The Product Review: Owen & Fred Voyager Waxed Weekender

Editor’s note: Head here for a host of product reviews on menswear style essentials.

A navy twill interior and army green waxed canvas are complemented by leather handles from Wickett & Craig.

A navy twill interior and army green waxed canvas are complemented by leather handles from Wickett & Craig.

As luck would have it, it’s been quite some time since our last menswear product review here at The Style Guide. They were a fixture on this here #menswear blog for quite some time, and we’re back today with a review of the Owen & Fred Voyager Waxed Weekender. Past reviews have showcased a range of product, from an essential chambray shirt to a pair of classic chukka boots and beyond. Well, here’s another one — and¬†just in time for summer travel season.¬† In fact, traveling in style could get a whole lot easier¬†if you snag a durable, essential and stylish men’s weekender bag — perhaps one a heck of a lot like the option you see at the top of the page. Yes indeed, this bag has quickly become a big-time favorite at The Style Guide, and it’s accompanied me on a stylish trip to upstate New York, as well as¬†a recent long weekend in Washington, D.C. (thanks to the brand sending it along for testing).¬†Would I recommend picking one up the next time you hit the road? Absolutely. Why’s that? Read on.

Owen & Fred Voyager Waxed Weekender

As seen in this site’s roundup of the best men’s weekender bags. Photo courtesy of Owen & Fred.

Over time, the excellent men’s lifestyle and design brand Owen & Fred has won me over in a big, big way.¬†They’ve been kind enough to participate in a few Reader Giveaways and provide this site with product¬†for review,¬†and I’ve been a fan of their approach to design¬†even before that. They stock an essential selection of, well, essentials for the discerning guy — be it a sturdy brass bottle opener (a favorite on my Instagram) or larger pieces, like¬†a durable canvas laundry bag¬†(unfortunately sold out). The full product assortment is pretty extensive, yet all designed with refinement and style in mind, and that goes for everything from its shaving kits to intricate wall art. It’s with that approach — great design and quality first — that they’ve crafted the Voyager Waxed Weekender, and it certainly shows.¬†In every situation, from those¬†weekend trips to hopping around NYC, it’s¬†performed very well, and I think that trend will certainly continue.

The Voyager Waxed Weekender in tow for a stylish weekend. Chapter Travel Kit by Herschel Supply. Slim Chinos in Light Stone and Jack in Indigo Star Shirt by Taylor Stitch. Heritage Tassel Loafers by Sebago. Leather lanyard by Tanner Goods. Waterbury Chrono by Timex x Red Wing. Adventure Log by Word Notebooks. Maximus Sunglasses by Sunday Somewhere.

The Voyager Waxed Weekender in tow for a stylish weekend. Chapter Travel Kit by Herschel Supply. Slim Chinos in Light Stone and Jack in Indigo Star Shirt by Taylor Stitch. Heritage Tassel Loafers by Sebago. Leather lanyard by Tanner Goods. Waterbury Chrono by Timex x Red Wing. Adventure Log by Word Notebooks. Maximus Sunglasses by Sunday Somewhere.

The specs are impressive and worth noting, for starters. The¬†bag’s tough, rugged and versatile foundation starts with Martexin Original waxed canvas in an eye-catching shade of Army Green. It’s a different look and feel than the typical weekender bag, as that waxed canvas already has broken in beautifully during the production process. (If, on the other hand, you prefer a more luxurious bag, perhaps check out the last option in this site’s post on the best men’s weekender bags). But in this humble style writer’s opinion, that broken-in styling and feel really is a tremendous attribute in terms of looks. That also means the waxed canvas is more pliable than it is stiff, and that’s definitely a good thing if you tend to pack a lot of style essentials for the road, as I did as recently as¬†a Memorial Day trip to upstate New York.
Frank & Oak
That’s yet another box that can be checked off when it comes to the Voyager Waxed Weekender — it’s roomy and comfortably fits two-three pairs of shoes, plus a weekend’s worth of #menswear gear. In the case of yours truly, that means versatile pieces like a slim chambray shirt, dark denim, brown leather chukka boots and indigo sneakers, for example. In comparison to my Navali Stowaway Weekender, it’s got enough room for about a day’s worth of clothes more (that is, an extra set of chinos or denim, plus a shirt and shoes). What all this boils down to are the bag’s dimensions — 22¬†inches in¬†length and 12 inches in diameter.

A look at the waterproof qualities of the waxed canvas, plus the beautiful leather handles via Wickett & Craig.

A look at the waterproof qualities of the waxed canvas, plus the beautiful leather handles via Wickett & Craig. Photo courtesy of Owen & Fred.

Aside from its plentiful space (including two interior zipper pockets),¬† the bag is finished off with sturdy zippers and brass hardware that shows no signs of stress or giving way. The tightweave¬†(removable) shoulder strap¬†is fairly comfortable, although perhaps some leather reinforcement could be added (that could just be me being accustomed to my Satchel & Page Slim Mailbag, however). Speaking of leather — let’s talk about the detailing on this bag. The 9oz. harness leather straps that finish off the Voyager Waxed Weekender¬† on the handles and at the strap are coming at you via Wickett & Craig , one of the oldest tanneries in the country.
END. Clothing
That attention to detail shows, as these handles are soft and supple, yet sturdy enough to support a fully-packed bag. They’re also rich in color and contrast nicely with the waxed Army Green canvas (although this bag is also available in Charcoal). And down onto the navy cotton twill interior, this bag is something else. It’s a work of art — practically — that should carry everything you need for a stylish weekend away and beyond. It’s got a rugged-refined appeal that’s unique, eye-catching and classic, all at once. Whether you carry it alongside slim stone chinos and an indigo shirt, or stylish summer shorts and a pocket tee, it’s going to add plenty of practicality, function and classic style to all your summer adventures.

Get your own Owen & Fred Voyager Waxed Weekender now.

Florsheim

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Online Shopping Picks: The Best Men’s Weekender Bags

Editor’s note: For even more online shopping picks covering everything from watches to spring and summer style, head here.

As spring rolls into summer, there’s¬†a very good chance that a lot of us are going to be hitting the road for vacation quite a bit more than during the doldrums of winter. This is¬†definitely the case for yours truly, as I just trekked down to Washington, D.C. for the weekend earlier this month, and have a few more trips in the works. While longer travels certainly require larger luggage, traveling for just a handful of days presents some style conundrums — both in matter of what to pack, and what to pack that gear in. A stylish weekender bag is going to be your best friend in these situations — most have just enough room to hold multiple pairs of shoes and multiple outfits, plus any other gear you might need.¬†And a great-looking bag is the ideal compliment to a sharp travel outfit.¬†Plus, making that upgrade from a standard gym bag or duffle is yet another step on the path that is constantly trying to improve your personal style. Heck, it’s just fun to have a bag that happens to look as good as what you’re wearing. Make packing and traveling easy with one of this site’s picks below for the best men’s weekender bags, and get to booking that flight. Let me know what you think on The Style Guide Facebook page, too!

#1. Owen & Fred Voyager Waxed Weekender — $275

A bag that's built for wear-and-tear, yet still manages to look mighty handsome.

A bag that’s built for wear-and-tear, yet still manages to look mighty handsome.

The first entry on this list is a real tried-and-true, trip-tested bag that’s made in America and built with a ton of quality. Yes, the Owen & Fred Voyager Waxed Weekender ¬†is certainly a stunner, made from Martexin Original Waxed canvas (some of the best of the best) and finished off with durable leather straps from Wickett & Craig, one of the oldest tanneries in the country. It’s beastly, stylish and built to break in over time, complete with two interior zippered pockets for extra storage. After taking it with me on my trip to Washington, D.C., I can say you’ll be very pleased with it indeed.

#2. Everlane Dipped Weekender — $115

An affordable alternative to more expensive options, with just as much style.

An affordable alternative to more expensive options, with just as much style.

Whereas the above Owen & Fred bag packs a¬† heck of a punch in both quality and price, the Everlane Dipped Weekender is a more affordable answer to the question of what you should travel with this summer. It’s made from twill and features a neat, screen-printed look that contrasts nicely with the black leather straps. Everlane has a brand really does it all now from its¬†Slim Pant to bags like these, which really put them on the map. While the price might seem at odds with the expected quality, it’s part of Everlane’s commitment to transparency, and that should work out nicely should you buy this bag.

#3. J. Crew Harwick Weekender Bag — $148

A more casual alternative from a brand that does a lot of things well.

A more casual alternative from a brand that does a lot of things well.

Just as Everlane has expanded its product categories over the years, J. Crew has continued to stick with making all sorts of stylish accessories for guys — like the Harwick Weekender Bag.¬†It’s nylon, so it’s decidedly more casual in construction and looks than the Everlane or Owen & Fred options, but the Dark Navy color should stylish and versatile for laidback weekend trips.¬†It packs in a shocking eight pockets — that’s more than tons of bags on the market, and it means all of your gear — from a classic white Oxford to your stylish dopp kit — stays separate (and clean).

#4. Wood & Faulk Grand Tourer Weekend Bag — $175

A stylish-looking offering from an under-the-radar brand.

A stylish-looking offering from an under-the-radar brand.

Have you heard of Wood & Faulk? They’re a new brand for this style writer, but given the stunning looks (and presumably, quality) of their Grand Tourer Weekend Bag, they’re worth watching. This piece is made from tough-looking waxed canvas and features leather accents from S.B. Foot Tanning Co. — the same tannery that produces leather for Red Wing Shoes. Talk about stunning quality packed into one piece. End pockets and an inner zip pocket offer additional space, and the brass hardware finishes off this bag nicely.

#5. Troubadour Fabric + Leather Weekender — $855

A pricey, minimal and super-premium weekender bag.

A pricey, minimal and super-premium weekender bag.

It wouldn’t truly be an¬†Online Shopping Picks entry if we didn’t finish things off with a stylish and yes — incredibly expensive — weekender bag. The Fabric + Leather Weekender ¬†features vegetable-tanned leather and a minimal, premium look thanks¬† to the black leather and nylon fabric accents (although the Navy, Khaki and Olive colorways look mighty nice, too). It’s an investment bag that certainly would look right at home alongside your best travel suit — if you’re the type who travels a lot for business but wants a bag that’s different than a standard rolling suitcase, this is the bag you need.
Frank & Oak
While each of the above bags are suited for different kinds of situations — particularly the Troubadour weekender — each is going to stylish and durably complement your travel ensemble and any stylish travel accessories you might be bringing with you. Maximizing a¬†great price, tough quality and handsome looks is going to be critical, too — and hopefully, do-able with any of the above picks. If you’re still searching for that perfect bag, an option from the likes of Herschel Supply Co. might¬†work well. But in the meantime, let me know on Twitter if I missed any picks or key brands!

Stay stylish and safe travels,

-Beau

Florsheim

The Product Review: United By Blue Mt. Drew Duffle

Editor’s note: Click here for a plethora of product reviews on the right kind of gear to pack in your bag. P.S. Do you like The Style Guide on Facebook?

Taking the Mt. Drew Duffle from United By Blue around the country. Leather luggage tag by Owen & Fred.

Taking the Mt. Drew Duffle from United By Blue around the country. Leather luggage tag by Owen & Fred.

The more you travel, you more you realize that it just pays to have the right gear. That goes for simple, smaller things like your toiletries kit, all the way on up to the right pair of shoes ¬†or sturdy outerwear. It goes without saying then, that the bag with which you transport all this gear is pretty essential. And like other considered areas of your outfit, a great weekender bag¬†can add a solid, reliable touch to your travel ensemble — seriously. It’s an area that should be overlooked, so when you find one that gets the job done, you should hold onto it. I’ve been traveling quite a bit in recent months, from a Christmas trip to Florida¬†to a work trip to Utah, and a nice bag has proven critical to get from point A to point B. With that being said, the United By Blue Mt. Drew Duffle that you see here has been more than up to the task of handling all of my style essentials.

Ready to hit the road with the Mt. Drew Duffle. Natural chambray shirt by Todd Shelton. Chocolate Suede Scout Chukka Boots by Thursday Boot Company. Adventure Log by Word Notebooks.

Ready to hit the road with the Mt. Drew Duffle. Natural chambray shirt by Todd Shelton. Chocolate Suede Scout Chukka Boots by Thursday Boot Company. Adventure Log by Word Notebooks.

United By Blue should be a familiar name if you read this blog regularly — they’ve popped up in our ongoing Style Q&A series, and they craft everything from the duffle pictured here to responsibly made¬†shirts, henleys¬†and swim trunks. And as with any purchase, you can feel great about picking it up — they remove one pound of trash from oceans and waterways for every product sold, and they bring along their employees as volunteers to do it. So it’s no ordinary company you’re buying from, and that’s a very good. Namely, it means the quality and craftsmanship of this bag can stand up to the commitment they’ve promised.¬† And it means that no matter which of the five available colorways you pick up, you’ll be getting the same quality (for the record, I ended up going with the Moss option).

Brass hardware pairs well with the dark brown genuine leather straps.

Brass hardware pairs well with the dark brown genuine leather straps. The waxed canvas should hold up quite well, too.

If you’re going to be lugging this around the country as I’ve been, durability is going to be crucial. Luckily, the 18oz. organic waxed canvas is a huge plus —¬†the bag has so far¬†stood up to being jammed in overhead compartments and carried around on the subway, and it hasn’t shown any signs of ripping or giving out (pretty critical with how much gear I’ve packed into it at times). Now, it’ll certainly see lots more use going forward, but initial signs are quite promising. Another big aspect of that durability component is the hardware, as you can see from the above photo. The brass hardware teams nicely in terms of aesthetic with the genuine dark brown leather, but it also feels quite sturdy when picked up, too.

That is, it doesn’t feel like the leather handles are going to give way on you, or like the shoulder strap (also padded with that dark brown genuine leather) is going to suddenly break off. These are all big bonuses, and signs you should check out right away when grabbing your own bag. The leather handles, while sturdy,¬†aren’t too stiff to carry the bag with¬†— while the leather isn’t buttery-smooth, with repeated use, they’ll stand up to carrying while looking quite nice. So overall, this bag definitely has solid durability going for it.

Enough space for two pairs of sneakers side-by-side (plus gear not shown).

Enough space for two pairs of sneakers side-by-side (plus gear not shown).

Space is also a key when packing up a bag for weekend or long-weekend getaways. This bag packs a surprising amount of room (pun intended). I’ve repeatedly been able to fit two pairs of shoes (one pair of suede chukka boots and one pair of sneakers, for example) inside, along with various other knits, sweaters and pants. Compared to my Navali Stoway Weekender Bag, it definitely feels roomier inside, which is somewhat surprising given that the Navali Weekender utilizes more interior pockets and compartments. Note that the official measurements on the United By Blue bag are 24‚ÄĚ Wide x 15‚ÄĚ Height x 11‚ÄĚ Diameter, compared to that Stowaway Weekender, which measures 22″ Wide x 12″ Height x 8 1/2″ Diameter). So this is really more like a three-or-four night bag as opposed to just a weekender bag (that is, if

Fit to carry all kinds of seasonal accessories. Leather luggage tag by Owen & Fred. Buffalo Bobber Leather Gloves by Iron & Resin.

Fit to carry all kinds of seasonal accessories. Leather luggage tag by Owen & Fred. Buffalo Bobber Leather Gloves by Iron & Resin.

 

One drawback might be that if you like things ultra-organized inside your bag — that is, divided up by compartments or sections — this bag doesn’t quite have that. There is an interior zipper pocket however, but that’s it. But given the bag’s roominess, I’ve always found that my gear fits in comfortably without things getting too jumbled up.¬†As with any accessory you’re going to be bringing with you lots of places, looks are absolutely key, too. I’ve found the rich Moss color of this weekender¬†to be a neutral complement to all sorts of travel outfits (again, style’s in the details!). It strikes the right balance between being unique yet not too outlandish. Any of the five other color options currently available would do much the same thing — particularly the rich Nutmeg color¬†or the handsome Chocolate color. The lighter shade of tan even calls to mind a Filson bag.

Which brings us to a key differentiator between an expensive weekender and this one — price (not too hard to figure out there, ehh?). For a bag of this quality and styling potential, the price is just right. That’s particularly true when you consider that the Navali Weekender runs about $30 more expensive. It’s critical that this bag provides more space, more color options and a thicker waxed canvas (not to be overlooked when searching for something long-lasting). Keep in mind that if you were looking for something more smaller and more like an overnight bag, J. Crew Factory is currently offering up its Carson Duffel Bag for just $68.50.¬†And on the slightly more casual front, J. Crew’s Harwick Weekender Bag is going for $148 (but that piece features nylon versus waxed canvas). Were you to go for something on the pricier side of things — like a true Filson weekender — know that the price is going to hop up significantly.

So when it comes to combining craftsmanship, quality and price with the right kind of looks, it’s tough to go farther than this United By Blue Mt. Drew Duffle. The Moss color in particular is rich and eyecatching, the hardware is solid and well-crafted, the leather straps and detailing will break in nicely over time, and the price is on-point for what you’re getting. Heck, you might yourself making more excuses to use this bag than you thought.

Do you own the Mt. Drew Duffle from United By Blue? Or is it on your Wish List?

The Product Review: Satchel & Page Slim Mailbag

Editor’s note: For more product reviews covering excellent #menswear staples, head right this way.

Fit for the hills of Greece and the NYC commute, too: the Slim Mailbag from Satchel & Page.

Fit for the hills of Greece and the NYC commute, too: the Slim Mailbag from Satchel & Page.

As you go about improving your sense of style, it only makes sense that the details take on an added importance — as they should, and that’s the case with one of the best leather bags for men. Style upgrades¬†in areas both big and small definitely contribute to a broader package in terms of your personal appearance. And there are a surprising number of companies allowing guys to get great quality for those upgrades while supporting up-and-coming brands (blog favorites like Pistol Lake and Apolis¬†definitely fit this mold). Satchel & Page has certainly made a name for itself doing that, thanks to an initial Kickstarter run¬†of simple yet handsome bags¬†that raised nearly $230,000. The product focus has expanded since that time to include leather jackets and more, but its staple products — especially its well-known Slim Mailbag¬†— are just as high-quality as ever.

I had the chance to chat via phone with founder Daniel Ralsky as I hopped on a plane to Michigan last month, and I had the good fortune to get my hands on the Slim Mailbag as I also hopped through Greece at the start of August (check out more on that trip here). And this rugged leather bag for men has proven every bit up to the challenge of navigating both international air (and ground) travel and the rigors of commuting in NYC. (Editor’s note: Before we dive in, although this bag is available right away, certain products — like the brand’s new line of belts — do fund via Kickstarter or the brand’s Web site).

Another shot from beautiful Santorini, Greece. The Slim Mailbag alongside a Goorin Brothers vintage ballcap.

Another shot from beautiful Santorini, Greece. The Slim Mailbag alongside a Goorin Brothers vintage ballcap.

This refined leather bag for men is, generally speaking, remarkably well-made and will absolutely only get better with age. It’s the type of piece I’m excited to get more use out of, because thanks to the excellent, rich leather, it should tell quite the unique story. Already, the patina is changing and actually looking all the better for it. It comes with a lifetime warranty and crucially, it feels like it could stand up to that test. The leather is thick yet not too stiff out of the box, ideal for a bag that was asked to do a lot right away, including lugging around my laptop and Issara leather laptop sleeve, plus various notebooks. Contained within the bag are also compartments for an iPhone, pens and business cards. The body of the bag itself has broken in remarkably well, a testament to the quality of the leather.

A closer look at some of the sturdy hardware on the Slim Mailbag.

A closer look at some of the sturdy hardware on the Slim Mailbag.

A leather shoulder strap rounds things out comfortably, and thankfully, it’s not at all tiresome to wear. The rest of the piece from Satchel & Page is quite remarkable in terms of quality. The 6-8 oz. rich brown, full-grain leather gets its rugged good looks from a hot stuffing method using oils and waxes — custom made by the company’s tannery, to boot. As you can see in the above photo, the bag is already beginning to take on unique nicks and scratches, which only make it look better (in my opinion). If you’re looking for a sleek, boardroom-ready briefcase, this isn’t the bag for you — but those who need something stylish, rugged and effective at carrying around the essentials will be more than happy to hear it stands up to the test. Note that this bag is three pounds, so it’s by no means a remarkably light carry if you only have a few items (say, not even a laptop).

A side-by-side look at the Slim Mailbag next to a slightly larger Kenneth Cole messenger bag.

But for those who like some history with their everyday carry, this bag’s got that, too — it’s inspired by the same style of bag carried by the U.S. Postal Service in the early 1900s, so it’s certainly up to a rigorous commute.¬† Officially as far as dimension go, the bag runs 11″ by 14.5″ wide by 4″ deep (so those with laptops running at 15″ should probably look to the brand’s larger, regular Mailbag). Hand-hammered copper rivets and antique brass hardware also lend the bag a lived-in look.

An in-depth look at the inside of this bag -- well-constructed and with just enough space for everything you might need.

An in-depth look at the inside of this bag — well-constructed and with just enough space for everything you might need. Photo courtesy of Satchel & Page.

Like some of the brand’s other products, this bag isn’t cheap up front, but it’s certainly durable and long-lasting enough to justify the price. Note that the relatively similar-in-looks Montague Leather Satchel from J. Crew retails for about $100 — if you can’t pony up the cash right now, that’d provide a slightly flashier approximation. It isn’t, however, the decidedly more casual waxed canvas and leather laptop bag that J. Crew also sells, which goes for just under $100. Yes, Satchel & Page’s Slim Mailbag provides both more sophistication and higher-quality leather and hardware than its peers in the market (although¬†Navali’s Mainstay Messenger Bag would be worth your time as well if an in-between option was needed).

Not all will find Satchel & Page‘s rugged bag appropriate for their commute or their office,¬†or with enough space to lug everything around, but the durability and quality combination is to be commended. The leather is rich and durable, the fastenings and hardware are sturdy, and the space is, for my needs, more than adequate. It’s the type of bag that looks great now and will absolutely improve down the line — hopefully, in both looks and performance.
Ben Sherman US