Ledermann make a wide range of leather bags. Ranging from briefcases, to backpacks and duffles today we are going to take a look at one of their larger bags, the Ledermann Bridle leather Duffle. As mentioned the Bridle Duffle is one of the companies largest, and consequently, most expensive bags. Weighing in at, 8 lbs its a heavy son of a gun even when empty but then there is so much to it we think its worth the trade off. Lets take a closer look at what this has to offer the techie traveler with all the gear that they will take with them on a trip away.
The bag comes in a very thick and sturdy leather. At first doesn't feel as luxurious as you might expect, certainly not when it is put side by side with a saddleback that we had to hand. Its not quite as soft supple or as nicely finished for that matter. However don't let that stop you as the main issue seems to be that the leather used is so fresh and not fully worn in yet (it should be noted that Ledermann also offer this bag in a "rugged" style that is a bit more pre worn). Leather bags are a long term investment, they are pieces that grow with age and wear into something completely unique and one of a kind. Each nick, scratch and crack should tell its own story and in time that seems just what the Ledermann will offer and it certainly feels like it is designed to go the distance. The Lederman Bridle Duffle is a bag for life and remember that just like a good cigar you can expect this to only get better with age.
The actual design of the bag is centred around a large fold down overlapping duffle design with two flaps running the horizontal length of the bag one of which is folded over and fastened shut with 3 riveted and heavily nylon stitched buckle straps. At first I thought it would be a struggle to use these straps, especially if I needed quick access to something inside, however rather cleverly Ledermann had the good judgement to make each of these straps have optional quick release clasps and as such it take a matter of seconds to gain access to the main compartment. An excellent choice in design of which I can only praise them as it keeps that old world style but manages to offer up to date practicality you need in a travel bag
The inside of the main compartment is lined in a classily design pinstripe fabric and features one zip pocket and two further small leather pouches on opposing sides, very nice. There is also an additional leather lanyard which attaches to the inside of the bag so you can get quick access to anything you choose to attach to it, again this is practical thinking that we like to see, I had my keys attached and found it very useful indeed.
The outside of the bag continues with the excellent levels of storage options.... seriously this is a geeks paradise. I found that I was able to cram all sorts of things into the outside and rather pleasantly keep order when traveling with this bag. There are 4 pouches, 2 on the sides and 2 on the front length facing away from the body. Each of these individual pouches feature their own buckle down strap that is extremely sturdy. Finally, a zipper pouch on the inside length that sits close to the body provides ample space for a passport or documents that you may need to have quick access to.
To give you an example of how I used this in practice:
Pouch 1 (front): DAP/AMP/CIEM's (Audio gear) Pouch 2 (rear): Snacks/Gum etc Pouch 3 (side): Moleskin and Pen/ Nook 7" Tablet Pouch 4 (side): Camera/Mini Tripod/Hard Drive/Cables/Charger Zip Pocket: Passport and tickets
Needless to say it was a dream to travel with as everything had its own spot and stuff did not end up in a tangled mess thrown into one main compartment such is the traveling style which I usually adopt. It has to be said that Ledermann have made a bag that is so ridiculously practical in real world use. It is an absolute joy to use something that has such a well thought layout.
Another plus point was the rigidity of the bag. In the centre I was able to fold 2 days worth of clothing a spare pair of shoes and my macbook air laid flat across the top. After a full days travel everything remained in the spot in which it started out allowing me to stay organised and the clothes crisp. The bag doesn't collapse in on itself, it remains supple but rigid and to me this seemed like it offered a little more protection than you usually find with a soft bag.
One thing to note on this bag is of course the weight, this is a lot of very thick leather and sturdy metal used in its construction so beware of that as it can get rather heavy when fully laden. Thankfully though I found the strap to be very comfy a combination of the same bridle leather on one side and durable nylon on the other. A shoulder pad lined in good quality soft suede is included which helps to both eliminate chafing and also to more equally distribute the weight across the shoulder.
Make no mistake about it this is a serious bag and just goes to show how the old methods of construction are still the best. Its has all the features you would really want when on the go, its good looking, rugged, versatile, roomy..... all of those things. What I enjoy most about it however is that the Bridle Duffle is just so damm practical and well thought out, theres pockets galore and they are roomy to boot. This bag just swallows gear and looks extremely good whilst doing it and for those reasons I can only highly recommend that you try one out for yourself.
Ledermann Bags can be purchased direct from Ledermann on their website and include worldwide shipping.