84 of 90 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: Saddleback Leather Company Thin Briefcase, 100% Full Grain Leather with 100 Year Warranty (Apparel)
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!
UPDATE August 2013
I've had the bag well over two years now and the love affair hasn't ended. The construction holds and it has gained a lot of character. Talking about the 100 year warranty though, it seems like in about 4 years I'll be asking for a replacement for the belt hooks since they have started eroding with use. The D rings to which this hook to don't show any wear though.
I don't use the backpack configuration much, but the O ring at the top seems like it has come unglued from the aluminum bar that lies beneath. It still works fine and hasn't gotten detached from the bag, but you can see that now it's just the top leather layer that this is holding on to. As I said, I don't use the backpack configuration much, so it may never become detached, but a good redesign idea (if not implemented yet) would be to rivet the ring holder thru the aluminum bar. That should take care of it.
I still love my bag and I don't intend to change it any time soon! I am however, going to buy the Saddleback front pocket backpack for trips in which I need to carry more stuff. Once I have it, this briefcase will become my "local" one and the backpack will be used for traveling.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Oct 15, 2013 10:00:58 PM PDT
Is yours medium or large?
In reply to an earlier post on Oct 16, 2013 6:48:13 AM PDT
Memo G. says:
Mine's medium. I realize I wrote the review under the large one, that was a mistake...
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