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Drive By

Bartaile C12 Bag :: Drive By

by , June 22, 2017

An Alaskan bar-tailed godwit is the world record holder for the longest non-stop migratory flight by a land bird – 11680 kilometers. Fun fact, but what does it have to do with bags? You may never have heard of a bar-tailed godwit before. But Bartaile have. The brand takes inspiration from this plucky bird that can travel awe-inspiring distances without stopping.

Bartaile C12

Labeling themselves as a “lifestyle brand for people going places”, Bartaile’s first release is the C12 Bag. So is this bag tough enough to go the distance while also being bold enough to adapt to different environments? I was keen to find out, and Bartaile were kind enough to send me a C12 in Heathered Grey to test out. Also, just so you’re aware from the start, our very own Taylor Welden provided his industrial design expertise in the creation of the C12. Did he ask us to review it? Nope. Bartaile reached out independently. Will the association affect my review? Nope. You should know us by now. 😉 Just keeping everything upfront from the start…

Bartaile C12

Who It Suits

If you’re looking for a bag with multiple carry options, a stylish work bag with office-friendly aesthetics, or a versatile day bag for use on your travels or about town, the C12 fits the bill. The unisex design also makes it a suitable choice for both male and female users.

“If you’re looking for a bag with multiple carry options, a stylish work bag with office-friendly aesthetics, or a versatile day bag for use on your travels or about town, the C12 fits the bill.”

Bartaile C12

Who It Doesn’t

If you need to carry a lot of gear, or bulky or awkwardly-shaped items, there are better options out there. The compact and slim design of this bag means you’re not going to be able to cram a bunch of stuff in with merry abandon. Also if you’re looking to roam in the outdoors or get around by bike, again, there are better options out there for your needs.

“If you need to carry a lot of gear, or bulky or awkwardly-shaped items, there are better options out there.”

Bartaile C12

The Good

This is one classy-looking pack. The design is elegant and uncluttered, making it versatile enough to suit a variety of environments. Work. After-work drinks. Exploring new places on your travels. This bag will look good wherever you take it. You can also get flexible with the contents. For example the bag is more than capable of holding small EDC, a laptop and documents for work settings, an outer layer and snacks for your downtime on the go, or even a change of clothes and toiletries for an overnight trip if you’re a light packer. You aren’t going to get away with supplies for a multi-day trip (unless you nail minimalist packing), and you’re not going to fit bulky sports equipment. But then, the bag isn’t designed for such things.

“This is one classy-looking pack. The design is elegant and uncluttered, making it versatile enough to suit a variety of environments.”

Bartaile C12

The C12 bag features an understated combination of water-repellent coated canvas and Nappa leather. I got caught in heavy rain for about half an hour with the pack and it did keep the water at bay. However, the zippers aren’t water resistant and the bag isn’t designed to be waterproof, so don’t push your luck if you don’t have to. There is a leather zipper shield on the front exterior pocket that helps protect against the elements, but no cover for the main zipper.

Bartaile C12

Speaking of the YKK zippers, they have a little resistance to them, but in a good way. You know they aren’t going to open accidentally, but when you do need to open them, the action is smooth. There are also leather zipper pulls that you can hook a finger in, and which are a good length for convenient use with or without gloves on.

Bartaile C12

Bartaile C12

I really like the organization that the C12 provides. It’s thoughtfully positioned and just enough to be useful, without becoming cluttered or overkill. On the exterior of the bag is a good-sized front pocket that offers quick access to frequently used items such as a phone, keys or wallet.

“I really like the organization that the C12 provides. It’s thoughtfully positioned and just enough to be useful, without becoming cluttered or overkill.”

Bartaile C12

Inside the main compartment is a dedicated laptop compartment on one side, and three pockets on the other side. The laptop compartment is well padded and slightly suspended to protect your tech. The three pockets include an open slip pocket, a zipped pocket with a microsuede lining for delicate items, and a snap pocket for valuables or other small items. The pockets are a good size and shape to hold a variety of items such as a phone, laptop mouse, cables, wallet, or other EDC. Even better, they are positioned high up near the top of the bag, which provides easy access to the contents and keeps your gear out of crush zones.

Bartaile C12

“The pockets are a good size and shape to hold a variety of items such as a phone, laptop mouse, cables, wallet, or other EDC. Even better, they are positioned high up near the top of the bag, which provides easy access to the contents and keeps your gear out of crush zones.”

Bartaile C12

Bartaile C12

As touched on briefly above, the bag can also be carried in a variety of ways. The straps are easy to unclip and adjust to your desired position, allowing you to carry the bag as a backpack or shoulder bag. Alternatively you can remove the straps and use the top grab handles to carry the bag as a tote.

Bartaile C12

Bartaile C12

“The straps are easy to unclip and adjust to your desired position, allowing you to carry the bag as a backpack or shoulder bag. Alternatively you can remove the straps and use the top grab handles to carry the bag as a tote.”

Bartaile C12

Bartaile C12

Lastly, it’s not cheap (the Heathered Grey version is $225), but with its elegant looks, versatile design and quality feel, I think it represents good value for money.

Bartaile C12

The Not So Good

First off, I want to mention that overall the quality of the construction is great. The stitching is tidy and the bag feels well put together. I didn’t experience any issues with construction failure, except for one thing. The bag has an attached key clip which came off without any demanding use on my part. One day I simply lifted it to put keys on and the action caused it to come away completely from the bag. From the looks of things it seems like it was glued on. I would like to think this is a one-off construction anomaly, as I didn’t experience any other build failures and as mentioned, the overall construction is solid. However, it did happen, so I’m putting it out there.

“The bag has an attached key clip which came off without any demanding use on my part.”

Bartaile C12

While it is simple enough to slip a laptop into the laptop compartment, I found the resting place of my laptop a little too close to the main zipper for comfort. Width-wise there was no problem, but whenever I closed the bag I had to be careful if my laptop was in it as the main zipper sometimes caught on the laptop. And metal zipper teeth connecting with your tech is not a pleasant sensation. For me personally, a useful improvement would be adding a little bit of height (a couple of centimeters or so) to the bag to avoid this. Out of interest, my laptop measurements are approximately 37cm x 25cm x 3.5cm, so this may not be an issue depending on your laptop size.

“While it is simple enough to slip a laptop into the laptop compartment, I found the resting place of my laptop a little too close to the main zipper for comfort.”

Bartaile C12

Bartaile C12

The straps could also do with some padding or perhaps being a little bit wider to improve carry comfort when carrying a lot of weight. At present, the straps are leather with a material backing that is soft to the touch (and won’t chew into your clothes), but the material backing provides minimal padding. This wasn’t much of a problem when I wasn’t carrying a lot of stuff, but with heavier loads (such as a laptop and bottles) the weight starts to become noticeable in backpack and messenger mode.

“The waist straps could also do with some padding or perhaps being a little bit wider to improve carry comfort when carrying a lot of weight.”

Bartaile C12

Bartaile C12

Carrying the bag in tote form makes weight less of an issue, as the carry handles are comfortable. They have curving edges and sort of nest into one another so they don’t dig into your hands. While this is fine for short distances, you’re still going to want comfortable backpack straps for covering longer distances.

Bartaile C12

Verdict

Overall, I really like the Bartaile C12. I think it’s an elegant and versatile bag that you can get a lot of use out of in diverse situations. While there could be some improvements made with the laptop compartment and straps, the organization suits my needs well, the choice of carry options is useful, and I enjoy the look and feel of the bag. As I mentioned above, I do think the bag is good value for money, so if you’re looking for a stylish and multifunctional bag this is definitely worth considering.

Bartaile C12

The Breakdown

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Geek (Performance)

Space & Access
7
Organization
8
Comfort
6.5

Style (Design)

Look & Feel
8.5
Build, Materials & Hardware
8
Features
7

Stoke (Experience)

Warranty & Support
6.5
Brand experience
6.5
Value
7
X Factor
7

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