The Nomad XL has been one of our flagship bags for almost 3 years now. It's been improved, mangled, revised and reinvigorated since our first version. Its robust design and construction has made it a popular choice for people looking for something different: old-school looks and vintage chops.
Let's take a deeper look at some of the hidden details of this sling bag.
There are not too many other sling bag designs that can boast the immediate retro military character of the Nomad XL. The bag actually started out as the Nomad but in 2018 I pulled it apart and rebuilt it to be taller and slightly wider so as to accommodate a 13" notebook. Hence the name Nomad Extra Large.
Like all Jack Stillman bags, the Nomad XL has been designed with practicality as key importance. Thought has been given to maximising the water-resistance properties of the 16oz waxed cotton canvas and convenience for the user. That means compromises have been made with external pocket availability but certainly not with functionalism and form.
YKK Zippers are covered by Canvas weather flaps and the overall sleek, tear-drop design encourages water runoff.
Handy quick-access pockets on the outside provide a home for keys, phone and cash so as to reduce the need to breach the inside of the bag too often.
One often missed design gem is the base mounted sling anchors. It might seem like an insignificant and potentially wasteful amount of detail but it's critical to the longevity of the design. Double anchors on the base mean that the bag can be worn on both left and right sides according to where you sling it - front or back. Similar styles of this bag mount the anchors on the back panel itself which causes discomfort for the wearer and creates a stress point on the anchors because the load is at right-angles to the stitching. In my design, the force is managed in line with the axis of the anchors. This is true for both the top and bottom sling mounts.
A significant amount of the expense of this bag is found in the leather and brass used. We don't use cheaper zinc alloy, "vintage-brass-look" hardware. We use the real thing. That means solid brass that browns off naturally after the light lacquer coating wears off.
It's a similar story with the leather. We use genuine bovine leather that has been tanned using vegetable tannins. The process takes longer and is more meticulous. The resulting leather is more expensive but it achieves a longer-lasting leather without the use of poisons used in most leather industries. We then stain and burnish the colours and finish all of the edges by hand.
Small things count sometimes. The leather zip pull, brass clasp and hood anchor combine to lock-off access to the main compartment. A hand hindrance to pick-pockets when you're in a busy market place.