Knomo Kyoto Soft Leather Cross-body bag: A comprehensive review

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With all the gadgets we tend to carry around these days, the only way we can bring it along with us is to put them in a bag. Yes, even us men. And so I went on a mission to find the best cross-body bag that would fit my needs. The result: the Knomo Kyoto Soft Leather Cross-body bag.

Knomo Kyoto

The Kyoto Soft Leather Cross Body Bag from Knomo

I actually found the Knomo Kyoto bag by sheer chance while browsing on Amazon. I was basically looking for a zipper top cross-body tote bag which could fit an iPad, among other stuff, like my wallet, phone, keys, etc. So when I came across the Knomo Kyoto bag, it seemed perfect. Unfortunately, there weren’t many reviews online with regards to how the bag performs, and how much stuff the bag could actually fit in reality, beyond the measurements and numbers in the description. So with a taking a little leap of faith, and by sheer chance it was on discount on Amazon, I decided to just “take the plunge” with the bag. 2 weeks later, here it is!

TL:DR: The Knomo Kyoto bag exceeded my expectations!

The full review

As I bought this bag from Amazon (link), I am not able to show you how the packaging would be if you would have ordered it directly from Knomo. I would expect it to come with a dust cover bag. Amazon’s packaging was really simply and minimalist. The bag came in a clear plastic cover with thin paper wrapped around the belt buckles and soft plastic sheets covering the zipper pull tab and the emblem. Well, I can’t complain too much since it did its job of protecting the metal parts from being scratched and preventing it from scratching the bag.

Removing those, you then get to see the bag in its full glory.

The leather is really soft. It’s hard to see from the photos (obviously), so you really do have to feel it for yourself. The back however is not also made of leather, but instead lightweight fabric made from recycled bottles. Interesting background on the nylon they used for the bag.

The zipper pulls well so far, and it seems to be pretty well-built. However, I’ve just only started to use the bag and will need more time to see if the zipper will stand the test of time. The strap is broad enough for it to be comfortable when I sling it across my body, which is important if I’m to carry it over the course of a day. One thing to perhaps note is that the strap’s adjustment buckle isn’t tight, allowing me to easily slide it up and down to adjust the length of the strap when I need to. Yet, once left on its own, the strap does not slip through the buckle and lengthen unintentionally. I thought this was pretty good and worth mentioning.

One thing that was a pleasant surprise to me was how soft the insides of the bags felt. Again, it’s hard to describe and you really do need to feel it for yourself. If you see the photos above, the main compartment is padded and therefore understandably soft, but even the fabric in both the front and back compartment feels soft as if it’s padded. I also kinda like the green coloured fabric that contrasts itself from the black leather and fabric. But I suppose this is a matter of personal taste, so I’ll leave you to judge whether you agree with me, or prefer to go with the other colours options of this bag.

The front compartment

The front compartment

The front compartment, which is zippered, includes a pocket that’s large enough to fit a typical mens wallet and two pen holders. You can also easily fit things like keys and cards as well.

The main compartment for your iPad

The main compartment for your iPad

The main compartment is also zippered and is obviously meant for your iPad. It even fits if the iPad is cased up, as you will see in my photo below. With the iPad in, there isn’t much more that you could fit in other than some paper or perhaps a very thin notebook. Instead of an iPad, I’ve also managed to fit in my Fuji X100 digital camera, but because it’s rather bulky, you are slightly limited with what you could fit in either the front or back compartment.

Your personal Knomo identifier code

Your personal Knomo identifier code

Within the main compartment is also your personal “If lost” identifier code. You basically register this code on Knomo’s website along with your personal information. So, if you ever lose your bag and a good Samaritan stumbled upon it, she or he would be able to contact Knomo which in turn would arrange for the bag to be reunited with you. But of course, that’s if the person who found your bag is an honest person in the first place. So, better to never lose it in the first place. 🙂

The back compartment

The back compartment

The back compartment is not zippered up for easy access and has a pocket that’s made to fit your iPhone. You can also fit a few other things in the back compartment as you will see in the later part of this review.

So how much stuff can you actually fit in the bag? I’d have to say, just enough. What that means is that it fit in just about everything I would absolutely need to not have anything in my pockets, but not anything extra that I might want to also bring along. The bag is rather slim, which is a large part of its appeal, so this is to be expected.

My stuff to be carried in the Knomo Kyoto bag

My stuff to be carried in the Knomo Kyoto bag

So here’s what I’m able to fit in my Knomo Kyoto bag. My trusty old iPad 2 with a Macally Protective Leather case, an iPhone 5S, a leather wallet, a car key fob, a pen, a small tub of moisturising cream for my kid, an Anker Astro 3E 10000mAh battery charger pack and a Plantronics BackBeat 903+ bluetooth headset.

The iPad fits snugly in the main compartment with some room to spare

The iPad fits snugly in the main compartment with some room to spare

As you can see, the iPad fits well in the main compartment, even with the case. There is even a little room for a thin notebook as well if you fancy carrying those around with you.

And with all my stuff in the bag, I could still rather easily reach to each of them and the bag doesn’t bulge up as some bags might. All in all, I’m happy with what the bag can hold. Perhaps, it also limits me to carry just what I need and not carry anything unnecessary, which is a good thing.

In summary

I liked what I saw immediately when I got the package and after using it for a few days now, I’m liking it more every day. The bag slings comfortably over my body and with nothing in my pockets, that’s extra comfort to me as well! And obviously, now with a bag, I can carry a few other things, such as an iPad or perhaps my camera everywhere I go.

If you are looking for such a bag, I am highly recommending the Knomo Kyoto soft leather cross-body bag. It’s not the cheapest of the lot, but I’m sure you will be happy with what you are paying for.

Where to buy

As I mentioned earlier, you can buy this bag on Amazon (link here) and it’s usually slightly lower than the usual US$150. One added advantage with buying at Amazon is that you can combine with other purchases and get it shipped for free to your address, especially for international buyers outside of the US or Europe like myself.

Alternatively, you can obviously order it directly from Knomo’s online store (link here). And by the way, Knomo also ships internationally for free for all orders over $200 from their online store.

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3 Responses

  1. Mark Strathmore says:

    Great review – thanks; I’m about to buy this and came across your review. Do you think it would take a Surface Pro 3?

  2. Ken Ng says:

    Looking at the dimensions of the Surface Pro 3 – 11.5 inches (29 cm) (width); 7.93 inches (20.1 cm) (height); 0.36 inches (9.1 mm) (depth), I think it would fit into the bag, but you may not be able to zip up the main compartment as it’s almost as high as the bag itself on the long end.

  3. Mark Strathmore says:

    Thanks Ken.

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