I bought this off the saddleback leather website. This briefcase replaced a Kenneth Cole Reaction leather messenger bag. I have had the bag with me for almost 2 weeks, I'll update this review when I have 6 months with the briefcase.
First the good stuff:
- Awesome look and feel. You can perceive that this briefcase was made for the long run. The look is a very "manly" look; the whole thing has more character than some of my coworkers. - Top notch quality. From the leather to the stitching to the rivets to the hardware, these guys spared no expense on making sure you get an outstanding hand-made quality product. I state hand-made because you should not expect perfect alignment or centering of stitches, this is not a product made on a precision machine. - Lots of space. The first thing I noticed when I got the briefcase was that it seems a lot smaller than I had thought it would be, but when I started to fill it with all my stuff, I was able to fit all of it and then have some spare space. This is what I carry in my briefcase: * Dell latitude E6410 laptop * Power cord * 2 pens * 1 magic marker * 1 small moleskine notebook * 1 medium moleskine notebook * 1 first aid kit (aspirin, alcohol pad, iodine pad, band aids, compressed paper towels, Dayquil caps, salonpas pads...) * 1 bluetooth mouse * 1 kensington slide changer/laser pointer * 1 business card case with business cards * 1 chapstick * 1 advil cylinder (with ~12 tablets) * 1 2gb ironkey * Trident chewing gum * 3 bank netkeys * Inside a Victorinox 4.5x10" pouch I have: Ipod usb cable, earphones, small emergency sewing kit, 2 Shout!... Wetpads, Blackberry usb cable, my favorite: a small kit containing micro stapler, micro adhesive tape, staple remover and hole puncher * 1 moleskine cahier (you can safely assume I love moleskins!) * A plastic folder to keep papers and printed documents It's a long list, but this goes to saying that this briefcase can accommodate a lot of stuff!
- Flexibility to convert to a backpack. I think this may come in handy when carrying this bag across long distances. - Waterproof. Once you look at the briefcase you just know that rain won't get in your stuff. - No zippers, Velcro or any other non-durable features. If they're saying it has a 100 year warranty, might as well take these features off. - Internal pockets. There are 3 of them, two are for pens and the other is for whatever else. This is just the right amount of pockets for me, more would take space, less wouldn't be practical.
Now the bad stuff and/or things that worry me:
- Even though the briefcase is able to stand up by itself, mine stands tilted towards the front. I would prefer for it to stand up straight. I'm not sure if this will happen with time -maybe-. - The closure strap has already taken a beating after closing/opening the briefcase. I'm not sure if this is normal and/or if it will affect the sturdiness of it. Wouldn't want for that strap to break soon. This is something I'll report on after 6 months of use. - I did not feel like the bottom of the laptop compartment had enough cushioning. Saddleback says that the outside stitching helps protect the laptop and that makes sense, but I put some neoprene gasket on the bottom just to be sure. - Strap pads when using as a backpack. I found that when you use the bag as a backpack the O ring can be uncomfortable on your back, but if you place the strap so that it twists, then the O ring gets out of the way, but now you have one strap pad backwards. This is an easy fix though, just unbuckle the strap and flip one of the pads. - This is a heavy briefcase. Yes, it's the heaviest bag I've had and I guess if I walked to work or spent too much time carrying the bag it could become a big problem, but I don't.
Overall, this is the best briefcase/bag I've had. And just so you can compare, I've had a Samsonite roller, a Victorinox Acropolis, a Dell plain laptop bag and the Kenneth Cole I mentioned at the beginning of the review.
UPDATE 02/10: I was robbed and the bad guys took my saddleback bag, so I won't be able to write a review on the 6 month mark. I am saving up to buy an identical bag though, so once I have it with me for 6 months, I'll write about that one.
UPDATE 03/11: I got a new bag! I bought the exact same one and there are things I saw worth noticing:
- You can tell these bags don't come from a production line by the differences within the same bag model. It's not that this is radically different, but the "marks" on the grain, the stiching, the way the bag stands up, etc make this new bag seem to have a different personality than the other one. It's like getting to know a pair of twins, they seem the same, but in the details there are things that make each one unique.
- The quality still seems top notch.
- This bag stands up almost straight. The other one didn't
So now I've had the bag for a little over six months and I couldn't have asked for more. The leather has taken some character already and it's much softer than before, although it still maintains its sturdiness.
I've gotten som compliments on the bag, and a neat thing about it is that so far I've traveled to Europe, within Mexico and a couple of times to the States and I haven't seen any bag that can beat this one.
I've started to buy more saddleback products now, some wallets and a kindle pouch. You can see my reviews of some of them, but this goes to say that I'm a big saddleback fan now!Read more ›
Made of the highest quality materials available and boy does it show. This bag will likely take at least a year to even begin to break-in. The first day I had it I already started receiving compliments. It smells divine. I've never felt a bag that feels so sturdy - you can even *hear* how sturdy it is. It's odd to explain but once you get one you will know what I'm talking about.
I got the large size in Chestnut after returning the medium because it was just too small and looked like a woman's satchel on me. This thing is perfect and it is NOT too heavy. Are we men or mice? I am 6'0" and 180 lbs. - the bag looks perfect for my frame.
I also own the medium saddleback leather wallet and the card sleeve. All of the highest quality leather. I am amazed at the affordability and can't wait for my next pieces of Saddelback Leather!
P.S. the customer service with this company is hands down some of the best I've ever encountered. Exchange process for the medium to large briefcase was a breeze and the response time is uncanny. I hope this company is around for a VERY long time.
I have the extra-large thin briefcase and I LOVE it. This is one stout leather briefcase. Not many bells and whistles but that is part of its genius (and the 100 year warranty) - the simplicity of it all. This thing just FEELS good on my shoulder. I love carrying it in to work each day. I want to hug it as I fall asleep.
The one thing some people may not like is that even though it is somewhat dressy ... it is not as polished a look as you will find in other products. There are around 11 d-rings on the outside of this briefcase ... all made for functionality like tying an unbrella or a tripod to your briefcase ... but for a corporate boardroom look you may find it a bit over the top. As I am not the president of a company I couldn't care less. :)
I am now the owner of three products from SaddleBack Leather and I have my eye on a fourth .... :)
I am an attorney and have owned many briefcases over the years, and I have to say that the quality of the leather and construction of the Saddleback Thin briefcase is the best I've seen. Unfortunately, I didn't accurately estimate the size I needed, and the Large was too big and heavy for me. But after sending an email to Saddleback Leather, they allowed me to return the Large for a full refund with no questions asked. I used the refund to buy the Thin Medium, which was the perfect size to carry a 15" Macbook Pro, iPad 2, Wifi hotspot, 2 power adapters, iPhone charger, 2 pens and some paperwork. I'm completely satisfied with both the product and the customer service.
UPDATE: I've had to downgrade my review to 3 stars due to the fact that the finish stains white or light-colored clothes. The Q&A from Saddleback's Website says that the leather will not stain clothing, but I noticed that whenever I carried the bag on my shoulder while wearing light colored pants, I would end up with a brown line across my hip. I thought that it might just be that I had placed the bag on something dirty and the dirt was coming from the bottom of the bag, but that wasn't the case. I took a white cloth and lightly rubbed it across the side of the bag, and the cloth was stained. This makes the bag very difficult to recommend for business use unless you always plan to wear a dark colored suit.
There are probably a few sharp-looking briefcases around your office. But how many of them will be looking even better this time next century? This Saddleback Leather thin briefcase is designed to last 100 years and warrantied accordingly. That's what happens when you build a bag using only thick full-grain boot leather, line it with even tougher pigskin, stitch it with super-thick marine-grade UV-resistant polyester thread, rivet all stress points (just in case) and sew in hidden polyester reinforcing straps in any area that could ever possibly stretch after decades of use. This is the last briefcase you, your son, and his son will ever need.