Originally Posted by brainchild
I ordered some JW Hulme pieces a few years ago, and wound up sending them back. I found the construction flimsy and the materials middle-of-the-road.
Alternatives, include Filson and Frost River (US), which use waxed cotton canvas, and Chapmann (UK), which uses a unique rubber bonded cotton twill.
Orvis Battenkill is definitely not, at this time, made by Hulme, because, as already mentioned, Battenkill is made overseas and Hulme is made in the US. Battenkill is not well made.
Hulme was bought by new owners a few years ago and is undergoing a bit of a rennaissance. They almost went out of business about a year and a half ago (there was an article in the Wall Street Journal about it) but took on a new partner and are actually doing really well now. I live in Boston now but previously lived in St. Paul, MN (where Hulme is located). They have a retail showroom - which is really just the front of their factory. I stopped in their shop a few weeks ago to check out their stuff and was really impressed. I believe the new owners have made a committment to quality, made in the USA products. Everyone was really nice (I met both owners) and one of the sales staff actually offered to take me on a tour of the factory which turned out to be very interesting.
Their newest line of stuff is called "American Heritage" and is absolutely stunning. Some upscale retailers are now starting to carry their stuff, including Steven Alan and Barney's in New York. They have a facebook page and you can go on a pictorial tour of their factory, see pics of bags being made, and see pics of really old customer bags.
I am in no way affiliated with them, I just think their stuff is pretty cool (and I like that it is made in the US right on their premises). I ended up buying a canvas/leather briefcase, a british personal case, and a wallet. All the goods are extremely high quality, in my opinion. I also own several Filson products and several Swaine Adeney products including a briefcase so I do have a decent frame of reference.