Mulholland Angler Bag Review
“Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson
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It’s been said that tourists travel to see what they want and travelers tour for want to see. I try never to be partial to either – conquest and revelation each glean something valuable – an experience. A memory to draw from and carry. Experiences define the way we see everything and everyone around us, and there’s no experience so powerful as one which defies expectation. In fact, it’s just that sort of defied expectation that brings us here today, leathermancers: the experience of a father and his two sons, and how they turned the name Mulholland into living legend.
It all began with the Irish potato famine. The Mulholland clan, ancestors of present day Hollands, fled European shores in wake of mass hunger and political terror. The promises of plentiful harvest and endless frontiers resonated with an inherent Mulholland affection for travel and adventure, enough to peel them away from their livelihood and wash ashore upon the golden beaches of California with naught but a dream and each other. Donning a new name with generations of hard work and a dauntless will to survive, Mulholland’s founding father, Jack Holland, was born in 1912.
Fast forward. Jack’s youngest son, Jay, did not give people much expectation. He squeezed out of high school with a measly 1.0 GPA, and postponed his college education for 11 years between freshman and sophomore before abandoning his degree entirely. Jay lived for many years making his own way, sating his inborn passion for travel with a passion for cars. It wasn’t until 1984 when Jay was a 52 year-old cowboy that his father rallied him and his brother, Guy, with an opportunity to restore Mulholland’s name and give them the adventure they were born for.
Leather had always been very important to the Holland family. Jack Holland kept up the family tradition with a leatherworking hobby, and wanted to expand that into a family business. Jay and Guy both took to the leatherworker’s craft with passion, mastering their father’s craft more easily than they expected. On their very first try, the brothers crafted a leather flyrod and rifle case nigh perfectly. The brothers had a knack for leather, it turns out, and the coming years only proved more exhilarating to the both of them. All up until the day of Jay’s motorcycle accident as he was cruising the streets of San Francisco.
Jay survived, mind. There’s that spoiler right off the bat. But it was humbling. Humbling like the following years of widespread economic misfortune and hysteria following the tragic events of 9/11, where contracts were swallowed up left and right and the whole Mulholland vehicle came to a shrieking halt. More than ever before, the Holland family appreciated what their Irish forerunners had brought them through. Entrusting the company in another’s hands for a time, Jay Holland retired to reconsider what Mulholland was all about, and why he was making leather in the first place.
Jay spent a lot of time talking to a close confidante of his, Courtney Reeser, about the Mulholland dream. He soon discovered that Reese, like himself, shared a passion for cars and travel. It was this passion that reignited Jay’s old fuse to feel something he hadn’t quite felt before. Reese knew the road as surely as she knew it was in Jay’s blood. That his experience on his motorcycle nearly killed him was not proof he should abandon it, but pursue it all the more. “When you like cars, and you like engines and the smell of gasoline, it’s part of your DNA. It’s like being a surfer and being attacked by a shark. You still go back out.” Travel, leather, motorcycles – it was all the same to Jay. It wasn’t just an experience. It was a way of life. Jay got back on his motorcycle and took back the mantle of his father’s leather company, and with new resolve, braved the frontiers ahead.
In the coming years, Jay breathed new life into his leather and developed products that defied even his own expectations, crafting backpacks and briefcases, wine carriers and golf bags – anything he’d trust to carry his treasures from one place to the next. True to his family heritage, Jay Holland found his name in the thrill of adventure, learning to savor each step, no matter how shaky it may seem. Today, Jay’s crafting some of the finest leather valuables you’ll find around. Oh, and he totally just sent us a bag to sample, leathermancers! Check it out! It’s pretty.
The New Crop
This be the Hazel-Bridle Tan Endurance Angler Bag, courtesy of our favorite photography studio TheImageAlive’s new 360 spin tech. Take a moment to gaze it in: the smooth texture and allure, complementing a deceptive array of functionality. The sleek design, with such clearly defined shapes and curves to make Picasso blush. The dauntless, rugged and yet tender hide, immaculate as if immortal. Mulholland leather at its prime.
The Mulholland Angler Bag’s pretty handy in its own right. You’ll find no shortage of nooks and crannies to hide your knickknacks in. Starting off you’ve got two deep gusseted front pockets with snapping quick release leather closures, easily removable for your convenience. A spacy zippered pocket lines the back, and for the main compartment, it’s divided into two sectors. The first space, taking advantage of the Mulholland Angler Bag’s generous 13″ x 16.5″ x 6″ size, sports a keychain link, pen holders and additional small pocket for things like iPods or cellphones. The back section behind the divider is smaller in size, nice and tucked away to blend seamlessly with nylon taffeta lining as if it were practically nonexistent. It’s nice for thin items, like notebooks or laptops, as you can see below. A sturdy yet comfortable shoulder strap tops the bonus features off, easily removable should you desire to carry your Mulholland Angler about like a handy lunch bag or whatnot. Hey, I’d do it. If everything were sealed up nice. Sportsy lunch box.
Mulholland uses a variety of materials to make their leather items, some leather alternatives rather than actual leather. Lariat, Latigo, Waxed Canvas and Endurance make up the primary bunch, as well as a host of specialty exotic leathers. My current favorite is the bison leather, so tough that Mulholland’s staking a 300 year warranty on that kid. Madness. For the Mulholland Angler, you’re going to be getting Endurance, which is a leather alternative: vinyl coated canvas embossed with pebble texture. It’s pretty lightweight compared with most leather, and won’t require much maintenance to keep it looking nice. Even better, Mulholland Angler Bag’s make, the Endurance, lives up to its name: it won’t fade, stretch, or crack, and only needs occasional affection with a mild soap cleaner to keep healthy. You can read about mild soaps in our blog “Should I Use Mild Soap on Leather?” As a bonus, the Mulholland Angler also comes in an alternative Black-Stout color should your inclinations steer you toward the dark side.
Thing to note between natural and synthetic leathers, such as Mulholland Angler Bag’s Vinyl Endurance – there can be considerable differences. Natural leather will usually last a lot longer than synthetic if properly cared for. Synthetic, on the other hand, won’t require much in the way of maintenance, but it’s often not going to be as tough as leather. In addition, synthetic leather texture tends to have a more plastic feel, as opposed to leather’s soft and supply texture, which softens even further over time. Variations exist, but the general rub is that synthetic is good if you want a material with decent length and a whole lot less upkeep, and leather should be your choice if you’re in for something with a longer lifespan and rich texture and color. Either way you go, Mulholland’s got you covered. Their mammoth sized store is well acquainted with leathers and materials of all types, including both natural and synthetic. Selection this good is rare to find.
In the end, I found the Mulholland Angler bag to be a very lightweight, practical and stylish bag that’s perfect for all sorts of travel occasions. With minimal upkeep and practical setup, you’ll have no problem trusting this strapping companion to carry you through all sorts of travel occasions. The Mulholland Angler sure blew away my expectations, and I expected a lot. Clearly those brothers have been around the block. You can purchase the Mulholland Angler on their website at www.shopmulholland.com, or on Amazon.com for $380.00. Check out their full store, while you’re at it. The company’s been around since 1984, and they’ve got a pretty massive selection of leather goodies to show for it, from the aforementioned wine carriers and golf bags to more traditional leather briefcases and carry-ons, slews of wallets and gadget cases and more. Come to think of it, it’s pretty easy to see where the brother’s “way of life” motto comes from. As a plus, all of their leather is produced right out of the proud state of California, so all my American compatriots may applaud in joyful exuberance. Hurrah!
Enjoy that Mulholland Angler Bag leathermancers, and fare thee well!