New Brooks Brixton Tote and Shoulder Bag is a Masterfully Crafted Beast

It is as big as my torso, but it folds up nice and compactly when I don’t need it — the new Brooks Brixton Tote and Shoulder Bag is all the bag I can handle. It’s made with supple, durable, and gorgeous Italian-made leather, and can be worn in a handful of versatile ways. Combine that with a new look that makes it much more distinctive than its predecessor, and you’ve got a bag that is going to make a lot of people happy.

Technically, this bag is called a tote. Really, it can be used more like a messenger bag most of the time. If you are riding a bike and want it to stay put, the Brixton bag can be worn across the shoulder with the bag folded down. There is a handy waist strap to hold it in place that tightens across your stomach. The bottom of the bag is especially well designed for cyclists — it has a curved U-shape leather bottom that is rigid, so it does not sink and hit your behind while you are riding.

But, it’s not just a messenger bag, either. The Brixton bag is perfect for getting to school with a bunch of books and tech in tow, as well as grocery shopping and putting the bag in the front basket of your bike. I like to paint outside, so loading up supplies in this rugged bag and heading out has been just perfect.

The Brixton bag feels like it’s about five pounds empty, which is heavy for a bag, but not so much for a bag as big as your torso. While in tote mode, this bag could hold about three plastic bags worth of groceries at least. There are no internal pockets, just a beast of a bucket. You can snap it shut at the top with two button closures. If it’s used like a messenger bag, the upper half of the bag folds over on itself and can be buttoned shut, while a magnetic closure loosely holds it close to the main body, and I mean loosely. It is by no means a strong magnet, but that is a good thing when carrying sensitive electronics.

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The main body of the tote is made of a water-resistant cotton canvas that has been painted with a charcoal color. That paint flecks off absolutely everywhere, which is part of its rugged charm. If you bang it up and scratch it, it just looks better. That goes for the leather flap and bottom as well. The black vegetable tanned leather is a single solid piece in both areas. The leather won’t scratch easily, but if it does, leather, like tough guys, just looks cooler with scars. The handles and straps are made of durable cotton that is very comfortable to handle and can take a beating. The straps are comfortable as well, due to their generous width at two inches. That disperses the weight enough to be comfortable, and the texture keeps the bag from sliding around on you.

Read on for the verdict…

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