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Road Tests

Road Tests :: BEXAR Goods Land Carry

by , February 20, 2013

I’ve been road testing this BEXAR Goods Land Carry for a few months, since back in October when I picked it while visiting the BEXAR Goods shop in San Antonio, TX.  Not only did I pick it up there, but Falcon constructed the entire bag in front of my eyes, from start to finish.

I will get this out of the way at the very beginning…I’ll admit, at first I was a little worried about testing out a “tote” (now renamed by BGC to “carry” which I’m digging).  I had some hesitations about this particular form factor.

-Would I ever use a type of carry that required I hand-carry it’s two straps or over one shoulder?
-Was it “manly” enough for me to carry around without making me feel feminine?
-Would I be able to find a way to use this product in my day to day life, adding it to my carry quiver?

I’m happy to respond;  Yes, Yes, and Absolutely.

Finding uses for this bag isn’t difficult at all.  In fact, it is my go to when I’m doing something casual or spontaneous.  Some examples are here below.

A quick road trip to San Antonio (where BEXAR is based out of) to visit with my girlfriend’s family for a single night.  I don’t need to pack like a professional for this trip like I normally would.  It’s just one evening after all.  So I nab the Land Carry, toss in some socks, a toothbrush, some boots, a bottle of whiskey, and maybe a clean shirt.  Pop it in the boot of the MINI Cooper (S type, obviously) and we’re good to go.  Nothing more is necessary for an overnight trip.  Especially for one where we’ll be taking the car (no planes, etc), not needing to cover any real ground on foot.  Carry the bag to car, drive, park, grab the bag, walk inside.

One Sunday morning, rubbing the hangover out of my eyes, I remember that the previous evening I had agreed been told to by the girlfriend to go to the farmer’s market to grab some produce in order to cook a big dinner the following night.  In one swift motion, I throw on some jeans and reach for the two thick English bridle leather straps of the Land Carry, making the walk of eternity 6-block trek to the first available coffee stand at the market.  I find this form factor does really well for this specific type of activity.  With a backpack or a messenger, you’re going to need to remove it completely (or at least spin it around your body and open the flap) in order to access the interior main compartment.  With a hand carry bag like this, you can stop at each individual stall, quickly dropping in purchased items and organizing them on the fly.  The fact that the bag will stand up on its own (due to that sturdy 22 oz waxed cotton) is really helpful.  You can set it down to reach for your wallet or to access the contents without it collapsing over on you, which can’t be said about a lot of different carry options.

We also have found that my girlfriend’s baby nephew fits inside it really well.  He appeared quite comfortable and when we tried to lift him out, he firmly demanded we leave him in it, wrapped in a cocoon of American-made Martexin Original Wax cotton canvas, with a double layered bottom floor for additional strength his comfort.  (Editor’s note: many carry brands will persuade you against carrying humans and/or pets in their products due to possibility of getting sued.  However, us at Carryology, we seriously encourage this behavior.)

Personally, I wouldn’t use this carry method through an airport or for heavy travel.(see update below).  However, depending on the length and style of my trip, I may pack it away in a larger carry-on/checked bag.  This way I can pull out the Land Carry once I arrive at my destination to use as I please.  We have a trip coming up in the Spring where a group of us will be renting a house for a week out on the West Coast.  Hiking, picnics, farmers’ markets, etc.  The Land Carry is absolutely coming, tucked inside my carry-on, in order to handle all of these various activities.

UPDATE: I just returned from a 5 day trip to the Catskills region of upstate New York, and I’m typing this update just a couple hours after arriving back home to Austin.  To haul my necessary items, I brought a large backpack mostly filled with my winter clothing and the Land Carry as my carry-on travel pack for random on-the-fly stuff.  On this particular journey, we took 3 flights, 1 four-hour bus ride, 1 three-hour truck ride, and many random car treks to farms throughout the mountains.

I’ve never found a more useful travel bag in my experience thus far, hands down.  I could toss my jacket in this bag when the sun heated me up, then grab it fast when the temperatures dropped below zero.  I loaded it up with wine, groceries, tools, firewood, and plenty other miscellaneous items as necessary.  It always seemed to be the perfect carry for whatever job presented itself.  When we were on the plane or the bus, it was ridiculous how easy it was to reach for a snack, sunglasses, a blanket for the gf, etc.  No hassle or messing with closures of any kind.

An extremely convenient travel bag… I’m honestly shocked.

Occasionally I think I’m not really giving this bag enough Hell as it deserves, as I know it can absolutely take it.  Where this bag would really shine is in the bare rusty metal trunk of an old Land Rover, hauling around a dozen or so hand tools up through the redwoods of the Pacific Northwest. Or… damp and mud-spattered, filled with fishing gear, sitting at the bottom of a wooden canoe, slowly meandering down the lazy Mississippi through mosquito clouds in the summertime.  That’s how I feel anyway.  I’m sure you can dream up your own romanticized version if you try.

Point being, this bag is handmade to be honey-badger-tough.  The thick waterproof waxed cotton canvas, the rich 10/12 oz leather, and the thick nylon thread will keep this thing going for long after you’re gone.  One of those legacy pieces we’re into so much here at Carryology.  Mine is just barely starting to show hints and whispers of it’s story of usage, light markings here and there, the leather having darkened only about half of a shade so far.

(This photo above was not staged, honest.  I snapped this shot on the way over to a friend’s for a card/board game night, where a nice tequila always is welcome.)

The pocketry.  Surprisingly, this can actually be discussed, even though we’re discussing a tote form factor.  Most are just one large pocket.  However, with the Land Carry ($225), you get some additional storage options to successfully organize your junk.  You start out with your large main compartment, a cavernous 18″ x 8″ wide mouth, with a depth (from the top of the bag to the bottom of the bag) of 15.5″.  That’s 2,232 cubic inches for those counting, which is actually a bit more volume than say a GR1 for example.  But that is like comparing apples to hand grenades, totally different types of carry.  One has two hand straps, the other has shoulder straps.  Just giving you all a volumetric reference point, that’s all.  Very large voluminous main compartment storage, check.

Stitched a little over halfway up onto the interior wall of the main compartment is a nicely sized 6″ x 6″ all-leather pocket, shown above.  This pocket serves perfectly to store some spare change, keys, a smartphone, or other small handheld items that you may need to store and grab quickly.  A cool little pocket.  A nice depth too.  I really dislike when a pocket is too deep, but not wide enough for my larger-sized hands to reach the bottom.  This one is spot on.  And the leather on this pocket is super supple and buttery, nice on the fingertips when you’re reaching for it.

(Check out the BEXAR Goods “sweet spot” leather belt in the photo above.)

The two exterior pockets…  these really come in handy.  If you’ve got something dirty that you want to keep away from your clean stuff, utilize these pockets here.  The waxed cotton wall will keep your items completely separate, ensuring that everything is nice and tidy.  Really nice depth on these (with a wide access point for hands to reach deep into) so when something goes in, it’s not going to come popping out.  They’re also awesome for quick access storage, which is one of my all time favorite features in a carry product.  Did I mention that they hold two flasks perfectly?  Other items I’ve stored in these two pockets include; a plump fennel bulb, a large SIGG water bottle, and a laptop power cord/brick among other relatively large items.

The US-made, hand-hammered, industrial grade copper rivets…man, I love these things.  All 13 of them.

Every time I run my hand across these bits of copper, I can hear Falcon making the anvil sing as he smashed these down into place with a large hammer.  I can’t wait to see these oxidize and transform into a beautiful blue/green over time and through exposure to the elements.  That time can’t come soon enough.  Long story short, these rivets are one awesome aesthetic detail that is also an extremely functional and strong way to hold things together, forever.  Win, win.

Who is this product not for?

Clearly, this bag isn’t meant for an office job which requires a suit.  It also isn’t meant for several other uber specific activities (SCUBA diving, skydiving, etc).  But that is kind of what makes it great – the fact that it can be used for many different day to day activities.  A picnic bag, a tool bag, a farmer’s market bag, the best reusable shopping bag of all time, etc.

Who is this product for?

Nearly for anyone.  Specifically for those who love quality goods in their lives.  (Upon editing this article, I realized that I’ve shown and/or mentioned whiskey, flasks, wine, tequila and beer.  So apparently the Land Carry is also a great option for anyone who likes to transport adult beverages from point A to point B.  Dutch Schultz would’ve loved it.)

Could an IKEA blue bag do the job similarly?

Probably… sort of.  But not really.

Would the IKEA blue bag hold up as long as the Land Carry?
Is it anywhere near as handsome?
Could it handle even a fraction of the weight as the Land Carry could?
Will it tell a story about it’s use 50 75 100 years from now?

No.  Absolutely not, on all counts.  The Land Carry dominates in all of these instances.

This is a bag that is handmade in the USA by premium quality folks using premium quality materials.  It can be passed down through several generations, telling a story of its former lifetime.  It works hard, while looking good, nice and simple.

Make sure to take a look at the “BEXAR Goods shop visit :: San Antonio, TX” post to gain insight on the gentlemen and the philosophies behind the brand. While you’re at it, check out our article “Constructing a Land Carry” which will give you a detailed look at how this particular carry piece is expertly crafted by hand.

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