Monday, 29 October 2012

Review: Cambridge Satchel Company Batchel

Cambridge Satchel Company Batchel in Tan

Since May, I haven't really stopped using my Batchel. (Click HERE to remind yourself of my first Batchel post, written about 5 minutes after it turned up on my doorstep). The picture above was taken to illustrate what I carry in my Batchel most days: my purse, my phone, my emergency make-up and tampon case, my lesson planning notepad for school, and my (very serious and mature) fork and spoon set which I also use for school. I also carry around a small umbrella every day but that's not pictured because it was somewhere else drying! The Batchel does get very heavy sometimes and before buying it I did worry that the handles wouldn't be able to manage the stress-- I honestly expected some kind of snapping/tearing after about 6 months... However, I must say, I've been pleasantly surprised.

Signs of wear on the buckles: although this may look slightly frazzled, it's only an aesthetic thing; there is no thinning of the leather here, so I'm not worried about it ripping/tearing/snapping any time soon.

Wear and Tear:

The fact that the Cambridge Satchel Company use proper buckle closures on their bags is a nice, authentic touch; however, I was concerned that the constant doing-up and undoing of the buckles would cause the leather to quickly wear away and the buckle holes to eventually tear. It seems--so far-- that this isn't the case. As you can see from the picture above, there is some fraying of the leather and it obviously doesn't look brand new anymore, BUT, there is no real thinning of the leather, which significantly eases my initial concerns. I'm the kind of person who is constantly checking that my mobile is still in my bag (literally every 5 minutes while I'm out), so I'm quite impressed that the buckles are still holding out well.

I normally carry around EVERYTHING with me in my bags, so don't let that first image deceive you-- all you see there are the basics that MUST be included.  I will often carry my DSLR around, a pencil case, a book, a bottle of water, etc etc; so naturally, I was concerned about how well the shoulder strap on the Batchel would cope; however, as you can see from the image below, the straps are managing the bulk just fine. There is some fraying of the leather, but you'll notice that there isn't any thinning of the leather at the point where it rubs against the bag itself. There is also no thinning anywhere else on the strap at this point.

Protecting the leather

Seven months in and I have ONE scratch on my batchel... thanks to my boyfriend. He rammed a shopping trolley into me during a stint in Tesco. Many bricks were shat that day. Other than this unfortunate incident, and despite daily abuse by me, the leather is looking in top condition.

As far as protection goes, I've just covered it with that leather protection spray you can get from most shoe shops. GUYS, I DON'T KNOW IF THIS IS THE PROPER WAY TO GO ABOUT PROTECTING YOUR BATCHEL, so please do not take this as some kind of Batchel-Protection-Gospel. I tried a small test spot at the base of the bag and it all seemed fine, so I went ahead and sprayed the rest. It all worked out okay for me. I mean, you're not even really supposed to wear leather out in the rain, but, hello. This is England.

Conclusion

TO CONCLUDE, then... I love this bag. Lots of other people love this bag (I get SO. MANY. COMPLIMENTS and admiring stares). The Cambridge Satchel Company Batchel is fantastic. There's really nothing else to say. You want one? You can afford it? You're going to use it everyday? Just do it. I'm thinking of getting another one myself.



Edit: Click the link below for a couple of pictures demonstrating the capacity of the Batchel + various other images:

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