Amazon is getting into a little bit of everything these days. From its Emmy-winning television series to a fairly successful suite of menswear offerings, they’re really doing everything. But are they doing it.. well? I was admittedly a bit wary of the price point. No way Amazon could make a bag that hits above its $50 price point, right? It defies most points of logic.
20″ x 14″ x 9″. Carry on compliant. Plenty of space.
What stands out to me right away is the construction of the bag. It’s really sharp with a two-tone look. A note right off the top – if you’re expecting a rigid, framed bag, this isn’t that. But if you’re looking for a configurable, substantial but not stiff, do-most-anything bag? Read on.
Rugged texture on both the canvas and leather makes a great first impression.
Taking it out of the box and unfolding its neat arrangement, my first impression drew comparisons to the Banana Republic waxed line which was reviewed late last year. Banana Republic’s offering is made of a 59% cotton-41% nylon shell, whereas Amazon’s is.. hm, it’s gotta be on the site.. wait, where is it? Nowhere to be found on the page. Finally digging out the inside tag on the bag itself, the shell is 50% cotton, 41% nylon, and 9% viscose. It’s just a bit puzzling to not have that info available before purchase.
50% cotton, 41% nylon, 9% viscose shell, 100% polyester lining.
The cotton outer is like duck cloth, but a little more flexible, likely due to the viscose. Bottom is canvas with four metal feet, a nice touch. The grey color here contrasts nicely with the leather accents, which we’ll get more into later. The polyester lining was quite surprising to me. It takes on an almost twill-like texture, and drapes quite nicely, to borrow suiting notes. This isn’t the stiff, crease-gathering polyester lining on many bags, and not cheap feeling at all. This is good stuff, and feels better than most bags I own.
Lookit all that stuff. Call it a two-weeker!
The main compartment itself is quite spacious, measuring about 20″ by 14″ by 9″, or virtually identical to the BR bag. PUH-LENTY of space here. I was able to load it with:
- a pair of Chippewa service boots
- a pair of sneakers
- a thermal hoodie
- a packable down jacket
- 3 pairs of jeans
- 3 pairs of chinos
- 3 thin sweaters
- 4 long-sleeve tees
- a bathing suit
- socks and underwear
WHO NEEDS ALL OF THAT FOR ONE WEEKEND, AMAZON?? Staggering amount of space. Would last me a solid week!
Straps are configurable to either attach to the included shoulder strap, or to fasten down the top for easier hand-carry.
What’s nice is that if you don’t have nearly that much inside, the shoulder strap ends clip to the bottom of the bag, making it much more manageable for one-hand toting thanks to the built-in leather carry handles. They feel great in the hand, and distribute the weight well enough that this wouldn’t be uncomfortable for a longer walk.
Pockets here, pockets there, soooo many pockets.
By my count, there are no less than 7 pockets for stowing all different manners of things, in addition to the huge main compartment. That’s impressive. What I love about the pockets is the variation in scope and position. There’s one large outer pocket, which appears to be held down by a belt-style strap, but actually hides a handy magnetic closure. There is a sizable zipper pocket on the opposite outer side, which can be a convenient way to hold quick-access things like essential toiletries or a phone charger. No dinky pockets on this thing.
A plethora of possibility-packed pocketing power.
Inside, two “open” pockets line the same side as the front magnet pocket. On the other side are a “triple-stack” of pockets, pictured above, which is unexpected and genuinely clever. A zipper pocket hangs in front like a small toiletry bag, and along with a zipper pocket on the inner wall, creates a “negative space” open pocket between them. Really, really nifty use of space there.
Hardware isn’t the best here, but not a total dealbreaker when backed by a 1-year warranty.
This bag is not without qualms, though. At $50, there have to be some shortcomings, but they seem to be few. The black metal hardware appears to be painted and on the cheap side, which I can live with, but the shoulder strap hardware in particular looks flimsy. Probably won’t load this to full. Zippers look good enough to me, but quite a number of Amazon reviews found them to be prone to breaking. Yeesh. It’s worth noting, though, that a one (1) year AmazonBasics limited warranty is included, covering mechanical and workmanship failure from normal use. So, you can feel pretty confident that any mechanical failings should be covered, unless they happen on day 366 or beyond.
What do we make of this leather? It certainly looks nice and rugged, but..
Now, about that leather. Amazon calls it “fine leather” trim. What exactly does that mean? The inside tag gives no hints, and nothing on the site goes into detail. On the surface, it looks like some good, thick, solid leather. Fake leather is usually easy to spot, in that there aren’t the irregularities or scratching you get with real leather. This has both qualities.
Well, that’s not great. What is this stuff?
However, by rather strange chance, one of the leather pulls for the main zipper was mis-cut, leaving a chunk of it missing and exposing the structure, and I can’t wrap my head around what I’m seeing. It appears to be a thin veneer of “leather” front, applied to a possibly suede backing? In certain lights, you can see that the back of the exposed top “leather” layer is shiny, like adhesive. Something weird is going on here.
Don’t get me wrong, it all looks and feels nice, but on a personal note, I’d be slightly disappointed thinking I’m buying true “leather” accents through and through, when they necessarily aren’t. I mean, will it hold up like full leather would? I’d say caveat emptor, but.. how are you supposed to know this before buying when it doesn’t say anything on the site?
All in all, this is a LOT of bag for $50. My favorite parts are the pockets and configurability, but I’m still wary of the leather and strap closures lasting the long haul.
About the Author: Ryan N. is a professional web developer for (and alum from) the University of Delaware, who keeps a close shave as to not be confused with his strongly-bearded twin brother. He plays guitar and drums, loves going to concerts with his wife, and loves being a dad.