- Buyer's Guide
Drive By :: Amōs Oscar Travel Bag
It’s growing harder and harder in the ever-competitive carry landscape to stand out. That’s why when Amōs popped up on my radar I was blown away. This wasn’t yet another Horween leather company with their logo embossed on it. Yes there’s some of that but their style was a breath of fresh air in a growingly stale market. Maybe that’s a byproduct of the fresh air and natural serenity Colorado offers founder Kyle Bardouche. Given my new obsession with weekender bags, the Amōs Oscar Travel Bag seemed ideal to test out.
Who it Suits
A professional willing to invest in a product designed to last for years and who wants to add a bit of style and class to their travel game.
Who it Doesn’t
Although Amōs positions itself as a brand nomad or modern adventurer, this isn’t really an adventurer’s bag. Not because it isn’t rugged enough (surely it is), but the aesthetic and style is for the jetsetter more than someone who embodies #vanlife.
It’s hard to not dote on this bag. Its design is simple and the details are ingenious. Part of what I love is the “what you see is what you get” approach Amōs took. Let’s begin with the materials. The obvious place to start is with the choice of heather grey merino wool (felt) and honey leather which offers a beautiful contrast between the two. As a result, there’s an inherent classiness to the bag that emanates without any real effort.
“Its design is simple and the details are ingenious.”
An additional benefit is the fact that the wool is weather-resistant so you don’t have to worry about where you’re taking it. Plus the leather will patina distinctly over time which will only add to its charm.
Now let’s dive into the details. As I said before, part of what I love about this bag is the straightforward way in which it was designed. Because it’s on the smaller side (more on that in the next section), space becomes an obvious issue. Thankfully the side buckles are designed to increase the overall stow capacity without detracting from the refined look of the bag.
The external pocket I found handy for storing my ticket and electronic cords/cables I wanted quick access to. The handles are firm, sturdy and comfortable even when the bag is packed. The shoulder strap has plenty of adjustment and being made of leather, will soften over time. There’s only two buckles for it to be secured into, on adjacent sides to make it comfortable at your side.
Now to bring it back full circle is the combination of leather-reinforced corners with metal studs for that extra durability, just in case.
The Not so Good
There are a few things to note. From a design perspective, I am not a big fan of the internal merino lining. It’s a loose bit of fabric that just seems unnecessary. The only practical purpose is the one internal pocket but again, it seems an odd choice. It doesn’t affect the durability or functionality of the bag in any way. It’s just annoying.
Speaking of the internal organization, this brings up two key points. One is that the internal pockets are a bit redundant. Although the elastic band gives them a bit of flex, they aren’t all that practical. My general packing philosophy is less is more and even I was pushing the limits of what the bag could hold (see point below).
“…the internal pockets are a bit redundant…they aren’t all that practical.”
As a result, while the internal organization is available, it’s something that I never found myself ever using. Plus it would have been cumbersome to open the bag and shift a few things around to get access when it was packed.
Point two: space. The bag is simply not as big as it looks. This wasn’t an issue for me but overpackers beware. This bag might not be the one for you.
“The bag is simply not as big as it looks.”
The side buckles do give you some extra volume but this bag will make you put a premium on what you decide to take. On some trips, I had to repack a few times to get everything to fit.
Others to Consider
Should you decide that an alternative is necessary, look no further than KILLSPENCER’s Weekender 3.0 or Oliver Spencer’s Holdall Bag. Of course, there’s also the Lotuff Holdall which will run three times what the Amōs costs.
I will be the first to admit that I had sticker shock when I first saw the bag. My second thought that quickly followed was “Holy hell, that thing is simply beautiful!” Followed quickly by “Must have.” But after seeing it, testing it and falling in love with it, all I can say is it’s worth every single penny. I have nothing against waxed canvas, but the beautiful wool felt mixed with leather is such a sleek, refined look that it just exudes class. It’s the only bag I’ve tested where people (friends and strangers alike) were asking what it was and saying how great it looked.
“…it’s worth every single penny…the beautiful wool felt mixed with leather is such a sleek, refined look that it just exudes class.”
While it’s not the biggest carry-all we’ve tested, it worked, and worked great. In short, the Amōs Oscar Travel Bag is my new de facto duffle. Lucky me.