Some of our most frequently asked questions
Who are your products made for?
Our products are multi-purpose. We design each of them to be used by various types of photographers. For instance, our large camera messenger bags were designed to be used by both serious amateurs and pros alike. We designed that bag to hold a 15″ MacBook Pro, so it is just as comfortable being used as a work bag as it is by wedding photographers looking for a bag that can hold a 70-200 f2.8 lens as well as the rest of their kit.
Our camera neck straps were designed to look beautiful and feel great. However, we ensured they could still be used by the most active photographers. We currently have a press photographer using two of our Borough straps, shooting 11 hours a day with heavy professional cameras, like the Canon 1Dx and the straps are holding out great. We recommend our straps be used with cameras and lenses weighing up to 7 lbs, however, we have weight tested them all to hold 30 lbs easily and without strain.
Where can I see one of your products?
Our products are almost exclusively sold online. However, we have chosen a couple of stockists (retailers) in England to showcase and sell our products: Grays of Westminster, in London. Grays has a legendary reputation for being one of the best independent camera stores in the world. Contact Grays of Westminster to view our products. We are also extremely happy that we have partnered with Dale Photographic in Leeds. Dale has longed served the North of England and like Grays, has a stellar reputation for customer service and stocking quality goods. Contact Dale Photographic to view our products.
Where are your products made?
All of our products are proudly made by hand in England. We work with the finest manufacturers in the country. Some of them have hundreds of years of experience. This shows in the final product.
Where are all the pockets?
When we designed our bags we asked as many photographers as we could find what they would want in a camera bag. And they told us, “enough room to fit what we needed, but not so much room that we felt we needed to pack extra gear, just to pack it and use the space.”
So we did just that. We made a bag that could fit everything a working photographer could want inside the main insert, but didn’t bulk the bag out with lots of pockets. Instead, our slimline pockets are cut deep for just enough kit, but not so much that the bag ended up looking overstuffed and heavy.
Some photographers like a lot of pockets. And for those photographers there are a number of excellent bags out there to choose from. We think that less is more and if you’re given less pockets, you’ll carry less stuff, freeing you up to concentrate on making images and not on lugging your gear around.
What makes your canvas so special?
The canvas we use is triple layered with a waterproof membrane in the middle. It is quite simply the best, highest grade canvas we have come across.
What kind of warranty do you offer?
All of our products have been handcrafted to be of superior quality. It is our intention that everything we make lasts for as long as possible. We offer a warranty against manufacturing defects for the “life of the product”. Should one of our products fail because of workmanship, or material defects we will repair, or replace the item for free.
Of course, each case is looked at thoroughly and if a manufacturing defect is visible we will make it right. This does not include wear and tear, or using our products in a manner that is deemed inappropriate, or against our guidelines. If you have a warranty claim, please email us email@example.com and we’ll handle it.
*Warranty is non-transferable and only the original owner is covered.
Why a removable insert?
We didn’t want to pigeon hole our customers. We wanted them to be able to use our camera bags for photography, but also for weekends away, as carry-on bags, work bags, etc. Our bags are actually many different bags rolled into one. The founder uses his as a messenger/work bag during the week and as a camera bag/carry-on bag on the weekends.
Can I get a new removable insert?
Yes. You can purchase our inserts from the website.
Are your feet removable?
Yes. We made our feet accessible from the inside of the bag so that our customers could replace the feet if they were to get too worn for their liking.
What type of leather do you use?
We have several products and they all use a different leather. But generally, we use English bridle leather, veg tanned Italian leather and Horween Chromexcel leather.
What is bridle leather?
A Bridle is the headgear worn by horses which allows the rider to control and guide the horse. Thus the leather used to make the bridle must be strong and durable. In producing the bridle the tannery uses both the flesh and grain side of the leather stuffed with greases and finished with wax. It is expected to be smooth, comfortable and flexible to handle. Only the best leather is used and produced in this fashion. Bridle leather is expected to withstand any and all weather conditions. It is ideal for use in bags.
What is Horween Chromexcel and why do you use it for your straps?
Horween is one of the oldest, and most respected leather companies in the world. We worked for two years and went through dozens of samples, to find a better leather and there simply is nothing that comes close. Horween Chromexcel is strong and durable, yet is soft on the underside. It also has little, to no, color transference. Meaning, your white shirt stays white. Chromexcel also ages extremely well. You’ll find that when you get one of our straps they are a bit stiff, but after a couple of weeks, they break-in and become extremely soft and supple.
Why do your bags weigh a bit more than other camera bags?
Our intention from the beginning was to make a camera bag that would last a lifetime, using only the world’s finest materials. This combination adds more weight than cheap, thin waxed canvas, or synthetic material. It simply is not possible to create a bag using the quality of materials that we’re using, and ensuring it lasts a lifetime, while also making it lightweight. We could have cut corners and used a thinner leather, removed the steel strip running through the top of the bag, stitched the shoulder strap to the bag, used lighter fittings and compromised on the thickness of the interior padding, but if we did, we’d be like all the other camera bag companies out there.
The weight of our bags is measured with the shoulder strap and pad, rear sleeve, interior insert and all dividers in place. We have had lots of feedback from photographers telling us that they actually like the weight of the bags and that it encourages them to take less equipment with them. But if you want to lighten your load you can always remove some of the dividers and take the rear sleeve out.
How do I clean my neck strap?
The same way you would clean your fine English shoes, that is, with a bit of shoe cream, or polish. Our straps develop a beautiful patina over time and if you treat them the same way you treat your fine shoes, you’ll find that your strap will take on your personality and tell a story. A story of where you’ve been and how old the strap is.
How do I clean my bag?
When cleaning the canvas, spot treatment works best! Using a damp soft cloth with mild detergent, gently rub “with the grain” of the fabric to get rid of those stubborn spots. This bag is not to be submerged in water or put in a washing machine. The use of anything abrasive is not recommended as it will deteriorate the pile of the fabric.
When needed, a natural leather care cream can be used on the leather trim and bits. The bridle leather and Italian leather used is quite durable and naturally supple with wax. From time to time, you may use a soft cloth to buff the leather to a natural luster.
Keeping with tradition, the Harris Tweed used on our bags is naturally resistant to stains. But as with all fabrics will occasionally need to be freshened up. As with the canvas, a soft cloth with a mild detergent and warm water solution will quickly clean any residue on the tweed. Once the areas of concern are cleaned allow to naturally air dry.
Will the hardware on my bag rust or deteriorate?
No. All of our hardware is the best in the world. Whether it’s stainless steel, nickel or brass, it will not rust, deteriorate or diminish in looks or quality.
Returns and exchanges
We want you to be satisfied with everything you purchase from us. If, for some reason you’re not, simply return it within 14 days of receiving your order and we will refund your money minus shipping costs (unless faulty). You must return the item with all labels and in the condition it was sent to you in. Unless it is faulty, in which case, please contact us and we will issue you a full refund, no questions asked.
Returns can be sent to:
1 Highland Cottages
Is your tweed waterproof?
Tweed, which comes from sheep’s wool, has natural lanolin that is water resistant. We include a waterproof membrane under the tweed to ensure it is fully waterproof. Tweed is also great at repelling stains and odors.
Why a turn lock closure?
There is nothing more annoying than having to undo leather straps with two hands or fiddle with zippers in order to get your camera in and out of a bag. We have all missed shots because of this. Our front leather straps are for security and our turn lock is used when shooting, or accessing the bag often. It is the easiest method we have found. Also, we hate zippers! They snag. Teeth go missing. They are quite simply, not durable.
What is a turn lock closure?
A turn lock is a type of closure that has been used on handbags for a number of years. It allows easy access to the bag with one hand. Our turn locks are riveted to the bag for durability.
Is the turn lock load-bearing?
The turn lock is meant to be used to access the bag when using it. It isn’t meant to be used in conjunction with the handle and isn’t load-bearing.
How do I become a stockist (retailer)?
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Will I have to pay customs and duties?
Yes. We are required to put the full value of the products purchased on all items being shipped outside the EU. It is your responsibility to pay all customs and duty charges for your country.
Why do your bags cost what they do?
Generally, you can expect a product to be as good as it costs. We have found this to be true whether it’s a wine, shoes, a car or a camera bag. All of our products are made in England by true craftsmen with many years of experience. Our materials are the best in the world and meant to last a lifetime.
Our motto is “spend a little more now and save yourself a lot later.” This is contrary to the “throw-away” society we currently live in. When you buy a Hawkesmill product you can expect it to last a lifetime and only get better with age. Compare that to other products that need to be replaced every 5 to 10 years, or sooner. When you look at it that way, our products are excellent value. It’s the same as buying a pair of quality shoes, you can re-sole those shoes over and over again, whereas, with the cheap shoes you need to replace them constantly.