I've been drooling over this briefcase every since seeing someone carry one into a meeting. Yesterday an employee gave it to me as a gift.
I knew that I wanted one, but didn't know how much until I got my hands on it. Often, we fantasize about something and it's rarely as good in reality as it was in our minds - this was not one of those cases.
It's an incredible bag that gives me that timeless feel which merges into my MacBook Pro and iPad.
So, I shed my backpack of many years and migrate into manhood with the last briefcase I'll ever need.
I got the large size briefcase and it holds my 15inch MackBook Pro and all the other tech gadgets and items that I carry. I highly recommend it.
This is a very stylish bag with the rugged durability. Just what a manly man needs
I will try to be brief but I am too excited. I have been looking at purchasing the classic briefcase for over a year now. I read all the reviews and watched numerous video reviews to narrow down my decision of size and color.
To also assit I bought a tobacco ID wallet and med. notepad holder, a chestnut laptop case and a dark coffee pouch. Seeing the colors confirmed what I had known. For me I went with the tobacco brown large briefcase and the coffee colored pouch looks great hanging off of the front.
Size was another concern. I felt I probably needed the large but did more research on the size of the things I need to carry. The extra 2 inches made the difference from a medium to the large. The extra large seemed too big to carry everyday.
I just received my bag about a week ago and now have it filled. Here is what I have in it so far: DSLR camera with 2 lenses, A light for video shoots, 8 rechargeable batteries and 2 chargers for the light, extra battery and charger for the camera, macbook pro and sleeve, Apple charging equipment, med. note holder, legal pad (no cover), 2 small towels, the strap to the pouch(pouch hangs off the front of bag-with business cards, USB drive and documents like passports and travel documents), pens and of course a few snacks and breath mints.
The bag is heavy to start but not as bad loaded as I would think. The shoulder strap really balances the load and the pads are comfortable. I had also read from some people that the leather was very stiff. This was true of my pouch but not the briefcase. The other thing about leather is it will get softer over time so be patient and the bag will become more pliable.
This is a beautiful bag and my brother-n-law, who is in the Army, and I believe it would stop a 50 cal. bullet from 100 yards, that is how durable it feels. Quality does not come cheap but if you want the best and want something to last then this bag might be the least expensive of the options on the market.
I hope this helps those of you who are taking time to read this. Take your time and do your own homework. Just be prepared, when you finally pull the trigger you will never look back and you will wonder why you hadn't made this decision sooner.
Thanks Dave! Keep up the quality work as I have my eye on a duffle bag and my Brother-n-law has the front pocket backpack on his wish list.
This was my first Saddleback item, and I've had it for almost a year. It's been to a few cool places, but most of it's purpose is my every day bag for work, errands and such.
I got the tobacco brown in Medium (smallest available) and am glad I did. My declaimer is that I don't carry a laptop, though my daughter's 13" MacBook air fits fine. I have a standard sized iPad which is much smaller than the bag can handle. In addition to that, I typically carry a couple magazines, bills, papers, phone cables, glasses, book, journal, headphone case, pens, wallet, watch, food, water bottle, wallet, watch and some misc junk. With that amount of stuff it feels mostly full, but no where near max capacity. However, on a couple occasions, I've done 2-3 day trips with careful packing.
I take this to the gym twice a week and ended up making a small cylindrical bag that straps to the D-Rings on the bottom. Check the photo I posted to see it. This canvas bag is the same width and depth as the bag and holds my sweaty shoes and gym clothes, which I don't want in the bag after working out in them.
The most extreme situation I've used this in was during a two-day summer "camping trip" in Florida. I was playing the role of a contact in Morocco as part of a multi-day training/simulation event for overseas missionaries. During these two days I converted it to a backpack and was able to fit a two-person tent and inflatable sleeping mat in the back half, with two changes of clothes, toiletries, snacks, headlamp, camelback bladder, pocket knife, phone, wallet, small length of rope, and a few other smaller items in the front. I used the afore mentioned canvas bag to hold a sleeping bag and clipped a rain coat to the side and put a couple water bottles in the outside pockets. It worked great for that, and looked the part. But, I've done my share of back-country hiking (Yosemite, Grand Canyon) and would never consider this for long distance hiking like that where weight and capacity are critical. The photo attached to this review is from the training event. I drug it around in the dirt and brush for a couple days, threw it about, used it as a pillow and a dry place to sit... it just looked at me with an attitude of "is that all you've got"?
The issues I have with the bag are the weight and the shoulder pad. I have bony shoulders and if it's not sitting right it hurts when half full or more. Also, I took this literally everywhere with me for the first couple months to break it in. After an hour or so on my shoulder, using it cross-body, my shoulder muscles would get really sore, and that was with it half full. I'm in decent shape, but have never used a shoulder bag before... so I don't know if this weight/shoulder issue is real or just something I'm not physically used to. After several months of brief daily use, these two issues are still there when I carry it too long. Oddly, in backpack mode it didn't bother me during the training event I mentioned where we did several miles of walking over two days.
Bottom line is this is a great bag, very functional and definitely bullet-proof. The medium is small enough for daily use, and just big enough for occasional overnight trips if packed tightly. And, yes... I still get complements every week or two from young and old alike.
3 years ago I received my SBL large briefcase for Christmas from my wife. Ah, I can vividly remember the smell of that rich leather wafting up as I opened the box. I can even now recall how that coffee brown leather had a certain luster to it. Since that day I have carried my briefcase all over the world with me. Mostly as a briefcase but also as a day pack and and even as a tool bag. It's been on airplanes and helicopters with me. It's been on boats with me and even on ATVs. It's a home for my computer and work stuff. It keeps safe my SBL Moleskine journal. Just about everywhere I've taken my bag it gets complimented. People love the thing and I love to talk about it to them. Currently, I have the briefcase, Moleskine journal cover, bible cover, tow belt, passport cover, satchel, iPad cover, and wallet from SBL and all of these items travel with me whenever I go off to work. They are companion pieces.
My brother once had his car stolen from him. In full panic mode he called the cops to go look for the car. Was he panicked because of a stolen car? No. He was in panic because his SBL wallet was in the car. The cops finally found the car tore up and abandoned. The wallet was laying in the drivers seat with all the money and cards gone. You wouldn't believe how happy he was.
So, these bags and other SBL items aren't just stuff or things. They become part of us. Like a friend or family member they take on special value and meaning to us that cannot be replaced.
Should you buy gear from SBL? Only if you want a lifelong love affaire with a piece of leather! ;-)
The bag looks like a fantastic piece of luggage. I would be honored to carry around papers from my bank job as well as my new laptop in this fine leather briefcase.
....... and all that it throws at you - awesome
Lifetime quality briefcase, strapped on my shoulder daily tending the turf at the local country club. I can't wait to see what it will look like broken-in as the years go by as the large dark coffee brown leather ages and the pigskin liner protects my valuables.
Maybe I would not sold my soul for this breafcase but as an owner, I would fight for it till the last drop of my blood. I am not joking.
I first became familiar with Saddleback through my brother who has owned a medium briefcase for several years and I recently purchased a medium coffee brown briefcase for myself (taking advantage of Dave's Deals 10% off). All I can say is that this is simply the best bag I have ever owned. The durability, the look, the smell and the versatility of this bag are clearly evident from the moment you begin using it. I have owned several nice (and expensive) bags/briefcases over the past few years and I can count on one hand the number of comments I have received. I have gotten more comments in the first month of owning this bag than in the past 5 years with those other bags.
The bag is heavier than others I have owned, but the way the strap is situated and with the way it sits across my shoulder it is much more comfortable so it actually feels lighter. The inner design of the two large compartments and multiple pockets hold everything I need and use regularly (wallet, sunglasses, pens, USB drive). The key clasp is perfectly placed and my car keys slide right into the outer pocket.
In the last month of using this bag every day it is beginning to acquire well-placed scuffs from daily use. Part of the reason I chose this color is because those scuffs look incredible. It gives the bag character and shows that its well used. It reminds me of my brown leather sofa...the more it is used, the more comfortable it becomes. My brother owns the light tobacco brown which has aged to a slightly darker brown...gaining a "patina", if you will.
All of the hardware, rivets, straps and seams on this bag feel indestructible. My reason for needing new bags over the years was always because of tears at the seams. I doubt this will ever happen with this bag. The "100 year" warranty is probably a conservative estimate.
I don't just buy things on a whim. In fact, I tend to research products for so long that I often talk myself out of buying them. With this bag I was trying to decide between the medium and large briefcases and eventually went with the medium. I am very ahppy with this choice and it works for me. I do not carry a laptop with me but I could easily fit my iPad or a 13" MacBook Pro in this bag. I can also fit two full sized textbooks along with my other daily items. It is ideal for a carry-on for airlines. It is probably a bit too small for a long weekend trip but would definitely work as an overnight bag. For a point of reference, I am 5'8" with a regular build and this bag fits me well. The large bag wouldn't be as comfortable and may look too bulky. I agree with Dave's assessment that a taller person should consider the larger sizes.
I would not hesitate to buy any other products from Saddleback.
If I could choose any briefcase in the world to have it would be this one. One of a kind and amazing.
This bag is asking to be taken arround the world, to have some stories and adventures. I think it's made to resist the elements of earth and time
I have been carrying my Large Classic Tobacco briefcase around for almost 11 months...
It has travelled with me for 40000 miles in my car. I cant begin to count air miles, multiple countries and multiple weather conditions. Its been in and out of countless meetings all year. Kicked, stepped on, tossed, dragged and even cleaned once in a while.
So many people comment on its classic styling and good looks.
I am glad to report, so far so good!
Its been a reliable and resilient travel companion.
Now, the nuts and bolts:
It fits under the seat in front of you(on an aeroplane).
The shoulder strap is comfortable hanging off your shoulder or worn bandolier style. If its loaded up, bandolier style is a little more comfortable.
It fits a A4 dayplanner, ipad, macbook and a medium Saddleback leather notepad holder in the 1st partition without a problem. Catalogues and noise cancelling headset in the second.
I also carry power cable and adaptors for iPad, macbook and iphone in the side pockets. Business cards, lip balm, hdmi cable, mini-usb cable, breath mints and checkbook in the internal pockets.
A perfect fit for my business needs...
After 11 months it still looks as good as new.
What can I say that hasn't yet been said on all the comments and youtube posts? I absolutely love this product.
After toiling over which SBL product on which to lose my virginity, I finally chose the Classic Large Briefcase in TB. As a 5'10-1/2" tall Asian man working in banking, I debated between the medium and large for weeks. I was always going to chose TB as the colour because of how it ages over time. I am happy I chose the large, but the medium also could have worked. In full packed and un-cinched mode, the Large can seem a bit big in proportion to my frame, but I elect to use all three straps to cinch things down and it makes it less than the full 9 inches wide....and it fits me better. Also, it makes the bag easier to carry as things are tight and not jostling around inside.
Like a baseball glove, I spent the first three days beating this up, bending it, sitting on it, stepping on it and it all helps to begin the break in process. My wife is jealous. Having owned many belting leather bags before, this leather is thicker and more matte-like in feel coming out of the box....but after a week, I can see how the patina will develop.
To my banker friends, do not hesitate....this is by no means too casual looking, even in TB....and to road warriors, it is highly functional and indestructible....through airports, subways, etc. To my married friends, my wife laughed at the weeks of time I spent on this site....but then she saw the leather and we immediately went back to order the passport and moleskin covers for her.
I have owned Tumi leather stuff....no complaints...and if you need pockets and accessibility, I can see the design advantage.....but for similar money, SBL is simply a better made product. I have owned Hartmann....there is no comparison...SBL is better. I have owned Swayne Adenay and Brigg.....equivalent workmanship to SBL, but at four times the cost!!!! And the SBL designs are more to my liking.
Gents, stop wasting time and buy one of these. This product and this company live up to the hype. I received this bag in four days to Hong Kong! I am sure to buy more!!!!
American Born Chinese, 52
Banking Executive in Asia
This bag is utter perfection. I have the XL in Coffee, and carry my laptops (note...Multiple Laptops), power cords, routers, and I STILL have enough room for a change of clothes, toiletries, and a first-aid and survival kit.
I am always getting compliments on this thing -- I've literally had people stop me in the street to ask where I got my bag from.
To my future wife: You'll have to be okay with polygamy, because this bag is my first love.
When I took the bag out of the box, it was everything SBL & the YouTube reviews said it was. Strong sturdy construction made from wonderfully aromatic leather! What more could you ask for? Here's the but...I thought I was purchasing something that would take a bit of time to break in. I got it as a gift Father's Day (2012), and it has softened considerably more than I thought. Is it a deal breaker? No, absolutely not! It's just the joy of a long story laden break in period has come to a screeching halt. Long story short...Buy the bag already! A nice chunk of change, well spent!
I've spent the past year trying to decide on a color. Picked up a TB iPad case and the decision was clear. It's a darker tobacco, like the color on the briefcase shown on Amazon. It is incredible. It replaced a nylon backpack, so it's a radical change. Large is a great size for laptop, notepad, iPad and various smaller items. I have no regrets at all - color, size, expense. It is perfect.
I have an extra-large classic briefcase. There are many nice things about this bag but the best is that the more you beat on it the better it looks. Mine is stuffed to capacity: current contents include i-pad, i-pod, MacBook, 9 CDs, 14 file folders, one book, three magazines, three bottles of water, a set of screwdrivers, lottsa change, two packs of peanut butter crackers, a newspaper, a beeper, an extra t-shirt, and two cell phones. It is big, if you aren't at least 6'5" then don't get the extra large unless you have a sherpa. It fell down the stairs and nothing inside broke. A very cool product.
I don't know what to say but...I'll say it. Wow! I researched "other" leather briefcases only to come back to Saddleback. If you ask me why I cannot give an answer. When ordering the bag the ordering process was quick, easy, professional. It arrived within a few days after I ordered it. When it arrived after I opened the packaging the wonderful smell of leather literally filled the room. My two cats eyes honed in on the bag. Uh oh. My wife when she came home from work, having a nose like a Bloodhound said, "what is that smell? It smells really good!" The bag is absolutely beautiful from start to finish. The first day I brought it to my office my colleagues immediately said "wow, where did you get that bag?!" Being in sales, when visiting a client, no joke, after putting the bag down in the client's office the client soon said, "your bag smells incredible and its gorgeous. Where did you get it?" Kind of embarrassing but a compliment. I've only had my bag for a few weeks. Already some wonderful scuffs and wear marks are appearing but like with any quality leather purchase, it makes a statement. I can only hope (and truly believe) this bag will serve me for many years to come. I truly envision passing this bag on to a family member after I am gone for their enjoyment. Then again, maybe I'll take it with me. The craftsmanship is second to none. When I put my bag in my car in the morning there has been nothing more satisfying than smelling a fresh ground cup of coffee along with the wonderful smell of leather this bag produces. I really can't describe this. I'm not some "leather expert" by any stretch. My cat(s) I think are jealous when I leave and my wife has been eyeballing many of the woman's products now as well. Fantastic product and I have been very pleased with this investment. I've owned many other leather products but this truly takes the cake!
I was given this bag for my birthday a few years ago. At first I was a little humbled by the price, but after carrying it for a year the biggest complaint I can find is that it is just as stiff as the day it arrived. This is even after leaving it on the trunk of a coworkers car and watching in horror as they drove off and the bag skidded to the pavement at about 30 MPH. It was scuffed, but after rubbing it down with some leather conditioner you would be hard pressed to see any damage. It looks good with casual clothes and suits alike. It will be the last bag I need. Short of theft or loss I could not imagine replacing it. It looks great, and the craftsmanship is second to none.
I have owed this bag (XL, coffee) for 4 years. I can fit my 17 inch MAC in it with plenty of room for more.
This bag is bombproof.
This is a heavy, huge and wonderful bag.
I would call it a real hauler. You can use it as a briefcase, backpack or luggage.
I use it much less since I got the standard backpack, but i planned to leave it to my kids or grandkids.
STILL WOULD LIKE A FREQUENT FLYER DISCOUNT.
I agonized for over a year - trying to justify, not only to my wife, but to myself - the cost of getting one of these bags. The day it arrived, as many others have commented, the house filled with the intoxicating aromas that only a high quality leather can provide. Upon first glance, it was BIG, it was OVER ENGINEERED, it was AS PROMISED!
Over the past 7 or 8 months that I've had it, I've (and just as importantly, the wife ;) ) got over the initial cost - like my Audi A6; our Wusthof knives; my Omega Seamaster and so many other material objects we're able to afford, quality is a key factor to enjoying Saddleback Leather products. I now know that this is the last bag I'll buy (sorry Dave and crew...)
I took my bag on vacation to NYC recently and once we pulled up to the valet at the Intercontinental and proceeded to unload the car, the valet saw the bag and started asking all about it. He was so impressed with it that he asked if he could show his coworker who was about 15 ft away. The coworker came over and they both continued to praise the bag, asking where I got it, how much... all the usual questions. When the wife and I checked in, we couldn't help but be amazed by the fact that, here were two guys that handle luggage all day long, at a respectable hotel, in one of the largest cities in the world and they're impressed by the bag that I now own.
Next, a strategic development retreat for the management of our company. Seated next to our president for the 2 day event, during a break, our president began a conversation about the bag. Much like the valets in NYC, questions about where, how much, etc ensue. When I get to price, he just nods his head, knowingly and points to his leather bag from another manufacturer that he bought 18 years ago and says to me - it's a wise investment that you'll carry well into the future. I agree with him completely - I've always compromised on notebook bags and they only lasted me a year or so (thanks to the macbook pro 17" that I lug around daily).
So, in short, if you're on the fence about buying this bag and find that it's in your budget but questioning whether you need a bag of this quality - just do it, you won't be sorry.
I've had a tobacco brown medium bag now for about 6 months. My beautifuly Johnston and Murphy bag now sits in the corner. I love this bag! I carry my 15" laptop in it all the time. I use the straps and wear it as a backpack all the time for work. Get complements all the time. Fits under an airplane seat. Best thing? I strap it to my motorcycle to and from work when I ride. I did struggle with the caribiner type clasp for the straps: they would not stay screwed on tight. So Bettsy at your shop had me sent it back and you're putting the clasp on it. Terrific! I just had you send me some Chamberlain's leather milk to condition and maybe darken it a bit (coffee brown). Now I'm starting to lust after the backpack...dark coffee brown...gotta be. Thanks for a great product! Jerry.
Several months ago I purchased the medium classic briefcase in tobacco brown and each day I grow more and more fond of it. The briefcase is built to last. I received several compliments on it and will continue to refer others to the Saddleback website.
The medium size works well for me. I am 5'10" and weigh about 165lbs. I am not an academic but rather work in a hospital. Subsequently, I don't need room to carry large textbooks everyday but rather carry my iPad, a notebook for notes, and assorted other knick-knacks like a point and shoot camera. The medium size is sufficiently large enough to accommodate everything I need to carry on a daily basis without being too heavy. As the website recommends I too would suggest a medium for someone equal to my size who doesn't need to carry around their office.
I went with the tobacco brown color because I believe it will show the marks of use over time and in doing so it will acquire more character.
I highly recommend this product and company for anyone looking for a quality briefcase that is capable of lasting a long, long, long time.
The construction of this bag is remarkable. Expectations will be exceeded and not by a small margin. Get used to hearing: "What a beautiful briefcase." Because you will hear it often. Overload it, toss it around, beat it up, it does not matter. The bag just keeps coming back for more and looks better and better as the days go by. If you appreciate fine craftsmanship, timeless style, and exceptional utility, this is the bag for you. Cry once and buy this bag, you will be happy that you did.