ColsenKeane No. 1214 – Standard Portfolio Case Review – $195 by Best Leather

ColsenKeane No. 1214 – Standard Portfolio Case Review – $195 by Best Leather
I was helping my brother in law clean out his home office last spring, and amidst the countless obsolete software manuals he must have had a dozen laptop cases. From black nylon zippered pouches to cheap, thin promo ones stamped with corporate logos from trade shows. It really got me to thinking the amount of money people spend on these cases over a lifetime and how buying one very good one can not only save you money, but provide for years of service. Enter ColsenKeane No. 1214 – Standard Portfolio Case.

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ColsenKeane No. 215 – Small Travel Case Review – $110 by Best Leather

ColsenKeane No. 215 – Small Travel Case Review – $110 by Best Leather

One of the driving motivations behind this site is to connect people and products, but not just any product to any person. In a world full of disposables, it’s refreshing to simplify and focus on quality over quantity. We want to showcase goods for the person who wants to buy the best and only cry once. I had the opportunity to handle one such product, a clever case that has become indispensable when traveling – The  ColsenKeane No. 215 – Small Travel Case 


Ever look at the back of a bag of Doritos and shudder at all the bizarre components of a flavored tortilla chip? Well, you’ll be relieved to find the ColsenKeane No. 215 Small Travel Case is made of 2 ingredients: Leather and Brass – Or to be more precise American sourced Full Grain Chrome Tanned Cowhide.

We see brass rivets at all critical stress zones and two hefty prong buckles.with keepers. Measures about 8”x4”x3” and comes with a Lifetime Guarantee. 


At a cursory glance you might just see a very handsome dopp kit, but then you’d be robbing this little case of all the utility it presents. I load it with cables, clothing and even fruit a few times. The heavy duty buckles are a bit overkill and can sometimes make retrieving items more of a hassle but they also offer maximum security from loose items getting out.

The size is a great balance in terms of fitting things in, without taking up precious real estate in your backpack or luggage. Right now my daughter is storing color pencils in it for art, and last week it was full of scavenger hunt items. My point is, thanks to the build quality of this bag it will serve in multiple capacities for decades to come.


Disclosure: We are a professional review site that receives compensation from the companies whose products we review. We test each product thoroughly and give high marks to only the very best. We are independently owned and the opinions expressed are our own.

Against The Grain. Why we use Full Grain Leather!

Do you have a favorite leather piece? What does it look like? Is it shiny or a little faded? 

What about the feel? Does it have a few scratches on it? Is it sporting a well-maintained peach fuzz? 

When you've seen as much leather as we have, then you find yourself asking these questions. 

The characteristics your leather item shows start with the type of leather it was made out of. For maximum clarity, when we say the type of leather, here we are referring specifically to the cut. You can describe leather multiple different ways but for now, let's focus on the part of the hide that your product is made out of. 

When it comes to the cuts, all you need to know is Full Grain, Top Grain, & Genuine Leather.


This cut is the outermost layer of the animal hide. This section isn't sanded down or buffed and is characterized by its densely packed fibers. Full-Grain leather is the perfect material to make bags, belts, & other accessories out of. Another excellent quality you can expect from products made out of full-grain leather is their ability to resist water along with the gorgeous patina they develop over time.

Top Grain

Top Grain is very similar to Full-Grain, but it has been sanded & buffed to remove any natural scuffs or scratches on the animal before the hyde was removed. While you do get a softer leather with this cut, you lose a lot of the strength from the dense-packed Full-Grain leathers. You also lose a lot of the natural water-resistance that comes with a proper Full-Grain.

Genuine Leather

This type of leather can come from any part of the hide. The catch is that it is chemically treated to remove imperfections & take on a glossy or stamped look. This process alters (read weakens) the strength & other natural properties of leather.

Split Grain Leather

This leather is made from the lower levels of the top Grain. While it is still an excellent leather, it is not as valuable as Top Grain or Full Grain.

Bonded Leather

This is precisely what it sounds like. Take scraps of leather and leather scraps or just different pieces of leather and bond them together. It is often embossed or treated to imitate Full-Grain/ Top-Grain leathers. 


Why do we use Full-Grain?

We are obsessed with using the best hides in the world. We only use full grain leather because it is far superior to "Genuine Leather." To give you a product that lasts a couple of lifetimes, we have found that Full Grain is the way to go! Other larger brands save on costs & cut corners by using cuts that are easier to work with and allows them to mass-produce bags that won't tell your story as a Colsen Keane bag will. Over time, full-grain leather will look nicer and nicer and develop a patina from being handled.

If you want to learn more about our leather working process, click here or visit our Charlotte, North Carolina workshop!

A Belt For Every Occasion

A Belt For Every Occasion

You know that feeling when your shirt, pants, and shoes coordinate just the right way? You feel sharp. You feel like you can handle anything the day throws at you. Then you reach for your belt. You put it on and look in the mirror. It suddenly dawns on you.

"Crap, my belt doesn't match anything I'm wearing. Ah, well, it doesn't matter. It's just a belt. No ones really going to notice….right?"



Your belt is a small piece of a more giant puzzle. Without that puzzle piece, the picture can be unclear, or even worse, you get the wrong part and mess up the total picture altogether! The saying “function meets form” has never rung truer when it comes to the piece of clothing that you wrap around your waist. Your belt keeps you from looking like a fool with your pants on the ground. The other half of that equation is how well that belt fits the rest of your clothes.


We are here to tell you that your belt is an integral part of your outfit and why you should consider adding a full-grain leather belt to your collection. If you want to dress to impress, then you have to get this right! Your waist cincher is a subtle nod to your aptitude for fashion. Even with a belt, the devil can hide in the seemingly inconsequential details. Below are 3 features you should be paying attention to when belt shopping!


Keep it, Thick!

Thicker belts were once thought to only work for more casual, but we can adequately tell you that that is no longer the case. When you go thicker on your belt, you get a stronger sense of satisfaction. This comes from the sturdiness that thickness provides to the belt and your overall outfit. Thicker straps also stand out more and help your belt become a signature piece of your gear. When you're shopping for a belt, consider sizes that range between 8oz. to 10 oz. thick.


Why Full Grain?

All the leather we sell at Colsen Keane is full-grain. There's an excellent reason for that. We value quality above all other factors. Cheaper belts that are genuine leather may look sweet and shiny when you buy them but give it just a year or two (at best). You'll be right back in that department store buying another belt because the last one shows more tear than wear. Full-grain leather ensures that your belt will stand the test of time. ColsenKeane leather will provide durability and a patina that will continue to shine through the longer you have the belt. This means that your belt will age and look better and better the more you wear it! Do you really want to have to make a new belt purchase every year? Just buy one quality full-grain leather belt and watch it take on a more refined look as time goes on!



Now this one is such an underrated quality. A lot of us guys have a one belt fits all mentality when it comes to the different events that we attend. Whether we are mowing the yard or attending a cocktail party, we usually grab the same belt for either event. For maximum clarity, there is NOTHING wrong with this mentality. The problem lies in which belt we choose to be this universal belt. Usually, it's not a belt that can handle the rigors of everyday use, or maybe it doesn't have quite the flair it needs to have to impress at your co-worker's wedding. For those guys who want a versatile solution to this eternal problem, look no further than ColsenKeane. Our belts are 10 oz. thick (approximately ¼” thick), handcrafted, and made with the highest quality full-grain leather. They can handle the vigors of yard work and turn heads at any formal event. 


So there you have it. The next time you shop for a belt, you should be thinking about these three things: Thickness, Leather Quality, & Versatility. If you prioritize those fundamental aspects, then you can't go wrong!

Why a Quality Leather Bag is Worth it

Why a Quality Leather Bag is Worth it

We’ve all been there. You’re at the store, and you see the item you came to buy. The price is a little high, but you need it. You go to pick it up, and that’s when you see it—the discount version of the product you just picked up. Now you have to make a decision. Buy quality or buy cheap.

When it comes to leather bags, always remember one thing; You get what you pay for.


 Full Grain Leather Lasts Longer.

There are many ways to create a leather bag. When you are shopping for a bag, make sure that way the leather is cut supports the structure of the product. At ColsenKeane, we use one piece of veg-tanned, full-grain buffalo, or cowhide leather so that your bag holds its structure and doesn’t fall apart the moment you walk out of the store. Other companies tend to use two or more thin pieces of leather to form a bag, but this leads to shorter shelf life and does not handle everyday wear and tear as well as one solid piece of leather.


The Proof is in the Stitches.

When it comes to how your bag holds itself together, we believe the less stitching, the better. Sewing is another factor that leads to a longer-lasting, more durable product. Think of it this way; When you use too many stitches to secure a bag, you are just giving the bag more opportunities to fall apart. A good artisan will minimize the need for more stitches and rely on the strength/quality of the stitches to hold the bag together. Be sure to note the stitching patterns on your bag, as this will often tell you how skilled the person who made your bag is.


Marked to Touch.

Patina. This is what it’s all about when it comes to quality leather. Patina is the sheen or appearance that develops on your leather over time. It is quite literally the unique look and feels your bag develops over time. A good patina is how bags create a sense of character and tell your story. A leather patina will reveal all the different hands that held the leather and give the piece a feel that is impossible to imitate. ColsenKeane leather is overengineered to show quick wear. This emphasis on patina allows you to buy a bag today that will age quickly and gracefully so that your bag looks like it was passed down to you from an older family member. 


As we said in the beginning, “You get what you pay for.” When you opt for the type of quality that a leather brand like ColsenKeane can offer then, you are not buying. You are investing. You are making a statement. We build every bag to your specifications, and we intend for it to last a couple of lifetimes just so that you can pass it down as an heirloom to your family! 


 Check out our current collections and find your next leather bag.