- Buyer's Guide
Supreme German Luxury | Oberwerth Nelson Weekender and Q3 Bag
A lot of brands use the phrase “luxury” to describe their wares, but none epitomize the phrase quite like German brand Oberwerth. Since 2018, Oberwerth have been creating the highest quality camera carry for those on the move. Providing a variety of different models, their handmade bags are a cut above the rest. We dive into two of their iconic products, the Nelson Weekender and the Q3 Bag.
The weekender is a timeless silhouette that has been a favorite of the carry world for decades, if not centuries. The trusty do-it-all companion that is ready for anything. This 26L version from Oberwerth, named the Nelson, is all that and more thanks to a few hidden tricks up its sleeve.
It’s worth noting what an incredible experience it is unboxing any Oberwerth product. There is no arguing that they live on the higher end of the price spectrum, but with good reason, and that is immediately apparent once you open the box. You’re greeted with a luxurious twill dust bag that I’ve found can pull double duty as either the more obvious storage bag or a laundry bag when you’re traveling. From inside that twill bag is the other tangible aspect: the smell. It’s a good smell, one of luxurious full-grain leather.
Once you pull the Nelson from its dust cover and feel the tumbled leather for the first time, you’re in a full-on sensory experience. That’s a good thing in my opinion, as when you’re spending $1049 on a bag, it’s an investment piece, so the experience should be something special that stands above others. In the Nelson’s case, it certainly feels like the heirloom-worthy piece that I had hoped for. The Nelson, like all of Oberwerth’s products, is handmade in Germany.
Construction-wise, it’s hard to find a fault with this bag. I’m fortunate to play with a lot of bags, and whenever I have the chance to look at a product labeled as luxury, my first thought is always manufacturing. At the very least, a luxury product should be near perfect. The Nelson is a flawless example of craftsmanship, with clean lines, tidy trims, and not a stitch out of place. To complement the full-grain milled cowhide, there are custome ‘Oberwerth’ LOXX® fasteners at either end of the bag to adjust the size and how the Nelson can be carried; these are a delightful experience which I’ll touch on later.
The chrome zippers and hardware contrast the rich dark brown leather in an elegant fashion and glide smoothly, while providing just enough resistance so that the user is fully aware when they’re engaged. I find that hugely comforting when using a bag like a weekender because I’m actively conscious of how closed a pocket is or isn’t.
Aesthetically, this is the bag I always wanted to own as a youngster. It was always a weekender I longed for, I can’t really tell you why. Even as I write this, I’m trying to decide if it was the mystery around what secrets lay within them, or was it just because they looked bloody cool? I remember seeing men I admire just disappear for these seemingly exquisite adventures with just this one, predominantly leather, bag. The Nelson, in my eyes, encapsulates that long-pursued dream. It is both elegant and sporty, refined and robust, practical yet minimal.
This is a bag that with good care (and Oberwerth’s lifetime warranty) will see many adventures in both your hands and anyone who is lucky enough to inherit it. Whether carried by your side in your hand, or over your shoulder, it’s a subtle silhouette that blends in nicely to any given situation. The branding on the Nelson is very clean and simple, just an embossed “Oberwerth” in the center of the front of the bag.
In use, the Nelson performs its carry tasks admirably. For travel purposes, the 26L size is more than enough to transport your curated wardrobe and the necessities for your wedding, weekend away, or business trip (there is also a larger 42L model for those who pack heavy!). The main compartment is lined with a rich red color that provides great visibility and a touch of classic class.
Inside the main compartment, you’ll find a simple zippered pocket for your EDC, and a laptop or tablet sleeve for up to a 16″ MacBook that has a snap closure. Both of these pockets have leather detailing and piping, another luxurious touch that is immediately noticeable when using the bag. On the exterior, you’ll find three pockets. Two on either side and one at the base of the bag. The two on either side are simple zippered pockets for accessories; the one on the rear sits atop the luggage pass-through.
The third pocket is where the fun really starts. Oberwerth are known for their camera bags, and the Nelson is no different. When you open this bottom drawbridge flap, you’ll find a 7.2L padded camera insert. This insert is fully customizable with Velcro dividers, so you can configure for whatever your camera needs are. I’ve found it’ll comfortably fit any variation of a few small-bodied cameras, APSC/mirrorless body, and some lenses, or even a mix of lenses and technology. It’s a great option for carrying my cameras, charging cables, headphones, etc.
The padded organizer is just as well constructed as the rest of the Nelson with luxurious microfibre, clean stitching, and a zippered end so that you can configure the cube for immediate camera access on the move. During testing, I’ve also found this camera cube to be excellent for airport security; it’s easy to remove all electronics in one quick swoop without holding anybody up as you dig through an overpacked bag.
This camera configuration also means it can become an understated yet capable studio bag. With the ability to house your cameras safely in the base, there is easily enough space for tripods, lights, and accessories in the main volume. The Nelson is a camouflage option in a market full of camera bags that are very clearly bags holding lots of expensive gear.
However, this pocket isn’t only camera-centric. If you find yourself not bringing your tools with you, the pocket can either be packed entirely flat to give you more volume in the main compartment, or it can be used as a safe haven for shoes, a wash kit, etc. on your trip. It’s even worked well for a jacket, as you can gain quick access from the outside.
The Nelson Weekender is the ultimate upgrade to your duffel game. It balances form and function excellently and is a true example of timelessness. As a tactile experience it’s hard to beat, the engagement with the leather, the LOXX® fasteners, and the zippers is truly luxurious! This is a bag that will likely outlive you and your escapades, and will perhaps even see a few generations of adventures. It is decadent and understated in equal measure and a worthy investment for those looking to go to the next level in their carry.
This little gem is the bag that you may recognize most from Oberwerth. It is iconic in its own right, and it’s a beauty. Whether used in tandem with the Nelson or on its own, this is arguably the perfect compact camera carry. Originally created in partnership with those Leica camera folks over in Wetzlar, the Q Bag is now in its third iteration.
As with the Nelson weekender above, the construction on this bag is nothing short of impeccable. We’ve been testing the Hydro Line version, which is made from a unique hydrophobic leather that can take on all manner of conditions! The Q3 Bag is an elegant mix of sueded leather that has a refined matte finish at home in any situation. Contrast red stitching adds a gentle pop of colour and is a homage to the Leica DNA in Oberwerth products. Internally, there is the same rich red microfibre lining that protects your camera from unnecessary damage, and a Velcro divider that allows the user to adjust their configuration.
On one end of the main bag you’ll find a small slip pocket that is perfectly sized for a spare battery with a sewn leather insert for SD-cards. On the front of the Q Bag, you’ll find a bellows pocket that expands to comfortably hold an iPhone 15 Pro Max. This pocket is split into two, so you can also hold another slim item such as a wallet or passport.
The closure uses two magnificent custom ‘Oberwerth’ LOXX® fasteners which are incredibly satisfying to use and very secure, meaning that you needn’t worry about your precious cargo; there is an audible “click” so you’ll know if you’re secure on the move.
The clue is in the name with the Q3 Bag. It is designed for the Leica Full Frame Q series cameras, and as such they fit perfectly, with room for a few accessories too. While it is designed with the Leica Q’s in mind, it works well for other small camera carry too such as APS-C models. It can also deputize as an EDC bag very easily. Whether you remove the Velcro divider or not, the Q3 Bag comfortably holds enough for a mini adventure, with room for a water bottle, packable jacket, sunglasses, notepad, and the like. The Q3 Bag is also an excellent travel cube for your camera. I’ve regularly tossed this into a larger backpack and pulled it out on the road when needed!
In use, this has quickly become a favourite of mine for a few reasons. Its size is very unobtrusive whether you have it slung over your shoulder, or across your body. It’s weatherproofing is phenomenal, I’ve regularly used it in downpours and the hydrophobic leather takes it all within its stride, and I’m yet to suffer any wet camera gear! The materials just get better with age too, the matte hydro leather patinas very nicely and the handfeel is excellent too.
The Q3 Bag is a thoughtfully designed camera bag that really enhances the joy of using a smaller camera like the Q series. It’s minimalist, it’s functional, and it’s beautiful. Considering the tactile experience using this bag when shooting, and it’s easy to see why these are so popular and an Icon of the Oberwerth range.
Oberwerth have impressed me. I’ve often gazed from afar and wondered if the larger price tag is worth the investment. After using these bags for two months, it’s a resounding “yes”. The craftsmanship is impeccable, the function is flawless, the design is thoughtful, and the warranty is lifetime. When investing in a luxury item, you can’t ask for much more.
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