‘Chapman’ is an Old English name. It’s a strong name; a reliable name — one which derives from words meaning ‘marketman, monger or merchant’. It’s a respected name, standing for handcrafted wares, customer service and the dogged, determined traders who would once travel the length and breadth of Britain.
Today, it means much the same — for Chapman, at least. This tanned-leather, canvas-lined, brass-finished brand was established in 1984, and wears its age-old, historic name with pride. From a living, breathing workshop on the aptly-named Tannery Road in Carlisle, Chapman’s dedicated band of expert leather workers continue to craft; creating some of the finest luggage, leads, saddle bags and gun slips in the country.
It’s a good thing, too. With the nation locked down for much of the year, we’ve seen a rise in weekend breaks during 2020. We’ve started to explore within our borders once more; packing our bags to discover hidden gems and local sights. And what better luggage to lug on these UK trips than the homegrown, homespun wares of Chapman? After all, these are bags made in Britain, for Britain…
And the king of these British-born bags is, undoubtedly, the Ultimate Weekender. The brand itself admits this is the best bag it has ever made — and we’re inclined to agree. Tailored neatly to weekend proportions, the Ultimate Weekender is elegant, practical and the perfect option for any short-term adventures.
But its benefits are not aesthetic alone. Inside that full-grain, vegetable-tanned leather shell, you’ll find a soft, cotton canvas lining and four internal pockets. There’s also a leather shoe bag nestled inside; a simple solution to an enduring problem — and one crafted from the same Italian leather as the bag itself.
And herein lies the Chapman charm. While passers-by will no doubt clock such a handsome bag, only your nearest and dearest are likely to clap eyes on the Ultimate Weekender’s leather shoe bag. And yet it is crafted so meticulously and methodically that its quality could go stitch-to-stitch with the Weekender itself. It’s this eye for detail — and respect for the work — that does the Chapman name proud. And it doesn’t end there.
Far from it, in fact. Chapman has amassed a collection of well-made, well-heeled products to kit out even the most ardent adventurer. And each is more ergonomically and elegantly designed than the last. A particular favourite of ours is the Men’s Washbag. It would look as at-home on the marble basin of a five-star hotel as it would on a campsite forest floor — and is the best example of a washbag we’ve ever seen.
Why? From the waterproof nylon lining to the British parachute webbing, the construction is second-to-none. But it’s the innovative double-zip lid that really swings it for us — a practical touch that allows your razor or toothbrush to be stowed safely separate from the rest of your grooming products.
This level of foresight and forethought can be seen across Chapman’s entire range. Above, you can see the brand’s leather Cable Ties. Small, simple — and yet utterly invaluable — they are available in colours including tan, navy and black. Similarly, the Chapman Cardholder is elevated to a new level of luxury thanks to the brand’s leather embossing service — which allows for initials, or even a family crest, to be printed onto your wallet.
But the best option for travellers? The Leather Address Tag. At just £45, this is a touch of Chapman quality and expertise at a stocking-filler price. And, as with the Cardholder above, you can personalise it with a name or logo — before you transfer it from your Ultimate Weekender to your Ultimate Chapman Backpack with ease.
For this is another core value of the Cumbria-based brand; versatility. Although Chapman’s iPad Sleeves and Tray Tidies may be ideal for city-goers and men-about-town, the range as a whole has something for everyone. There may be pieces like the Ultimate Weekender and Men’s Washbag that can span dress codes and raisons d’être — but there are others crafted precisely for single purposes.
Pieces such as the Double Leather Gun Slip. A true thing of beauty, this fleece-lined, brass-finished bag is a countryman’s dream; the perfect vessel for your matched pair. Or the Leather Cartridge Bag. Or the Troutbeck Fishing Bag. Even the Leather Dog Lead. Chapman builds for purpose; for town and country alike.
Which brings us neatly back to the Ultimate Weekender. This cleverly engineered, painstakingly-made bag is the cornerstone of Chapman’s collection, and represents everything the brand stands for.
It stands for ease of travel, quality workmanship and, above all, an unwavering respect for the craft — much like the Chapman name itself.
Please visit www.chapmanmade.uk
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