Chapman Bag Review

“Have you been treating yourself to a new bag for work?” said light of my life/wife as I opened a rather nice parcel from Chapman bags. I explained that it was a bag for review as my previous tatty old sack that I usually used for fishing was making me the subject of ridicule in certain circles. Being the subject of mockery amongst the gentry of is the last thing I need right now.

I will admit it is not often I use a bag while fishing however there are times that I need an honest to goodness bag. This is because while on the river the aim is to keep as light as possible and I can usually get away with a waistcoat and possibly a small backpack for excess water and some sandwiches. However there are times for me when a bag is useful, one of these is in a boat and another could be when out Salmon fishing (#shudder# when not on the fly) The problem with a backpack for tackle is that it is a total pain in the shoulders when you need to actually get some gear out of the bag , reaching round and taking it off takes two hands and during that time your rod must be held or put down somewhere which all takes time – much better to have a bag at your side to just reach in to.

Chapman Bags

So when I was assessed as being a worthy candidate to review a proper “old school” fishing bag I jumped at the chance. I had to make a choice from a selection of Chapman’s bags which are made by hand in Carlisle just south of the border. The bags are all made of roughly the same materials of cotton and leather. The bonded cotton canvas fabric which is used in most of Chapman’s bags is a strong, waterproof material which is created by bonding two layers of cotton drill with a central core of natural rubber. They also a use British dyed and proofed 24oz canvas, which is not bonded, and has been treated to resist water. I have noted from the past that waterproof things are handy whilst fishing for some reason (#grin#) so was happy to see it is waterproof. However, although it is waterproof, they suggest wrapping contents in an additional waterproof barrier to protect against seepage if the bag is to be exposed to heavy rainfall for many hours.

Chapman Bag 2

When I was deciding on what bag to order I looked at the full range of fishing bags and decided on the Artists Bag as it had two large inside pockets I have already mentioned  as well as the two outside – just to mix it up a little I also asked for the rubberised lining knowing that not only can it be used for keeping stuff totally dry it can be  used as somewhere to keep chapped fish if need be.

It features:

  • L16″xH10″xD5″/L41cmxH25cmxD13cm
  • Weight approx. 1.4kg
  • One main compartment with flap
  • Two interior box pockets with poppers
  • Two exterior box pockets with poppers
  • One rear exterior slip pocket
  • Adjustable shoulder strap
  • Solid brass ring on strap
  • IATA carry on luggage compliant

It does have a hefty price tag of £145 however what you have got to think about here is that this is a quality bit of kit that will potentially last a lifetime. Additionally this is made in the UK by British workers, I think here in the UK we do not celebrate our skills enough and I am glad that on their site they are proud of this fact.

There are some people out there that like all their gear to look brand spanking new all the time (and they look like they just stepped out a magazine) and there are guys out there that like stuff a bit more weathered. I have got to admit I like stuff that has been beat up a bit; to me it looks friendly and feels part of me. I just know that this bag in 20 years’ time will have weathered and will have all its creases in the right place.

Of course, that is if I actually use it for fishing. There is a distinct possibility that it could be used for work before it gets used as a fishing bag as it looks bloody snazzy and stylish.

The bag certainly has enough space for several boxes of flies, a spare reel or two and some sandwiches. It is comfy on the shoulders and likeI say it looks rather stylish as well.

As I hinted when I started this review this bag is actually pretty versatile as it can be used as pretty much anything if you put your mind to it. I reckon I could break this bag in as a work bag (I am office based) or even, get this new fathers to be, a rather trendy nappy bag. If there is something I have learned from having two kids it is women like fashionable nappy bags and you could potentially end up paying a packet for one of those that will last a year. Use this as a trendy nappy bag and at the end of the year you have a rather nifty fishing bag.

Anyone that fancies a new bag could do a heck of a lot worse that considering one of these bad boys – I just know I am now fixed for a bag from here on in.


I really enjoy reading your comments - say something!

  1. Peter · January 30, 2013

    Nice bag, I`d rather have my Brady Ariel though. Will the news letter be posted before the AGM? It was meant to go on the website early last week. Why didn`t the committee post it with the AGM letter, two birds with one stone so to speak?

  2. Paul R · January 30, 2013

    Just finishing it off. We have posted it in previous years, but it is costly and very time consuming. Plus this years is to big to print and post. I will try to upload it to fishkelvin this evening.

  3. Alistair · January 30, 2013

    If you want I can also include the video of the bridge Paul

  4. JP2 · January 30, 2013

    Very nice bag! Looks rather Filson-ish,but that’s OK…a subtle classy look and would still be useful by your boys in about 20 years…..

  5. Alistair · January 30, 2013

    They could probably carry it now: -)

  6. William Anderson · January 30, 2013

    I have a Chapman Fell 14 bag, and I really love it. It carries not only all my fly boxes and assorted tackle, but my Hardy rain jacket, water bottle and even a sandwich or two. Yes, it’s expensive, but it’s made in good old Britain by experienced British craftsmen, and I love the fact that it does NOT say “made in China”, like so much you buy today. A lot of us American anglers are discovering what you Brits have known for generations, that a well made shoulder bag is a nice way to carry your kit, and to dispense with the heavy, stuffy, and cumbersome fishing vest. I also have a Hardy Brook bag for times when I don’t’ need to carry a lot of gear, but if I’m going to travel a ways to fish, the Chapman bag is always with me.