The Minnehaha Bag Co. website has a great tutorial on how best to weatherproof the leather parts on traditional canvas/leather bike bags. Here’s the short version:
- Buy a paste-consistency water repellent made from natural fats/waxes —Brooks Proofide, Sno-Seal, Smiling Mink, and Scout mink oil work interchangeably well. Do not use any liquids (including liquid versions of mink oil or neatsfoot oil) or petroleum compounds.
- Disassemble the bag by taking off loose straps, etc.
- Warm the components: Either in a warmed (then EXTINGUISHED) oven with a hair-dryer. The material should be warm but not hot. The hair dryer is much easier to work with and a low heat setting is plenty warm.
- Apply the treatment to the warm leather — both sides of exposed straps, edges, around buckles, etc. Applying the treatment to warm leather will permanently darken it. If you want to maintain the lighter color, apply to room temperature leather.
- Let cool, then buff off the excess — you will have much less to buff off if you used the warm application.
- If you ride in the wet a lot, or want to further darken the leather, repeat steps 3-5. Most people will only need a single treatment initially. Over time you’ll need to repeat the application as it wears out.
- Re-assemble and relish your newfound knowledge of leather treatments.
The full article, with photos, is well worth a read (assuming you have leather and canvas bags) and can be viewed here.
We have a few Minnehaha bags in-house that we’re currently putting through their paces (nice bags!); we’ll have full reviews for you once we’ve spent more time with them.