Canvas Classic Backpack, by Baron Fig

I have tried for three years to like the Command TSA-Friendly Messenger Bag from Timbuk2, which I (used to) use most days for work. It has a lot going for it, but the metallic hook and loop closing system just bugs me. Plus, it’s kind of bulky, and I’d rather have a backpack.

Within one day of using Baron Fig’s new Canvas Classic Backpack, I’d found a new bag, and haven’t changed since.

Baron Fig really nailed its goal of “minimal design focus[ing] on the basic essentials.” It’s got:

  • a padded pocket for a laptop and/or iPad (I easily fit both at once)
  • a big main pouch
  • two side pockets for water bottles, granola bars, apples, coffee mugs, etc. (and they’re not too small to actually hold a good-sized travel mug!)
  • a couple little pouches inside for notebooks, etc.
  • two external pockets, for easy access to pens, wallet, phone, etc.

Check it out:

 

1_Outside View

 

2_Inside View

 

Front View

 

The zippers are high quality and easy to grab without looking.

 

Zippers

 

Bonus: the branding on the back is minimal and not obtrusive.

 

x_Branding

 

I didn’t realize this until recently re-watching Season 1 of Stranger Things, but the backpack could be straight out of 1984 Hawkins, Indiana! Compare.

I was concerned at first that lack of padding on the shoulder straps would either make it uncomfortable or not able to handle heavy loads. No concerns here after a fair amount of use. (Although I still might like to see padded straps on future iterations… I’m guessing those were skipped this time to keep things simple and lower cost.)

 

4a_Straps

 

4b_Strap Closeup

 

The straps are easy to adjust for a good fit. And this is one of my biggest water bottles, fitting just fine in the side pocket:

 

Water Bottle

 

Quality-wise, everything looks great, except I just the other day (after using this for two weeks) noticed a fabric flaw. I’m not sure if this is wear (pilling?) or if it was like this when it came.

 

5_Fabric Flaw

 

What’s in my backpack right now?

And, somehow, it all fits really well without compromising the light and slim profile of the backpack.

I love it, especially in the blue slate color. Baron Fig has really knocked it out of the park with this backpack.

The backpack is $68. You can find it here.

AND… if you shop at Baron Fig (for anything!) through this affiliate link, you get $10 off a purchase of $20 or more, which would apply to this backpack.

 


 

Thanks to Baron Fig for sending the backpack so I could review it! This did not influence the objectivity of this review. This review will also be cross-posted at Words on the Goods.

Baron Fig: Put Your Confidant Notebook in Leather

The inside of a Baron Fig Confidant is exactly what I want in a notebook: off-white paper, perfect thickness (no bleed-through with my Pilot G2 07 gel pen), and an option for dot grid paper. It looks like this:

 

Confidant Page Up Close

 

When I reviewed the Confidant notebook, I was generally impressed with it, but not with the aesthetic of the binding:

 

Binding

 

Today, however, Baron Fig announced a leather slip case for the Confidant. It looks awesome:

 

Screengrab from Baron Fig's site
Screengrab from Baron Fig’s site

 

The Guardian notebook cover is here. (And here‘s my original review of the Confidant.)

Baron Fig’s Confidant Notebook, Reviewed

The first thing I noticed about Baron Fig’s Confidant notebook is that the paper is a delicious off-white. The paper’s thickness is perfect: there’s not very much writing bleed-through at all, even when using a Pilot G2 07 gel pen. That’s probably my first desideratum in a notebook, and Baron Fig nails it here.

The Confidant comes with blank paper, ruled paper, or dot grid paper, which is what I reviewed for review. The grey dots are visible and usable as guides for diagramming or sketching or writing… but they’re also subtle enough to stay out of your way. A great balance here.

 

Confidant Page Up Close

 

The Confidant lays flat, just as Baron Fig claims, though sometimes a bit of pushing down on the pages is required for them to stay flat. But this will happen naturally as you’re writing or sketching anyway. The binding itself lays flat as you’d hope. As you can see:

 

Baron Fig Confidant with writing
You guessed it: I started this blog post in my Confidant notebook

 

The acid-free paper means the book is built to last. And the dimensions just feel perfect to me: 5.4 by 7.7 inches. It’s 192 pages, with 12 pages at the back of the journal which are perforated. In other words, it’s enough space to keep you supplied for a while, but not so much that you’ve got a bulky journal to carry around. The portability is right on.

The cloth cover looks and feels good. The binding is sewn (yes!), which is, of course, one reason it lays flat so well.

I was not as impressed with the aesthetic of the binding: I thought it could have used maybe a thicker piece of cloth to cover up the binding construction that is so easily visible? I might just be missing that the look is intentional, but it didn’t appeal to me.

 

Binding

 

But let me step back for a moment. The packaging is top-notch. The notebook comes in its own attractive case, so that it’s gift-ready:

 

Confidant Gift Box

 

And as design goes, these folks are impressive. (See their Website here, for example.) Here’s a little clip from the insert that comes inside the box with the journal:

 

Confidant Design

 

The Confidant notebook comes with a ribbon for marking your place. I greatly appreciated this. It is about twice the thickness of most other ribbon markers, though, so it felt to me like it was out of step with the rest of the notebook. I have gotten used to this over time.

*******

Overall, the critiques above notwithstanding, I’ve had a positive experience using the Confidant, which gives me a notebook I really do want to reach for and write in! It goes with me in my satchel just about everywhere I go now.

You can learn more about the Confidant here and order it here.

Bonus paragraph: Baron Fig also makes the pocket-sized Apprentice notebook, which I think is an A+ in its class. It fits perfectly into even small pockets and isn’t a nuisance there. I’ve been carrying one of those around, too, so I don’t have to whip out a device every time I want to write down an action item I’ve committed to. The 3.5″ by 5″ little guy comes in a three-pack. More info on the Apprentice notebook is here; you can order here.

 


 

Many thanks to the awesome people at Baron Fig for the notebooks for review! Check them out here.