100 Year Warranty - Have your great-grandchildren talk to my great-grandchildren, and we'll fix it or replace it for free. Only for 100 years, though.
Full Grain Leather - Only thick Full Grain leather; not Top Grain or Bonded leathers.
No Breakable Parts - No zippers, snaps, buttons or any other breakable parts to fail or scratch your gear. It took me four years, eight cows, and thousands of dollars to develop a duffel bag without a zipper.
Industrial Thread - Stout industrial marine-grade Polyester UV resistant thread. It’s used for airbags, sails, work boots and other heavy-duty applications. I ought to keep an extra spool in my truck for towing.
Fully Tanned Leather - Good tanneries remove natural oils and preservatives from the hide and then replenish them with high quality synthetics and oils. Then they soak and tumble it for up to 20 hours until the new colors and oils reach the middle. Cheap tanneries only tumble them long enough to color the surface and leave the middle to dry up and crack.
Hidden Polyester Reinforcing Straps - A German leather craftsman told me that since leather stretches, he sews Polyester straps into his leather horse equipment. We do that on all stress points.
Rivets - Kind of killing a fly with a shotgun, but any place that could ever come apart in 100 years, gets a rivet. Even rocks wear away.
Seams - A few large pieces of leather with as few seams as possible. The more seams the weaker the bag because a seam is where the needle tore a bunch of holes in the leather and weakened it. Check out this junk duffel I bought in a moment of weakness and desperation in Mexico made of 85 small pieces of leather
Pockets - Two large end pockets on the outside for quick access to travel necessities. One large document pocket runs along the back of the bag. An organizing pocket runs along the back of the inside. I use it to separate my dirty laundry or just fold it flat against the back when I need the whole main compartment. There’s also two end pockets on the inside.
NOTE: Dimensions are for the outside of the bag. Interior dimensions are ¼” (0.6 cm) less to account for stitching at the seams.
Pigskin Lined - 12 pounds (5.4 kg)
Leather - 100% hypoallergenic 4 to 5 ounce (2.0mm to 2.2mm) thick Full Grain chrome tanned leather. Usually, cowboy and work boots are made with 1.8mm - 2.0mm thickness. And, our leather isn't “buttery soft” (fibers separated and broken down by hours of tumbling and stretching at the tannery). It’s your job to tenderize it over the years.
Construction - Made from as few large pieces of leather as possible. Seams are the weakest point and so the fewer the better. It would be much cheaper for us to make it with lots of smaller pieces, but it's the quality details such as this that separates us from the masses.
Thread - The double zero continuous-filament Polyester thread we use is a little thicker than what is used on most boots. It’s impressive and expensive. Common thread is made of short little fibers wound together into one long thread. This thread is made of long continuous fibers that won't fall apart in a strong wind. Polyester thread is also the only thread I know of that doesn't deteriorate with exposure to the sun like Nylon or Kevlar.
Lining - Tough pigskin lining. Pigskin is the second strongest hide in the world, second to kangaroo.
How can I get my spouse to understand that I need this?
Here's your rationale: Buy the best, cry once. It's all about the cost per year. In college, I bought a pair of very expensive shoes for my job as a waiter. I couldn't afford them, but I bought them anyhow. They were really light and comfortable and took me through two years of waiting tables and one year as a limo driver and another year of occasional use. And then they still looked good for a month of Sundays. Cost per year was about $25. Most of the other waiters bought a new pair of $55 heavy and uncomfortable shoes every 6 months because theirs wore out and looked ratty by then. One of the principles the successful in the world understand is this: If one buys quality from the start they save money. Don't be penny wise and dollar foolish. This will be one of the most savvy investments and inexpensive leather pieces you'll ever have. And remember, you must truly love yourself before you can love others. A couple of other things to think about you'll be more popular. Everybody isn't buying one. I'll invite you to my birthday party. What's wrong, you chicken?
Which color should I get?
Pick the one that fits who you are. I've observed what the bag owners tend to be like based on the color they have chosen over the years. The category below that fits you best is probably the color you'll enjoy most. Remember, your first inclination is usually the correct one.
Tobacco Light Brown (Sanguine)
Laid back and casual
Likes old Land Cruisers
Creative (enjoys writing)
Loves big dogs
Never met a stranger
Lots of random thoughts
Loves the outdoors
Only wears clothes because you have to
Carbon Black (Phlegmatic or Choleric)
You look good in a thick black leather jacket
Rides a cruiser type motorcycle
Wear thick black framed glasses
Drives a Volvo or Saab
They know your name at the coffee shop
Sci-Fi is your favorite genre
Are very interested in Oriental culture
Prefer cats over dogs
Loves modern contemporary style square furniture
Chestnut Reddish Brown (Choleric or Melancholy)
Belongs in a Mercedes Benz or Jaguar
Classier than most
Has excellent taste in dressing and decorating
Great sense of humor
Smokes a pipe instead of a cigarette
Appreciates the finer things
Dark Coffee Brown (Phlegmatic or Choleric or Melancholy)
Loves the outdoors
Is the best friend of many people
Reads a lot of books
Loves big dogs
If you still aren't sure, then just buy all four colors.
Are the animals tortured before they are slaughtered?
Absolutely not ! With some pigs we do use waterboarding and sensory deprivation techniques previous to slaughtering them, but the cows do not require any special handling.
Where can I see one of the bags in person?
I don't have any of the items in stores and we're not big fans of folks coming to our home in San Antonio because of the weirdo factor. My sister, Patricia and her husband (my Chess and Scrabble nemesis), send out the leather from their place near Ft. Worth, Texas, but again, because of the weirdo factor they're not set up to show either. If it helps, everyone tells me that they look better in person.
How much do they cost you, Dave?
Well, I lived for three years in a $100 a month apartment in Mexico with no hot water, because of these bags. My dog, Blue, and I drove for thousands of hours all over the North American continent because of these bags. I had a crooked Federale sent to kill me because of these bags (I convinced him that SeÃ±or Alarcon would never pay him) and we became friends). I've shed gallons of blood and tears and sweat and at least a quart of other people's, because of these bags. I've slept in my car or on the rack of my old Land Cruiser at least 150 times because of these bags. I've lost weeks of sleep and have gone hungry for days because of these bags. I was broke for years and even had to trade two of Blue's little puppies for a month's worth of tacos in order to eat because of these bags. I've been detained by who knows how many Mexican police because of these bags. I've thrown away thousands of dollars and made hundreds of mistakes because of these bags. I've been stolen from, taken advantage of and robbed because of these bags (they even stole Blue once, but I got him back). All of these things and more have happened to me because of these bags. They cost me a lot.
This is my second big SB piece. I absolutely love the briefcase I have owned for quite a while and I took the plunge a couple of weeks ago on this duffel bag. I take it to my local gym. The pigskin is tough as nails! I bought a couple of waterproof bags to store used clothing. Works like a charm. Lots of space, it looks awsome and I love that leather smell!
I highly recommend this bag. You will not regret the purchase!
Stop looking and reading! This is the real deal - Buy one now!
How many products do you own that you stalk the company's website 4-5 times a week hunting for the next purchase? Outstanding Quality and craftsmanship do not come close to describing this bag. Buy this bag and you will not regret it.
I have had this bag for 4 months and it is great. I travel alot; about 100-120 nights a year mostly by car and at least one trip a month by plane. I was worried this bag would not be big enough. The first thing I did after I got over the initial coolness / beauty of this bag was to take my fully loaded airplane overhead luggage and empty the contents into this duffle. I was excited when I quickly found out that not only does it have enough room but there was room to spare. Also, it is ideal as a carry on because you can place your toiletries in the side pocket for easy access without opening the entire bag.
Dave is right! Stop thinking about the one time purchase cost and focus on how long you are going to own this bag. If this bag is your first purchase from SB it will not be your last. It took me about 60 days before I ordered a matching briefcase. In fact, I ordered mine off of Dave's Deals and I can assure you that Dave is much pickier than I am because I am still not sure what the issue was for my bag (10% discount).
It is amazing to see, watch, and hear the response when a friend or a traveler notices your SB bag. The most negative question I have ever gotten was, "Are you afraid someone is going to steal it?" Yes, Yes I am!
By far my favorite Bag!
I am a huge Saddleback Leather fanatic This duffle bag was my second piece, and it is safe to say I have been more than impressed with it. When I bought it, I was torn between the duffel and the waterbag. I went with the duffel because I really like the "structured" look of it over the waterbag. However, like I said, I am a fanatic, and I have since purchased the waterbag as well.
I have owned the duffel bag for about 2 years, and in that time I have taken it on quite a few long trips (planes and automobile - no trains... Sorry ,John Candy), as well as numerous weekend visits (the bag gives a perfect amount of space for a 2-3 day trip). It is holding up superbly, and I know it will look beautiful well past the 98 years left on its warranty. It's acquiring some scuffs and rubs along the way, but they really do just make the bag look more incredible.
I highly recommend this bag (as well as all of SBL products) to about anybody/everybody I run into. I have had many TSA reps at the airports compliment me on my bag and ask me where I got it. That's how you know you have something great - when your bag jumps out to somebody who sees THOUSANDS of AVERAGE bags!
As a fair warning, I advise you NOT to buy this bag if:
1) You do not enjoy people admiring, commenting on, and/or coveting your bag, 2) You hate well-engineered, quality products that will last several lifetimes, 3) You dislike your possessions being overly-protected in a sturdy piece of art during your travels, or 4) You want a bag for just a few years until it breaks, so you get the lucky opportunity to buy another one.
Perfectly engineered, perfectly constructed! Wouldn't change a thing!
Another piece of art
I have added this piece to my repertoire. I ordered in tobaccp brown. Seems like a good size. Typical Saddleback quality and construction. I plan to use this as a carry on with my front pocket backpack (I should be able to carry quite a bit. I may use as a smaller camera bag. Options are endless. I love this piece. Not sure how this would carry as a backpack as suggested in previous review as the top has potential spaces to allow gear to slip out. No regrets for this purchase.
My favorite travel bag
I have an older version of this bag - the one where the side pocket buckles were atttached to the main compartment lid. I thought this was inconvenient at first; but after having traveled quite a bit, I actually prefer this design.
The duffel makes an excellent carryon for travel in the U.S.A. (where most carryon restrictions are size based), and also checks very well if traveling internationally (where carryon restrictions are often weight based). My main wish for this bag was that it had a backpack option like the waterbag and the beast duffel bag.
Awesome Bag in Afghanistan
I have had the bag for a little while now, and have already kicked the crap out if a little traveling here in Afghanistan. This thing is built to last and has no problem being tossed around in the rugged terrain that I move around in. It's been kicked, dragged, thrown, crushed, and soaked. It just doesn't give up. I love Saddleback.
OUTSTANDING Weekend Bag
I am probably one of your biggest fans, purchasers and advertisers. Seriously, nearly everywhere I go, either on camp here in the sandbox, or flying back and forth to the states, it almost never fails that someone will approach me and ask "where did you get that bag"?...whether it's in airports or here on camp, this happens almost every day. Outstanding quality speaks the loudest and in the land of the cordura nylon backpacks, my stuff stands out for many reasons. I've referred one of the bus drivers here on camp to your site and she purchased alot of her family members some of your products. I have the duffle and the backpack that I'll travel with. In camp I use the backpack for my laptop and the duffle for my workout gear...helluva nice gym bag huh...lol. I have the small dopp kit that I'll use if I'm only shaving that day (hot water runs out quickly during the winter...lol) and I just got the large "Gadget Bag" that I use to take everything to the common facilities when I shower, shave, brush my teeth, etc. in the event of having enough hot water. I have the phone sleeve for my BlackBerry and I have the wallet that I use as well. So yes...I recommend SBL.
I'm a big fan of saddleback and I own several other products and they are all worth the money. This bag is the best looking product among them but the least favorite for a single reason, the accessibility to the side pockets. Once you buckle up the bag fully, you cannot open up the side pockets fully unless you open up the whole bag. This is surprising because all other products were extremely well designed. The top cover extends out to protect from rain, but that case probably is a lot less frequent than accessing the side pockets. Looking great, and everything else is as expected. Thanks.
A big thumbs up from Australia!
I've been searching for quality Australian leather products for the last few years and unfortunately there are none (I'm an Aussie). Everything in my country seems seems to be either Chinese or stupidly expensive. I'm currently holidaying in Napa with my American wife and stumbled across your website. What a breath of fresh air it was to find. The fact that Saddleback includes links to all it's direct competitors says so much about the company. I've watched all of the videos including the ladies tote bag! The honest, unpolished and thorough product descriptions were a joy to watch. It makes choosing the correct bag so much easier. It was a toss up between a backpack and the duffle bag. My wife bought the duffle for me. I've now decided to purchase the backpack as well when funds allow. In regards to the duffle bag itself it's everything that the video explains it to be. I absolutely love it. The bag wreaks of quality. Initially, I was wondering why it was necessary to include the opening of the side pocket straps in the opening/closing of the bag but I'm sure that it was part of the design process and is this way for a reason. It's part of the bags character anyway.
In summary, I'm very very impressed and I will buy from Saddleback again. Maybe a tote for my wife. It's really not necessary to look at these products beforehand as the detail on the website is more than enough. I don't find these products expensive at all considering what you get for your money elsewhere.
I'm 46 years old and have never written a product review in my life. Just felt compelled to do so in this instance.
The Ultimate Duffle Bag!!!
Wow... What a fantastic duffle bag! Thanks to my wonderful sweetheart for this Christmas gift! I have been shopping for a duffle and without a doubt Saddleback is the best! This is the ultimate bag.... all leather, rugged, no zippers and opens fully at the top. Just got it, but would highly recommend this duffle! Yes, my kids will be fighting for this starting tomorrow... and long after I am gone! LOL Thanks Julie! Charles
I have used my duffel 5 times with no problems at all. Takes a little time to buckle up for travel. And it's not light. I knew that going in. I would recommend it to a guy or lady who likes a traditional, understated, simple look. The duffel fit the overhead on a Delta MD80. It fit under the seat on a smaller regional jet.