The Ice Block Bag Cometh: Mission Mercantile

mm-ice-block-bag-01The emotional pull behind the Mission Mercantile brand story is a interesting play on the heritage wares movement prevalent in menswear today. the company seeks to emulate the long lost local mercantile store that was once the heartbeat of any American frontier town.

The mercantile was where one might find anything needed for a journey westward or domestic task. It was the hardware, tack, and general stores rolled into one and, most importantly, a place of discovery. The local mercantile was a gathering place and home base for adventurers and homesteaders alike. One never truly knew what one might find there.

Most importantly, Mission Mercantile seeks to reflect the vital functionality of the goods once sold in these stores, to, as they note, showcase, “the simple attributes, aesthetics, and functionalities that have already stood the test of time.”

Turns out they do it very well. If there is a single word we can use to describe their products, it is “tough.” Mission Mercantile makes bags, cases, and leather goods that will undoubtedly last several generations.

2016-09-08-08-11-14We have had the pleasure of testing out their fantastic Ice Block Bag. Named after the heavy-duty canvas bags that were once used to transport block ice to people’s homes, this bag is the very definition of “functional fashion.” Crafted from 18 ounce canvas and trimmed with full grain leather, this bag is big and durable. It’s also surprisingly useful.

With only a single zipped drop pocket on the inside, the Ice Block Bag is primarily a hauling bag that’s meant to carry whatever you throw at it, yet we have found it to be a very useful bag for commuting and everyday needs.

The short handles mean that even when fully loaded, the bag will not dag along the ground, a significant pet peeve of ours when it comes to tote style bags. The extremely sturdy detachable shoulder strap is perfect for hands free carry and can be stored away when not needed.

Should you be using this bag for actual hard labor – of which it is totally capable – we can say with confidence that you should be very pleased. the Ice Block Bag’s construction is robust to say the least and ages nicely, softening and relaxing with time and use.

The unique leather grab handle is a neat historical nod to the bag’s intended purpose and allows one to hold the leather bottom in place while tipping an ice block into its new home, presumably an icebox, forerunner of the modern refrigerator.

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We cannot say enough about this distinctive company and the Ice Block Bag. Embodying your brand story is harder than once might think, and being able to assemble a collection of products that speak to that brand ethos is no mean feat. For us, it means a brand on which we will keep an eye and great workhorse of a beautiful bag which will be used often.

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We also got our hands on an example of their equally detailed small leather good accessories. We have been using the Front Pocket Wallet as a commuting wallet for over a month and love it. While not a unique product in and of itself, this slim ID/credit card case is an excellent daily companion.

With a window opening for your ID or a transit card and two extra slots for credit cards, it is an excellent “just what you need” minimal wallet or a dedicated travel case for when you keep only what’s necessary on your person.

As with the Ice Block Bag, this small accessory is packed with distinctive personality, from the three brass rivets that help us locate the Front Pocket Wallet in our bag to the firm, smooth leather that feels great and looks even better.

Below are some additional images of the great Mission Mercantile products tested by OTC. We are proud to work with and recommend this creative and heritage focused (and proudly Texas-based) brand.

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