Several months ago, I received my new Smokin’ Holsters Necessities bag you see pictured here. In the intervening months, I’ve been giving it regular use and I really love it.
Although the bag is only seven inches by nine inches, it holds a lot more stuff than I ever believed possible. I’ve had six pipes, two square tobacco tins, a Baccyflap, pen, phone, pipe cleaners, two tampers, and a pocketknife in my bag.
I first saw this bag slung over the shoulders of Two Cousins friends Tim Crowder and Mark Hendren one early morning at the Richmond Pipe Show. I didn’t know at the time that Neil Flancbaum made the Necessities bag at Crowder’s request. Tim wanted a smaller version of Flancbaum’s Possibles bag.
Worn bandolero style with the strap slung over the shoulder, the bag is remarkably comfortable. Several times, I’ve forgotten I’m wearing mine. Whenever I wear mine, it takes me right back to my young pheasant hunting days when I carried a similar bag for my shotgun shells, beef jerky, gloves, compass, and knife. This bag is a lot nicer than my old hunting bag, though, and it isn’t stained with bird blood or coffee, either.
Both the Possibles and Necessities bags were borne of Neil Flancbaum’s desire to offer well-made, rugged bags for a lower cost. As a result, these bags are machine-stitched rather than hand-laced. The bags sell for $225 to $400, depending on the skins used. Of course, some guys want theirs customized. Customization changes the price.
The bags are available in plush cowhide or bison. The two pipe pockets are made of deerskin. Although I typically carry just two pipes when I use mine, four pipes will easily fit in the pockets so long as one pipe in each pocket is in its sock. The pockets are quite roomy. I’ve easily slipped some of my larger pipes into the pockets with no problem.
Functionally, I find this bag has several advantages over some other bags, the biggest of which is that it is a top loader. You don’t have to worry about contents spilling out. It is easy to retrieve pipe, pouch, tamper, or cleaners. It swings easily out of the way when you’re done with it, too.
Once again, I find myself grateful that it is possible to buy a well-designed and ruggedly crafted bag for my pipe outings. My pipes are precious to me so I want to be able to transport them in a safe and practical bag where they don’t knock against one another or fall out.
I believe that Smokin’ Holsters bags are the best bags available anywhere. I’ve been using these bags non-stop for seven years now. You won’t see me with anything else.