As I type, our sewing contractors are working on our first run of Archival Clothing Field Bags. Just like last time, we’ll preface the introduction of a new product with a round-up of existing bags.
We really are Filson devotees, but we’ve found their Field Bag series to be challenging. This example has been used heavily by the Archival family for 15 years. Though it’s built like a truck from top notch materials, we’ve found a few drawbacks. Abundant use of heavy twill, bridle leather and brass mean that the bag is heavy and bulky, even when unpacked. We prefer webbing shoulder straps to leather, as web is softer and more comfortable (and negates the need for a separate strap pad). Attaching the straps on the back panel means that the bag tends to flop downwards rather than hug the user’s back. And a panel of extra fabric around the bag’s opening keeps rain out, but also makes it harder to load and unload your gear.
One of our favorite bags, this Hunting World Safari Today is comfortable and convenient (there are two pockets on the inside). Of course, it’s no longer available, and it doesn’t fit laptops or much more than a half-day’s worth of gear.
Though we love the hand-knotted fishing net on this old Chapman game bag, we had to admit that its utility is limited in daily use, as fingers get caught and small objects vanish instantly. We’ll keep this one around for hunting squirrels, but we left the net off of our own Field Bag.
So surrounded by examples, both material and visual, we set off to design a workhorse shoulder bag that would equally serve an urban professional or a dedicated fisherman. Our requirements:
– A strap configuration that provides for a comfortable carry
– Useful pocketing while keeping the layout as minimal as possible
– Plenty of room for laptops
– Protection from the elements
– No features or finish that compromise function or unduly raise price (i.e. abundant leather trim)
– As with all of our products, domestic materials and manufacture to the best of our ability.
Results to be announced soon!