Tusk Troy Duffel Review

Troy Duffel Review 

Finding the perfect bag for a weekend trip or just going to the gym is always a challenge. Either  it’s way too big or it’s just a tad too small. The Troy Duffel was made with that in mind. A duffel  that will fill a range of roles, including your every day carry-bag. 

A lot of duffels are heavy and bulky, with too much hardware. The Troy duffel is made to be one  of the toughest bags, made in both, sturdy canvas, with leather trim and quality hardware and  durable Italian calf skin. The shoulder strap is detachable, which is great if you just prefer to  carry it by the handles. Conquer clutter with the inside zipper and slide pockets Fill the rest of  the main zipper compartment with enough clothes to turn any weekend into a long weekend.  This bags aesthetic is versatile and will be perfect both for a quick getaway but also a more  formal business trip. This duffel will last you a long time, even with minimum care.

Tusk has been in Business for more than 30 years, and has for the last 20 years owned their  own factory in Mumbai, which is set up like an Italian workshop with the best craftsmen, who  are making the pieces so many customers have come to love through the years. And are proud  to say have been with the company since the very beginning. Owning their own factory keeps  the costs low, while never compromising on the quality or integrity which benefits the us  customers.

Triple Aught Design Parallax Messenger Bag Review – $315.00

The backpack vs messenger bag debate has been going on for quite some time. Backpacks usually offer more capacity and utility, whereas messengers are more “grown up” and easier to access. In this installment, we take a look at the Triple Aught Design Parallax Messenger Bag, which I think does a great job at meshing the strong suits of both bag types into one cohesive carry option.

Construction

The Parallax is composed mainly of a proprietary ripstop nylon produced by Dimension-Polyant, a major manufacturer of professional grade sailcloth. You know those boats that are skimming halfway out of the water piloted by dudes with Rolex watches? Yeah, that kind of sailcloth. It’s essentially a combination 200 Denier Nylon with special X-Ply Polyester tafetta backing, a .25 mil PET Film, which is described as “BOPET (Biaxially Oriented Polyethylene Terephthalate) is a polyester film made from orientated polyethylene terephthalate (PET). BOPET is used because of its high tensile strength, chemical and dimensional stability, transparency, reflectivity, gas and aroma barrier properties and electrical insulation.” So, we’re talking about some serious hardware here. The material is inherently water and abrasion resistant.

Measurements come in at 18” (45.72cm) W X 12” (30.48cm) H X 5” (12.7cm) D and the Triple Aught Design Parallax weighs just over 2 lbs empty. TAD spared no expense with the YKK zippers, Fidlock/Duraflex buckles too, the feature list on this pack goes on and on.

Function

Typically messenger style bags fall just out of my usage range, often being too narrow to carry bulkier items. The Parallax Messenger hits that sweet spot of being just big enough without being obtrusive. You can easily fit a water bottle, light sweater, laptop/tablet and bagged lunch in this pack. If you ride a motorcycle you’ll appreciate the underarm supplemental strapping that keeps the bag secure and stows away when not in use.

This bag has tons of pockets and ways to organize your things. It’s definitely fun tweaking it to your needs. The material used for the bag is somewhat loud when handling, vaguely comparable to opening a bag of fiery cheetos. The buckles utilize a magnet to snap into place, then must be slid out – this makes shutting your bag easy but opening it a little more involved, which is what you want – your gear secure.

 

Aesthetic 

Triple Aught Design has a very clean, signature aesthetic. No unnecessary  embellishments or gimmicky style ques. The bag is a purely functional tool, which happens to look great. This could work in a number of situations, allowing you to transition pretty seamlessly from casual to business. All of the quality components down to the stitching just give the bag a classic appeal that still manages to be under the radar.

Please TAD Responsibly

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Conclusion

Triple Aught Design is one of the few apparel and gear companies that keep American manufacturing ahead of the competition. Their designs are iconic and have been replicated, duplicated and sometimes downright ripped off by other brands. The real McCoy stands out. Triple Aught Design’s Parallax Messenger uses cutting edge materials and every facet of design has been meticulously thought out. All of this innovation commands a premium price, so it consider your budget and end uses carefully.

Buffalo Jackson Denver Leather Belted Briefcase Review – $374.95

We’re big fans of Buffalo Jackson here at BestLeather. I’ve personally been keeping an eye on them since early 2014 when I got my first pair of Yukon 500 Mile Shorts. They’ve really expanded their leather collection and I’m always running across great products. Today I’m taking a look at their Denver Leather Belted Briefcase.

Construction

The Denver Brief is made from full grain cow leather. The model we’re looking at is called Autumn Brown and Dark Briar, hower it is offered in a few other finishes. Nylon thread is used for stitching the panels and we also see antique brass finished rivets located at high stress areas. The interior utilizes a more forgiving suede. The top flap uses leather straps and a heel bar buckle. This bag measures 15.5″ L x 11″ H x 7″ W and weighs 6 pounds. They are handmade in Mexico. If you’re into style and gambling, but not sure what to wear, try following a Style Guide for Gamblers. For players looking to feel comfortable, fit in, and impress other guests, this ultimate style guide for gamblers has got your back.

Function

This bag in my opinion works best when you usually don’t need much else besides the essentials. If you’re in an office and drive a car to work, this bag works. I say that because when you’re in an office and drive you can keep your daily support items in those places (i.e lunch in office fridge or coat in car) and retrieve when needed. This bag will hold a 15” Laptop, a few books, thin sweater no problem. The buckles offer a very solid closure to the bag and they’re adjustable so you can really fine tune how much play you want.

This bag has a open slot on the back, good for quick access to papers or tablets. The interior features 2 compartments separated by a leather divider with a crude organizer. I would really to like to have seen a zippered pocket for small loose items like USB drives or cords though. I do appreciate the leather key clip holder and the smart laptop snap that keeps it secured. The large, padded shoulder strap really makes carrying heavier loads comfortable.

Aesthetic

One of my favorite things about Buffalo Jackson’s dry goods in general is that I feel like I’m taking a little bit of the outdoors wherever I go. I could be shoulder deep in New York city, but I feel like I’m hiding the Tetons in my bag. The rich, earthy tones really set off an adventurous vibe. Visually, there’s really not much I would add or subtract. It may be too rough-hewn for a suit and tie occupation but for a student, contractor, or blue collar professional it’s a great balance between style and function. 

Conclusion

With all the pedigrees of a solid bag, Buffalo Jackson’s Denver Leather Belted Briefcase has style and durability. There is a compromise in functionality with the buckles and limited organizer, but those tradeoffs ensure a bag that will last. The price point puts it in a playing field with a lot of other great bags but few in my opinion capture that rustic allure that this bag offers.

Kodiak Leather Buffalo Leather Pilots Bag- $249

A quality and stylish briefcase is a real attention grabber and is a key element to a fashionable men’s and women’s wardrobe. Briefcases can hold the minimal – laptop and a few folders or the carry all – books, tech, folders and even cloths as an indispensable travel companion. 

Kodiak Leather’s Pilot Bag seems to fit the bill for both office and travel in its style, function and durability. 

About Kodiak Leather Co.

Kodiak Leather Co. of Utah is a startup in Lehi, Utah founded by Jared Morse, an outdoorsman who was frustrated by the lack of reasonably priced leather bags that would hold up through all the wear and tear of daily use. This inspired Jared to create Kodiak Leather Co. and our custom leather bags. After finding only the highest quality leather and hardware, he set out to build a bag that would last a lifetime.

Fast Forward 4 Years…
 
After having 4 successful Kickstarter campaigns, the Buffalo Leather Satchel, The Classic Weekender Duffel, the Sitka Leather Messenger, and the most recent Yukon Garment Bag,  they have come full circle on offering a wide variety of travel bags , briefcases (similar to the satchel and the messenger), as well as some smaller, everyday carry items like journals and wallets.
 

Construction

The Pilot Bag is made from a thick top grain buffalo leather and a high grade thread. Premium brass hardware and YKK zippers are used in the bag.

The bag is available in 2 leather finishes: antique brown and dark walnut (pictured). The dimensions of the bag are 5 “deep x 18″ length x 14″ height. The bag has 2 zippered exterior pockets and 2 pouch pockets with a magnetic snap closure. Behind the flap that covers the pouch pockets there is a pocket that has a velcro tab to keep it closed.

There are 2 zippered main compartments with a laptop pocket and dividers. There are also interior side slots for cards, a device pocket and 2 pen holders.

The interior of the bag is lined with a dark brown fabric liner. On the sides of the bag is a strap and buckle system to cinch in the bag.

The removable strap is a combined use of quality nylon and leather. In addition to the removable strap there are two regular top handles with a 2 snap closure.

Function

This bag can easily serve as your carry all office and travel companion to hold a laptop, cords, accessories, books, folders, clothes, and even camera gear. The outside pockets and flaps make ideal spots for wallets, passports, keys, passes, newspapers and other small gear to place in while traveling. Heck, having a newborn son, I would even consider it as a very convenient and classy baby bag that could make many other dads envious.  

Aesthetic

The buffalo leather used for this bag is soft and lightweight and has a very stunning antique distressed finish. The zippers, as stated above, are of high quality making it easy to zip and open when full. Although some many prefer more buckled hardware as opposed to the magnetic snap closures on the front pocket, I appreciate the convenience of getting in and out of the pockets quickly. I’m not a huge fan of the velcro tab in the front pocket but understand why it was put there. I see the velcro wearing out in time but it is a very small detail that does not bother me in the grand beauty and construction of the bag. 

The bag overall has a great feel to it when carried with the snapped handle or the shoulder strap. The weight is evenly distributed and as mentioned before, is not super heavy like a lot of leather bags on the market. I feel confident in saying that my shoulder and back will not suffer if carrying this bag for a longer period of time (unless of course you have very heavy cargo).

Conclusion

Let’s be real- most leather briefcases come with a hefty price tag. Understandably so given the materials and labor that goes into making them. What I am very impressed with about this pilots bag and all of Kodiak Leather Co. products is a very fair price that does not, in my opinion, sacrifice the quality or integrity of the product. The Pilot Bag is a welcome addition to my leather bag collection and one that I look forward to using for many years and handing down to my son. Check it out this bag -here- as use code: ‘ABANACH20’ to receive a generous discount for taking the time to read this review!

Buffalo Jackson Jefferson Leather Briefcase – $524.95

While I’m a fan of standard briefcase designs, it’s refreshing to see one with a unique take. Buffalo Jackson’s Jefferson Briefcase diverges from the typical buckle closure to favor a two-compartment bag that’s a great option for a slim laptop carry.

About Buffalo Jackson

Buffalo Jackson Trading Company is the story of the Rugged Gentleman™, a flesh and blood character defined by the values of grit, honesty, pride, and character.

Founded in Colorado in 2009 and currently residing in North Carolina, Buffalo Jackson is a brand inspired by the great outdoors. Their aim is to bring quality products that keep us connected with the rugged wild that we came from.

Leather & Construction

The Jefferson is made of full-grain vegetable cowhide with a pull-up finish. The leather is thick and assembled to have a semi-rigid structure. The outermost seams are all turned inward, protecting the threads and giving a very streamline look to the bag. Internally the bag is lined with a durable cotton/poly material in herringbone. Construction is of high quality with no notable concerns.

Inward seems make for a nice profile.

Hardware is brass, a good balance of strength and low weight. Two thick handles make carrying by hand easy, and an adjustable strap with pad allows for shoulder carry as well.

Function

The Jefferson is made up of two compartments, symmetrically placed on either side with their own zipper. Both sides have a laptop or tablet compartment against the inner wall. On the other side are smaller organization pockets. Documents or books could fit between.

Surprising amount of room.

This alternate take on the briefcase does solve what I personally think is the biggest issue with the typical flap and buckle design: being able to pick up the bag quickly at any time. With the flap, you have to close the buckles before picking it up by the handle. Otherwise you’ll awkwardly pick up the flap and the bag hangs open. The Jefferson’s handles are attached to the sides of the bag where you can grab them and lift anytime, even with the zippers open.

Grab and go.

The zipper does have its drawbacks. For example, I found myself using my hand to protect the zipper-side of my laptop as I pulled it in and out. Otherwise the zipper brushes against my laptop and I was nervous about scratches. Also, the zipper on my Jefferson was very sticky and caught frequently. I’ll definitely need some waxing to smooth them out. This may not be the case for every Jefferson produced as YKK zippers are usually reliable.

I think the best use case for the Jefferson is as a daily laptop bag. It’s compact and convenient to carry while still having room for more items. It can open and expand a bit more than you might think–I was able to fit about 2″ (5cm) of books or other semi-flat items in either side before it became difficult to close. The Jefferson is conveniently sized to be a perfect “personal item” on most major airlines.

Laptop is protected in center of the bag.

Aesthetic

The Jefferson is a beautiful design to show off the polished, pull-up leather it’s made with. It gives off a vintage vibe in a way that doesn’t ever seem out of place. I’m a huge sucker for pull-up leather, and it really pops on the Jefferson. The variations and gradients reflect the light just right. You’ll be very proud to carry this bag into the office and probably get a lot of compliments along the way.

Look at that shine!

Conclusion

If you want a leather laptop carry but need to keep it minimal, the Buffalo Jackson Jefferson briefcase is a great choice. The zipper compartments are a unique feature for a briefcase with their pros and cons. It’s quick and easy to grab and go every day and can hold a fair amount of extras. It’s well built with gorgeous pull up leather. The price is around what you’d expect. The Jefferson is a great slim carry option that should last for decades.

Forbes & Lewis Somerset Holdall – $426

I’ve always called these sorts of bags “duffle” bags, but holdall is more accurate, isn’t it? It truly “holds all” you need. Forbes & Lewis’ Somerset Holdall is an excellent entry in this category for a wide variety of purposes. The Somerset looks great and will fit in just about anywhere from business travel to an outdoor get together. 

About Forbes & Lewis

Forbes & Lewis is a family owned business based in England:

Forbes & Lewis was founded by now married partners Samuel Lewis and Katie Forbes in 2013. The Duo got tired of buying products at either end of the spectrum, designer goods that cost far to much or cheap products that fell apart. We wanted to produce a collection that was made from the finest quality raw materials and put together to last that we could afford.

Forbes & Lewis products are made in India.

Leather & Construction

The Somerset Holdall is stitched together with a waxy buffalo leather on the outside and a silky polyester on the inside. The buffalo leather is medium thickness, making it strong but not too heavy. The wax gives the leather some pull-up, meaning the color will lighten and have variation as the leather moves during use. Construction is very clean with no noticeable flaws. 

A lack of reinforcement rivets and use of a fabric lining make me think the Somerset isn’t built to endure a bomb strike as much as some bags we see, but construction is very clean and materials are quality. Forbes & Lewis offers a two year warranty on all their products, but I would expect this bag to last for several years beyond that with regular use.

Function

When my girlfriend saw me writing this review she asked, “Oh, is that the fun bag you use all the time?” She’s right…this is a fun bag, and I use it all the time. Interestingly, I believe I’ve only used it once for travel. It certainly stands up to the name “holdall.” I’ve probably been heading to about 10 events this summer, realized I needed to hold a bit more than a backpack can handle, and happily thrown it all in my Somerset. The large size and wide zippered opening make it easy to get everything in and out. I would estimate the internal capacity to be in the 40 liter range, enough for several days on a trip or a blanket, football, water, and some snacks when going to watch the fireworks. 

 

The fabric internal lining offers a nice array of organization options. On one side is a padded laptop compartment and some small pockets, on the other a single larger zippered pocket. Perfect for your laptop or tablet, keys, wallet, etc. These items are fairly easy to get to even with the bag mostly full. Pockets are located relatively high up on the sides of the bag. 

Note that here I’m reviewing the large version of the Somerset. 

Aesthetic

At the majority of aforementioned outings, at least one person has been kind enough to compliment the Somerset. It’s sort of interesting that a bag that is virtually just “brown” is as beautiful as this one is. Maybe that’s exactly the beauty of it. In one of my favorite movies, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, a character wisely points out: “Beautiful things don’t ask for attention.” I think that’s where the Somerset shines. It’s not loud or flashy, but strong. Leather is a beautiful material, and the waxy buffalo leather on the Somerset has texture, character, and is great to look at. 

Conclusion

The Forbes & Lewis Somerset Holdall is lovely, highly functional, versatile, and well-built. This bag is easy to use…it’s easy to fill up, it’s easy to grab and throw in the car, it’s easy to fit in wherever it goes. It’s the “fun bag you use all the time.” The price is about what you’d expect for a product of this caliber. I’m happy to recommend the Somerset as a great option for anyone in need of a quality holdall.

September 6, 2019: The Somerset is currently sold out, however, Forbes & Lewis is holding a Summer 50% off sale on the rest of their equally impressive products!

 

 

 

Buffalo Jackson Jefferson Leather Duffle Review – $549.95

I’ve never really been a luggage guy. A stiff nylon box with wheels attached to it, no thanks. You obviously can’t deny the convenience of a roller, but sometimes you just have to do things differently. When it comes to a weekend jaunt or an overnight business trip, duffles reign supreme. Finding that precarious balance of style, function and build can be tricky. I think I found a solid candidate however, Buffalo Jackson’s Jefferson Leather Duffle

Construction 

The Jefferson Duffle is made up of full grain leather, the wax finish and vegetable tanning process provide for a “pull up” effect which is the way the leather seems to darken or lighten when handled. The interior features a largely cotton lined interior in a herringbone pattern. We see YKK solid brass zippers as hardware. Along with the double grab handles, the Jefferson also has D rings which you can attach the included shoulder strap for handling heavier loads hands free.

 Function 

There’s a scene in the classic romcom,  Joe vs. The Volcano where Joe visits a high end luggage boutique and a very passionate, somewhat eccentric salesman excitedly expounds on the features of a certain steamer trunk. I could totally see this duffle in that shop. The Jefferson has just about everything you need, and not much else you don’t. My favorite feature is hands down the shoe compartment. Segregating shoes or dirty laundry is crucial for me and not having to carry a plastic bag is nice. There’s plenty of space, bordering on too much – if you were to pack this bag it would not only be heavy (The bag weighs a few pounds empty) but somewhat cumbersome. I would really have liked a small slotted pocket on the exterior for quick stashing of small essentials like phones, wallets or keys. This bag shines as a weekend get away bag or as a classy gym bag.

Aesthetic 

The classic design of the Jefferson seems to handle any scenario with finesse. I could totally see a hot shot business exec toting one into the country club locker room, yet could also see a blue collar guy throwing it in the pickup for a weekend camping trip. One of the absolute best things about leather is the fact it will look better with use, it will develop character and you’ll come to treasure it. So don’t be careful, throw it around and use it! The thick full grain offers a very appealing presence, this bag is like a puppy..people will comment on it..to a fault. 

Conclusion 

Buffalo Jackson’s Jefferson Leather Duffle does a great job of blending modern features with old world craftsmanship. The hefty price tag is definitely a hold up. You can get something just as durable in a non leather material for a fifth of the price, but you’d be hard pressed getting this aesthetic. The shoe compartment is a major selling point but the heavy weight of the bag is something to consider. All things considered, it’s a high quality bag that will not only perform, it will do it looking stylishly. As the great Deion Sanders put it, “If you look good, you feel good. If you feel good, you play good. If you play good, they pay good.” 

Mr. Lentz Medium Duffel Bag Review – $440

I’ve been impressed by a leather wallet assembled with rivets, but how about a whole duffel bag? The Mr. Lentz Medium Duffel Bag is a beautiful, sturdy, threadless overnighter that I’m happy to recommend for a variety of uses.

About Mr. Lentz

Mr. Lentz is an artist, a creator, and a cowboy. He believes in the value of creating something with your hands and from the heart. Each product is made to order. The leather and metal only products are a trademark of the company. In Mr. Lentz’ own words: “You just can’t beat that mixture.” Mr. Lentz also enjoys sharing his talents on his blog, encouraging others to get out and go back to the classic ways of doing things. Overall he’s a guy who puts a lot of passion into his work, and I definitely suggest dropping by his about page to read more.

All Mr. Lentz items have the Lentz brand and a product number.

Leather & Construction

Let’s talk about the two things in Mr. Lentz’ favorite mixture: leather and metal.

First, leather. Premium, full-grain, USA sourced leather makes up this duffel. It is as strong as it is pretty. It smells amazing. This is just plain, simple, quality leather. My favorite kind. Thickness is good for plenty of durability without overly weighing you down, based on the size of the bag. Edges are cut cleanly and smooth.

Next, metal. There’s a lot of durable thread out there, but none has the longevity of metal. If a well made leather item does need repair, it’s usually because the thread has worn out. Mr. Lentz avoids it entirely here. It only takes a few rivets to replace an entire row of thread. It would be challenging to make a direct comparison between the two options as to which has more pull strength, but in my experience the rivets hold up very well. It’s a unique concept and I’m a fan.

Function

This is the first bag that I’ve used around this size. It’s not as large as what I’d usually think of when I think of a “duffel.” This is a true overnighter; there’s just enough room for a change of clothes and a few other small items. I’ve also tried it as a basic computer or camera bag. My 13″ MacBook Pro fits, but only at an angle. A tablet computer would be a better choice for this bag. My small mirrorless camera fit with plenty of room–this would be an awesome camera bag with the help of a camera packing cube. I haven’t tested this myself, but I also suspect it could work well as a tool bag. It’s a really good size for a variety of day-outing or overnight applications.

A carry sample: small dopp, jeans, belt, paperback, socks, two t-shirts, wallet, charger, earbuds.

One of my first thoughts when I realized this bag was assembled solely with rivets was, what about small items? Couldn’t something like a pen slip through the gaps between rivets? So I tested this out. I was able to force a pen through the spaces between rivets, but it took a reasonable amount of effort. Only items much smaller than a pen would face any risk of falling out on their own. Everything larger will be well secured under the side panels, which can be secured with snaps, and the cover flap, held down with two buckles. The duffel isn’t waterproofed, though good conditioner can help prevent water damage.

Nothing bigger than a button will make it through gaps between rivets.

Aesthetic

The Mr. Lentz duffel uses strong, simple design to stand out. The appearance is clean and sophisticated, but simultaneously very rugged. The brass buckles and rivets are polished and lend themselves well to exhibiting sturdiness.

This duffel is a beautiful palette of natural tan colored leather. I personally think most leather products are at their best without dye, and I love the appearance of this bag. I’ve heard criticism of natural colored leather about it being too plain or lacking character, but that’s just nonsense. The individual markings and grain patterns from the cow are highly visible, ensuring you’re buying a one-of-a-kind product. Over time as this bag is used, treated with conditioner, and exposed to the sun it will continue to develop a beautiful patina. This patina will make it even more uniquely your own. This bag is beautiful now and will be more beautiful in the future.

Some of the natural, unique leather markings on my duffel.

Conclusion

I just love using products that focus on everything important and nothing that isn’t. The Mr. Lentz Medium Duffel Bag is a great example of this philosophy. Strong, beautiful leather skillfully (and cleverly) assembled into a highly functional design. This multi-purpose bag is going to treat you well for a lifetime–Mr. Lentz guarantees it with his 100 Year Guarantee. The price isn’t low, but you’re getting what you pay for. I recommend this duffel as a Bestleather Buy It For Life item.

Optional internal storage (+$80) provides a place for keys, wallet, etc.

Kodiak Leather 30L Weekender Duffel Review – $340

As a baby we require a diaper bag. As a boy, we need a backpack. As a man, we need a quality leather duffel. A leather duffel for travel is a must have for someone who looks for quality and statement pieces. Although high quality handmade leather bags tend to be on the pricey side, their quality should last a lifetime and even be able to be passed down to the next generation.

Kodiak Leather 30L Weekender Duffel is an exceptionally gorgeous bag, with all the pockets and room one needs for a weekend+ trip. And, in my opinion, is very affordable given the style, leather, design and overall quality. I was very excited to add this piece to my leather collection as my first leather duffel bag. I am now a man.

About Kodiak Leather Co.

Kodiak Leather Co. of Utah is a startup in Lehi, Utah founded by Jared Morse, an outdoorsman who was frustrated by the lack of reasonably priced leather bags that would hold up through all the wear and tear of daily use. This inspired Jared to create Kodiak Leather Co. and our custom leather bags. After finding only the highest quality leather and hardware, he set out to build a bag that would last a lifetime.

Fast Forward 4 Years…
After having 4 successful Kickstarter campaigns, the Buffalo Leather Satchel, The Classic Weekender Duffel, the Sitka Leather Messenger, and the most recent Kobuk Leather Backpack,  they have come full circle on offering a wide variety of travel bags , briefcases (similar to the satchel and the messenger), as well as some smaller, everyday carry items like journals and wallets.

Construction

The 30L Weekender duffel is made from a thick top grain buffalo leather and a high grade thread. Premium brass hardware and YKK zippers are used in the bag. The bag is available in 2 leather finishes: antique brown and dark walnut (pictured). The dimensions of the bag are 10″ deep x 20″ length x 11″ height. The bag has 2 zippered exterior pockets measuring 6″x7″. There is also interior side slots for cards, a device pocket and 2 pen holders The interior of the bag is lined with a dark brown fabric liner with an interior zippered pocket measuring 6″ x 9″ as well as side card, device and pen holders. The removable strap is a combined use of quality nylon and leather. In addition to the removable strap there are two regular top handles with a 2 snap closure.

Function

This is a great functioning bag for a weekend or even a longer pack. The zippers are  heavy duty and I can tell they will hold up over time and use. For me, it is just a perfect sized bag fitting plenty of clothes, books, travel gear and even a couple pairs of shoes if needed. I tend to pack minimally so this bag could suit a week’s travel trip for me. If you are one that needs more space, there is also a new kickstarter page for a 45L duffel  as well as a 60L duffel available with more pockets and features as well. The pockets are not that deep which for me is perfect as I won’t feel the need to stuff them and have a hard time finding a specific item. But if you are looking for a wider or deeper pocket, then you may consider the larger option. The side pockets to me are suitable for a wallet, regular sized smart phone, keys, passport and a small notebook or charger even. The inside pocket falls into the same category- not quite wide or deep enough for a toiletry bag or book but enough room for small accessories, change, keys, etc..

Aesthetic

As mentioned above, the color and look of this leather is just gorgeous with a more distressed look with plenty of cracks and contrast in the leather. I personally love this look as it looks already as if is an heirloom item and will continue to get that rugged look over time. I also like the fact that the bag is lined with a nice nylon fabric to protect any clothing. Lastly, although a small detail, I really like the fact that their are brass raisers on the bottom of the bag to somewhat keep the bag from resting or dragging on the ground. Most may not see the benefits of these, but I feel it’s a nice detail if not just a style touch.

Conclusion

There are so many options for leather weekender duffels on the market and they range in price based on the intricate work and, or course, high quality leather used. I feel this bag lays somewhere right above the middle ground with the top grain leather, lightweight yet very stylish and functional. And at a reasonable price. Kodiak Leather also features regular promotions and sales so keep your eyes peeled! Check out this bag –here– and use promotion code: ‘ABANACH20’

 

Triple Aught Design Axiom 24 Pack Review – $325.00

Growing up, all I needed was my leather bottom Jansport. It served me well on the playground and through middle school. As I made the rough, aberrant transition into adulting I found out my trusty pack wouldn’t cut it. Soon I found myself with a briefcase, an overnight duffle, a gym bag, etc. It was  a real nuisance swapping bags all the time, and it was then that I started my search for one bag to rule them all. In this review we’ll check out TAD’s Axiom 24 Pack and see if it can handle being a one bag…bag.

Construction

Probably the first thing you’ll notice when handling the Axiom is the textile material composing the shell. VX-21 Ripstop is comprised of 4 layers including a C6 DWR 210D Nylon face, Polyester X-PLY, 0.25 mil PET film and 50D Poly Taffeta backing for abrasion resistance. Most of us are likely used to rough, heavy 1000D cordura, so it might seem like a sensory shock at first. Opening the bag is a little reminiscent of a bag of Lays Sour Cream and Onion at times but not overly noisy. The water resistance of this material is far more impervious to water than traditional ripstop, and much lighter.

The pack has a mesh back made of closed cell, cross linked polyethylene foam. We see Hypalon Synthetic Rubber across the top, enhancing water resistance even more so. Capacity is rated at  24 liters (1465 cu in) and the pack measures 12” (30.48 cm) W x 19.75” (50.165 cm) H x 7” (17.78 cm) D – Weight is about 37 ounces comparable to a male adult Chinchilla (Short tailed)

 Function

The admin pocket is very adept at consolidating all your small essentials into one manageable space.

The team at Triple Aught Design created several Axiom’s, and they took in customer feedback off previous renditions to really fine tune this pack, and it shows. If you’re familiar with their signature Fast Pack bags, but were leery of the tactical vibe, then the Axiom would be better suited for you. This bag has a streamlined, clean and uncluttered design. I found the top shallow pocket perfect for sunglasses or keys, although I would have liked to have had it lined with microfiber for electronics. TAD also included an ingenious side water bottle pocket that is completely gusseted to the inside of the pack. I was able to fit in my 40 oz Kleen Kanteen inside the pocket, which was a first as no other bag’s pouches were large enough.

The bag features a smaller organizational pocket which has lots of slots and zippered pouches for small items you want contained. There’s also an inversed compartment on the bottom of the bag, this is probably best for storing a rank gym shirt, Ke$sha CD or anything else you want out of sight. The main compartment has attachment points for MOLLE type accessories as well. I really appreciate the generous padding on the shoulders and back, both of which are very breathable.  Just keep in mind, all those streamlined pockets come at a cost. Anything you stuff into the side compartments or the inverted pocket, will directly eat up space in your main compartment.

Did I say the side pockets were handy? Because they most certainly are.

Aesthetic

I had a hands on review with TAD’s Fastpack, and while it was a versatile bag, I often felt it was a little too  tactical at times. TAD has managed to successfully replicate a lot of the features we see in that pack, but in a much easier to swallow pill. The Axiom has a very sleek look. Whereas the Fastpack was engineered, the Axiom was orchestrated. It’s like an adult bag for the guy who has a lot of toys. The coyote brown is a neutral color that goes with almost anything, it will also show wear more too, so something to consider when purchasing.

Aside from the watch, everything in this picture was made in the USA. I definitely try to buy quality American made goods when I can, and they really hold their own.

Conclusion

Triple Aught Design’s Axiom 24 is a well thought out, superbly constructed bag. It exhibits top notch, highly technical materials in its DNA. The price is definitely in the upper echelons as far as quality bags go, so you’ll have to decide if the price warrants the use. The Axiom is a very solid everyday bag that has the capacity and organization to get you through your day, day in and day out.  

Waterfield ZIP Laptop Briefcase Review — $219

UX (user experience) is a big topic in the Bay Area. And it’s not only important with software, but also with the briefcase that carries your hardware. It’s real meta. I like that.

This briefcase I’m about to tell you about has the perfect UX.

It’s the second iteration of Waterfield’s ZIP Laptop Brief, and it’s clear they paid close attention to the smallest details. In fact, my first draft of this review began with, “Wow, wow, wow. This bag is amazing!”

I still feel that way.

 

Deciding to Buy

The positive user experience started even before I made the purchase. When you’re buying online, it’s often hard to get a sense of the spatial aspect of products, but Gary, the founder of Waterfield, makes hands-on videos of everything they sell. His video overview gave me the sense of the size and dimensions, and I felt like this was the right product before I’d ever handled it myself.

I wanted a briefcase for my laptop and tablet and a few extras, but I didn’t want a bunch of unnecessary pockets that would complicate storing and finding things. The ZIP matches those criteria perfectly. It’s super sleek, just the right amount of bag and nothing extra.

Now I carry it when I travel, and I put my most valuable things inside. There’s not a bit of waste in the design, which might be a problem if you’re hoping to carry a lot, but it works great for my style.

 

Materials

I’ve ordered and used a lot of Waterfield bags, and this is the first time I’ve strayed from the waxed canvas with grizzly leather (which I’ve loved, and which is still an option for you, but this time I wanted a change).

The ballistic black is a cool synthetic textile. It’s clean but also sturdy and feels like it could take a lot of wear (though admittedly I haven’t had it long enough to verify that). It’s also incredibly water resistant. The leather accents look great with the black, giving it a bit more class. Personally, I like the look, but you can make that call yourself from the pictures.

The front pocket is hidden. The back looks super sleek–all black without significant seams. I just like the visual appeal overall.

 

Traveling with It

The grip on the inside of the shoulder pad clings, so it stays on well. If you want extra security, it’s comfortable wearing across your chest with the brief at your back. And the whole strap is removable, for when you want to be more streamlined. Oh, and it has a strap designed to slide over your luggage handle, making it an easy extra.

The zipper has a watershed design so you can carry your electronics in the rain without worry. I even tested this out: I put a tissue on the inside and then drenched the zipper with my water bottle, but nothing got through. I was surprised and impressed.

When the briefcase is zipped up, it’s thin and doesn’t take up much space. And it’ll even stand up on its own, though not too stably (depending on the weight and position of what’s inside).

The zipper also lets you open the briefcase 180 degrees, so it’ll lie flat on a table. This makes it TSA friendly, ideal for getting quickly through airport security. I’ve found this to be helpful when using the bag as a workstation too. It makes it easier to access things when you can lay it all the way open like that. And when you’re ready to go, you just grab the handles and everything folds to the inside. I love how simple and functional it is.

 

Delightful Details

This second iteration of Waterfield’s ZIP has only gotten more refined. For example, the zipper is positioned to one side, directly above the laptop slot, making it easier to access your primary item.

Another of my favorite UX design features is that you can charge your laptop while it’s still in the bag! They cut out a little notch to accommodate the power cord even while the bag is zipped up. What a clever thing to think of!

Oh, and as usual, Waterfield uses a gold inner liner, which not only looks good but also reflects light really well, making it easier to see your things (unfortunately, this doesn’t apply to the padded parts, which are the hardest places to see things).

 

Where to Put Stuff

On the inside, it has a couple padded pockets for power cords or a mouse. Next to these is another of my favorite features–a dedicated spot for your digital pen, where it won’t get lost.

On the opposite side are two additional padded slots, a larger one for a laptop, and a smaller one for a tablet. There’s also a velcro strap to keep them in place, but that’s a feature I generally don’t bother to use.

Between these two halves, there’s enough room to squeeze an extra shirt or other odds and ends.

The outside has a zipper guarding a pocket that rests flush with the side, but it’s designed to expand to accommodate more stuff if need be. It’s a good spot for your keys, wallet, or emergency floss.

The zippers on both this compartment and the larger one give me confidence that my stuff will never fall out, no matter what kind of turbulence we go through.

 

Conclusion

I’ve gone through several laptop bags, always looking for the optimal solution. The Waterfield ZIP Laptop Brief has been my favorite of the lot, and I’m grateful to have found it.

It’s thin and sleek, has sufficient pockets for what I need, but doesn’t go overboard like a lot of its competitors. It’s simple, functional, and looks great.

Most of all, it’s a bag I love using.

 

 

 

William Ross Travel Bag Review – $319

Hand-crafted for those who live a life on-the-go, the William Ross Travel Bag is designed with a sleek, authentic look that demands attention. Outfitted with full grain leather and durable, weather-resistant canvas, this was something I couldn’t wait to get my hands on. After a few days of using the olive green with tobacco leather model, I am sold.

Delivered with a hand-signed note from, Julene Etzenbach, Founder and CEO of William Ross Travel Bags, I quickly developed a deeper appreciation for the company and bag. Julene launched the company after needing a bag that was travel-friendly, functional, and efficient - meaning, not only was it lightweight, but it could easily fit daily must-have necessities. Needless to say, the Travel Bag was born.       

Personally signed in blue ink. It's the little things that matter.  

Construction & Function

Made from twill woven wax canvas, one of the first things that caught my eye was the texture of the material. Outfitted to withstand the elements, I had the unfortunate pleasure of getting caught in some Pacific Northwest rain while using this bag. Inside was my laptop, charger, and mouse, which all remained dry as a bone. For users who are new to wax canvas material, William Ross also includes a note regarding its properties and attention for care.

All my daily necessities and still some extra room. 

It’s clear that Julene had travelers in mind when designing this bag. As someone who is constantly switching between my keys, phone, wallet, or headphones, I was instantly attracted to the functionality of this bag. After adjusting the thick, yet malleable, leather shoulder strap to my desired length, I was welcomed by a side pocket that was positioned on the outside of the bag. Being right-handed, I love how user-friendly the side pocket is. I can quickly open and unzip the 9-inch pocket with ease. The last thing anyone wants to do is use two hands to open one pocket while walking. 

Yes, everything is still in there. 

Another unique quality of this side pocket is the design of the flap. Traditionally, buckles or latches accompany messenger bags. While they prove to be secure and look nice at face value, they aren’t always as functional as we need them to be. Instead, this bag features a pin-closure leather flap, positioned on the front pocket, which can effortlessly be released with no more than your thumb and index finger. This has to be the most undervalued asset of the Travel Bag.  

I love this front pocket. It's so quick and easy to open - genius design!

Inside the bag is more room than I’ll probably ever use, but, I’m a person who lives by the principle, “It’s better to have it and not need it, than need it and not have it.” While I do wish there was more organization to the vast open space, I see this as an opportunity for future outings.

One of my favorite aspects of its interior design is the sleek laptop sleeve. While my Microsoft Surface Pro 3 is a bit smaller than other models, the bag’s pocket can fit laptops up to 12-inches. Even the pocket’s placement is on-par with my ideal setup. Located on the inside of the front panel, I never felt my laptop hit my hip while walking, which is usually the case with most messenger bags.

Here's what was inside the main pocket. 

On the back side of the bag are two smaller pockets. Located closest to your body’s hip, their placement does make it a bit awkward when you’re trying to access items on-the-go. Nevertheless, these make for great ‘hidden’ pockets since spectators can’t see them at first glance. Because of this, the two 7-inch pockets are great for small valuables such as credit cards, cash, or passports.  

Aesthetic

Complemented by the water-resistant canvas, full grain leather pieces blend beautifully with the bag to deliver an eye-popping presence. I was personally drawn to this model because of its weathered look and tan appearance. Many travel bags seem to complement a niche demographic, whereas this one is designed for everyone.

Beautiful bag from top to bottom. 

From a top-down perspective, the bag is even sleeker when you see it from the front. It is comfortable and didn’t slide off my shoulder while out and about - even while walking at a quick pace. The main pocket features two brass zippers, which is perfect for those moments when you want to zip both to one side or meet in the middle.

These pockets are perfect for valuables. 

The other notable feature is its thick leather handle located on top of the bag. Constructed to fit a variety of hand sizes, it’s one more piece of leather that adds to its overall beauty. The leather-to-canvas ratio is flawless and the entire bag flows, stitch to stitch.   

Conclusion

All in all, the William Ross Travel Bag is an investment. It’s not a bag that you pick up at your local retailer and end up tearing in a year or two. The price tag may seem high, but it’s competitively priced to be the last travel bag you buy. It sets the standard and nearly puts the bag in a class of its own. Be sure to visit William Ross Travel Bags for more information and related products.            

Waterfield COZMO Leather Laptop Bag Review — $369

I love this bag. It’s the sort of accoutrement you can be proud of. It’s goes well with a rugged style, but it’s handsome enough to carry into a board room.

I got Waterfield’s COZMO leather laptop bag as a gift for my brother who’s just starting his professional career. It’s a beauty, which I’ve tried to capture in the pictures. And while it’s an expensive item, it’s also a worthy investment. Because it’s sturdily built and has a classic look, I expect it to last for his entire career and beyond.

Why I Love Waterfield Designs

If you’ve read my backlog, you know I’ve reviewed a few products from Waterfield. They’re based out of San Francisco, CA, and their focus is on bags and carry tech. I keep coming back to them because they continually impress me. I’d feel pretty confident even endorsing items from them that I’ve never seen in person. That’s how reliable they’ve been.

If I had one critique, it’s that they have too many products, making it hard to sort through their offerings and decide. But that also means they probably have THE EXACT product you’re looking for. (As proof of this fact, with their sleevecases, they invite you to send your laptop dimensions so they can make a case that fits exactly! That’s impressive.) So whatever tech you want to carry, they’ve probably already designed a bag for it.

How It Looks

This is the perfect bag for a business exec. It’s beautiful but also super useful. I got the compact version, so that’s what you see featured in the pictures. It’s big enough for a 13″ MacBook, and it has a second spot for an 11″ iPad Pro. They make a bigger version too if you need it.

For most of their products, Waterfield uses waxed canvas or smooth nylon as textiles that supplement the leather. But this bag is uniquely (and beautifully) all leather. This makes it stand out in among its high-class peers.

I love the grizzly leather color. It’s subtly distressed and boasts a simple, rugged perfection, without being a showoff. Also, as with most quality leather products, I expect its texture to improve over time, developing that classic patina. That makes it a good investment. They also have a black version which is much more formal.

Also, the waterproof zipper hides the teeth of the zipper, making it look sleeker. It’s a nice touch aesthetically. It’ll also protect your gear if you’re ever in the rain.

What It’s Like Using It

I design software interfaces for work, which means paying attention to the smallest details of the user experience (UX). And I love a few specific features of the Cozmo’s UX that really stand out.

The first is the golden interior lining (Waterfield uses this on most of their products). It’s light and very reflective, which brightens the interior of your bag and makes it so easy to see things inside. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been grateful for this feature. It’s a small thing that makes a big difference in everyday use. It also has a padded compartment with a divider so it can hold both a laptop and a tablet.

The second way they nailed the UX is the travel strap. This extra strap across the back is designed to slip over the handle of your luggage, making it easy to tote through an airport. That makes the Cozmo the perfect carry-on, containing your electronics as you move through security. Now, to be perfectly candid, when I’m not traveling sometimes I wish I could ditch that extra flap of leather (obsessive minimalism), but it lays flat and I’ve learned to ignore it.

A third thoughtful feature is the piece of plastic in the bottom, which keeps the base firm and wide so that the bag stands up on its own.

The zipper extends even further than the breadth of the top of the bag, making the opening super wide and easy to access. It’s small things like this that make a big difference in the user experience, and it’s a big part of why I appreciate Waterfield Designs so much.

I’m also impressed by the tough construction. The handles are sturdy, thick, and feel great in your hand. I even tried carrying around my 50-lb kettlebell in it, and the bag barely seemed to notice. The walls aren’t reinforced, though, and I left it stuffed with junk for a few days. After that, the mouth of the bag hung open a lot more. So beware that your use will change the shape. If you’d like to keep it as tidy as a file cabinet, only store it with that sort of thing inside.

In Conclusion

If you’re on the fence, go watch the video they have about creating a Cozmo bag. It’s impressive. They start with a single piece of leather, which is then measured, cut, and sewn by hand. It’s quality craftsmanship. And the leather is truly beautiful.

Waterfield’s COSMO Leather Laptop Bag is a well designed bag. It’s handmade from the highest quality leather. It’s designed to carry your laptop, your tablet, and the rest of your business necessities. If you’re looking to invest in a bag that will go alongside you throughout your career, this is it.

SALT Co. 3.5″ Leather Briefcase Review – $649

The classic leather briefcase. The gentleman’s staple. SALT Co’s 3.5″ Leather Briefcase embodies the best aspects of a formal brief while maintaining a humble look. Salt Co’s offering utilizes a unique stiff frame and is built to last. This impressively understated briefcase will serve its owner better and better over a lifetime of use.

About SALT Co.

Short for Standard Artisan Leather Trading Company, SALT Co. recently began operations based out of Salt Lake City, Utah. Their approach is to make products that maintain the feeling of old-world, handcrafted items, but updated to meet the needs of today’s electronic-heavy world. SALT Co. aims to make items that are beautiful simply because they’re solely designed for function: “It has been said that if you eliminate everything that is not essential you will end up with something that truly is.”

Discrete, minimal logos are used on Salt Co. products

Currently the majority of SALT’s products are leather bags, but their catalog is always expanding. Even beyond leather–for example, they’ve recently listed a collection of premium wood valet stands.

If many of SALT Co’s leather products look familiar, that’s because they’ve hired Kendal, of the former Kendal & Hyde, to design for them. Many of his most popular designs are now available from SALT Co!

Leather & Construction

It might surprise you to learn that this formal briefcase is also built like an absolute tank.

Salt Co. utilizes thick, full-grain, vegetable tanned leather, and plenty of it. A simple way to know you’re getting quality leather is to ensure it’s a known tan from an established tannery. However, this isn’t the only way to get awesome leather. Salt Co. takes a more particular route, custom ordering leather that is tanned to their own specifications for strength and appearance. The result is fantastic. The leather is tough, beautiful, feels great, and has one of the best leather smells I’ve experienced!

The design of the bag exudes sturdy, lifelong function. They’ve employed several frequently overlooked build techniques. Rivets are placed such that stress comes sideways, rather than directly pulling apart the connection. The two primary closure straps extend all the way around the bag as a single piece, not short strips of leather sewn to the outside of the bag. A thick leather edge extending past the bottom of the brief protects these straps and the bottom of the bag from rubbing against the floor. This is the kind of stuff that separates a good bag from a truly great bag.

Thick, protruding edges protect and stabilize the bottom of the brief

It’s all expertly put together, too. A visual inspection reveals no issues with stitching or riveting. Stitching is uniform and reinforced with several passes and/or rivets at stress points. Thread is kept to a relative minimum, favoring large single pieces of leather. This means fewer points for wear and failure over time. The only place I’d have preferred an additional rivet is on the shoulder strap connection points. A single rivet is sufficient (especially with the stress-relieving design), but, as a primary load-bearing point, two would provide extra confidence.

Uniform stitches and stress-relieved rivet

Overall this bag is built well with quality materials that will last a lifetime. If any issues do come up, Salt Co. offers a lifetime guarantee.

Function

The SALT Co. Brief is a laptop and document type bag, and is ideal for a simple daily carry. I carry my 13″  laptop, charging cable, wallet, a couple small EDC items, pens, a few documents, and a camera (with pancake lens) or small water bottle without issue. I can throw a spare lens in one of the pockets as well, but should point out this is possible partially because I have a small mirrorless camera. This professional briefcase is well organized.

A single wide strip of leather is sewn over the bottom of the main gusset. This gives the briefcase a partially stiff frame, placing it somewhere between a hard attache and a soft leather briefcase. The footprint is stable and allows the brief to stand on its own without wobble. This is really appreciated if you’re used to a soft brief that needs to be balanced or leaned against something.

Stands well even on carpet

There is one drawback to using this amount of thick leather: weight. It’s tough enough to last forever, but all that leather comes in at about 6.4lb (2.9kg). I’ve had larger briefcases that weigh less. While an extra pound or two may not seem like much, it can wear on you after a long day. This is something to consider based on your use case and body type.

The sturdy carry strap is made well to alleviate this extra weight. The pad is full leather, strong enough to distribute weight evenly across your shoulder. The underside is unfinished leather which minimizes slipping.

Aesthetic

Understated: “presented or expressed in a subtle and effective way.” This is the best word I can come up with to describe the appearance of the Salt Co. Brief. Lines are strong and well defined. No extra details are added for the sake of appearance. It’s beautiful because of its simplicity.

The leather itself is consistent with this theme. From even a few feet away, it appears to be a simple natural tan colored leather. But if you get up close, you’ll see that this tan has a certain translucent quality that makes the grain very visible. Unfortunately I found this difficult to capture in photographs!

My review bag is Salt Co’s ‘whiskey’ color. A darker and more brown option, ‘cafe,’ is also available. Note that a new ‘whiskey’ bag will come with a lighter color than mine. This is because my bag has developed patina from use and treatment.

Conclusion

The Salt Co. 3.5″ Leather Briefcase is a top-of-the-line Buy It For Life product. It’s tough, it’s professional, it’s beautiful. A fantastic choice for a minimal everyday laptop carry. While expensive it’s a good value and the right price for a bag of this caliber. This would make a great choice for a professional looking for their last briefcase or as an heirloom level gift. You’ll be just as impressed with this brief as I am.

Basader Duotone Handmade Messenger Bag Review – $440

A high quality leather bag is one of the best ways to upgrade your look when the need to carry items arises. I should have listened to that advice a long time ago and I am guilty of using cheap/low quality bags or a backpack to carry my stuff. If you are in the same position that I was a while back in neglecting your carrying bag, or just want an upgrade, the Duotone handmade messenger bag from Basader is just the look you need.

You can enter to win this bag in the giveaway we are current running here!

Construction

This is a very well crafted bag. Simple as that. As soon as I removed it from its packaging I could instantly tell this bag was top notch.

It’s created from vegetable tanned full-grain leather that creates a very smooth finish and still retains a very sturdy feel to it at all times. Even when I packed the bag full with my laptop, book, and other items I carry on a daily basis to class it held up beautifully.

The handle on top of the bag is the just the right amount of pliable where it can bend naturally as you carry but but does not fold under its own weight. It has a nice sight feel to it and is comfortable to carry for longer periods of time.

There are two wrap around straps that give off a very good look. The buckles on the straps are solid brass and have a very dense feel to them which I enjoy. The straps are locked and unlocked via hidden tuck locks that are below the buckles. These tuck locks are very easy to quickly lock and unlock, which is perfect for it is time to quickly pack up and go.

Inside the bag there is a divider that creates two separate parts of the bag. The divider is created from full grain bridle leather as well.

Function

As mentioned earlier, the bag performed extremely well when it was packed full and retained it’s full functionality. I have been using this as my school bag when I go to class and it has held my laptop, books, notebooks and other random items such as keys, pens, headphones, etc very well. I have had zero complaints in terms of functionality.

The two interior pockets are ideal. One is a simple pocket that is for your laptop or books to go in. The other side of the bag does have some extra pockets and holders. There is also a pocket on the backside of the bag that can be used, however, I didn’t use this pocket much.

The bag also comes with an detachable shoulder strap that you can use if you prefer to carry your bag on your shoulder. For quick trips I have tended to opt for only using the top hanlde, but if you plan to be carrying it for an extended period of time then the shoulder strap is ideal.

Aesthetic

I love the dual tone color. It makes it stand out from the other common brown leather bags out there. I have received multiple comments about the color of the bag and I have found it to be a very popular bag wherever I take it with me. They offer a handful of other color combinations on there site as well, so if the black with dark brown isn’t your style I’m sure they have a color combination that you’ll enjoy.

The size is perfect both functionality and look wise. It isn’t too big that it looks bulky and it isn’t too small where it looks more like a hand bag. I’m also a big fan of the wrap around straps, It gives a really good look and gives the bag a cohesive feel to it.

Conclusion

All in all, Basader is created a super high quality messenger bag that is both stylish and highly functional. I will continue to use the bag as my everyday bag when I go to class and when I go to work at coffee shops. The bag would also be perfect for someone looking for a new work bag.

If you are interested in this bag, we are running a giveaway for the next 10 days until May 9th where you can enter for your chance to win this bag for free. If you want to check out more products offered by Basader you can head to their site here.

[RF_CONTEST contest=’9880′]

Sitka Leather Messenger Bag by Kodiak Leather – Kickstarter Announcement

Kodiak Leather has a new messenger bag that they are running a Kickstarter campaign for. This is a full-grain buffalo leather bag that is the perfect for carrying everyday items. They have run a a few very successful Kickstarter campaigns in the past and this looks to be another success.

The main features of the Sitka Leather Messenger bag can be found below:

The bag is perfect for camera gear, laptop gear as well as any everyday items that you might find yourself carrying around. No matter what you are putting in the bag you will be pleased with the quality and the style.

Interested?

If you are interested in learning more about the messenger bag and learning how you can get your hands on one of them head over to their Kickstarter page. There you will be able to learn more about the bag, how to enter and a whole lot more. Don’t miss a chance to own a Sitka leather messenger!

Priemio Handmade Passport Holder and Weekender Bag Kickstarter Announcement

Today we are happy to share a Kickstarter from a leather company called Priemio. In their Kickstarter they are showcasing a couple different products, all of which look fantastic and are handmade. Between these two items you will be all set for your next vacation or trip out of town! You can read more about the products below, or you can hop on over to their Kickstarter page for a more in depth look.

The first product is a handmade buffalo leather weekender bag that is perfect for that weekend getaway. Some of the features include:

  • 100% genuine 3mm thick buffalo leather
  • 100% handcrafted and handstitched
  • Bag measurement 21″ x 10″ x 11″
  • Detachable and adjustable 100% full leather Strap with leather pad for comfort
  • Tough leather handles to carry the bag
  • 1 Exterior front pocket to carry passport holder, pen, tablet, magazine and other basic necessities
  • 1 Interior pocket to hold 15″ laptop and charger
  • 5 solid brass feet to protect bottom of the bag and keep from touching the ground
  • Sturdy Metal Zippers with leather attachments to match the style

Check out some pics of the bag below:

The next product they have on their Kickstarter is a handmade leather passport holder. I recently visited Canada for the weekend and this would have been perfect to carry my passport around! Some of the features of the passport holder are:

  • 100% genuine 3mm thick buffalo leather
  • 100% handcrafted and handstitched
  • Slots to hold Cards, Boarding Pass, Cash and Pen
  • Fits in men’s trousers pockets

Take a look at the passport holder below:

Interested?

if you are interested in learning more about these items and seeing how you can get your hands on them, head over to their Kickstarter page where you can learn more.

Popov Toiletry Bag Review – $89

A lot of people might see a toiletry bag, or the ‘Dopp kit’ as it’s often called, as a luxury item. After all, what does it really do that a simple Ziploc can’t? And there’s truth to that. But, like a lot of leather products, utility isn’t the only value these bags offer. In this case, I think a great dopp kit shows how much a man cares about the stuff he’s traveling with, wether it be his suit or his toothbrush.

When I got the opportunity to review Toiletry Bag from Popov Leather, I knew I was in for a treat. I’ve gotten the chance to use it over a couple of weekends now and I think it’s a great item. The simple design and beautiful leather make the bag worth every penny.

The handle is made of Bridle leather from Wickett and Craig

Before I start with the details, I think it’s worthwhile to share some brief history about these bags. The term ‘Dopp kit’ first appeared in the early 1900’s. The bags were originally produced by Charles Doppelt, a German leather maker and designer. Soon after, the US military adopted the style and produced them for soldiers, so they could quickly store and access small hygiene and personal items. After World War II, the bag started gaining popularity among the general population. Now, let’s get into the bag.

CONSTRUCTION

Like the other pieces I’ve seen from Popov leather, the design of the kit is pretty straightforward. As best as I can tell, the bag only uses four separate pieces of leather. The body is composed of two cuts of Chromexcel, with the edges and seams folded and sewn on the inside. There’ss a single loop sitting on one side, cut from the same leather. On the opposite side is a handle that extends along the width of the kit. As I suspected, Ryan confirmed that the handle is made of Bridle leather from Wicket and Craig, and is noticeably thicker than the rest of the bag.

One of the most notable features of the dopp kit is that the leather has an incredibly soft temper, which I found to be convenient. It’s firm enough to hold its shape when sitting (mostly due to the folds, stitching, and zipper). But if you need to stuff it into a packed suitcase, it’ll bend and curve as needed. Overall, the bag keeps a good balance between weight and functionality.

AESTHETIC

Hopefully, the accompanying pictures are doing their job here. The color of the kit I received is called “English Tan Derby,” which is a fantastic blend of brown tones. As you can tell, the highs and lows provide the bag with some texture. The inward facing folds give the bag a clean look – the only visible stitching on the exterior runs parallel to the zipper, giving it a sleek border.

CONCLUSION

The Toiletry Bag from Popov Leather is a great buy. It has a simple design and build, and just enough character to stand out. I don’t expect everyone to go out and buy a dopp kit, but I do think anyone can appreciate it. As I mentioned earlier, keeping your most mundane items enveloped in an elegant piece of leather is a simple way to express your care and class.

Buffalo Jackson Ryder Reserve Bison Leather Duffle Review – $549.95

I’ll be the first to extol the virtues of nylon; it’s lightweight, extremely durable and cheap. It comprises the vast majority of travel bags. It also has no soul or character. Sometimes, dear readers, you just need a big, manly and rugged hold all. Not because you should or because it makes sense..but because you can. Enter the Buffalo Jackson Ryder Reserve Bison Leather Duffle.

Construction

Now, what sets this bag apart from most of the items we review is that it’s made from Bison and not cowhide. Bison hides have distinctive wrinkles and striations due to their less domesticated nature. The Ryder Reserve features full grain bison leather. This leather is remarkably supple and pliable, there’s virtually no need for breaking it in.

Copper rivets are used at all critical stress point areas as well as hefty stitching. The interior of the bag is lined with soft canvas and has two slotted pockets at either end with a large zippered pouch as well. The exterior has a slotted sleeve and buckled pouches on the ends. There are plenty of handles on this bag, you can briefcase carry, shoulder carry or even sling it over your back and carry from the end handles. All hardware is antique nickel including the bottom studs.

Those studs at the bottom are a nice feature to have, and you can tell Buffalo Jackson thought this out and just didn’t add metal bling wherever the eyes could see.

Function

Make no mistake, the Ryder Reserve is a large bag. With enough space for everything but the kitchen sink. My wife and daughter recently were out of a town for the weekend. I tried a little experiment and instead of us all packing a bag, we fit it all in the Ryder. It all fit, we just used little plastic bags to divide our contents. It really made for a more pleasurable outing since we all weren’t toting bags. However, the bag was very heavy. The Ryder is just under 10 lbs empty. The shoulder strap definitely helps with the load though.

The outside slotted sleeve was great for quick access to items like tablets and phones. The side pockets feature a buckle, great for securing more sensitive belongings. In a crowded place, such as a airport or subway, a thief can unzip a bag without detection pretty easily, but a buckle? No way! The interior zippered pocket is handy for smaller items you don’t want floating around.

Aesthetic

This bag really stands out. It’s funny, but the compliments almost get tedious after awhile. The Bison leather exudes a very masculine vibe that seems lost in another era. The antique nickel hardware gives the bag that polished feel and really completes the look. I appreciate the way the supple leather conforms to its surroundings. Taking a long look at the Ryder Reserve, and I can’t really think of anything that could be changed. I’m not saying it’s perfect, but I find it well balanced in its manufacture.

Definition of a hold all bag, if you can’t get it all in here – you’re probably packing too much!

Conclusion

After spending some quality time with the Ryder Reserve Bison Leather Duffle, I can draw out some main takeaways. This bag isn’t always the best option when you need to travel light and quick. When you’re taking your time and enjoying the trip however, this bag absolutely shines. With the almost overdone construction, I can imagine one day my future great grandchildren finding the Ryder in a dusty attic and using it, and the bag wouldn’t miss a beat.

ColsenKeane No. 217 Utility Bag- $475

Carrying things from A to B is one of the most basic functions we do as humans. Everything from suitcases, shopping carts, cars, trucks, planes, and boats are designed just to move stuff around. For most people’s daily needs there are plenty of options, with many electing to use something as simple as a plastic supermarket bag. If you’re seeking an item with a lot more flair, there is the No. 217 Utility Bag from ColsenKeane Leather.

I have to be honest and say that this is the first bag I’m reviewing on BestLeather, which makes me somewhat of a novice. With that said, I hope my article does ColsenKeane and this bag much-deserved justice. The company, based in North Carolina, has been creating top-notch leather goods since 2010. Most people that saw me wearing the 217 for the first time complimented it right away, a testament to the team’s design skills and craftsmanship. Let’s get into it.

The Utility Bag leather has a gorgeous color and design, which makes each piece unique

CONSTRUCTION

When I got the bag, I was immediately drawn to the full-grain leather. That may sound cliche on this blog, but I think this stuff is pretty exceptional. The Utility Bag that I asked for was made out of a veg tanned hide in a unique style called Havana Brown. The color has an absolutely beautiful brown sheen that catches your eyes immediately. The highs and lows that run along the finish are stunning and give it real character. Looking at the pictures that I took, I would say they make the color pop a bit more than in real life, but not by much. The bag comes in a couple of other styles, but you definitely can’t go wrong with this one.

The hides are very thick, adding to the weight of the piece. I wouldn’t call the Utility Bag heavy, but it’s noticeable when sitting on your shoulder. I tend to prefer things that feel durable, so I consider this a plus.

Taking a look at the design shows you just how much ColsenKeane knows what they’re doing. The entire case is made with just five cuts of leather: 1 large piece that forms the shape of bag, the 2 side panels stitched to the main piece, and 2 belts woven along the surface of the bag. Limiting the amount of stitching and separate pieces minimizes the weak points in the bag, which adds to the integrity and strength of the product.

Colsen Keane has been making leather goods since 2010 in North Carolina

The rest of the details shouldn’t be overlooked either. The hardware on the bag- the buckles, rings, rivets- look and feel great, perfectly complimenting the colors of the leather. The handle and shoulder strap are made in the same Havana Brown, completing the Utility Bag’s look. From beginning to end, every aspect was designed with precision and forethought. The leather, stitching, colors, and handles all come together to make one fantastic product.

FUNCTION

Given its size (13″ x 7.5″ x 7″ ), I found the Utility Bag most useful when taking a few things to work everyday. My lunch, headphones, water, sunglasses, and some small knickknacks all fit well, with some extra space if I ever needed it. I was also able to use it as an overnight bag on occasion without issue.

My brother is a photographer, so I lent him the 217 to use as a camera bag for a bit. He was able to fit his camera, a couple of lenses, and some other gear in the Utility Bag without hassle. I saw him carrying it around a couple times, and I think it made him look like a real professional. If you’ve been thinking about getting a case/bag that will complement your DSLR, this one should definitely be considered.

The bag can be a great option for photographers seeking a standout carrying case

For what I needed, the Utility Bag was a good fit. I will say that if you’re looking to get it, make sure it’s the right size for you. It’s not really big enough to just toss your average laptop in, and stuffing a few days worth of clothing may be tough. If you want something that can be used a bit more freely, you should take a closer look at ColsenKeane’s duffle bags. They come in the same colors and have a similar design, so most of what I’m saying here will apply to those bags as well.

CONCLUSION

I know a lot of folks (especially guys) are looking for something to carry a few things around everyday. If you’re anything like me, you want the luxury of having extra space just in case. You might be looking for a bag that you can fit your camera and a few accessories, or to carry some lunch and gear to work. Whatever your needs are exactly, the Utility Bag from ColsenKeane is a handsome multipurpose bag made with incredible quality.