A few words about a bag by a Polish brand, Adam Baron.
The bag was given to me free of charge for the review. As per my advertising policy, I will donate it afterwards.
Adam Baron went through rebranding sometime last year. Previously known simply as Baron, their bags were pretty nice option for affordable leather accessories – classic design and fantastic price/quality ratio. I used to own their weekender bag, and was satisfied with it – for the price of about €160 it was everything I could have wanted. With one exception – the zipper was trash. I had to send it back to them for replacement. Twice.
Since then, a lot has changed. From the logo and the website, which are now both sleeker and nicer looking, through the product itself, to the prices. Their new price for the weekender is around €400, and the bag I received for this review – a leather medical bag – costs a little bit over €300.
Are the changes enough to justify such a price hike? Let’s see.
All of the hardware – yes, including the unfortunate zippers – is now much nicer, more sturdy and solid. Everything that doesn’t have to have hinges is single-part cast, the zippers move smoothly and look good, and nothing has failed me over the several months I’ve been using this bag.
The interior has been reworked as well. Previously what you’d see was a thin, probably viscose lining. Currently the lining used is a heavier nylon fabric. With two zipped inside pockets, I had no problems with it – it’s waterproof, easy to clean, nothing got torn or otherwise damaged. And believe me, I don’t use my bags as though they’re delicate little flowers. I just jam things inside, zip it up, and go to work. So that’s an improvement.
I had the impression the leather the bag was made of also got an upgrade – but here I might actually be wrong. It may be due to the fact that the one I used to own was in cognac leather, and the review piece is in mid-brown – it simply looks better. It’s rather thick, not much of that plastic-y feel you see on a lot of cheaper bags.
On the folds, where the leather works more, the bag got a little brighter. I think this is actually a nice thing – I like my leather accessories to show some wear, and this kind of leather discolouration is nice and pretty. You may not agree, of course. Not everyone can be right.
What I’m not entirely sold about is the bag’s overall design. It’s short, but wide and deep, with no tapering towards the top, so it’s dangerously close to a cube. The seam that attaches the top panel – the one with the opening – only reinforces that. That blockiness is somewhat mitigated by the fact that you can attach the elongated sides of the top panel to the sides, but that helps only a little.
The size is good if you have to carry a lot of stuff with you for work, for example – like I sometimes do, but it’s a little too small to pack it for the weekend trip somewhere. If you just need a laptop and some papers, a smaller bag would suffice; if you’re planning to go somewhere for a few days, you’d have to go up in size. This makes the bag somewhat of a niche product, I believe.
There’s one more thing that bothers me. The shoulder strap is all leather, which is nice, but the paint used for the edges flakes with use. And since the edges have not been painted with anything else, you get this:
Raw leather peering through. This doesn’t look good, and there’s a room for improvement here.
Overall, I do like this bag. I believe the price is fair, because the product is solid and well-made. The thing is, in the lower price range Baron offered a fantastic product. Now however, if you’re looking for a bag in a €300-400 range, you have much more to choose from. So Adam Baron is a solid option. Just not the only one.