I often think that I should have been born in an earlier time. Back when the world was a simpler place, a person’s word/handshake was their bond, people made things with their hands, doors were left unlocked etc. The Colonel Littleton gear I have had the fortune to review is truly the embodiment of those long lost days. Now do not get me wrong, I do love tech-toys. But the modern day gadgets we drool over are definitely fleeting things, designed to be regularly replaced by the next shiny smart-device that tempts our fancy. But in true Colonel Littleton style, the No.1 Grip is created to last a lifetime and designed to be your companion on the road less traveled.
According to the Colonel, “if you had boarded a train during the time period of the 1870′s to the 1940′s, your travel bag would have been called a grip. A grip was not a bag you checked to the baggage car or entrusted to the care of someone else. It was a personal bag kept with you at all times. Likewise, the Colonel’s No. 1 Grip is designed as a carry-on-bag and not a bag to be checked”...and I 100% agree. The Grip is absolutely gorgeous to say the least. No way I would ever let it be tossed into the belly of the plane with the checked luggage.
The main body of the No. 1 Grip is made of vegetable-tanned Roadster leather for durability and strength. The flap and ends of the bag are made of the Colonel’s soft/supple Carriage leather. As I said, the Col. Littleton Grip is gorgeous but in a very manly way: soft supple leather, solid brass hardware, Old World styling, fine stitching, and edge finishing. Like all of the other Col. Littleton bags I have reviewed, the craftsmanship and materials are truly second to none.
- Dimensions: 11″H x 19″W x 10.5″D.
- Shoulder Strap Length: 36.5″-44.5″
- Bag Weight: 4.3lbs.
- Adjustable shoulder strap.
- Each bag has a serial-numbered brass plate on the inside front of the bag.
- The brass oval plate on the front flap may be personalized with three initials.
- Each made in the Colonel’s workshop.
The Grip has a unique lever-action buckling closure mechanism that holds the main flap securely in place. The lever is then held firmly closed by a leather strap. As all the pictures in this review illustrate, the leather that the No. 1 Grip is well finished; the stitching and edging are expertly done throughout the travel bag. Along with the Colonel Littleton logo/branding embossed into the leather, you can have the bag personalized with your initials engraved onto the decorative brass plate.
The Grip has solid brass hardware throughout its exterior with re-enforcing rivets and stitching for greater strength at all the hard-points.
The bag has an unusual strap arrangement that adds strength. The two thinner straps cross on the bottom of the Grip, meeting on the ends, connected by brass O-rings. The straps are held in places by overlaying stitching (from the thicker straps) and brass rivets on all four sides and the base of the bag. In addition to adding extra strength, the straps help the bag keep its classic shape.
The Grip has enough room to carry everything you need for a couple of days away from home or can serve as your personal carry-on bag for longer trips. The bag opens wide and packs easily, though there are no external or internal pockets for better organization. Here you can see what I would need for a two day trip. I have packed the No. 1 Grip with an extra pair of pants, two polo shirts (GO HAWKS!!), running gear, exercise shoes, socks, two t-shirts, two boxer shorts, and toiletries.
The No. 1 Grip hangs nice off of my side though the shoulder strap could be just a bit longer. Here you can see it at its longest. The bag itself weighs a little over 4 pounds and with a couple days worth of clothes it is still under 10 pounds and very manageable. It obviously is not a rollerbag and you have to carry it, which may dissuade some folks. I find the minor burden a fair trade for the fit, function and style of the bag.
If you do not feel like carrying it over your shoulders, the No. 1 Grip also has a double handle that pulls from 4 side mounted D-rings. Like the shoulder strap, the handle is adjustable and removable.
From a craftsmanship and materials standpoint, I can find nothing but positive things to say about this travel bag. The No. 1 Grip is simple, functional, timeless… and its classic good looks only add to the equation. In traveling with this bag folks went out of their way to compliment the Grip. I will end my review with the same quality vs. value analysis I did with the Colonel’s 1943 Navigator bag review because the same holds true for the No. 1 Grip:
This level of quality and handmade craftsmanship does come at a cost. At $800, this bag is not inexpensive. A majority of people would say that is down right expensive. I would argue, that $800 is a great deal of money for most, you are definitely getting what you paid for in this case. Let’s say you use/own this bag for 20 years….that is approx. $0.11 per day (3-4% the cost of a latte/day) to own such an excellent, handmade, piece of Americana. Plus that cost/time fraction of a dollar continues to diminish the more years & generations it is used.
Source: The sample for this review was provided by Colonel Littleton. Please visit their site for more info.