If you follow Archival, you know that we love UK-made, Brady game and fishing bags. While the brand and product line has expanded in the last few years (adding business, biking and equestrian lines, not to mention, Japan only models), the core patterns have remained relatively unchanged since this 1976 catalog. It’s a relief to know that Brady bags are still handmade in England in the same materials (Archival faves: canvas, brass and bridle leather) as the original models from the 30s and 40s. If you are shopping for a new bag, I recommend The Sporting Lodge which offers stock and special edition Brady models like the Gelderburn in an exclusive colorway or this unique jubilee cartridge bag from 1952 (originally carried by the Queen).
Since my bag library is full, I frequently collect images of vintage Brady models from eBay, Rakuten and Etsy. I’m searching for vintage Brady models that I haven’t seen in print catalogs or incorporate features like hand knotted game nets that have disappeared from the modern line. Here are two recent finds that I’m adding to the Archival image archives:
Brady Sandringham with hand knotted, hemp game net. Brady still sells a Sandringham with a nylon game net (an undervalued feature on modern bags) but I love the level of hand work represented by this vintage model. I don’t own a Sandringham, but if I ever buy another Brady, it will be this bag.
I love the diminutive yet overbuilt look of this tiny, early era Brady shell bag. The treated canvas has aged beautifully and the tiny scale of the bag really throws into relief the bag’s beautiful material components (essentially becoming a framing device for the lovely, bridle leather and brass closure).
Classic Dana Designs Bomb Pack from eBay (Mine is also purple, but a slightly different colorway)
I always think of the Dana Designs packs which were called “Blurple” – a cheerful hue lurking somewhere between blue and purple – as being my favorite color ever for technical baggage. Since those aren’t available aside from eBay, here’s a wide range of purple goods that have been catching my eye recently.
Gorgeous Skookum crew neck sweater. Japan-only, of course.
A towel that I shall never get to use.
Japan-only Filson Black Label jacket
I know, I know. Couldn’t resist.
Japan-only Crescent Down Works vest
Japan-only Brady bag
It’s great to see all these new Chapman special collaborations and Japan special make ups. I’ve always viewed Chapman as something of a Carhartt to Brady’s Filson. Chapman makes terrific, UK-made field bags out of what the testers at the Montgomery Ward Bureau of Standards might designate as good or “economy” quality materials. For example, the rubber lining on my older Solway game bag is starting to crack and the leather is in need of repair. Brady, on the hand, uses top quality bridle leather, solid brass hardware and mil spec webbing–components that result in a premium price. The Brady line is small and focused on a few signature styles (the Ariel, the Trout, the Gelderburn, etc). Chapman, on the other hand, offers limitless variations on classic British and Fishing styles including bags made from linen and tweed along with standard cotton canvas drill. If you cannot afford Michael Palin’s $295 Brady Geldenburn , shop from the vintage Chapman catalogs below for terrific, economical alternatives.
Hunting World Catalog 1968
Spanish leathe “Versatote” (on my Archival Finder list)
More English Fishing Bags (made by Brady
, no doubt)
Expedition Canvas Tentage
Kalahari Grill and Fish Locator Glasses
A few more shopping cart items from the catalog that brought you the Springbok hassok, chromed steel “supercube” furniture and genuine zebra luggage tags. Apart from the overabundance of African trophy skins (“obtained by licensed hunters and landowners”), the 1968 Hunting World catalog remains a terrific source for top quality British canvas and Spanish leather game & field bags. One can still locate British versions of thes bags in the catalog by way of Brady
(whose models retain the same names). However, I would add the Spanish-made leather “versatote” to my own archival finder last. Wondering if that same small, 5-man saddlemakers shop in the Spanish mountains is still open and available for custom orders.
Hunting World 1975 coming soon (elephant skin loafers and brass pocket pepper grinders!).
blog author and denim designer, Jessica L., sent me these photographs of her 18 month old Brady Gelderburn
fishing bag. The bag is one of the largest in the Brady range and I questioned Jessica on her selection of this specific style (and on why the bag’s strap was already so frayed after so few months of use). She replied: “It’s quite a big bag for me and i have the strap long, but i am also guilty of overfilling – i use it every day as my handbag & for work stuff. it’s also picked up a little indigo from my jeans! occupational hazard.”
My own Brady inventory includes the diminuitive Norfolk, a Brady tote and a Japan-only rucksack. But I’ve always coveted the oversized Gelderburn as a travel bag every since I saw Michael Palin toting one around in his (recommended) BBC documentary, Around the World in 80 days (1989).
Palin shipboard with his Brady Gelderburn
Photo from a 1998 Filson catalog
Brady rucksack (Japan only)
Barbour catalog model with rucksack (make/model?)
If I lived in Japan I’d be president of a regional Filson “going outside” club. We’d take pictures of ourselves wearing full Filson outfits and go on Filson themed camping trips (ala Snow Peak).
My club would write yearly letters to CC Filson petitioning them to bring back clothing and accessories that had been discontinued from their original product line. This year, we would write a letter requesting that Filson reintroduce the nice box style rucksack w/a simple cinch top pictured (in postage stamp scale) in their 1998 catalog. We would request that Filson have the bag made out of the original tin cloth from the Martin company and launch the rucksacks as part of a larger “heritage” line of luggage and clothing based on historical patterns, materials and catalog images.
For interested parties seeking a wee sized British fishing-type bag (sized for wallet, camera and a deck of playing cards), UK based Brady bags is offering their Norfolk style bag at a discount (close-out)? I first saw this style Brady bag being sported by the founder of Rivendell Bicycle Works when I visited the bicycle company two years ago. Though the bag is diminutive, it’s quite functional and does not show any design or build compromises even though it’s marketed for town rather than field use. I use mine as a bicycle commuting bag with my tin cloth Filson tote handling the large cargo spillover.
For reference, here’s a spot sidewalk inventory of what I can fit into the Norfolk from the flickr group, The Items We Carry.
It’s deep August so I’m in far swing away from my principal Winter obsession: bag and jacket hunting (from the archives, movies or UK). Instead, I’m organizing my archive of old web shots from Japanese websites featuring US and UK products. Brady Bags (out of the UK) is a long way from offering teddy bears and shot glasses (although the new flashy Brady site does feature images of women in white linen and uses the word “fashion” in the main page copy). Here are a few Brady bags that got away from me two years ago. Several people have offered to help me place orders for items from Japan but I fear that this option would be as finacially devestating as being able to shop from 1930’s cinema (friend Tom B. knows that Rules of the Game would bankrupt me over the gamekeeper’s garb alone.