Archival Clothing - Made in USA

Posts Tagged ‘shoulder bags’

Archival Baggage: Billykirk Field Bag

May 24th, 2009



Billykirk waxed cotton field bag

Although I have no earthly need for another bag of any kind (messenger, musette or otherwise), I’m coveting this new field bag by Billykirk. In my mind, the BK bag fills the niche between my Frost River cartridge bag (flimsy) and Filson medium field bag (heavy on the shoulder for cycling). The Billykirk bag combines a waxed cotton main body w/soft leather side and back panels (resembling, through bag ancestry, this Orvis Battenkill field shoulder bag). It has the light (nearly foldable) weight of a musette with the more advanced pocketing of a traditional shoulder (or shell) bag. Although the leather paneling dresses up the bag, it makes it a bit luxe (for me) for daily use. However, I’ve heard that future iterations of the bag might be made in full waxed cotton. Trying to decide on color options: olive, tan or black?

I was chirped at by a Portland “concept store” for taking photos of the Billy Kirk bag–so I apologize for their hurry-up, spy shot quality (no privileged access for me).
For context, a few other field shoulder bag examples:

Frost River shell bag (poor shoulder strap design)

Filson tin cloth medium field bag (nice save for those plastic clasps)

Military field bag (austerity model)

Hunting World options

Shopping from 1968: Hunting World

May 20th, 2009

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!).

Shopping from the past: Rivendell Musettes

May 11th, 2009
1996/97 Rivendell Catalog

Rivendell Acme and Plain Musettes

1994 Bridgestone B.O.B Gazette

B.O.B Basic and Imperial Musettes (my Imperial is 15+ yrs old)

Handling instructions (plus early organic cotton promo)

Rivendell Waxed Cotton “Acme” Musette

And a missed opportunity to mail order a Bridgestone X0-1 or RB-1 from the past:

Archival Review: Cycling Musettes

May 11th, 2009


From my Rivendell musette collection

I’ve been using cycling musettes on and off the bike for over decade. Musettes were originally designed as feed bags for cyclists during road races. If you search for musettes online, you’ll also find references to WWII canvas, military fieldbags (“musette bags”) and other types of pocket-sized canvas shoulder bags.

Foremost, I love the cycling style musette’s low-volume, low profile carrying capacity (a friend refers to them as the essence of purse). A well designed musette should be large enough to carry daily items–cameras, sandwiches, notepads, pencils–but small enough to be rolled up and stowed away inside another bag. I prefer versions made out of lightweight cotton or waxed cotton with minimal hardware or embellishing details. A musette should always be rectangular in shape. I’m on the fence about whether a musette should have a formal clasp or button closure. I’m pretty sure a modern musette should have a fold-over flap.
Rapha offers a modern musette. It’s a little too “updated” for me.

Here’s a classic, vintage style cycling musette by Velo-Retro. Nice, but needs a flap to improve use value.

Gilles Berthoud sells a musette made of the same canvas as his famous Berthoud handlebar bags. However, the Berthoud musette is a bit boxy and I’m not fond of all the contrasting leather trim. I prefer the first generation Berthoud musette (picutred below).

Everybody’s favorite musette seems to be the one sold by Rivendell Bicycle Works during the early days of the company (and in the late days of Bridgestone through the B.O.B. Gazette). The Riv version came in both waxed cotton and untreated cotton canvas (some were made out of Filson fabrics, I believe). The Riv musette had a large main cargo pocket and two front divided pockets. Since the bag was designed for cycling, it came with a secondary sway or waist strap to prevent the bag from shifting during rides (I always removed this strap). I’ll post some catalogue images of the Riv musette tomorrow.

Here are a few more examples of traditional musettes (promo text ads to their appeal):

Traditional string-style shoulder strap (out-of-business bike shop)

Gift addition to my collection (note: simple button closures)

Nice cotton Pinarello with broad strap

I’m working on a design for an Archival Clothing musette. At the moment, I’m investigating successful historical examples and contemplating design decisions: size, hardware (any?), fabric (waxed cotton!), shoulder strap options (string strap or cotton web), button/strap/toggle closure, etc. If you see interesting (vintage!) examples of musettes that please you, forward them along.

For now, here’s a quick visual inventory of bags w/musette-like profiles that interest me:

Original Gilles Berthoud Musette (nice canvas color)
Army Surplus (love the vent holes)

Chapman field bag (single strap closure; game net)

Brady bag (mere most minimal)

Brooks Messenger Bag (steroidal musette)

Hunting World Sling (adjustable web shoulder strap)

Hipposchemes

Interesting blog post on vintage musettes from Hilary Stone.

UPDATE: We’ll be offering our musette for sale in December 2009. See this post for more information.

UPDATE (2012): Archival Plain Musette featured in Bicycling MagazineLink

Archival Review: Cycling Musettes

May 11th, 2009



Classic Rivendell Musettes

I’ve been using cycling musettes on and off the bike for over decade. Musettes were originally designed as feed bags for cyclists during road races. If you search for musettes online, you’ll also find references to WWII canvas, military fieldbags (“musette bags”) and other types of canvas shoulder bags.

Foremost, I love the cycling style musette’s low-volume, low profile carrying capacity. A good musette design should have a purse-like essence without excess hardware or trim. I prefer versions made out of lightweight cotton or waxed cotton that can easily be stowed when not in use. A musette should always be rectangular in shape.
Everybody’s favorite musette seems to be the one sold by Rivendell Bicycle Works during the early days of the company. The Riv version came in both waxed cotton and untreated canvas (some were made out of Filson fabrics, I believe). The Riv musette had a main cargo pocket and two front divided pockets. Since the bag was designed for cycling, it came with a secondary sway or waist strap to prevent the bag from sliding around while riding (I always removed this strap).


Two traditional musettes
Here’s a quick visual inventory of bags w/musette-like profiles:

Barbour Creel Bag (courtesy Reference Library)

Gilles Berthoud Musette
Gas Mask Bag

Chapman field bag

Brady carry-all (strap free)

Archival Review: Cycling Musettes

May 8th, 2009




Classic Rivendell Musettes

I’ve been using cycling musettes on and off the bike for over decade.

Musettes were originally designed as feed bags for cyclists during road races. If you search for musettes online, you’ll also find references to WWII canvas, military fieldbags (“musette bags”) and other types of canvas shoulder bags.
Foremost, I love the cycling style musette’s low-volume, low profile carrying capacity. A good musette design should have a purse-like essence without excess hardware or trim. I prefer versions made out of lightweight cotton or waxed cotton that can easily be stowed when not in use. A musette should always be rectangular in shape.
Everybody’s favorite musette seems to be the one sold by Rivendell Bicycle Works during the early days of the company. The Riv version came in both waxed cotton and untreated canvas (some were made out of Filson fabrics, I believe). The Riv musette had a main cargo pocket and two front divided pockets. Since the bag was designed for cycling, it came with a secondary sway or waist strap to prevent the bag from sliding around while riding (I always removed this strap).


Two traditional musettes
Here’s a quick visual inventory of bags w/musette-like profiles:

Barbour Creel Bag (courtesy Reference Library)

Gilles Berthoud Musette
Gas Mask Bag

Chapman field bag

Brady carry-all (strap free)

Guest Baggage: Brady Gelderburn

February 26th, 2009


Indigo Slims 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

Shopping from 1997: Zo Messenger Bags

February 12th, 2009



Now regretting that I waited twelve years to mail in my order for a Zo Gravey Dog messenger bag in black cordura (another synthetic exception). I used to own a small red Zo bag but it lacked the sway strap which kept it from lurching from side to side during vigorous pedaling. I could never locate a replacement strap so I ended up passing the bag along to a friend.

According to the Messenger Bag manufacturers list, Zo Bags are still available by mail order from San Francisco. However, the Zo link leads you to a handwritten note suggesting that bags will only be available for sale, from time to time, via ebay. At the moment, I know that there are many great contemporary messenger bag companies (Lemolo, Bailey Works, Re-Load Baggage, Zugster, for starters). I also know that there is a bit of a Zo backlash because of availability issues (and after-market boutique status?). Nevertheless, I remain fascinated by the 1997 iteration of Zo bags when the entire product line, plus accessories, could be perused on a single sheet of paper (with lots of buffering white space). Navigating the Re-Load site, for example, w/its “music series” dj bags and complex size/style/sale options, makes me long for the visual simplicity, and direct address (see handwritten note), of my 1997 Zo promotional mimeograph.