belstaff 556 colonial shoulder bag.

I know when I posted the Belstaff 554 Large Colonial Shoulder Bag I said that was the last bag I would ever buy. Well, I lied.

The Belstaff 554 is a fantastic bag and I have no regrets. But I found myself often faced with the comment, “Wow. Nice bag… it’s big.” And people were right. It IS big. Big enough to carry my 15″ Macbook Pro. I was hoping the bag would be able to be an everyday carry as well as my work bag. But using it as an everyday carry was just a bit bigger than I’d like. Put it this way, fully loaded, it wouldn’t fit under some of the smaller seats on a plane. And fully loaded… it was HEAVY.

So I started looking and thinking about another bag. It was hard. I had been spoiled by the Belstaff bag. So when I came upon an ad for a Belstaff 556 Colonial Shoulder Bag (regular size)… I jumped on it. Mountain brown just like my larger bag.

I have had it for about a month now and through a trip to Orlando and a trip to New Zealand. It is GREAT! This is the perfect size for everyday carry and travel. Big enough to throw a good amount of stuff in, books magazines, a netbook etc. Not too heavy to carry around all day. Same great construction as the 554.

It also has one really nice feature. It fits a Tenba Messenger Photo Insert perfectly. I saw this insert on Flickr and it is actually better than all the Domke ones that I swore by. It is PERFECT for a messenger shaped bag… none of the Domke’s really are. With it, I can actually fit a Canon 1DmkIII and 3 lenses. Or even the 70-200L f/2.8 IS and another lens mounted. In a bind, I can load the 1DmkIII holster style (lens pointed down). The top closes… barely and is not that comfortable to carry but it fits… in a bind.

So if I had a choice, I’d go with the 556 over the 554. It’s just more universally usable. But I like having two and don’t feel it is duplicating. In a time where Belstaff seems to be stopping the manufacturing of these bags (STUPID STUPID STUPID)… I am glad I have another in case something were to happen to the other. Both mine also don’t have the magnets and the seams match the color of the bag. The newer ones have magnets under the latches and a different color seam. Now why would they do that!

The dimensions measured at the seams* are: 10.25 in tall x 12 in wide x 3 in deep at the top and 4 in deep at the bottom.

Front pockets are 6.5 in tall x 4.5 in wide x 1 in deep.
Side pockets are 5 in tall by 4 in wide… tight rounded depth.
Inside zippered pocket is 7 in long.
* inside might be a bit smaller.

Of course, pictures are worth a thousand words: More Pictures of Belstaff Colonial 556.

    • Stefan
    • December 28th, 2016

    At least in Germany Belstaff now offers a “Messenger Colonial Bag” that is styled like the 554/556 but does have an additional handle and some other design changes. But the “khaki” colored one really looks like the old bags (at least the color):

    It seems to be a good deal for 395 Euros as it is a new one and you won’t have to care about it being a replica/fake.

  1. That new bag is available in the US as well in black and stone but not in Khaki. Derivative of the original bag, looks quite nice.

    Cost is $495.

    • Pat
    • December 30th, 2016


    This is probably the best news I’ve heard this year! Can’t believe that they finally came out with a new design of the bag. Not sure what I think about the “handle” but it looks to be a great design overall!

    Has anyone bought this yet and have more pics that what the belstaff site has? It says that its 13″ wide, wondering if it can ‘just’ fit a 13″ laptop or is it a ‘good’ fit —

    Cheers for your post Stefan!!!

    • Peter
    • January 11th, 2017

    Hey guys,

    I wanted to chime in on the updated colonial bag that is now available. I just recieved mine in “sand” (I tried to get the khaki version, but that was sold out) and a couple of things.

    First, the color of the canvas is much darker than what is posted online. It is much closer to a medium brown.

    Second, there are no magnets anywhere on the bag. The front buckles are stitched in. I read that the 554 used magnets for the front buckles. I don’t own one, so can’t confirm.

    Third, I currently carry a 14 inch laptop and there’s enough room to fit a 15 inch laptop. It may be a snug fit, but it looks like it has the room.

    • Paul A
    • February 21st, 2017

    Anyone has this 556 mountain brown bag for sell? email me peace V

    • Pat
    • March 15th, 2017

    thanks for sharing Petr.. could you by any chance, upload a few images showing the bag and the fit with the 14″ laptop? I was thinking of buying this online instead as I don’t have a physical store here in Vancouver… some “real” images would help decide 🙂

    thanks !

    • Dave R
    • May 23rd, 2017

    I’m on the Belstaff mailing list and just got an email for a private sale. The Belstaff Colonial bag is on sale for $297. I just ordered in Khaki — that and black are available. If interested try signing up or calling for access. Absent the link, on the site the price is still $445.

    • Pat
    • May 23rd, 2017

    @Dave R
    Wow thats a great price Dave!
    I’m wondering if Just call them up for access (I live in Canada so I don’t think they’d oblige)

    • Dave R
    • May 24th, 2017

    Actually the regular price is $495, not $445 I wrote above (typo). The sale is 40% off for the $297 I posted.

    According to UPS I’m supposed to get the package today — so the are likely shipping from the US (even though during the checkout process the mentioned possibility of duty).

    • Dave R
    • May 24th, 2017

    Actually the regular price is $495, not $445 I wrote above (typo). The sale is 40% off for the $297 I posted.

    According to UPS I’m supposed to get the package today — so they are likely shipping from the US where I live (even though during the checkout process the mentioned possibility of duty).

    Good luck Pat — hope you can get that price. I came close to buying at the regular price but when I last looked they didn’t have the color I wanted (khaki). Now 40% off and in the color I want.

    • Javaholic
    • May 24th, 2017

    What’s the link? Thanks. @Dave R

    • Michael Sapienza
    • August 28th, 2017

    Hey all, I know this post is old but it seems the Belstaff 554/556 craze is alive and well. I owned a real 556 in mountain brown back in 2009 or so. Stupidly I sold it not knowing these bags would become impossible to find. Recently I just happened to find an obscure third party seller on amazon that had legitimate 554’s in the khaki color. The price is fairly steep at $600 US. I was very hesitant and was pretty sure I was. Wing ripped off. I received the bag very quickly and it’s legit. It was pricey but it’s the real deal. I received this bag brand new with tags and dust bag.

  2. @Michael Sapienza

    Cool! Glad you found one.

    • Paul A
    • August 30th, 2017

    Belstaff 554/556 is an epic bag ever and will live 4ever. XD cheers

    • Ken
    • September 27th, 2017

    I bought a second hand 556 through ebay from Italy. Just love it! The thick leather strip and brown canvas gave the bag a retro military look and feel. It’s getting difficult to buy orginal one made in Italy with a small U.K. Flag tag sewed at the size. I think nowadays now manufacturer will bother to make such a tough beautiful bag. This bag aged, and continue to age, with years. Get one for yourself and pass it to your kids. I am sure one day they will appreciate it. An ultimate everyday causal chic carrying bag! I always think why they used such a thick leather strips which could only been found from machinery belt, but it looks just great. Now the bag is covered with a layer of pertina. I wonder if any owner of this bag will want to wash it. I am from Hong Kong, just enjoy sharing it.

  3. The care for the bag I’ve read about is to just throw it in the washing machine cold cycle and hang dry. I’ve never had to wash my though.

    • Paul A
    • October 31st, 2017

    Hi, After I’ve purchased the 554. But now thinking to get a mountain brown 556. Please anyone here willing to sell? thanks my email

    • Alex
    • December 19th, 2017

    I bought back in 2014 556 brown model from for £132, but the website is no longer alive. I am pretty sure I got an original, but after seeing the prices people is sharing, I have doubts… I want to buy the 554 since its bigger, and now I found those prices quite high compared to what I’ve pay 🙂

    • Dave
    • December 24th, 2017

    There were a bunch of Belstaff official sounding websites back in the day that all went back to sellers in China hawking fakes (some very high quality). This sounds like one of them. Belstaff hasn’t made these bags for years so if you find online it is almost certainly fake, unless someone is selling a used one — and those will be rare and expensive. New ones went for much more than that price so I hate to say it but if its too good to be true…

    The new Belstaff (i.e., following sale of company to Labelux in 2011) started making bags again but they are much more expensive because they have pivoted the brand to be a luxury goods company. There were some good deals on those bags recently (see thread above) but those weren’t original 554s or 556s.

    • CAT
    • January 7th, 2018

    Are these bags still relevant, and is there still a market? While it seems they didn’t lose their value, I’m not sure from the thread that they increased in value as I hoped when I made the investment. 5-600+ dollars apiece depending size was my eBay purchase price, but surprisingly the smaller bag was the higher priced. Higher demand?
    Not including my personal bag, I have three original bags of which I’m interested in selling two. In the thread, the idea was made that it’s never a bad idea to keep a spare as these border on rare.

    All bags are in most excellent condition, but I cannot say they weren’t used.
    All have the thicker leather, buckle closures(no magnets) and the metal logo(before the company went leather.) All the inner liners are intact, and the zippers are in good working order. This is a smoke free house.

    I have 1 554 (we know that’s slightly larger, right) mountain brown. Never used by me but bought used (eBay, 4ish years ago.) I can’t see any wear other than the leather seems to be broken-in (good thing?) a small fray along the shoulder strap, and I did have a small repair done to one of the “belt loops” near the buckle on the front that had been pulled on too much.

    I have another 554, this one black. Bought new about 5 years ago on eBay. Used lightly by myself for a few months but gravitated toward the smaller size, and for 4ish years it’s been on a shelf in the closet. Looks quite dusty, but no tears, or abrasions. The leather is still pretty stiff. I never used the end pockets (I found the buckles and flaps awkward there) and never buckled the flap straps, but tucked them under and out of the way.

    The third bag is the one I would tend to keep as it is the same size and color as my current. I won’t say I’m firm on this, that is why we negotiate. Anyway…the specs:
    The slightly smaller (and seemingly preferred) 556 mountain brown. Bought brand new 4ish years ago. Used daily for a year by my girlfriend until a new job required something more professional. Both this and the black above were eBay purchases from BMG, which if I recall, stood for British Motorcycle Gang/group. In its use, most of the leather has been broken in. She too thought the flap buckles were tedious and folded under the straps and tucked them in. It is clean and there are no stresses or abrasions. There is an obvious ink stain smack dab in the center of the flap. Smaller than a pinky fingernail, with a small smear. Two small and faint pen lines on the bottom.

    Have I got a chance?

    Thanks everyone for reading,

    • Fred
    • May 11th, 2018

    I finally got my hands on one of these and Aaron is right, it is the perfect size everyday bag. I use the insert from a holdfast romographer small inside the bag and it works great for t]mt Leica M10 and 2 lenses as well as my iPad Pro 12.9 in the rear. With an insert the bag stands nicely on its own. $550 used in good condition was steep for a canvas bag, but it is a keeper.

    • Pat
    • May 15th, 2018

    Hey Fred, did you buy it second hand and if is so from where?

    • Fred Gizzo
    • May 16th, 2018

    Yes – I got it on eBay.

    I really love the size and functionality – I had a 554 and this size is a much nicer size for me

  4. Me too.

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