I reviewed an earlier version of this bag quite some time ago, and while I was very happy with it back then, I eventually moved on from it. But the idea of it has never left my head, as conceptually it is so simple and ideal.
When I saw one for a good price show up on eBay, I snagged a modern version of the Flat Pack. This is the larger of the two sizes, even though you’ll look at the images and think it is the smaller one.
The short version: if you carry only a few things to and from work, then there might not be a better bag out there. But if you like to carry stuff, this is going to be a very hard bag for you to use.
Specs and Materials
This appears to be one generation earlier than the current one, and the primary change I can see is the interior lining. The current interior lining is wool, whereas this bag is a cloth lining. The color is the ‘classic’ leather coloring Hardgraft does, and it’s exceptional looking and feeling.
The big thing with this bag is the size (or lack thereof), which is: 14.3”x 10″x 1.4″. In other words it is a very small bag. At about and inch and a half in depth, you are going to be very restricted on what you can fit in this bag.
That said, the construction is next level good. Hardgraft nailed everything about this bag, and it very much feels like an upgrade from the last variant I tested.
In a lot of ways, this bag is my ideal when it comes to what I would carry to the office. A single device, a notebook, and a couple small things — nothing else. I’d love to live in that world, or rather lack the anxiety I get when I don’t have all the gear I could potentially need, but that’s not who I am, nor the world I feel I live in.
This is an annoying thing for me though, as I tend to bring a lot of gear with me daily, and barely use the vast majority of it. But, this push and pull is why this bag came back into my life. I keep wanting to make this bag work for me because it truly is all I need.
I took it into the office with me, I carried only:
- iPad Pro
- Small bandaid kit
That’s it, nothing more. It felt freeing and discomforting all at once. But the bag? The bag was splendid — it is designed with this core ethos to carry only what a modern office-goer needs. And it executes on this perfectly.
There’s no grab handle, the bag is only a couple inches in depth and the leather is soft — just grab it. The strap is a lovely piece of leather which wears across your body perfectly. The zipper opening splays the bag open and allows very easy access to your items inside. The leather shell, and cloth lining sandwich a bit of padding all around such that I would have no worry carrying my iPad without any case/keyboard/cover on it.
The magnetic flap which covers the zipper along the top is completely unnecessary and yet, aesthetically perfect. The zippers are smooth, with a touch flash from the silver.
Inside there’s two pockets. One large angled pocket to keep your computing device somewhat in place, and across from that a large open top pocket to keep some small items in check. There’s just enough room between the two to drop in a notebook or two.
This bag, going to and from the office, is easier for me to use than any other bag I own, or have owned. It’s trivial to get items in and out. It’s easy to stash out of the way, or grab from the passenger seat next to me. Is that because I am carrying less, or because the bag is that good? There’s no way to know. It’s probably both, and attributable to the bag either way since this affords no option to carry more.
My only advice with this bag: carry one of these with you if you are going all in with this. I started doing that, and it proved valuable as hell on a couple of occasions.
All in all, this is a gem to use, and really feels like a cheat code, while also not carrying enough to keep my anxiety at bay. Sometimes you have to know who you are, and this is one of those times. I could keep using this, but I would remain frustrated with it.
It is an exceptionally good bag, and I do envy those with the serenity to carry it.