Satchel Update December 18 - A Few Things To Know

A few things to know as you receive your Classic Satchel

Satchels are starting to arrive for many of you and the rest will not be far behind. I just wanted to give you all a few tips on caring for your new bag.

The first thing you will want to do when your bag arrives is give it a quick inspection. 

Make sure all the pieces for your bag are present. The shoulder strap and pad will be inside the bag. For some of you, additional items such as add-on pouches or backpack straps might be part of a later shipment. Because we are running behind on this project as it is, we wanted to at least get you your bag as quickly as possible, rather than wait for the add-on pieces to become available for shipping. Check the contents of your package against the packing slip. You will get a second email notice when the second package ships in January so you can track it.

Make sure all the screws that hold the rings on are nice and tight. I have seen a few come off the production line that were not fully tightened down. When fully tightened, they should lock tight and be relatively hard to remove. If you have a ring that won't lock down tight or works its way loose in the future, put a drop of Locktite, super glue, or clear fingernail polish on the screw threads before you tighten it, and it will lock down nice and tight. It will still be removable with a screwdriver in the future, if necessary, for a repair or for a hardware swap—yes, we plan to have some accessories and alternate hardware options in the future that you will need to remove the original ring for. 

The very next thing you will want to do is condition and protect your bag.

Condition and protect your bag with a natural oil and wax-based conditioner/weatherproofer. Your bag is made of vegetable-tanned leather, which is very durable, and requires some special care. If you follow the instructions here, your bag should not only last generations, but also acquire a beautiful patina.

Fresh from the box, your bag will feel quit stiff. It will soften with use, but a conditioner will speed up the breaking-in process considerably. Vegetable-tanned leather is very susceptible to water damage at this point and will need to be conditioned with a weather protectant before use. The following is how I condition and waterproof my bags:

STEP 1: Remove all the belts.

STEP 2: Use a conditioner that has weather/waterproofing properties. Read the instructions. Obviously, I recommend our Leather Care line, but there are many good products on the market. Fiebings Aussie Conditioner with beeswax is one of my favorites (Leather Honey is also good, but make sure it is very warm or it's a little hard to apply because it is sticky and thick—honey is a good name). 

You can make your own waterproofer, but honestly, it's cheaper to buy a ready-made product than to buy the individual ingredients. The basic recipe for a homemade conditioner is 1/3 beeswax, 1/3 heavy oil (lanolin, shea butter, tallow, coconut) and 1/3 light oil (neatsfoot, mink, olive) melt together and apply warm. Buff off excess after it soaks in. In a pinch, you can use coconut oil as a conditioner, but you still need to add a wax-based protectant afterwards.

Step 3: Coat the outside surface of the bag with the conditioner. When I say coat, I mean really thick—slather it on. You don't need to treat the interior. However, I like to put a light coat of weather protectant on the underside of the flap. Coat the back side of the belts and edges of the bag very heavily—it usually takes a few coats.

Work the conditioner in circular motion to help it penetrate and get into the seams.
Work the conditioner in circular motion to help it penetrate and get into the seams.
When you are done it should look like this. I was not exaggerating when I said slather it on in a thick coat.
When you are done it should look like this. I was not exaggerating when I said slather it on in a thick coat.

Step 4: Let the bag sit someplace warm for a few hours or even overnight to soak in as much of the conditioner as possible. This should be the easiest step, but I find waiting is often the hardest part.

Step 5: Wipe off any excess product. After a few hours, it may look a bit dull—this is excess wax on the surface after the oil has soaked in. Just buff with a dry rag or soft shoe brush and it will shine up. The back side of the belts should be dark and waxy feeling. I recommend a second application to the edges and back side of the belts. Rub the edges vigorously to give them a nice polished/burnished look.

Properly done, your bag should have a waxy feel to it and easily repel water.
Properly done, your bag should have a waxy feel to it and easily repel water.

Step 6: Use your bag. Don't be afraid to let it get scratched, dinged or dented—it will only add to it's unique character and antique look. The first few will be painful, but after several months of use and wear, these marks will make your vegetable-tanned leather bag beautiful.

Step 7: The oil will continue to soak in, penetrating deeper, so you will probably need to reapply a week or two after the initial treatment, and then less often as time goes on, depending on use and the weather. Whenever your bag feels or looks dry, or spots when it gets wet, it is time to reapply the conditioner/weatherproofer. However, subsequent treatments do not need to be as thick as the initial treatment. 

We are here to answer any questions you might have. Just email us at and we will do what we can to help.

Happy Holidays and as always, thank you for the support.


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