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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.