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Bag FAQ

Materials and Construction

Can you customize a bag?
What materials do you use?
Why cotton canvas?
Aren't leather straps and buckles old-fashioned?
Are Acorn Bags waterproof?
Will your bag unravel?

Color

What colors are available?
Will the canvas color fade over time?
Why is the color different than what I expected?

Mounting Saddlebags

What's the best way to thread the straps through the saddlebag?
How can I mount the bag if my saddle doesn't have bag loops?

Care

How do I clean my Acorn Bag?
Should I put anything on the leather straps?
Is re-waxing my canvas necessary?
Can I apply wax to previously unwaxed canvas?

 

Materials and Construction

Can you customize a bag?
Presently, we're not accepting custom or one-off jobs. This is to keep costs reasonable. We cannot easily change dimensions of the bag, because that would require drawing up new patterns.

What materials do you use?
We try to source companies with a long heritage of making quality goods:

  • MARTEXIN "ORIGINAL WAX" waxed cotton twill (24 oz after finishing) —or— FAIRFIELD WATER REPELLENT cotton duck (18 oz). American manufacturer since 1838.
  • HERMANN OAK "ENGLISH BRIDLE" premium leather (9 oz) 100% vegetable-tanned from top-grade U.S. steer hides. American manufacturer since 1881.
  • SCOVILL DOT® DURABLE™ SNAPS, military/marine approved, nickel plated brass. American manufacturer since 1802.
  • AMERICAN & EFIRD LLC, American thread manufacturer since 1891.
  • YKK (U.S.A.) ZIPPERS, Japanese fastener manufacturer since 1934.

Why cotton canvas?
Canvas keeps on performing after years of use. There's no coating to wear off. Abrasion resistance is high compared to synthetics; its natural fibers are more forgiving and pliable. If damaged, it's easily repaired with needle and thread.

Please note that cotton canvas is a natural product. Slight weaving imperfections and color variations are part of its character and beauty.

We offer standard water repellent canvas and "Original Wax" canvas from Martexin (est. 1838), which is impregnated with Martexin's wax proprietary mixture.

Aren't leather straps and buckles old-fashioned?
Leather has a long history. It's tactile, strong and forgiving. It'll age gracefully, developing a nice patina. And If it's good enough for Indiana Jones...

Admittedly, Fastex closures are more efficient and save a couple of seconds. However, plastic cracks and tends to get brittle over time. Give "old-fashioned" leather straps and buckles a chance...you'll be transported to a simpler, less harried time!

We proudly use premium "English Bridle" leather from Hermann Oak Leather (est. 1881). 100% vegetable-tanned from top-grade U.S. steer hides.

Are Acorn Bags waterproof?
Our standard water repellent canvas has fibers that swell and self-seal when exposed to water. A moisture barrier is created, but still allows the fabric to breathe. We also offer Martexin "Original Wax" canvas when extra water resistance is desired.

A healthy dose of skepticism is needed when listening to claims of 100% waterproof bags. Often overlooked points of water entry include zippers, gaps between flap pockets, mounting strap pass-through holes and seams. Unless a floating waterproof liner is used, it's almost impossible to avoid some water entering your bag during a downpour. A good compromise is to keep a waterproof stuff sack in your bag.

Please note that under severe conditions, there will be some bleeding of the leather and staining of the light colored canvas. This is to be expected with natural materials. The durability won't be affected. If you require something 100% waterproof, mildew proof and cleanable, a synthetic bag like Ortlieb might be a wiser choice.

Will your bag unravel?
Canvas tends to unravel if the edges are left raw. We take extra care to finish all edges, inside and out, including hidden areas.

Color

What colors are available?
We currently offer five colors:

Canvas color Finish Edging color Leather color
Olive WR* Duck Grayish Tan Honey Tan
Gray
WR* Duck
Grayish Tan
Honey Tan
Khaki
WR* Duck
Grayish Olive Honey Tan
Ranger Tan** Waxed Twill Dark Brown Honey Tan
Black Waxed Duck Black Honey Tan

*WR = Water Repellent treated finish
**Ranger Tan is actually a medium grayish brown

Will the canvas color fade over time?
Of course! The black bag is going to eventually turn grey from the sun. Lighter colors will also fade, but it's less noticeable. This just adds to the character of the bag. Think of your favorite pair of Levi's, Army surplus rucksack or Converse hi-tops. Truth is, all dyed cotton canvas fades faster than synthetic fabrics, especially the darker colors. If you don't care for that "lived in" look, then canvas bags are probably not for you.

Why is the color different than what I expected?
Fabric and leather colors shown in the photos are a close representation only. Actual colors may vary for many reasons:

  • What you see on your computer screen will be different from the real product, depending on your monitor and calibration set-up.
  • When we run out of a fabric roll and switch to another, dye lot color differences are unavoidable.
  • Leather tannage color also varies from hide to hide.

If you're particular about bag matching, it's best to order multiple bags at the same time for color consistency.

Mounting Saddlebags

What's the best way to thread the straps through the saddlebag?
On most of our saddlebags, we use "pass-through" straps that wrap around an interior wooden brace. When mounting, make sure the buckle is on the inside of the bag, and pull the strap tightly around the dowel and the bag loops. This ensures a wobble-free mount. (If the buckle is outside the bag, there will be some play in the strap and the bag will tend to sway more.)

How can I mount the bag if my saddle doesn't have bag loops?
The "pass-through" straps on our Medium, Med/Lg and Large bags are designed to be used with Brooks saddle loops. No loops? You can try wrapping the straps around your saddle rails—the straps twist and conform to the different angle. Note that this hack won't work with all saddles and the bag will hang lower. You can also buy add-on VO Saddle Loops from Velo Orange, the Nitto Saddlebag Grip from Rivendell or the Carradice Saddlebag Clamp from Wallbike.

Care

How do I clean my Acorn Bag?
For canvas: Just as you shouldn't wash fabric upholstery or leather products such as shoes, gloves or jackets, you shouldn't dry clean or use detergent on your canvas. Gentle brushing or a damp cloth is best for loose dirt. For a more thorough cleaning, use a hand sponge with a mild natural soap (not detergent) in lukewarm water. Rinse twice with clean water.

For leather: A gentle leather cleaner/conditioner, like Lexol or Fiebing's, is all that's needed. Saddle soap is also a good choice.

Should I put anything on the leather straps?
A protectant is recommended. You might already have a tin of Brooks Proofide; Snoseal is an economical alternative. Neatsfoot oil is overkill, since it will oversaturate and darken the leather. Take care not to stain the canvas.

Is re-waxing my canvas necessary?
If you live in a wet climate, it's recommended you re-apply (aka re-proof) with a coat of Martexin Original Wax before the next rainy season. For arid regions, it's not needed. 

Can I apply wax to previously unwaxed canvas?
Yes! Use the wax straight out of the can and gently rub it onto the canvas with a lint-free rag—warming it up will help. Then use a hair dryer to heat the canvas so the wax will melt evenly into the fabric—do not overheat. Apply it sparingly in two thin coats. It will darken the canvas somewhat. You should test a hidden area first to see if the effect is to your liking.

Synthetic fabric areas of the bag—such as edging trim, nylon collar and reinforcement patches—should be avoided.