Gear bags are a passion with me. I’m always on the look out for something better than what I am currently using. For me, “better” tends to mean a combination of functionality and style. I don’t want to carry the same boring bag that everyone else does, I like to be different. So, I was pretty excited when I happened upon the Bohemian Traders website.
This company offers 4 different leather bags made in Europe, that have old world style and craftsmanship. They were kind enough to send me 3 of their current offerings for review:
the Plumber’s Bag, Prague School Bag and Gamekeeper’s Bag. Let’s take a detailed look at each one.
Traditionally used by plumbers in Prague, Czech Republic to carry their tools, this all leather cowhide bag has a lot going for it. It is available only in natural un-dyed leather, and in two sizes: letter and legal. The letter size is 14 1/2″L x 6″W x 11″H, and the legal size is 16 1/2″L x 6″W x 11″H.
I was sent the legal sized bag, which easily fit my 15″ aluminum G4 Apple PowerBook with tons of room to spare. If you are considering in this bag for a notebook computer, you will want to put your notebook in some type of protective sleeve though, as this bag is not padded at all.
The interior of the Plumber’s bag is comprised of one large cavity with a thin flat pocket on the back wall of the bag. The pocket is plenty big enough to hold standard sized and
even large format magazines, folders, papers etc.
On the outside of this pocket is a small (7″ x 4.5″) light weight leather pouch with two snaps. This pouch is large enough to store small items such as memory cards, adapters, PDAs, etc.
I really wish the main compartment was divided into at least 2 sections. Just having one big compartment means all your stuff will just lay in a jumble at the bottom of the bag.
The exterior of the bag is simple, which I like. There are no logos, branding, or print of any kind on the outside of the bag. Actually, the only print at all is a Made in Czech stamp on the inside of the flap. A double leather handle that can lay flat against the top flap is located at the top of the bag. A steel band is sewn into the area under the flap. This band helps the bag retain its shape even under heavy use. Although I would prefer a rolled leather handle, I found this handle to be relatively comfortable even when carrying a fully loaded bag. By the way, this bag weighs 3lbs when empty.
The flap is held closed with two buckled straps which are easy to manage. The buckles are rugged, and the straps are flexible enough to allow you to quickly open the bag without wrestling with it.
The shoulder strap is removable, and adjustable. It’s not very long though. If you look
at the picture of me wearing the bag, the strap is at the next to last setting. Only approximately 4 more inches can be added to that length. While the strap is not padded, it is pretty comfortable. The only thing that I don’t like about it, is that it is kind of squeaky. That’s probably due to the fact that the bag is so new
If you are looking for a very rugged, roomy all leather gear bag, this one will definitely fit the bill. At only around $100, it’s a steal!
Price: $99.00 (letter size), $109.00 (legal size)
Only one main compartment
Prague School Bag
Like the Plumber’s bag, the Prague School bag is made of rugged 2.5mm cowhide. Available in one size (14″L x 4″W x 11″H) and in both natural and earth tone, I was sent the natural version.
This bag is smaller than the Plumber’s bag, and as such, makes a better gear bag
than a notebook bag.
The interior has only one main compartment. There are no other pockets located inside or outside of the bag. I think the bag would be much nicer if the main cavity was
divided into two sections.
The flap is held closed with one large buckle, and has a nice handle on the top. Like the Plumber’s bag, it also has a steel band sewn into the opposite side of the flap. The unpadded, adjustable, and removable shoulder strap wraps around the underside of the bag which helps to distribute the weight when carrying it fully loaded.
I like this bag best of the three reviewed, due to its size. It also makes a nice little laptop bag for my Fujitsu Lifebook.
Price: $79.00 (natural), $89.00 (earth tone)
Only one main compartment
This bag is the most unique of the three bags reviewed here. It’s name and style conjures images of fur wearing hunters
from days gone by… or, it reminds you of a tootsie roll. It’s a toss up ;o)
Like the Plumber’s bag and Prague School bag, this bag is made of rugged 2.5mm cowhide. Available in one size (15 1/2″L x 7 1/4″W x 10 1/4″) and in both natural and earth tone, I was sent the earth tone version, which has a shinier finish than the natural leather
The interior of this bag has one flat pocket on the back wall. This pocket can hold a standard sized magazine, folders or papers. The rest of the interior is just one large open compartment. Again, I would really prefer that there be at least one divider.
There are also two flaps on either side of the top edges. These flaps kind of
get in the way when you’re trying to insert or remove an object.
This bag shares the same characteristics of the other bags, it has a steel band reinforced buckled flap (2 buckles) and a adjustable / removable shoulder strap.
I think the Gameskeeper’s bag looks a little more feminine than the other
Bohemian Traders bags, and would work well as a large purse.
The only problem I had with it was that the bottom is rounded, which caused it
to be a little tipsy on a flat surface.
Only one main compartment
All three of these bags are made to last a lifetime. The leather is thick and rugged and will
only look better with age. Especially the natural leather bags, which will get a beautiful patina with time. If you are looking for a gear bag that doesn’t look like everyone else’s, these will definitely do the trick.