Vicenzo Leather Elle Hobo Handbag – $248

Vicenzo Leather is based in Houston, Texas, and offers a large product line that includes briefcases, handbags, waist bags, totes, and more. The styles range from dressy to casual, modern to classic. We’ve reviewed a couple of nice pieces from Vicenzo in the past, including the Arlette Leather Waist Bag and the Signature Full Grain Leather Briefcase. Today we’ll be taking a look at the Vicenzo Leather Elle Hobo Handbag in Brown, a casual handbag with a dressed-up bohemian look.

Vicenzo Leather has remained the internationally recognized leader in a combination of leather products including full grain, top grain, and genuine leather. Our taste for high quality and workmanship have allowed us to produce leather bags of exceptional quality that appeals to the discerning businessman or woman, soccer mom, road warrior and the ultimate professional.

Vicenzo Elle Hobo Bag 1


The Elle Hobo Handbag is made with genuine leather that has been finished with a pebbled grain. It’s a nice reddish brown color with darkened edges. It also comes in a lighter brown color.

The bag is constructed so that there are two reinforced panels on the front side that form a sort of “V” shape. This way, when the bag is held by the handles, the middle of the bag drops in and creates a slouchy, hobo bag silhouette. The back of the bag is made of two panels that assist with holding the shape. The bottom of the bag is reinforced and has metal feet to keep the bottom of the bag clean and standing upright.

Vicenzo Elle Hobo Bag 2

There are two rounded carry handles built in to the side panels of the bag. The side panels have a vertical zipper underneath the handles that can be opened to expand the gusset if needed. You probably won’t need this function as the bag is plenty big on its own, but they add a nice metallic finish to the sides of the bag. It also comes with a 36″ carry strap that attaches to D-rings on opposite corners of the bag. You don’t quite get the same slouchy effect when you carry it with the long strap, so I prefer to carry it by hand.


The bag is closed via a floating zipper at the top. You can connect the ends of the zipper to the side panels of the bag with a snap attached to a leather tab. I personally really dislike this system, as the zipper ends up flipping upside down, making it hard to zip. It also doesn’t seem like a good choice for longevity as it puts unnecessary stress on the zipper. I’d prefer if the zipper was sewn completely around the bag or just not there at all.

Vicenzo Elle Hobo Bag 3 Vicenzo Elle Hobo Bag 4


There are two pockets on either side of the inside of the bag, as well as two small open pouches for storing smaller items like pens or cosmetics. There is also an external zippered pocket on the back side.

The bag measures 13.5″ x 9.5″ x 6″ which makes it a nice size for everyday use. You can fit all the purse essentials plus a notebook or tablet.

Vicenzo Elle Hobo Bag 5

One thing that does make everyday use of this bag a bit more difficult is the lining. The bag is lined with brown nylon fabric printed with the company’s logo, and there is a LOT of lining. So much that stuff sometimes gets lost in the folds, or pinched in the pocket zippers. If the lining was attached better at the bottom, it wouldn’t be such a big deal, but it does add a little bit of unnecessary frustration.


The Vicenzo Leather Elle Hobo Handbag in Brown is a unique looking bag with great contemporary style. I love the slouchy look and the construction of the shell of the bag. There’s definitely a few design issues inside that make it less than perfect for everyday use, though, so consider your feelings on zippers and linings beforehand.

Waterfield Designs Vitesse Messenger Bag Review — $159

Vitesse is a French noun meaning speed. The word suggests a European zest combined with rapid utility. It’s the perfect name for the Waterfield Designs Vitesse Messenger Bag. The bag is simple, lightweight, and has a certain flair in its design.




About Waterfield Designs

Waterfield is a San Francisco based company, and they seem quite tech savvy. Their products are designed with phones, tablets, and laptops in mind. You can get a feel for their team by watching some of the videos on their site. The founder, Gary, is featured in many of these, and he’s kind and friendly as he gives you details on the designs. Overall, the team gives the impression that they’re proud of their products, and for good reason.





Let’s start with the leather, which on this design is minimal. Distressed leather straps hold the flap down, and the holes fit snugly around black metal screw studs; this combo at first seemed too tight, but after using it awhile they loosened up and now are the perfect fit. The bag also has a leather briefcase-style handle on the top, which I’ve found convenient and have used quite a bit.

The bag is made primarily of canvas. It’s thin and lightweight, as is the strap. The bag on the whole isn’t at all heavy. It’s also mostly without structure, so it can fold up and go inside another bag. It would be perfect to take empty to Europe and bring home full of souvenirs.

On the flip side, because it’s relatively thin, don’t expect it to provide a lot of protection to whatever you put inside. If you’re carrying a laptop, you’ll want to put it inside of a padded case, and then slip that into the large interior pocket on the inside.





The designers seem to have put a lot of thought into the details.

Even at its longest, the strap is fairly short, which keeps you from having to deal with the slack getting tangled or in the way. And I’ve found that wearing it shorter gives me more control, which is perfect if you’re sprinting through an action sequence or doing some casual parkour. I like to push the bag to hang at my lower back when I’m on the move, and I swing it around to the front when I need quick access.

The bag has a pair of pockets on the outside which you can get to even when the flap is down. They’re sealed with these sweet looking black, waterproof zippers. Altogether, this feature made me want to applaud the designers. It’s so convenient to access your phone and keys without having to open the top. Again, great for when you’re on the run. There are also three hand pockets on the inside, which are great for small stuff you don’t want getting lost inside.

The interior is pretty spacious. You might be surprised by what you can fit in it. For example, when I carried a large tripod inside, the flap wouldn’t close on one side, but I could still secure the other side, and that held it in securely. The straps also have two holes each, which lets you fit things of different sizes.





I love the colors!

The hues are slightly muted, both the canvas and the leather. The canvas gray hints at a brownish green. The leather has a warm tone, but muted and calm. (But if the color doesn’t do it for you, you can also get it in navy or a deep burgundy.)

This bag politely doesn’t demand attention. Yet it’s pretty classy—nice enough to accompany a business-casual outfit, but it also goes great with jeans and a baseball cap.



BestLeather Conclusion

The Waterfield Designs Vitesse Messenger Bag is lightweight and collapsible, yet spacious. And I’ve liked it so much that sometimes I’m tempted to bring extra things with me just so I have a reason to carry it. It’s an excellent companion for an on-the-move sort of protagonist.



NutSac Satchel Pro Review — $149


I’m a minimalist. The sort of guy who strives for less-is-more. For example, I use a tablet with a bluetooth keyboard as my main writing device. I wanted something to carry it to work and meetings, something smaller than a normal laptop bag (it just seems weird to carry a mostly-empty bag). I found the perfect thing, the NutSac Satchel Pro, and it has become my go-to carry for just about everything.

About NutSac

I spoke with Greg, one of the founders, on the phone. I couldn’t help but ask about the brand’s name. He laughed and said, “It’s pretty funny to us, but we’re just a couple of nuts trying to sell bags.” Then he added, I suppose with tongue in cheek, “And nobody ever forgets our name.”

NutSac does high-end, affordable, American-made bags. I could tell you how they get their leather from Massachusetts and their canvas from New Jersey, but the most telling detail is posted on each of their product pages—a table titled “Transparent Pricing.” They list the costs of each product down to the penny, including the labor, materials, and freight costs. Then they show you their markup, less than 50%. This gesture is amazing to me—their willingness to be so candid with their customers, an integrity mirrored in their products.

When I asked Greg about this radical transparency, he said, “We want to be different in how we do things. Our job is to provide customers with the best information possible, to help them decide whether they want our products or not—their decision.”




I’ve been carrying this bag daily for the last seven weeks. It’s rugged, durable, and handsome. It’s made of heavy materials. The leather footing across the bottom lends it structure, even when empty. The strap, which is plenty long, also feels sturdy, more than other bags I’ve tested. I’ve even used the canvas as a drying rack for my lunch-time plasticware, and it does a fine job. The drops just dribble off.




The Satchel Pro is scrubbed down to just the essentials, a feature I love. None of this extra-pockets-all-over-the-place business. Greg mentioned that this keeps labor costs down. It also makes the bag handier to use (you never forget which pocket your keys are in). One caveat though: there’s a pocket on the outside of the bag, under the flap, that I’ve never used or opened. Maybe you will. Who knows.

The flap has a magnet inside which keeps the top closed, a nice touch (though the magnetism is not super powerful). The clasp is awesome too and latches snugly over the peg. I like the design. That said, I often don’t bother to close the flap, just because it gets tedious if you’re accessing your stuff very often.

The strap attaches just a tad low on the bag, which means I’ve picked it up and upended my stuff a couple times. It was frustrating at first, but it doesn’t happen if you know to watch out for it.

As far as space goes, it fits my Pixel C tablet easily and could fit a device a few sizes up too. In fact, it snugly fits my 13″ MacBook. I’ve also used this bag to carry lunch to work, and it’s big enough to fit a change of clothes or tuck a pair of shoes (if you don’t mind them poking out the top).




American men shy away from carrying small bags, but internationally it’s commonplace, particularly in Europe and Asia (which explains why NutSac bags are so popular overseas). Personally, I have to admit that I felt a little chagrin when I first started carrying this. Kept worrying someone might ask, “Is that a murse?” (man + purse). No one ever did, but I’ve still got my comeback ready: “No, it’s a NutSac.”

The bag is clean, simple, and not gaudy, or presumptuous. But when you look close, you see the workmanship is sturdy, almost like it’s a vintage military piece handed down from your grandfather who fought in WWII.


BestLeather Conclusion

The NutSac Satchel Pro costs $149, a reasonable price for quality product. If you’re a minimalist looking for a rugged travel companion, this is a sure bet. I’ve enjoyed mine a ton.


Harmattan Design The Traveler Review – $500 (Exclusive BestLeather Discount)

Sometimes you need something to hold your laptop. Other times you need a carry on. Then sometimes you need something that will hold it all. Harmattan Design’s The Traveler is a very large duffel bag made entirely of Italian vegetable tanned full grain leather, and will hold everything you need for an extended stay while maintaining a high fashion look. Read on to find out more about our experience with this duffel and get an exclusive limited-time BestLeather discount!



Harmattan Design is headed by Radu Zarnescu of Romania. Radu and his team of leather workers have years of experience designing and building goods for others, but wanted to do things their own way. Since recently finishing their first successful fundraising campaign, they continue to sell their four most popular designs on their own website. Harmattan’s goals include using the highest quality materials and maintaining reasonable prices.



The Traveler is essentially one large bucket of 5-9oz, veg-tan, full grain leather. This leather comes from Italy, and is tanned with Harmattan Design’s own custom concept. It’s very soft and has a gentle suede feel on the outside, and is left largely unfinished and fuzzy on the inside, with no lining to wear out.

Hardware is all cast iron and nickel plated to a chrome-like finish. The main pocket and two small pockets on the side are closed with a stiff but sturdy zipper.


All seams are single stitched with polyester thread. I noticed a couple loose stitches on one corner of an inner pocket, but stitching elsewhere is solid. The bottom corners of the bag are each reinforced with a riveted patch.

The Traveler features dual handles on the top, and a two-layered shoulder strap with a small pad. Both handles and the shoulder strap buckle are stitched to the main body and reinforced with rivets.

Harmattan Design offers a lifetime warranty against manufacturing defects.


The Traveler is big! The volume is around 50 liters, but I think an application example may work even better to show just how much this duffel can hold:


Without even trying hard to overstuff the traveler, it easily held all items pictured below, including 3 pairs of shorts, 3 pairs of pants, 7 T-shirts, dress shoes, flip flops, laptop, headphones, etc. – more than enough for an extended trip.


The two side pockets are very small, so besides perhaps a wallet and some keys, you’re going to want to have a dopp bag or organizer of some sort for your smaller travel items. Having no inside divider leaves you free to carry very large items if needed.

The dual handles give a good sense of strength, though both may be a bit much for small hands. You could carry it with one handle, though the bag will tilt to one side a bit. The strap is great for slinging over your shoulder or using-cross body, and has a good range of lengths.

One functionality concern I had was a fairly sharp smell inside the bag when I first received it. This did, however, fade with time and hasn’t ever transferred to my clothes or other items. Some others that I showed the bag to even liked this smell when it faded a bit, though I didn’t fancy it. Harmattan Design tells me this smell is a result of their tanning process.


The Traveler is definitely meant to travel in style. A true Italian piece, it has an edgy fashionable look, with a color that is soft and can range from mustard to deep orange or brown depending on the light. I expect the patina to continue to deepen with time.

Included with each Harmattan Design bag is a small swatch to test leather treatment. Their custom leather concept takes in conditioner well, and the color can be made to alter quite a bit if desired. The following side by side pictures are of my swatch in different lighting (warm on the left and cool on the right) and with different levels of conditioning.


If you like the lighter brown/mustard yellow color, go easy on treatments…but if you want a deeper brown shade, soak it in. I do recommend at least some treatment, as the very soft suede-like leather drinks water spills as easily as it does conditioner.

The Harmattan logo is printed gently into the side of the duffel and on the shoulder strap. The small round accent cutouts in the handles and shoulder pad are a nice touch.

I have received plenty of compliments on The Traveler. It’s a handsome duffel that will definitely stand out at luggage pick up.


Harmattan’s Design’s The Traveler is made with great materials, holds a ton of luggage, and has a high-fashion look. The smell and loose stitch gave me a bit of pause, but after some time, a camping trip, and a roadtrip or two, the stitch has held strong and the inside has only a faint smell.

If you’re liking the look of this bag and need a large duffel for travel, The Traveler will fit the bill. The 100% thick vegetable tanned leather and polyester thread construction should last for many years and serve you well in your travels.

For a limited time, Harmattan Design has decided to offer BestLeather readers an exclusive 35% discount on all of their products! Use code BESTLEATHER at checkout.


Introducing Rugged Minimalist — Exclusive BestLeather Preorder Sale

Here at BestLeather, we love to find young companies getting their start in leather goods–especially when they’re starting off right. We’re excited to introduce Rugged Minimalist, fresh off their very first Kickstarter and making some incredible products. We’re also excited to announce a special limited time pre-order promotion code just for our BestLeather readers!


Rugged Minimalist is based out of Watertown, TN. Founder Jason Barnes and his crew were inspired by a desire to make things, and to make them better. After trying his hand at a few projects and becoming bored with his 9-to-5, the decision was made to start a new company and get their first boost from Kickstarter.

Rugged Minimalist has a beautifully simple mission. First, to use the best materials possible–the highest grade vegetable tanned bridle leather Wickett & Craig have to offer, solid brass hardware, and polyester thread. Next, to design their products with minimal, timeless designs–to ensure the style lasts as long as the material. Finally, to offer those products at a reasonable price–and back it up with a lifetime guarantee. Made in the USA.


Their featured products are their line of bags. Alongside their own take on the classic briefcase, satchel, and messenger designs, they also offer a clever vertical satchel, perfect for your tablet, and a popular tote design for the ladies. Wallet and keychain accessories are offered as well.

As a special pre-order promotion and extension of their Kickstarter prices, they’ve decided to offer you, our BestLeather readers, an additional 25% off and free shipping to US customers with promo code BESTLEATHER25. Hurry over to Rugged Minimalist’s shop and pre-order today–not only will orders be fulfilled in the order they’re received, but in addition, the first five customers to use this promo code on an order over $300 will receive a free travel notebook wallet ($80 value)! Code valid until June 16th. Items expected to ship in July.

We’re excited to see this great new company grow. Look out for a full review of one of their bags, coming up soon!


Mission Mercantile Stateroom Weekender Review – $695

If you were a VIP a century or two ago, you’d make sure you travelled in style. Whether by train or steamboat, a gentleman (or gentlewoman) most likely enjoyed the comfort of a stateroom, a separate room that offered privacy and quiet. Mission Mercantile’s Stateroom Weekender evokes this bygone era of travel, with its vintage style and hefty construction.  The Stateroom Weekender definitely makes you feel like a VIP, even if traveling is a little easier these days.

Mission Mercantile Weekender 2


Mission Mercantile was launched in the fall 0f 2015, with the goal of creating beautiful leather goods with uncompromising quality. While the brand itself may be young, its creators are not inexperienced. Mission Mercantile is the project of the folks at Blue Artisan Group, a manufacturing collective based in Leon, Mexico. I recently got the chance to talk to Chuck Bowen, one of MM’s founders, who is clearly passionate about creating top-of-the-line leather goods. From our interview:

“We’re a mercantile on a mission. We want to serve men looking for meaning as a man while reestablishing family and heritage. Doing life together with his mission woman. We really want to bring back legacy values in a product, and take wisdom from past. Our goal is for us, and all of our customers to do life together.”

Mission Mercantile Weekender 4


The Stateroom Weekender is made with thick, full grain leather that’s been vegetable tanned. The leather is stiff and heavy, with some natural markings in the grain that prove it’s the real deal. The entire bottom of the bag is solid leather reinforced with brass rivets. The combination of the classic overnight bag silhouette, brass hardware and the full grain leather really completes the vintage look. My bag is the Rust color, a bright, almost orange color. There’s a lighter color, Oak, and a darker one, called Oil.

Mission Mercantile Weekender 7

The bag is a pretty simple construction with just one big pouch secured with a giant zipper – seriously, it’s one of the sturdiest zippers I’ve ever seen. The handles are also riveted onto each side of the bag, and the carry strap is thickly padded and attached with impressively sturdy lobster claws. A complaint I have with a lot of weekenders is that the removable carry strap feels like a cheap afterthought – but certainly not this one. This bag is heavy, so it’s definitely important that the carry strap and hardware are tough.

Inside it’s fully lined with an attractive grey and cream striped fabric that fits well with the vintage style of the bag. There’s a zippered pocket on one side of the bag, and a long pocket along the opposite side separated into three pouches. With the exception of the pockets tucked along the sides, the inside is wide open to pack as you please.

Mission Mercantile Weekender 6


This is not a lightweight bag. It weighs around five pounds empty, and the stiff leather definitely adds a bulky feeling when you’re carrying it. This is not a complaint, however. I really love that I don’t have to worry one bit about packing it too heavy or being gentle with it. I can toss it around, scuff it up, and it only looks better.

The construction of the bag combined with brass feet on the bottom keep the bag standing upright, making it easy to pack and access. At the beginning, the leather makes the opening a little small, but it softens after a few uses and allows the pouch to open wider.

It’s easy to pack a weekend’s worth of clothes, and they fit without bowing the sides or affecting the bag’s shape. It’s around 20″ L x 9″ D x 14″ H, so it can function as a carry-on if needed (No private staterooms in Coach, unfortunately).

Mission Mercantile Weekender 9


I really couldn’t be happier with Mission Mercantile’s Stateroom Weekender. It’s impressively constructed and it’s clear that no shortcuts were taken. Nothing feels cheap or breakable; this bag is absolutely a Buy It For Life (and more) item. If you’re looking for a lightweight bag or a bag that won’t turn heads, this is not the bag for you. This is an impressive start for Mission Mercantile and we’re looking forward to seeing more products as they debut. Keep an eye out for more Mission Mercantile reviews in the next few weeks!

Mission Mercantile Weekender 8 Mission Mercantile Weekender 1


Vicenzo Leather Arlette Leather Waist Bag Review – $79.95

Paunch pack, buffalo pouch, fanny pack… and the list goes on. No matter how you refer to the traditional waist pack, images usually bubble up concerning lost tourists or aspirin toting elderly folk. However, when reviewing the Vicenzo Leather Arlette Leather Waist Bag I couldn’t help but rediscover the versatile functionality these type of bags offer. If you’re curious to learn more, read on.

Arlette (3)


Distressed vegetable tanned leather is used for the construction of the Arlette. Gold plated hardware is used for the D rings that attach the bag to the strap, and for the zippers as well. The adjustable buckles are chrome plated oddly enough, not sure why the gold consistency wasn’t kept. The black threaded stitching appears very neat and tidy with no loose ends, unlike my ex. The first compartment has an unlined back with nylon dividing it from the secondary compartment. Measures in at 7.5” wide by 5” tall and an inch thick.

Arlette (6)


The Arlette waist bag really excels at carrying your wallet/cards/keys/Casio SL-100 or whatever slim objects you like while still giving you total arm freedom.  Now I’m a guy and while this may not really be aesthetically suited for me, I did consult my wife on certain points. She’s a purse carrier but often leaves her purses at home or in the car and just relies on my wallet for expenses. With the Arlette she had no inconvenience of tying one arm up holding a purse. This allowed her to better manage our daughter while shopping and since she had her own wallet it helped alleviate the spending on my end which was quite wonderful. It’s a waistpack, so it can also be turned around to the back for better mobility, but this sometimes presents a security issue in tight crowded areas like concerts or tourist spots. The front pocket has a large leather tab which is good for housing cash and cards and the inside pouch will fit just about any standard size smartphone.



The Arlette waist bag is clean in its design and fairly modern. It is slim, while this impacts versatility, it definitely helps in the looks department.  A lot of the older models of waist packs are bloated monsters with several rows of pockets and tasseled zippers sallying back and forth as the user walks. Simply put, it’s a good looking bag for what it is.

Arlette (2)

Vicenzo does offer the Arlette in brown as well which is something to consider. I personally wish a manlier version was also available, perhaps with a rougher cut of leather and hulking brass hardware. I think the black version is more limited in terms of accessorizing but still seems to mesh well with everyday clothing.


Nailed it


If after reading this, you’re starting to warm to the idea of considering a waist bag as a legitimate means of carry, The Vicenzo Leather Arlette Waist Bag is a pretty safe bet. The $79.95 is about ballpark for suchlike bags and the quality and manufacture won’t disappoint.


Hidesign Cerys Leather Multi-Compartment Tote Review – $168

Based in Pondicherry, India, Hidesign was founded in 1978 as a two-man workshop. The company now has over 80 exclusive branded stores and sells in hundreds of independent stores, making it a huge player in India’s accessories market. The company expanded to the U.S. in late 2014 with a pared-down line of men’s and women’s accessories. Each Hidesign bag is made by hand in India with vegetable-tanned leather from their own tannery, and all their hardware is solid brass cast and polished at their own forge. Their three teams of designers are based in Milan, London and Pondicherry. We’ve previously reviewed their Hector 17″ Laptop Backpack and found it to be well-made and well-priced.

From the Hidesign America website: “Founded in 1978, Hidesign has grown into a global leather accessories brand recognized for its quality, ecological values and personalized service. By keeping its focus on a classic contemporary look, Hidesign caters to the sophisticated urban professional and executive.” 

Hidesign Cerys Tote 6



The Cerys tote is constructed using veg-tanned leather from their factory. The leather full grain, and smooth with a light sheen. It’s a simple tapered construction with contrasting orange stitching for subtle visual interest. It’s lined with a bright blue cotton fabric that adds a fun pop of color. The lining is a little bit too loosely attached for my taste, and ends up bunching up and catching on things.

Hidesign Cerys Tote 3

The tapered shape of the tote allows it to expand to hold quite a bit. It measures in at 15″L x 10 “H x 5.5″W. It can easily hold an iPad or even a small laptop. It can hold files, but don’t expect to fit binders or large notebooks. There’s a long zippered center pouch, as well as two long compartments on either side, one zippered and one open. There’s also a small zippered pouch on the exterior.

The straps are sturdy and have a good long drop length, allowing for comfortable over-the-shoulder carry. The bottom of the bag is flat, with the exception of the central seam, which allows the bag to stand freely even when open.

Hidesign Cerys Tote 1



The Cerys tote has a simple, contemporary aesthetic. While it can easily function as a nice, everyday purse, it looks most at home in a business casual office environment. The black leather is dressy but not showy. It’s not a super trendy design, but it’s a classic silhouette that will hold up well. The Cerys also comes in blue, brown, and red, with various colors of cotton lining.

Hidesign Cerys Tote 8



The Hidesign Cerys Tote is a simple yet elegant bag, with minimal branding and a contemporary aesthetic. Definitely consider your preferences when it comes to fabric linings– some people prefer it and others aren’t such big fans. But if fabric linings aren’t a deciding issue for you, this bag will serve you well in the office and elsewhere.

Hidesign Cerys Tote 2 Hidesign Cerys Tote 4 Hidesign Cerys Tote 5 Hidesign Cerys Tote 7






Vicenzo Signature Full-grain Leather Briefcase Review — $599.95

I was looking for a birthday gift for my dad when I came across the Vicenzo Signature Full-grain Leather Briefcase. As an accountant, he carries documents and electronics on a daily basis, and this bag had just the right mixture of panache and utility. The problem was, once I got it, I had some second thoughts giving it to him—because I seriously didn’t want to give it up.



About Vicenzo Leather

Vicenzo Leather focuses on quality materials and quality workmanship, and they’ve delivered on both accounts. They produce mainly bags, and if mine is the rule, they’re all of exceptional quality. Their style tends toward more formal, for businessmen and businesswomen. However, this one has a rugged feel to it, which makes it fitting for a lot more places than just the office.





The briefcase is made of full-grain leather. That means it’s the original outer layer (the grain) of the hide, with none of it shaved off. The details and character of that outer layer can be seen, including any natural blemishes and scars. The workmanship is expert, which you’ll see down to the finest details.

Not only is the leather top notch, the hardware is too. This includes the brass footings on the bottom of the bag, the zippers, snaps, and so on. Together, these features bring the bag to a weight of 2.5 lbs.—hefty enough to be pretty dependable. It feels elegant yet rugged, and I expect its long-term durability to match.





The briefcase has a center handle fixed to the bag, which is great for carrying it while it’s zipped. If you prefer unzipped, the two detachable side-handles are ideal. It also has a detachable shoulder strap which is excellent for any hands-free, on-the-go activities.

It’s dimensions are 16.5″ H x 13″ L x 5″ W. It’s a great size for a carry-on: It won’t take up too much space, but it gives you ample room to carry plenty of entertainment or business on a trip. It fits my 13″ Macbook just fine, and I expect it’d fit a 15″ too. (By the way, if you’re sensitive about your electronics, you might be careful not to scratch them on the zipper’s metal teeth.)

The bag comes with a variety of pockets, inside and out, for organizing your stuff. Some come with magnetized clips for easy access. Other zip up securely so you’re sure not to lose anything inside. The pockets add a nice dash to the bag’s aesthetics too. I’ll mention, though, that this makes the briefcase slightly front-heavy, meaning it tends to tip over on its front, depending on the weight of what you’re carrying inside. I found myself leaning it against walls or furniture with the front face against the wall.





To me, this seems like the perfect accoutrement for a wide variety of dress styles. It’s full-grain leather, meaning it wasn’t sanded down to smooth out the blemishes. This gives the bag tons of character. For example, in the photo above, look at the scar on the top-right pocket. Beautiful.

The shoulder strap is canvas with a leather stripe down the middle, an example of the detail in the workmanship.

Aside from that, I’ll let you judge the aesthetics from the pictures.

There’s also a black version—in case you’re wanting something more formal.




BestLeather Conclusion

The Vicenzo Signature Full-grain Leather Briefcase is seriously amazing. I’m tempted to throw in some four-letter words here to emphasize the point, because “Really, really” just doesn’t seem to cut it. I love this briefcase, and I think you will too. If you’ve got the funds to pay for quality, you’ll be glad to have this briefcase on your adventures.

Also, a note to potential buyers, this bag is currently on sale at half price—$299.00.

Pad and Quill Roll Top Leather Backpack Review – $319

Who else remembers having a Jansport backpack or LL Bean backpack with their initials on it? That seemed to be the thing in high school, right? Well, now that I’m all grown up, I’m looking for something with a little more class and style — not to mention a slimmer and more chic design, so it doesn’t look like I’m carrying half of my body weight in it.

Well I’m happy to say that I found just that in the Roll Top Leather Backpack from Pad & Quill. It’s handsome yet rugged, minimal yet practical, and really will get the heads to turn (almost like in high school with those Grateful Dead bears or smiley face patches).



Kari and Brian, founders of Pad & Quill, are out to make their mark on the world of eCommerce. Instead of outsourcing their products to the lowest bidder, they have a strict code that they want all of their products to adhere to, which you can read about here. They have a 25-year warranty on their bags, showing their commitment to longevity. From their website:

“We think there are folks out there who have the same sense of awe as we do when they behold a beautiful thing. Who marvel at how a handful of seeds can become a majestic stand of Baltic Birch, that are then transformed, in artisan hands, into a gorgeous, organic product. There are friends who share our sense of adventure and love to have a bag they pull from their closet with 15 years of travel written upon it, and miles to go. Pad and Quill products will never resemble a trinket pulled from a fast food bag.”



The backpack is made from full-grain tumbled American bridle leather, hand-pounded copper rivets, parachute grade nylon stitching, sturdy zippers and solid nickel hardware. A small pocket on the exterior is about 5 x 7 inches and secures with single leather strap and nickel eye. The interior has a large open pocket that can hold up to a 15 inch laptop. There is also a smaller zippered compartment.


On one side of the backpack is a zippered access to the main bucket of the bag,


Their shoulder straps that are adjustable but not removable, along with a leather handle on top of the bag,


The dimensions of the bag are 12 inches wide x 16 inches length x 4.7 inches deep when closed, 25 inches long when unrolled. The bag weighs about 3 pounds empty.


As a medium sized bag, this bag is ideal for a day trip and possibly a minimal weekend. Although deep, The width and depth of the bag restrict it from holding a ton of gear which, in my opinion, is not a bad thing. Simple yet elegantly designed bags are sometimes meant to carry simple and minimal things.

The shoulder adjustable shoulder straps are ideal for shorter and taller people. I am 6 feet tall and my girlfriend is 5 feet tall and the design and look work great for both of us. Of course, Veronica will always say it works better for her!


The quality of this bag is top of the line and very durable. Out of the box, the tumbled leather has a nice broken-in and subtle flexibility to it which is nice since full grain leather takes serious time to break in! Again, the size is great for weekend/overnight travel and the bare necessities.

Being a tall guy, at first I thought the bag to look a little too small for my frame and suiting more to a shorter man or woman. However, I reminded myself that this bag is not a big, burly hiking or work bag but more of an everyday essentials bag. It fits 15″ laptops comfortably and can carry around work or school materials with ease.

One thing I disliked was the the body of the bag being a tad bit narrow and long, making it difficult to take things in and out. Although the side zipper is extremely helpful and aesthetically pleasing, it could be a hair longer to easier remove larger books or articles. But this is the only thing I would change and like anything, I will adapt to this over time where I will adjust to the bag rather than the other way around.



The Pad & Quill Roll Top Leather Backpack is an ideal companion for many occasions, including walks around the city, walks around the park, overnight trips or even as an everyday carry bag. I honestly can’t wait to see how this bad boy ages and wears in! At the price of a little bit above $300 I feel you are getting a good value for a handmade piece of such craftsmanship, design and detail.

Larger or taller men should definitely consider the size and use for this bag as it does not lend to hauling a large cargo. But, in my case, it’s a great thing to downsize the amount of stuff I take with me on a given excursion. In addition, the minimal size and classic color will lend great to any attire, casual or business. Check it out here.


Colonel Littleton No. 16 Document Case Review – $482.50

I’m always a fan of simplicity…with a touch of uniqueness. It seems to me that the designs from Colonel Littleton combine those elements well. Purpose built products with a bit of flair and a touch of “yesteryear” to them. It’s always a pleasure when we get the opportunity to feature one of their products here at BestLeather. Today we’ll be taking a look at the No. 16 Document Bag with Strap, a thin document case with an adjustable shoulder carry strap.

Col Littleton No 16 Doc 7


Colonel Littleton is a small operation out of Lynnville, a Tennessee town about an hour south of Nashville, home to a whopping 327 residents. The Colonel started out by selling vintage cufflinks in 1987, which sparked an interest in creating unique, heirloom items. Now, 28 years later, Colonel Littleton makes bags, belts, hats, wallets, knives, cologne, and more, all with a unique Tennessee flair. Colonel Littleton has amassed a pretty dedicated following over the years, in part because their products have a unique, nostalgic feel, but also because their products have proved to be extremely well-crafted. Over the past two years, we’ve reviewed quite a few Colonel Littleton items and found them all to be top-notch. You can read the archives of our Colonel Littleton reviews here. You can also watch a short video about the Colonel Littleton story here.

Col Littleton No 16 Doc 1



This document case is made with Colonel Littleton’s dry-milled full-grain American leather, which is always very soft and flexible. The bag is around  12”H x 17”W x just 1.5″ deep, making it quite thin but leaving plenty of room for legal and standard sized documents. While not made as a laptop bag, you could feasibly fit a MacBook Air or similarly thin laptop or tablet in a pinch. The inside of the bag is unlined, leaving a soft grain on the inside. Expect a few little pieces to come off at the beginning until the grain smooths down a bit with use.

Col Littleton No 16 Doc 2



The bag is closed with two solid brass snaps, attached to leather straps that circle the entire bag. There are two snaps on each strap, allowing for some expansion to the bag when you need to load it up a bit more than usual. There is a copper metal tube (common to many Colonel Littleton bag designs) that runs across the back of the bag. The leather padded handle and shoulder straps are attached to the tube, which is held onto the bag with brass rivets. This gives the bag a strong backbone and helps keep the bag flat when storing documents.

The shoulder strap is adjustable from 34.5 inches to 42.5 inches, and can be removed via brass pegs if needed. Colonel Littleton offers a strapless version of the No. 16 Document Bag if you feel you don’t need a strap. However, the strapless version doesn’t have the copper tube or carry handle, though it is $200 cheaper.

Col Littleton No 16 Doc 5

For me, this is a great bag to use for local meetings and outings. It’s easy to grab this bag, drop my laptop in, throw my journal, notes, earbuds, and a couple of pens into it and take off. To date, that has been the primary role of this bag. It’s ideal when I don’t need to carry a full mobile office with me. I don’t foresee myself carrying this bag on multi-day business trips. In my opinion, it’s simply not designed for that purpose. My No. 40 Campaign Bag is a much better choice for those occasions.

A side note – my No. 16 Document Bag came with one of the Colonel’s full size No. 18 Portfolio legal pads in it. I’m forever changed on my choice of legal pads now. You can get 3 of them for only $13.50, which I consider to be a great deal.

Col Littleton No 16 Doc 9



The No. 16 Document Bag is very eye-catching, and has that nostalgic flair that Colonel Littleton has mastered in their product line. This bag is the Saddle Tan color, but it also comes in brown and black with brown trim. This is a document case, so it lays quite flat against the body. So far it’s functioned perfectly in meetings, and makes a very good first impression. As with most Colonel Littleton products, you can have your initials engraved on the metal plate for a small fee of $9.

Expect to get stopped frequently when carrying this bag. It always catches people’s eyes and incites questions. I’ve even had a couple of folks ask if they could touch it and hold it while I was working from one of my favorite local coffeehouses (shout out to Strada Caffe’ of Coeur d’Alene!).

Col Littleton No 16 Doc 8



The No. 16 Document Bag with Strap is yet another impressive product from Colonel Littleton. If you’re looking for a simple document case for meetings, this is an excellent choice that will serve you well and certainly get noticed wherever you go. It’s a pleasure to carry. It’s easy to use and access. The leather is superior and will age well with time and use. In the months that I’ve had my Document Bag, it has already started to darken a bit. It’s definitely a Buy It For Life item that you’ll appreciate the entire time you use it. Then, when you’re done you can pass it on to the next generation.

Col Littleton No 16 Doc 3

First Impressions: The Kendal & Hyde Classic Attache

Update (March 2017): Sadly, Kendal & Hyde is no longer in business. Many of their designs have been revived by SALT Co. Great leather bag options from other companies here.

From Kendal & Hyde we have a new line of modular computer briefcases in their Classic Attache. Another product launched with a very successful Kickstarter campaign, these beautiful briefs with a formal touch are offered in a concise array of options to suit buyers’ personal taste and needs.



Kendal & Hyde have been in the leather hardgoods scene for a few years now and are based out of California and Utah. The company has developed a strong reputation on Kickstarter, with eight successfully funded projects including a few Kickstarter staff picks. Kendal is constantly looking for ways to meet timeless looks with modern needs in his designs which has resonated soundly with his backers.



Kendal & Hyde pride themselves on products with no excess. With the exception of what’s become their signature authentic buffalo nickel on the handle, every aspect of the Classic Attache has a purpose that, first and foremost, enhances its functionality.



For starters, no corners have been cut in the construction materials: the leather is North American sourced, full-grain, and vegetable tanned; the thread is marine-grade polyester; the hardware is custom solid brass. The main body is made of 2-3mm (5-8oz) leather, layered together more often than not for the external walls, giving a fairly rigid, formal briefcase structure made of solid leather–no lining or padding is used. The straps are made of 4.5mm (12oz) belt leather.



Going beyond the basics, numerous clever design additions are what really make me love the Classic Attache.



The front and back panels extend past the sides enough to create a rigid lip that the bag can rest on. The closing strap that goes around the entire bag is extended through this lip to ensure it doesn’t rest on the ground, providing additional stability for the bag and protecting the strap from wear.



Numerous critical rivets are carefully placed so that stress comes from the side, rather than directly pulling apart at the rivet connection.

A small piece of leather connects the shoulder strap hardware to the sides, preventing hardware from rubbing against the attache.



To ensure the elements don’t make it to your items, the top flap extends beyond the side walls, and short flaps attached to the side walls extend over the main pocket.



The shoulder pad is stuffed with soft leather for padding, which helps maintain shape and prevent ridges that dig into your shoulder. In response to customer feedback (which Kendal & Hyde are great at), they’ve gently roughed the leather on the bottom side of the pad–a very effective solution for slipping.



    The Classic Attache also comes in a small variety of options:

  • Narrow (3”) or wide (5”)? The narrow serves as a laptop bag with some room to spare, and the wide can carry more with a more stable base. The inner pockets and layout remain the same with either option.
  • Single or double strap? Two straps does provide a more secure closure, but this choice is also based on aesthetic preference.
  • Front pockets, or no? This will affect both your storage and aesthetic. The single strap offers two pockets, and the double strap offers one.

The selection process is simple, but ensures you get the customized bag you truly want by allowing you to meet your own functional and aesthetic preferences.


The Classic Attache is divided into a few pockets and a main storage area. The largest pocket is designed for a laptop up to 15”. There are smaller pockets for items such as chargers or small tablets, in addition to loops for pens and keys. It’s compatible with Kendal & Hyde’s add-on accessories.



Unfortunately, we’ve so far only been able to experience the Classic Attache briefly for first impression purposes. While this short time has given the impression of a product that will function to all expectations, more detail on the functionality from daily use will be given once we’ve had a chance to more rigorously test a production model.



The beauty of the Kendal & Hyde Classic Attache comes from a refreshing combination of timeless inspiration and simplicity. There aren’t any flashy design aspects added to the Classic Attache. Instead, the gorgeous leather, other quality material, and strong, functional design speaks for itself.


This is a great option for someone who needs a laptop bag (customized to your needs) with a classic, somewhat formal look that will last a lifetime. The Kickstarter project has ended, but Kendal & Hyde are still offering pre-order discounts on their website at the time of writing. The Kendal & Hyde Classic Attache is a highly recommended Buy It For Life product.

Mario Latorre Black Voltaire Litigation Briefcase Review- $755

With the 2016 trade shows coming up, we thought it fitting to review a leather product from a company we discovered this time last year. We’ve been impressed with the level of quality maintained by this company. This time around I am reviewing the Black Voltaire Litigation Briefcase, and I must say, this briefcase is truly a stunner.

Mario Latorre Mitigation 3


Mario Latorre was founded by Daniel and Paola Garrido and is currently based out of Biloxi, Mississippi. They strive to combine functionality and luxury in their leather products, which are hand-made by artisans in South America. Over this past year we have reviewed the Bottini Briefcase and Baroni Rustico Messenger Bag, and both products exude quality and embody the Mario Latorre values.

Mario Latorre Mitigation 6


The Litigation is constructed using premium black Italian leather and Italian hardware. The black leather is extremely soft and plush. It feels like there is a thin padded lining stitched in between the leather, and this gives the bag a very soft and lavish feel. The hardware is equally impressive. The laser engraved Swiss lock is the centerpiece of this briefcase and each one comes with a key to lock away important documents. On top, the handle provides a generous amount of support and strength.

Standing at 11” high by 16” long and 5” wide, the Voltaire Litigation Briefcase is a substantial bag. My overall impression of this briefcase’s construction is very positive: the premium leather, attractive lock and handle, and solid feel really come together in a beautifully made briefcase.

Mario Latorre Mitigation 2


The Black Voltaire Litigation Briefcase is designed with the modern businessman in mind. The 5 expandable organization pockets provide ample room for my MacBook Air, journal, several document folders, college papers, and more. I store my MacBook in the rear pocket because it feels more balanced compared to the others. The front compartment is dedicated to the miscellaneous EDC items such as my cell phone, business cards, pens, headphones and more.

My favorite feature on the Litigation Briefcase is the detachable shoulder strap. While some may think the strap is a little too thin, keep in mind this briefcase was designed as a true briefcase and to be held in hand. There is nothing like walking in to a meeting with your briefcase firmly in hand and getting down to business.

Mario Latorre 11
Mario Latorre Mitigation 9


The natural texture of the leather will only improve with time. The leather has a natural sheen that catches the attention of people everywhere I go. The Voltaire Litigation briefcase comes in three leather options – black, matte black, and brown. Its bright red interior gives it a memorable sense of personality and contrasts brightly against the dark leather and hardware. The briefcase has a simple and classic Italian look that makes me feel luxurious when holding it, and will never go out of style.

Mario Latorre Mitigation 5


The Black Voltaire Litigation Briefcase makes a statement everywhere I go. This briefcase makes me wish I had more exciting meetings to attend than coffee shop dates or business classes. I look forward to using it many years in the future, when I do have more important meetings to go to. When I need to make an impression, this bag will be my bag of choice.

Mario Latorre 12

Kendal & Hyde Medium Classic Satchel [Prototype] Review – $500

Update (March 2017): Sadly, Kendal & Hyde is no longer in business. Many of their designs have been revived by SALT Co. Great leather bag options from other companies here.

For several years I’ve thought about getting a leather satchel or messenger for myself. However, each time I looked into it, none of the options I saw spoke to me enough to justify a buy…until I saw an ad for the Kendal & Hyde Classic Satchel. The bag I had envisioned being on my side had finally surfaced. Rugged yet undeniably classy and cool, the Classic Satchel is sure to serve well and turn a lot of heads in any situation.



Note that this review is based off several months with the same late-version prototype of the Classic Satchel in our first impressions review. Differences to the production bag will be noted, and details provided in the first impressions review won’t be addressed here.

About Kendal & Hyde

Kendal & Hyde, based in California and Utah, are relative newcomers to the leather world. They are now on their eighth project launch on Kickstarter, none of which have failed to at least double their pledge goal. Their company was founded on the desire to fill modern needs with classic looks and no compromises.



The Classic Satchel is my personal first entry into the leather world. After the aesthetics grabbed my attention, it was time to do some research into what makes a quality leather bag. I quickly realized that Kendal & Hyde were cutting no corners on construction – thick, North American vegetable-tanned leather, solid brass custom hardware, and marine-grade polyester thread (note: prototype leather nor hardware are full production).



Occasionally the stats on paper seem impressive but disappoint when you experience the real thing. This simply was not the case with the Kendal & Hyde Classic Satchel. Upon first sight, the bag exudes strength alongside its classic look. After a few months of use the strength has proven itself without fail. Production models will only be more sturdy.


The Classic Satchel has many useful features common to bags of its type, but enhanced for the modern user. My favorite enhancement is the laptop pocket. It holds your laptop snug in the center of your bag, surrounded by several layers of leather on all sides and edges – it’s extremely well protected.

The front section’s pockets are great for smaller every day carry items, though besides storing a few papers, I usually don’t use the front area outside of the pockets. The back section isn’t compartmentalized, and is best for larger, solid items (since this compartment will hit against your body when wearing). Because of the divisions in the bag, any single item thicker than ~3” will be very snug, but the bag is overall large and will hold quite a bit.



Kendal & Hyde offer several add-on accessories to customize your bag to your needs. The backpack straps are great for when you’re carrying a lot of weight or traveling further. The single/triple pockets were intended for Macbook chargers, but I use it for anything I want quick access to or don’t want any pressure on.

The quality of materials in the Classic Satchel also play a big factor in how well it functions. The thick, sturdy leather and solid hardware is strong and makes the satchel much easier to use than cheaper alternatives.


If number of compliments are the only measuring stick for aesthetic, the Classic Satchel passes with flying colors.

My personal favorite aspect is the patina development on the “natural” color leather. Over time my satchel has developed colors and marks that distinguish it from any other. Kendal designs his bag with this purpose in mind, and it works well – your bag will truly become your own.

Left to right: 9-16-15, 9-24-15, 11-4-15

Another fantastic thing about the Classic Satchel is the versatility of its look. I’ve yet to find an environment where it felt out of place – from suit to jeans. Here’s where the simultaneously classy and cool look really work in your favor.

For reference, I’m 5’10” and approx. 165lb

BestLeather Conclusion

The Kendal & Hyde Classic Satchel is strong enough to serve you well for a lifetime and has the looks to fit in nearly any environment. Over time it will become uniquely your own product, whether from customization with accessories or simply from the marks (memories) that will develop on the beautiful vegetable tanned leather. At $500 the Classic Satchel is a fantastic value – and at the time of writing, Kendal & Hyde are still offering a $100 discount to early buyers. Not only is the Classic Satchel a great value, but should last long enough for your children to enjoy too. It is a Buy It For Life product that I highly recommend.

Maria Fano Michelle Bag Review – $700

Based in New York City, Maria Fano recently launched her company via a successful Kickstarter campaign. Maria’s goal is to offer luxury handbags with premium materials for an affordable price. She and seven artisans based in Lviv, Ukraine, have designed a minimalist product line made for women who want handmade, designer quality at a more reasonable price point.

Today we’ll be taking a look at the Michelle Bag. Keep an eye out for a review of the fun pink passport cover, coming soon!

Maria Fano Michelle Bag 8


The Michelle bag is hand-stitched from shrunken calf leather from Germany and lined with brightly colored French goat leather. The bag measures in at 9.5 x 12.6 x 6.5 inches, making it a nice small to medium handbag size. Each side of the bag is gusseted with Riri snaps that allow the bag to fit more or less, depending on your needs. The bag maintains an attractive trapezoidal shape even when the gussets are open. The bag can fit all the purse essentials and

Each Michelle bag comes with a matching strap. I wasn’t able to check out the strap as I was given a first run production piece to review, but there were two small rings on the inside to attach a strap. The handles have enough drop length to carry over the shoulder if need be.

Maria Fano Michelle Bag 6


The Michelle bag has a gorgeous, modern simplicity to it. The bag comes in four color options – light grey, taupe, slate, and black calf leather. Two colors are currently available on the Etsy store – taupe and black. My taupe color is a beautiful, versatile color that compliments nearly any outfit. Photos don’t quite capture the subtle greyish tan hue that makes this bag so versatile.  Even with minimal branding and ornamentation, the Michelle bag stands out and gets noticed everywhere.

The goat leather lining is one of my favorite parts. The bright magenta color adds a fun pop to an otherwise simple bag. Options include black, purple, magenta, rose, yellow and light blue. The lining is stitched quite beautifully and keeps the inside of the bag clean and attractive looking.


I’ve been quite impressed with the quality of the Maria Fano Michelle bag, especially as a first run product. It has a really lovely, luxe look that feels much like high-end Givenchy bags, but at 1/4 the price. It straddles the line between serious and fun with its pink goat leather lining and sleek silhouette. The bag is still not cheap at $700, but with premium materials, excellent construction, and a minimalist look, it will serve you well for a very long time.

Maria Fano Michelle Bag 3

Maria Fano Michelle Bag 7
Maria Fano Michelle Bag 4
Maria Fano Michelle Bag 5
Maria Fano Michelle Bag 1






Colonel Littleton No. 17 Hunt Bag Review – $370

“Sometimes old ways are better than new ways” – that’s a quote directly from Colonel Littleton. In spite of all of the advancements our modern day society has made…all of the technological leaps and bounds that seem to occur weekly, his quote is completely true. The allure of handmade, of time well spent crafting something of beauty is still heralded today. Handcrafted, artisan products are one of the key hallmarks of everything that comes out of the Colonel Littleton workshop and it definitely holds true for the piece we’re featuring for them today – the No. 17 Hunt Bag in American Buffalo.

Colonel Littleton No 17 Hunt Bag 1


Colonel Littleton is based out of Lynnville, Tennessee, a town with a population of 327. The real Colonel Littleton himself got his start selling vintage cufflinks in 1987, which sparked an interest in creating unique, heirloom items. Now, 28 years later, Colonel Littleton makes bags, belts, hats, wallets, knives, cologne, and more, all with a unique Tennessee flair. At BestLeather we’ve had the privilege of working with the Colonel and his talented team for well over a year now. And, we’ve featured several of their excellent products. To see more Colonel Littleton reviews, click here.


The No. 17 Hunt Bag is made with beautiful cognac bison leather, with the natural rugged grain that comes standard with American bison leather. Like all the Colonel Littleton products I’ve gotten my hands on, the construction and stitching is impeccable. The bag measures 7 ¾”H x 11”W x 3”D, and the inside pocket measures 6″H x 9 1/2″W x 2 1/2″D with another large pocket along the front. There is a large back pocket that stretches across the back of the bag, and another small pocket under the front flap.  The back pocket is great for keeping your phone or keys when you need quick, easy access.

The bag comes with a crossbody strap that adjusts from 44″ to 52″ with ease. The strap is thin, yet comfortable to wear as a crossbody. At 11″ wide, the bag is a nice medium size that works with all body types. The inside is roomy enough to hold a wallet, keys, phone, and other purse essentials with ease.

Colonel Littleton No 17 Hunt Bag 3


The No. 17 Hunt Bag has a classic hobo crossbody construction with the addition of a hand grip built into the flap. The grip is reinforced with leather and its snug construction means that very little is exposed to the elements. The hand grip gives it visual interest as well as a vintage feel. The stainless steel cinch buckle adds to the bag’s vintage, equestrian look as well. The American Bison leather has a beautiful texture that really sets this bag apart, and gets softer and darker with age. The subtle stitching adds to the western style.


The No. 17 Hunt Bag is yet another top notch product from Colonel Littleton. It’s pricy, but for $370, you’re getting beautiful bison leather and unique hardware, all handmade in Lynnville, Tennesee. If you’re looking for a crossbody purse with a unique western flair, the No. 17 Hunt Bag is a great choice that will last you a lifetime.

Colonel Littleton No 17 Hunt Bag 2
Colonel Littleton No 17 Hunt Bag 4
Colonel Littleton No 17 Hunt Bag 5
Colonel Littleton No 17 Hunt Bag 6


A nice leather bag is one of those things that many people consider an investment worth working for. As many can already agree, finding the ‘perfect’ leather bag that looks good, last a long time, fits in the budget, and functions the way it is supposed to is surprisingly difficult. More times than not, consumers end up buying a cheap mass produced bag that works but does not offer many of the aforementioned qualities. Introducing Crushed Leather Company’s entry into the leather bag market–the Minimalist Carry. It has the looks, durability, functionality, and fairly reasonable price. Let’s take a closer look at how this bag stands up to the test.

crsuhed-leather-co-minimal-carry-review – 1


Brant Stock, the brains behind Crushed Leather Co, is a product developer and chiropractor based in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA. After several months and several prototypes later, Brant had the final product for the Crushed Leather Minimalist Carry. He strived for over-kill durability to offer a bag that will stand up to not one, not two, but three lifetimes. It will be interesting to see what other products they release because I genuinely like the overall design of their first product.

crsuhed-leather-co-minimal-carry-review – 4


As stated on Crushed Leather’s website, the construction is top notch. “You won’t have any issues. It’s built for over-kill durability.” I can certainly agree after further inspection of the bag. As you can see from the photos, most of the seams have been triple stitched. The bag is extremely sturdy and has incredible structure from the nylon webbing that the bag and strap are lined with. A smart design feature of this bag is having the strap go around the entire bag, eliminating the worry that the strap will detach like in many bags of this style. Upon unboxing the bag, I noticed a slightly strong odor coming from the bag, but this has started to go away after using the bag. Overall it is built quite nicely and I am excited to see how it ages.

crsuhed-leather-co-minimal-carry-review – 17


This bag was much smaller and lighter than I thought it was before I saw it in person. One thing you have to remind yourself of is that this bag is not trying to replace backpacks or briefcases. As you notice from the photos, my non-retina 13 inch MacBook Pro was almost struggling to fit since the leather strap that goes over it was a bit short in length. If you are lugging around an iPad or smaller laptop, no need to worry. In addition to my MacBook Pro, I managed to fit three full folders and a small textbook and of course my phone, wallet, a couple pens, and keys in the provided spaces. For the intended use, which is the carry your everyday items in minimal simplicity, it just about hits a home run.

crsuhed-leather-co-minimal-carry-review – 24


I personally really like the aesthetic of this bag. It is simple with clean lines and quality brass hardware to compliment the nice brown color of the leather. I do not usually wear a suit and tie, but I imagine it would look professional yet subtle with this pairing. This is a great all around bag ideal for business, school, or trips to the coffee shop.

crsuhed-leather-co-minimal-carry-review – 10


This is the Minimal Carry, with an emphasis on the Minimal. In my opinion, any product that can lessen the amount of stuff we carry around with us is a plus. After spending some time with the Crushed Leather Carry and seeing how it works with my schedule, I can really appreciate a bag like this. It is well constructed, classic looking, and forces me to just take what I need when I head off to class. Once in hand, this bag certainly impressed me and is deserving of a consideration in your next leather bag purchase. The Crushed Leather Co Minimal Carry can be purchased for $195 for a limited time, then the price jumps to $275. As far as I can tell from my time with the Minimal Carry, this is a fair price point for a bag with a Triple Lifetime Guarantee. The bag is available for purchase through Crushed Leather Company’s website.

crsuhed-leather-co-minimal-carry-review – 18
crsuhed-leather-co-minimal-carry-review – 6
crsuhed-leather-co-minimal-carry-review – 8
crsuhed-leather-co-minimal-carry-review – 23
crsuhed-leather-co-minimal-carry-review – 26

Lekoza Minimalistic Elephant Briefcase Review – $1000

Editor’s Note: It seems this review has created a stir among many of you. Please note that the elephant leather on this bag is not from an animal specifically hunted down and harvested just to make leather items. The leather is a by-product/derivative of a legally culled animal by national park rangers and park managers in Africa. There are legal channels provided around the world to purchase exotic leather such as elephant. It would be a travesty to think that someone would simply hunt down elephants to make leather bags. And, it’s also disingenuous to believe that we would feature a bag made in an unethical manner. Thanks.

We also contacted Lekoza for more information on the sourcing of the elephant leather. Here’s what they had to say:

“The leather I use is sourced legally, and has Cites tags attached when I receive it. The source of all African elephant skins come from culls once the elephant herd reaches destructive numbers to African tribes and nature. It’s very similar to our deer season in the United States. Without culling, African tribes would lose their homes and possibly be trampled to death. Designers, manufacturers, and leather enthusiasts should not feel emotional or have guilt for using this leather as we are not creating a demand rather using a by product. We deal with reputable international partners who abide by all regulations and we never sell poached hides.” 

Cites stands for Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species. You can read more about this organization and how they work on their website:

As a writer for Bestleather, I have the opportunity to be around stylish and exotic things pretty frequently. I basically style my outfit off of whichever leather accessory I plan on taking out that day. I know it sounds silly, but it is a luxury I have thoroughly enjoyed. The Lekoza Minimalistic Elephant Briefcase is the most exotic item I have reviewed to date, partially constructed with elephant leather, it is unlike any other item I’ve seen.

Lekoza Minimalist 2


Based out of Minneapolis, Minnesota, Lekoza is a small family-run business that focuses mainly on the craft of leatherworking, and the tools and materials needed to design and construct quality leather items. Lekoza not only provides the tools and materials for leather working, they also provide customers with as much information as possible, all in one easy to use, friendly website. Although this company’s main focus is tools and techniques, they couldn’t resist designing and crafting their own unique, exotic briefcase line.



The Minimalistic Elephant Briefcase is constructed from three very different types of leather. For the main body, Lekoza used Horween Essex leather. This gorgeous black vegetable-tanned leather is thick and durable, making the briefcase feel sturdy and very well built. The handle, strap, and gusset are made from genuine elephant leather, which contrasts the body seamlessly and creates a very attractive, all-purpose briefcase. The last type of leather used in this briefcase is the calf suede lining for the interior. This velvety soft leather is perfect for keeping your laptop or tablet cushioned and secure.

Lekoza Minimalist 5

Lekoza artisans hand sewed the entire briefcase using fil a chinois linen thread from France. The seams are all very thick and the hand stitching (ten stitches per inch) is some of the best I have seen, with tight saddle-stitching on every seam. Each briefcase is completely handmade and represents about thirty hours of labor. With solid brass hardware, premium leather, and linen thread (Lin Cable), it’s clear that the creators of this bag didn’t take any shortcuts. I can’t stress enough how well-built the Minimalistic Briefcase is; it will definitely last more than one lifetime.

Lekoza Minimalist 4


The Lekoza Minimalistic Elephant Briefcase is the simplest bag I have used. With only one storage space, and one strap and buckle, using this briefcase daily has been a refreshing experience. The beautiful strap is easy to open and close, and accessing the few things inside is quick and efficient.

The briefcase is just big enough for my 13” MacBook Air, a magazine, notebook, my slim pen case, and my charger. The briefcase has been the perfect size for business meetings and short trips. Its small size and sturdy handle feel just right when I am out and about showing it off.

Lekoza Minimalist 8


This is my first experience with exotic leather, and I must say I am a huge fan. The elephant leather is heavily textured and pliable. It is very soft, but also thick enough to provide substantial support and strength. The sturdy handle is my favorite part of this briefcase because of the beautiful, thick elephant leather and dashing hardware. These components are perfectly utilized for the extremely well made handle; this briefcase will definitely last a lifetime and more. The leather has already started to develop a shiny patina that I have grown to appreciate over time.

Lekoza Minimalist 3


Overall I have been very pleased with the Lekoza Minimalistic Elephant Briefcase. Its simple design, beautiful leathers, and sturdy construction have proven to be extremely high quality. As you can imagine, an exotic bag like this comes at a hefty price, due to its premium materials and fully handmade construction. At $1000, the minimalistic briefcase is a lifetime investment, but I know once you see this bag in person, you’ll know you made a great purchase.

Lekoza Minimalist 7 Lekoza Minimalist 9

Waltzing Matilda Market Tote – $375

Waltzing Matilda got its start making sandals, which we reviewed this summer. Now, Waltzing Matilda is a full-fledged leather outfitter based in Wayne, Pennsylvania – making everything from shoes to bags to laptop cases to wine carriers.

“Everything we make is handcrafted in the USA in small micro-factories and meant to last forever. We make a strong effort to use repurposed and recycled materials found during our travels. We don’t compromise. We are creative, adventurous, and humble, and sincerely want to stimulate the senses with our pieces. Every hide is handpicked and has unique features and marks that add to the character and beauty of each product. We hope you love your new piece of art, and that it travels with you for a long time. Please let it age gracefully.” – Waltzing Matilda website

Today we will be taking a look at the Waltzing Matilda Market Tote, a simple multi-purpose tote with WM’s classic boho look.

Waltzing Matilda Market Tote 1


The Market Tote is simply constructed with beautiful 5mm Horween leather, which you notice instantly. The leather is smooth, waxy, and smells wonderful. Its rectangular construction allows it to stand up on its own while still being floppy enough to carry extremely comfortably. The leather looks amazing from afar, and feels even better once you touch it. It’s so soft. I’ve occasionally handed it off to a friend to admire and they immediately gush about how nice it feels.

Waltzing Matilda Market Tote 10

In classic minimalist Waltzing Matilda style, the straps are hand stitched directly to the body of the tote. A small hanging pocket is attached to one side with copper rivets at the top.

Waltzing Matilda Market Tote 7

My tote is a beautiful rich black, with a lovely Horween sheen. The Market Tote also comes in Brown, Medium Brown, Grey (with black straps), and Navy (with brown straps).


The Market Tote is 13.5”H X 14.5”W X 4.5”D, making it large enough to carry pretty much anything. You can use it as an everyday carry bag or for a quick trip to the farmer’s market. The inside is unlined and undyed, but any wear adds to the charm.

Waltzing Matilda Market Tote 4

The small inside pocket is slim but plenty deep, and great for stashing keys and a phone so you don’t have to fish around the bottom.

Waltzing Matilda Market Tote 3

The leather for the straps is struck through, which is a nice touch. The straps are long enough for comfortable over the shoulder carry. They’re not particularly thick, but have plenty of strength as long as you’re not carrying around an anvil.

Waltzing Matilda Market Tote 5


I absolutely love my Waltzing Matilda Market Tote. It’s simple, but the beautiful Horween leather stands out and gets compliments everywhere I go. If you’re looking for a bargain, the Waltzing Matilda store is probably not the best choice for you. However, the Market Tote is handmade in the United States with top-notch materials that get noticed. It’s a tote that you’ll be proud to carry wherever you go.

Waltzing Matilda Market Tote 8Waltzing Matilda Market Tote 9  Waltzing Matilda Market Tote 11


As much as I love leather, I’ll be the first to admit that sometimes it’s not the ideal material for certain situations. The strength and rigidity hinder its pliability, and packing it down when not in use is usually not an option. That’s when I usually opt for natural textiles, especially waxed cotton. In the search for a bag that has a good marriage of both materials, I came upon the Tucker & Bloom London Duffel.

LondonDuffle (4)


Tucker & Bloom is a family owned business with a culmination of over 30 years in the bag industry. Founded by David & Case Bloom, the father and son duo started the company after 9/11 when the travel wear industry saw a large decline in activity. David Bloom was actually the director of Coach travel products in New York at the time and with his son Case who has a background in art, encouraged the birth of the company. Another interesting note, Case Bloom’s great grandfather is William Feinbloom, the founder of Champion Sportswear and inventor of the first hooded sweatshirt. All of their products are made from nationally sourced materials and fabricated in their Nashville factory.

LondonDuffle (5)


Coming in at 20” Long x 14” High x 10″ Deep, the London Duffel is a large bag. The main body is made from American 18oz (per square yard of material) filter twill waxed canvas. Filter twill is a weaving method that utilizes diagonal threading over a plain weave, the result being a stronger, tighter fabric. The leather panels and straps are sourced from Kentucky. They are waxed and vegetable tanned. The shoulder strap is padded and has a very comfortable shearling lined pad. The interior is an orange four-ply Taslan Nylon lining and beefy #9 Riri zipper pulls contain all that awesomeness.

LondonDuffle (2)


The London Duffel is a classically styled bag with some great modern features. The properties of the Taslan lining make the material water resistant yet breathable, making this great for gym clothes and such. The bag’s capacity is ample – the savvy traveler will be able to pack for a week and a small family could get away with one London Duffel for an entire weekend.


The interior compartments are spacious but are pretty loose and don’t keep contents contained very well, an elastane strip along the top of the pockets would have been great. I would also like to see a zippered pouch near the top for quick retrieval of smaller items. The adjustable shoulder strap is easy to adjust and the shearling pad makes carrying the bag, even when loaded down, a surprisingly pleasant experience. And thanks to the waxed canvas this bag holds up great in wet conditions. So you can take this bag camping just as easy as you can to Disneyland.

LondonDuffle (1)


The London Duffel is like a Toyota FJ40 Landcruiser. It can handle anything and looks good doing it. The coloring seems to dance from brownish to green depending on the lighting. Quality just seems to exude from the bag and it looks just as good on a bellman’s cart as it does thrown next to a pile of logs. It’s not the type of bag you’ll want to baby, thank goodness, and the waxed canvas does a great job of repelling stains. When at the airport, I’d definitely keep a close eye on the baggage carousel or else you might not get it back.

LondonDuffle (3)


There’s a lot to choose from in the big bag market, if you’re not getting anywhere in your search, I heartily recommend Tucker & Bloom’s London Duffel. The capacity has you covered no matter what you’re doing and the solid construction will see you through it.