If you’ve been around a while you know that I’ve talked about leather travel bags a few times in the past, but today we’re upping the quality and the price point a little bit because I want to help you identify several key areas that you should be looking at when shopping for and buying a high quality leather bag. So, right off the top in full disclosure, this article is in partnership with Daveed and I want to thank the owner Andrew for sending over one of their amazing bags that I could use as a demonstration in this video, and for helping to support this channel, because as you can imagine, it’s pretty hard to make a video about bags at this price point without actually having one to show. I’m gonna put a few links at the end of this article that you can check out.
Men over 40 who are in a good place with their careers and want to treat themselves to something beautiful and functional are probably ready to upgrade their leather bag situation. Now a lot of you are at that phase where you’re interested not just in things that look nice on first glance, but really high-quality items that last so you only have to buy them once. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard from friends and acquaintances, and even myself for that matter that complain that the thing they bought on the cheap fell apart. The thing is, we got the cheapest version of that thing we could, so essentially, it’s our fault, because the old saying; “You get what you pay for” is still relevant today.
With quality leather bags, the general rule is that you do get what you pay for. Something cheaper may look good at first glance aesthetically, and may get the job done, but poor-quality components and manufacturing will most likely show pretty quickly. A well-made leather bag can last for decades, or even a lifetime. But, beware that even luxury brands use some trickery to cut their costs while keeping the retail price high, so you want to avoid some traps. Hopefully, after watching this video, you’ll learn a few ways to identify a high-quality men’s leather bag.
Hardware & Zippers
Okay, let’s talk hardware first, because if you want to have a shortcut to assessing the overall quality of a leather bag, look at the hardware. Poor quality hardware may take a few months to fail, so your first impression might be good, but things can start to go downhill. The most common cause of failure on a bag is the zipper. In terms of cost, by the way: a poor zipper can cost a couple of bucks to make, whereas expensive zippers can cost 30, 40, or even 50 dollars to make and install on a bag. The most common mid-range zipper is the YKK. Now YKK is a good zipper and they’ve been around for a long-time and make zippers that are pretty good value. But when you want to go the extra mile, you’ll start to see Riri zippers, and that’s what Daveed uses. The zippers are made and hand-finished in Switzerland – and as a component of a bag, they require a lot of precision. They glide beautifully and they don’t break. Other types of hardware on this bag are rings, clips, and snaps that are sourced from Tuscany, Italy, and they stitched on very well.
In higher end bags, you’re looking for 100% full grain leather. This seems obvious, but people buy bags without understanding some of the differences in leather and get disappointed when the bag doesn’t wear nicely over time. When you think of a hide, there’s several layers. The best leather is made from the outermost part, and it’s called full-grain leather. Full-grain leather is the most expensive and most durable part of the hide. Because it’s more durable, it lasts longer, and it feels way better. You’ll know if a company uses full-grain leather because they’ll say so because it’s definitely something to brag about! Daveed went a step further and developed its own full-grain leather called Nixburg in Germany in partnership with a tannery called Heinen Leather. And for those of you who are into the movement towards ethics and transparency in manufacturing, it’s made in a socially responsible way without water pollution or exposing workers to harmful chemicals.
So a quick backstory, the founder of Daveed is Andrew Daveed Dale. Andrew’s grandfather was a leatherworker for nearly 50 years in Europe and Canada. He was raised as an orphan and was able to support himself by stitching high quality leather goods, which is exactly what Daveed does today all of these years later. So leather and quality craftsmanship is pretty much in the DNA of the family. Everything made by Daveed is handcrafted in small batches in Montreal, Canada, using premium materials from Germany, Switzerland, and Italy.
Next, let’s look at the linings. The lining is one of those other things that’s forgotten, and it’s often made of cheap nylon because really, nobody cares about the inside. Look for linings like this that are made of a premium material. This lining is twill that’s actually woven out of recycled water bottles and organic cotton. The lining here is really durable, and I think it looks great. Some more aesthetically rugged brands leave their bags completely unlined to show off their stitching, but this can cause the leather to sluff off and pill all over everything that’s on the inside of your bag.
Where it’s Made
Next, but maybe most importantly, you need to understand where exactly the bag was made. Not just because it’s a more responsible way to buy, but the best companies tend to have nothing to hide. Brands that are proud of their craftsmanship will tell you where the bags are made. They also visit their factories regularly to check in on quality and make sure the team is being treated fairly. This bag is made at one of the last luxury factories in all of North America – Rayata Accessories in Montreal. They’ve been making bags for decades, and being a French part of Canada, they have a European flair of elegance on the bags they produce.
Lastly, connoisseurs notice design elements like organizing compartments for a 15” laptop which is rare for a duffle bag, a luggage strap to slide onto your rolling suitcase, internal and external zippered pockets with those same Riri zippers, even leather detailing on the various different pockets. Even the quality on this Travel Pouch that can hold your small items like cables, your passport and other small accessories is the same as the large bag. The other thing to note is the leather feet on the bottom, not metal feet. After setting your bag down on cement a few times, metal feet get chipped and can get sharp edges. If you set the bag on a tabletop, the metal feet end up scratching the table. Metal feet may seem like a good idea, but in reality, they’re really not. Now, I know that this bag isn’t for everyone, but whatever bag you end up buying, I hope these tips will help you make a more informed purchase. Once again, if you’d like to go check out the Daveed website, I’ll drop the link down below.
Travel Duffle – Wood Color: http://bit.ly/30w1RS6
Travel Pouch – Wood Color: http://bit.ly/2R26ccv