Bennett Winch bags: Luxury canvas

Friday, July 22nd 2016
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Most of the products we recommend on Permanent Style have a key appeal in their materials - the quality of it, the tactile pleasure of feeling it every day. 

The canvas used on Bennett Winch bags is one such material. The first time I took down one of their weekenders from a shelf at Trunk, the feel of it struck me. 

It is a 24oz cotton canvas, substantial and with an appealing brushed finish. Pleasingly, it is also practical, being actually two layers of cotton bonded together (similar to how Mackintosh material is made), which makes it waterproof. 

The quality of the materials extends to the vegetable-tanned full-grain leather, and solid brass hardware. 

Bennet Winch bag

There is a huge amount of competition for men's bags. As commented on several times before, it is a relatively easy area to start up in, and many companies do. Often two guys who quit their jobs to pursue their dream of a menswear start up, as it was in this case. 

To stand out, therefore, you need something different. With Troubadour, for example, that was luxury materials with a much more modern aesthetic.

Bennett Winch have it harder in a way. The aesthetic is very similar to traditional canvas bags, but they're set apart by the materials and by technical innovations. (At a reasonable price point - bags from £295 to £495.)

Bennet Winch weekender

Other than the bonded canvas, technical details include the laptop sections being padded on all bags (surprisingly expensive to do), the internal pockets on the bigger bags being waterproof, and the innovation of a shoes section in either end of the weekender

The latter is a nice touch. There is a zipped compartment on both ends which expands into the middle of the bag - you can put a pair of shoes in there, dirty clothes, or anything wet like swimming trunks (picture below). And the compartments fold away into a webbed pocket when not in use. 

The only design thing I might change is the zipped compartment on the outside, which might be subtler and easier to access if it was open and fastened with a magnet, as Troubadour do on their suit carrier or Bown's wonderful old weekender had. 

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Bennett Winch's bags are all made in the UK, and both the canvas and the webbing for the handles and strap are British.

Other than Trunk, they are stocked in Private White VC in London. There is a broader stock range there, including the smaller Commuter bag and tote, both of which I'd recommend.  

The photography of me using one is taken from a recent shoot for Drake's, in Padua. (More on that and the clothing at a later date.)

It was nice to be able to road-test the bag on that trip, and it did very well.

I wouldn't necessarily take a weekender for anything more than a brief overnight trip (unless I was travelling by car) as it's just too heavy. The lovely big panel on the bottom of the Bennet Winch model doesn't help either.

But the zips function beautifully, the pullers are easy and quick to access, and most importantly the handles sit together naturally in the hand. 

Photographer: James Munro for Drake's

Bennet Winch holdall

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Sam

Thanks for the review as had not yet got around to checking one of these out. Is there a more lightweight weekender of a similar size that you could recommend suitable for travel by air or rail?

Colin Smith

Saw these in the Private White shop also, very solid and attractive colorways. Where is your suede blouson from, or is that a treat that we have to look forward to?!

Winot

I think I have the same one (bought half price in the recent sale!) – it’s beautiful.

Jeff

Simon – first let me say as a first time commenter, how truly valuable your posts are to me and no doubt, many others.

I think your last comment on the weight of the bag is the crux of the matter. I see so many beautiful weekend bags that I ultimately pass on because of weight. As someone that travels weekly for work, I have learned all too well that when running for a plane or making a long walk with bags, weight trumps beauty. I realize a weekend trip may be a different animal, but I must admit my work travel experience seems to dominate my mind even looking at a “pure” weekender.

Also, how do you deal with storing tailoring in these weekend bags? Just folded neatly inside?

andrew

I agree on the weight. I like the Porter bags that the Monocle shop sells (or even better Tokyo Hands sells), well made, really light and not too bad looking. Not a luxury material like this or the leather though…

Anonymous

What about sandstorm? Very very good bags. Heard anything about them?

Johnnydevore

Where is that georgeous suede jacket from?

Chris

Hate to side track the thread but is that a Sunspel tshirt? Beautiful colour.

Chris

Yikes I was way off! I knew I saw that colour somewhere. Cheers

Lewis

As usual, a very informative post. Thank you.

Would you say that the Commuter bag is large enough for a weekend away (for someone such as me who packs light)? I find the structured look of the Commuter more appealing than that of the Weekender, though the zipped compartment for shoes is a great feature.

Bennett Winch

Hi Lewis,

Just a quick one to let you know that the Commuter holdall has a removable waterproof compartment that is large enough for shoes should you wish to use it for that purpose. As Simon says it is fine for a weekend way if you’re not taking too many outfits with you.

Best,

Robin

James

Hello Simon
Bit of a minor topic, but would you have any advice or recommendations on buying wash bags?
Thanks
James

Tom

Hi! Over the last month I’ve been looking at multiple weekenders for my travels and have now limited my research to the Bennett Winch Weekender (or even the suit carrier) and the Fabric weekender from Troubadour. As you have written about both , could you possibly make a recommendation on these two (quality, materials, etc.) Would be much appreciated! thanks!

Tom

Thanks, Simon!

SBK

Dear Simon,

It seems to me that all of the high-quality canvas bags that you feature and recommend tend to come with leather trims and handles. Have you ever used or been asked to try any vegan bags?

–SBK

Anonymous

Hi Simon,
have you any thoughts on the full leather tote from Bennet Winch regarding style and quality? How does it compare to your working tote from Frank Clegg? Your opinion would be highly appreciated.

Anonymous

Thank you for the quick answer. I guess I’m going to be patient for an other month. Looking forward seeing the result of the collaboration!