Joshua and Jen Koch have been booming with new designs in their store lately. We’ve reviewed a few of their products before but never a custom one. Outside of BestLeather, I consider Koch Leather to be one of my go-to companies to contact when I want a custom piece made. One of the most recent products is this custom tote with a masculine edge to it. Josh and I spoke via emails to come up with a tote that had some risky modifications: side straps to cinch the bag, a drop-down key leash, d-rings for shoulder straps and a stitched bottom 1/4th of the way up. After carrying it over the last few months every day, I figured it would be a great showcase for review.
One thing I can always count on Koch (pronounced “coke”) leather for is quality leather and materials choice. This bag is fully made of Horween Chromexcel with plenty of pull-up and pretty decent resistance to scratches. The hardware used is mostly stainless steel, with a few hammered copper rivets that add a nice touch. For the side cinch straps, a stud closure is used as well as an optional stud closure at the top of the tote, which would help secure the contents.
I didn’t purchase a shoulder strap with this tote design, but could easily pick one up in matching leather from Koch leather, or use any of my straps from other bags. Exterior D rings accompany the sides of the bag, as well as the extended key latch inside the bag. A standard pouch that seems customary to all Koch totes was also included inside.
The tote has been a great secondary every day carry option for me. I believe that the design and function of a tote-style bag is underappreciated amongst men, and certainly underrated in terms of quick, no zipper/closure access to your goods. Typicallyy, I carry my DSLR camera, a small pouch with extra memory cards and batteries, and a light jacket. There is still plenty of room for a water bottle, wallet, keys etc. I mainly chose the tote design because I didn’t want to have to unbutton or unzip any closures to access my camera. There is that optional stud closure up top, but I find myself rarely using it, in fact tucking it behind the inside pocket often.
It is very useful however, on rainy days. I have also carried a full size notepad along with my regular set up with no issues or bending of the pad. As I stated previously, I didn’t order the optional shoulder strap with the bag, but for this review I did spend a few days carrying it via a shoulder strap. The less amount of bulky items in the tote, the more it will lean in towards your body. Even with my big camera inside, it did not bump up against my side enough to cause any discomfort.
With Horween leather and copper rivets, what’s not to appreciate about the look? As this bag has been used, it has gained some floppiness, and scratches and scuffs have been kept at a minimum. I intend on utilizing a shoulder strap more, to add some shiny patina to the sides of the tote. The accent stitching and reinforced bottom also add to the overall beauty. Two small logos occupy the bag minimally and pleasantly, and I had to search for them to notice.
I believe the most masculine or gender-neutral feature is the shortened straps as opposed to traditional totes with a longer strap drop length. When I propositioned Josh to make the tote, I knew beforehand I didn’t want a bag to sling on my shoulder via the straps, so the design modification shines. In hindsight, the only modification I would add, which I could still do, is request a snap button handle wrap, to make carrying via the straps a little easier and more uniform looking.
As you can tell, I couldn’t quite find anything negative to say about this custom tote from Koch Leather. Custom designs are done by Koch on a made to order basis, so its best to figure out what design ques and functionality you’re looking for prior to purchasing. Costs may vary but I highly recommend Koch Leather Totes, and adding your own modifications to get a bag unique to you. Josh is also a great help at providing guidance if you are unsure and would like to ask questions prior to him putting the needle to leather.