waltzing Matilda Tom’s Bag is a great piece of handcrafted, leather art. At $450, it’s definitely an investment for the long run. But, you can be sure that the bag will endure for many years to come while allowing you to stylishly brandish it with your wares safely tucked inside. I look forward to carrying this bag and adding to the story it already had when it was delivered to me.

Love 41 Weekender Bag Review – $578

This is the second piece that we’ve received from Love 41 (we reviewed their Men’s Fork Tine Bracelet earlier).

The Love 41 Weekender Bag arrived just in time for me to be able to use it on an extended weekend trip over the Fourth of July holiday. My initial reaction to seeing the size of the bag and the layout of the pockets was extremely favorable – lots of space, and pockets just where you want and need them. Needless to say, I was anxious to use it.


About Love 41

To give a brief refresher, Love 41 is the “daughter” company of Saddleback Leather. Suzette Munson designs many of the bags found on Love 41 and operates the company as an online retailer that devotes 100% of its profits to supporting work being done in Rwanda for orphans and widows there.

We encourage you to take a few minutes out of your hectic schedule to read about Love 41 and what’s happening in Rwanda due in part to their dedication and your purchases through the company.



If you’ve had the privilege of using and carrying a Saddleback piece of any kind, you’ll notice some similarities in construction here. The Love 41 Weekender Bag is built to last. Suzette designed this piece to handle years and years of use. The bag has a generous helping of thick, full grain leather and incorporates waterproof, heavy waxed cotton from Scotland into it as well. Cap it off with heavy-duty antique brass hardware (zippers, clasps, snaps, D-rings) and you have a superbly crafted bag. It’s also backed with a 41 year warranty, which further reinforces the fact that this piece is well-engineered and created with expert craftsmanship.



Personally, I think the dimensions of this bag are right on the mark (22 1/2″W x 15 3/4″H x 10 1/2″D). I did not struggle at all to fit into it everything I needed to carry with me for the extended weekend. In fact, I had room to spare – which is an accomplishment for me. At 6’5” tall, my clothes are large. When I can throw a pair of size 12 shoes and the rest of my gear into one carry-on bag for a 3 ½ day weekend jaunt, I consider that to be awesome. The small zippered pocket inside creates a safe, easy to access area for storing watches and other small personal items that you don’t want just floating around in the main compartment.


The large front side pocket is ideal for carrying the now standard TSA-friendly see-through bag for your liquids and toiletry items. With the antique brass quick closure clasp on the pocket, you can easily remove it for screening and quickly put it back in after successfully navigating your way through security. Of course that pocket can be used for a myriad of other things – that was just how I chose to use it. The slot pocket on the rear is ideal for a magazine or newspaper. And never once have I had an issue with it fitting into any of the overhead bins on the various planes flown on to date.


The dual shoulder pads on the straps are very nice and comfortable – especially when you’re traveling by air and you have to change planes between two very spread out gates. Those thick pads allow you to carry the bag for long distances without it cutting into your shoulder.



The great folks at Love 41 sent this bag to me because it has, for a lack of better terminology, “cross-gender appeal”. Since my trip to Florida, my wife has also used this bag on two separate occasions for short trips – once down to Sun Valley, Idaho for a weekend and once over to Seattle, WA for a family wedding.


We both find the color and combination of leather and canvas to be very appealing. The detachable pockets on each end are ingenious. The large single pocket has become an everyday carry purse for my wife. The included strap and its size makes for an ideal cross body purse in her opinion. I think it looks great when she’s wearing it.


The only very, very minor issue she’s encountered during her use of the bag is that when the bag is packed tightly, the end pockets have a tendency to come unsnapped from the end walls. Of course, my retort to that is…don’t pack so much stuff. However, that’s a battle I will never win. Like I said though, it’s an extremely minor issue and one certainly isn’t in danger of losing those end pockets, since they are also clipped onto the bag with d-rings and sturdy clasps in addition to the snaps.


Now, consider yourself forewarned here. If you don’t like questions and comments from complete strangers about what you’re carrying, then I suggest you stick to the same old nylon stuff that most people carry when traveling. This bag has elicited comments on every single trip to date. Hotel clerks, folks at rental car counters, flight attendants, random passersby – all have expressed comments and asked questions about the Love 41 Weekender Bag. Be prepared.



The Love 41 Weekender Bag is a great piece to own. At $572, its purchase price may sting a little at first. However, you’re definitely investing in a not only a superb quality piece of luggage that you will enjoy for years, but also investing in the betterment of Rwandans like John, Joyeause, Athanase, and others who will benefit from Love 41’s involvement there (read their stories here). At, we think that’s a very wise choice and a great investment.

Koch Leather Guitar Strap – $60

Leather and music are an inseparable duo. It’s been that way for decades and there’s no reason to believe it will change any time in the near future. While we’re all thankful that parachute pants went the way of the Dodo, leather is an iconic piece of music’s past, present, and future.

Koch Leather is no stranger to the music scene. They’ve been making their guitar straps for the past couple of years and they have been well received. Not only are a few well-known Christian musicians sporting Koch Leather guitar straps – they also worked in collaboration to create a line of straps for Hogjim Guitar Gear.


About Koch Leather

This is the second piece Best Leather has reviewed for Koch Leather, which is owned and operated by Josh and Jen Koch in Pinetop, AZ. They’re just about to wrap up a successful Kickstarter program (congrats!) and we look forward to seeing this talented couple launch into their budding business full time.



Black Horween Chromexcel + Koch’s attention to fine detail = one awesome looking, perfectly functioning guitar strap. One of the things I appreciate about Koch Leather’s construction practices is clean lines and attention to detail. It’s evident in all of their products when looking at the way the leather is cut, the seams are sewn, the rivets are placed; it is easy to see they take pride in their workmanship.



The Koch Leather Guitar Strap does its job well and feels great when you’re strapped into your guitar. The wide mid-section of the strap is comfortable across your neck and shoulder, which allows you to play comfortably while standing or sitting for long periods of time.


One thing that’s important to point out about the Koch Leather Guitar Strap is that it features two adjustment points. Many straps of this design usually only have one piece that is adjustable. Having both ends be adjustable allows the strap to be very customized to anyone’s guitar playing style. And, it’s a great feature for guitar players who are tall or who have additional girth in front of them…or those who have both of those situations to contend with.



Again…it’s Horween Chromexcel and Koch Leather makes it. Beyond that, the color is spot on for a guitar strap. Black is always “in” – but, if you desire, it can be ordered in two other colors: chestnut or brown. It’s hard to go wrong with a nice, thick strap made of leather when you combine it with the eye pleasing wood tones on an acoustic guitar. If electric guitars are your thing, it will definitely compliment those as well.


The finish of Horween’s Chromexcel combined with the clean lines of Koch’s construction combine to create an aesthetically pleasing piece of leather. And, it’s extremely functional to boot.

It’s a piece that gets noticed too. Every guitar player has a strap of some sort…so, it’s not something that gets noticed much most of the time. However, several different guys immediately noticed this strap – and they quickly pointed out the dual adjustability feature too.



Ditch the conventional, run of the mill straps at the music store and get yourself a quality piece of leather from Josh and Jen. The Koch Leather Guitar Strap is well worth the $60 investment. It’s a piece of equipment that will last as long or longer than your guitar and will age well year after year while giving you the ability to comfortably play your guitar from any position.


**Act quickly and you can get in on the tail end of Koch Leather’s Kickstarter, which ends on August 17th. If they hit their stretch goal, there may be an additional color available for the guitar strap and their other products. So go support their Kickstarter – inquiring minds want to know what that other color is going to be!


Love 41 Men’s Fork Tine Bracelet – $72

Who would have thought a bracelet made with dinnerware could look so classy? Love 41, the project of Suzette Munson, is exceptional at creating leather items that look good and do good.  Suzette and her husband Dave own a leather company that just might ring a few bells—Saddleback Leather Company.

So what’s with the “do good” reference? Love 41 was created as a humanitarian-minded extension of the company, with 100% of the profits donated to charity – particularly to work being done in Rwanda. (Why Rwanda? Visit this page on Love 41’s website for a great history refresher and to learn about why Love 41 exists.)



The Love 41 Men’s Fork Tine Bracelet is a unique, good-looking accessory. Made from five strips of tough, thick, full-grain leather, and embellished with real fork tines of various thickness, the bracelet offers a great look and appeal. It also softens over time and looks as if it will age well. The leather is dyed all the way through, so the color can withstand all of the daily wear and tear that your hands and wrists are subjected to—cooking, cleaning, working, and, if you’re a forgetful goofball like me, showering.



I always appreciate a thicker, cuff-style bracelet as it doesn’t jingle or rotate too much around my wrist. With its thick leather, the bracelet has a nice weight to it, and the two nickel snaps keep it feeling secure.

The only thing that concerns me with this bracelet is the sizing. Neither my husband, my three brothers, nor my dad could fit this bracelet using both snaps. Everyone had to use a single snap, which doesn’t feel as secure. The bracelet is 10.5 inches long, but you probably only get about 9 inches of use – so if you have a larger wrist, be sure to measure before purchasing. I’m sure in the future we’ll see Love 41 offer this great looking bracelet in a few different sizes in order to eliminate this minor issue.



You can order this bracelet in four attractive colors: Black, Chestnut, Tobacco, and Dark Coffee. My Dark Coffee bracelet is a great, versatile dark brown color, and can be worn casually or when you need to be all dressed up. This bracelet has been on my wrist now for several weeks and is extremely comfortable to wear. I consider it one of my “go to” accessories now and I thoroughly enjoy wearing it. The “L41” stamped on the fork tines is subtle and tasteful, yet it’s noticeable enough that people ask what L41 means and is a great conversation starter. I enjoy sharing about Love 41’s desire to be so involved in the healing of the precious people of Rwanda. So far, I haven’t encountered anyone in my conversations who has not expressed respect and admiration for that kind of dedication from a business. So, big props to Love 41 for their focus and willingness to engage with those less fortunate in Rwanda!



The Love 41 Men’s Fork Tine Bracelet is a simple and attractive accessory that can easily be paired with any outfit. Supporting sustainable charity and handmade goods, all while looking stylish, is a no-brainer; it’s a win-win for everyone. Gents, if you’re looking for a great gift for your wife, mom, grandmother, sister, “significant other”, or even yourself, Love 41 features many great bags, jewelry, apparel, and accessories. Many of these pieces are handmade by artisans from Rwanda or through other socially responsible partnerships they’ve forged.  So, please visit Love 41 and know that you’ll not only get a great, high quality product – your purchase is going on to do some amazing work in a worthwhile way.

Koch Leather Small Horween Tote Review – $165

Personable, pleasant, hard working, with a desire to create items that will last and last – that’s my impression of Josh and Jen Koch. Oh, and those items they’re making? Why, they’re beautiful, functional leather goods.

About Koch Leather

The genesis of Koch Leather (Koch is pronounced like “Coke”, not “cah-ch” for clarification) was their personal search for a good wallet. After an unsuccessful search for what they were looking for, they embarked on the process of making their own. That little foray turned into a small, part time business, which has steadily grown due to the popularity of their items, their stunning customer service, and of course, their high quality products. In fact, Koch Leather is gearing up to become a full time operation. They just launched a Kickstarter campaign to help them launch this new effort for their business. We wish them much success in this endeavor!



After speaking with Josh about Koch Leather, we determined it would be a good idea to review one of their popular tote bags. They offer two sizes, small and large, in their totes. The small tote measures 12″H x 10″W x 4″D while the large tote measures 15″H x 13″W x 5″D. The straps on the small tote feature a 10” drop while the larger model has a drop of 12″ to the top of the bag. These totes feature an interior pocket that’s perfect for keys, your smartphone, and a couple of other small items. Copper rivets and a silver stud flap closure keep it held together tight.

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The Koch Leather Small Horween Tote sent to me was hand crafted using Horween Chromexcel in a rich brown color. The copper rivets are set off nicely with this color combination. The straps are constructed of Horween Chromexcel Double Shoulder in the same color, providing a little more substance and thickness to them that’s just right. All of the stitching, expertly done, just further enhances the bag’s appearance. This combination creates a very luxurious, high-end look and feel. Needless to say, upon seeing this bag, my wife immediately took possession of it and “claimed” it. Now she’s very happy with being able to use the Koch Small Leather Tote for whatever she wishes.

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The small interior pocket is really a nice feature on the tote. Out of everything on the bag, this little feature excited my wife the most. “I don’t have to fish around in it for my phone or keys…this is great!” she said right after commandeering the bag from me. The second feature she made positive note of was the strap length. For her, it’s the ideal length for shoulder carry as well as having it easily be carried down at her side.

As far as storage capacity, it has plenty of room. For test purposes, she stuck her keys, phone, and a couple of pens in the side pocket with room to spare. Then she loaded up her camera and her iPad Mini. It will contain several more items with ease and still close with the attractive strap and post closure setup. It even holds two Canon dSLR bodies side by side.

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It seems to me that this is an ideally sized tote for one person – whether it’s used to transport personal electronics, for a quick trip to the farmer’s market, or even used as a stylish diaper bag for an evening out with your infant or toddler. It’s not big, cumbersome, or over the top in its style. In fact, it’s quite the opposite; it just does its prescribed job and looks really, really nice while doing it.

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Personally, I think Koch Small Leather Tote is very attractive. Josh and Jen offer their totes in several different color combinations and all of them look great. I think the dark brown Horween Chromexcel is extremely eye pleasing. As I mentioned earlier, this color really sets off the copper rivets and creates a very classy look.

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I also don’t see how it’s possible to break this thing while using it in a reasonable fashion. Sure, you could probably rig it in-between a couple of Clydesdales and let them do a marvelous job of tearing it apart. But, is that really an accurate way to measure the durability of something like this tote? Of course not. I’m positive that you will be able to load this thing up day in and day out for years to come and it’s just going to continue looking better and better. Horween leather, copper rivets, and heavy gauge stitching…it’ll just improve over time. I have a feeling that you’ll wear out before the Koch Small Leather Tote.

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The Koch Leather Small Horween Tote definitely falls into’s Buy It For Life category. The price of $165, which includes standard domestic shipping, is not prohibitive at all given the materials used and the expertly hand crafted construction. The high aesthetic value and functionality of the tote just adds to that decision. Couple all of that with the bulletproof construction and materials and you’ve got yourself a tote that will easily be handed down to your kids and probably their kids too.

Be sure to check out their Kickstarter, which runs until August 17th. After that, you can always order the tote or other marvelous items created by them on their website.

PACT Small Tablet Sleeve Review – $130

No thread, no glue, no rivets, no zippers, no buckles…NO PROBLEM. That’s right…you won’t find any of those things included in the design and creation of a PACT product. PACT has created quite a buzz among the guys here at The first time I stumbled onto their website, my initial reaction was “no way” – then the next day I was sitting in a coffeehouse across the table from Darrin Griechen, one of the founders of PACT and the principle designer of their product collection. After closer inspection of the actual products, my second reaction was, “WAY!”. Innovative, cutting edge, stylish, minimalist, built to last, yet utilizing a classic material (high quality US tanned leather) – those are the things that come to mind when I think of the prototype products Darrin gladly shared with us.



About Pact

Keeping it simple is what it’s all about for PACT. Based in Spokane, WA this new startup is dedicated to crafting leather cases and satchels, made by hand in the USA designed to complement digital devices that we all use everyday. They guarantee their products for life and this is very evident in the attention to detail in construction and the methods used to construct their pieces.


The construction of the PACT Small Tablet Sleeve deserves appreciation and close inspection. We’re pretty sure you’ve never seen vegetable-tanned leather cut, folded, and fitted together in this fashion. The design of the connection tabs (for a lack of a better word to describe them) seems to gain strength with age. With any leather product, there is some stretch that occurs over time, but the security of these tabs, after inspecting one five year old prototype piece, appears to be rock solid.



The PACT Small Tablet Sleeve is sized just perfectly for an iPad mini or similarly sized tablet device. Staying true to form, the premise of its function is simple. Protect your tablet in style using quality leather. The easy fold over flap and slip in cross piece are easy to manipulate and completely uncomplicated (no clasps, buttons, latches, buckles). And, it’s only leather – nothing there that can potentially scratch your screen or cause any other type of damage to your device. It has a small footprint, carries easily on its own, or stores in another bag without bulk.



One of the things I like to do is put a product out in front of people and see how they react. I always attempt to do this in a not-so-obvious fashion because I really do want to see how observant people are and gauge their honest reaction to standout products. My ‘testing’ method proved itself to be flawless with the sleeve from PACT. It consistently incited questions, comments, and the always good to hear question, “where can I buy one for myself?”. It’s amazing to see how a piece of leather, expertly designed and crafted, can create so much positive dialogue. So, in light of my taking the case to several meetings and outings, the aesthetic value of the PACT Small Tablet Sleeve is impressive…not only in my personal opinion, but in the general public as well (at least those people who have to endure sitting in meetings with me, eat their dinner next to me, sitting in the same pew at church…you get the picture). It garnered consistent questions and positive comments



Darrin and Ben, the founders of PACT, have invested a great deal of time, energy, skill, and thought into all of the PACT products. They’re in the early stages of a Kickstarter campaign and my guess is that both of them are constantly refreshing their browsers to get the latest updates on pledges. These guys are committed to creating a great company with great products. And, they’re dedicated to building them in the US. In light of the time I’ve spent with the PACT Small Tablet Sleeve my conclusion is that it is a buy it for life product. The leather will just get better looking over time and the ingenuity in design will keep it functioning perfectly for many years to come.

Shinola Envelope for iPad Mini Review – $145

Handmade in America always has a nice ring to it. Handmade by a company based in Detroit really gets people’s attention these days. The Great Recession has certainly taken a heavy toll on American based manufacturing and it seems that Detroit has taken one of the hardest hits of all. So, when a company drives a stake in the ground and says we’re going to make our claim in Detroit, it makes news. In 2011, that’s just what Shinola did.

“We know there’s not just history in Detroit, there is a future.” – Founders of Shinola


About Shinola

Originally, “back in the early days” (which generally means ‘before the majority of our online readership was alive’), Shinola was just a brand of shoe polish. Now, repurposing the brand name and anchoring their base of operations in Detroit, MI, Shinola works with artisans and craftspeople located in Michigan, Wisconsin, Missouri, and Florida. Not only do they create fine leather products, they also are building watches, bicycles, pet products, and journals. All truly made in the good ol’ USA.


Construction was pleased to receive the Shinola Envelope for iPad Mini, in an eye-pleasing dark blue color (there are seven color choices available). The vegetable tanned Horween leather is, to no one’s surprise, extremely supple and elegant. It features a simple flap design with a snap closure. Attributing to the elegance of design and Shinola’s dedication to offering premium products, each piece created is individually numbered. The iPad envelope measures 6 inches by 9 inches and has a whip-stitched internal card pocket on what can be considered its back wall.


Shinola uses the expert craftspeople of Eric Scott in Ste. Genevieve, Missouri to create all of its leather products. Their facility uses an intensive hands-on production process, where everything – from the cutting and stitching to the splitting and skiving – is done by skilled workers, many of whom have been perfecting their craft for decades.



Shinola’s envelope for iPad Mini is well designed, created with skill, and performs its role perfectly. It’s a case for a tablet. But, what it does though is creates a feeling of high style and allows you to carry your iPad Mini swathed in luxurious leather, and yes…people notice. This simple blue case has garnered comment after comment. People want to hold it, touch it, feel it. Trust me, you’ll receive lots of “oohs and ahhs” because of this case. And that is exactly one of the primary goals Shinola has in place. They want to be seen as luxurious…artisanal. Kudos to them for accomplishing that task well.



Shinola’s attention to detail and their desire to have everything connected with them “ooze quality” is evident at every step. You’ll notice this as soon as you pick up delivery at your front door and open the box. People some times joke about presentation in the world of cuisine, real estate, and other places…but, while it may be something that gets tossed around somewhat jokingly, it’s always something that remains etched in people’s minds. You simply don’t forget about how delicious a meal looked or how beautiful that one house appeared. Such is the case with opening up the box for the Shinola Envelope for iPad Mini. The nicely crafted box, heavy butcher paper, and the cotton drawstring bag…it all speaks back to Shinola’s mission and vision for their company. Open up the bag, touch the leather, pull it out, open it up, and you discover a weighty metal piece that is similar in size to a business card. On that metal plate is the number that matches the one etched on the back of your case. And, that plate proudly displays the crafter’s name who made your case. Impressive.

The case itself is certainly not trumped by the presentation of its packaging though. Again, the attention to detail here is over the top. Fine stitch work, perfect edges, and a snug fit that makes you feel comfortable about having your iPad Mini encased in it.



Shinola’s Envelope for iPad Mini is definitely a buy it for life product. Along with the heirloom quality materials and workmanship, your iPad Mini envelope is covered by their repair/replacement warranty for life.’s conclusion is that if you love your iPad Mini and want it to be swaddled in the best leather possible, while creating a stunning appearance for it, get a Shinola Envelope for iPad Mini.

Far Horizon Traders Ascent Rucksack Review – $349.99

Smells good, looks good – and no, I’m not talking about coming home to a tasty dinner prepared by my amazing wife. I’m referring to my initial response to opening up the box containing the Far Horizon Traders Ascent Rucksack. The rich leather aroma is tantalizing and long lasting with this bag. It has garnered attention in my office for the past week simply based on its pleasant fragrance – and most people haven’t even seen or touched the rucksack yet.


About Far Horizon Traders

All of the bags from Far Horizon Traders (FHT) are handmade in several locations around the globe. Matt, the founder of FHT, has traveled extensively over the years and through his adventures has met and worked with skilled leather craftsmen with whom he has partnered to offer unique, high quality bags with conventional cow leather, camel leather, and water buffalo leather. “Everybody’s got a water buffalo, yours is fast but mine is slow…” I always think of that Veggie Tales song when I read the words ‘water buffalo’.

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The Far Horizon Traders Ascent Rucksack is handmade in the highlands of Central Mexico. It’s constructed of 4-5oz. full grain, vegetable tanned cowhide and has a nice earthy brown hue to it that’s pleasing to the eye. Heavy duty hardware is used in the grommets that surround the opening – through which a heavy strip of leather runs acting as a drawstring closure.


Matching “aged” brass buckles are used to secure the bag’s lid and for adjusting the carry straps. There is one well-placed pocket on the outside of the rucksack that is ideal for a boarding pass while traveling or other small wares. The inside features a heavy canvas/twill liner in a classic off-white color, which makes it easy to view and locate items inside the bag without getting frustrated. Also inside, you’ll find a leather pocket, several pen loops, and a leather key lanyard.



I like heavy duty stuff – it’s just the way I am. I have a ¾ ton truck, a ¾ ton Yukon XL, big sons, big tools…the list goes on. And, I like thick, heavy leather. Initially I was a little skeptical of the FHT Ascent Rucksack. It’s thinner and lighter than my other leather goods. So, what did I do? I loaded it up with my usual items. My MacBook Air, iPad, camera, assorted gear, pens, and other miscellaneous EDC (every day carry) items went into the rucksack to test its mettle. While exploring one of our beautiful, local rivers the rucksack performed without issue. It was comfortable – no complaints.



The FHT Ascent Rucksack has exceeded my initial expectations. Its 18”h x 12”w x 9”d size certainly will handle plenty of gear and all the while doing it in high style. The strap/buckle system is easy to use and frustration free when you want to access the contents of the bag. Long term, my only concern is the skinny shoulder straps. If there is anything that calls for improvement on the Ascent Rucksack, it’s an upgrade in the shoulder strap department. Even if the same 4-5 oz. leather is used, but widened from the current one inch in width to even just 1.5 inches, I think that would provide additional substance to eliminate apprehension when loading it up and carrying it on long adventures. And, heavier straps will definitely serve it well for many years. The small shoulder pads are sufficient in distributing the weight comfortably, enabling you to wear it for extended periods of time.


Best Leather Conclusion

You will need to search far and wide to find a better handmade, quality leather bag at this price point. With that and Far Horizon Traders full satisfaction guarantee, it’s even more appealing. If you’re looking for a light, low bulk, handmade leather bag with supple, attractive leather that’s cut and assembled by hand, then the Far Horizon Traders Ascent Rucksack should a serious contender as considers this a good value/cost option. And…you’ll really like the way it smells.

Check out the Far Horizon Traders Ascent Rucksack here.

Click here to see our other leather backpack reviews.

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