Large Tobacco Classic Briefcase purchased in November 2008. I've taken this bag through weekly air travel, road travel, taxis, trains, trips to the office, rain snow summer heat... It has served multiple roles: computer bag, weekend bag, lunch bag, and a beer bag/cooler (was away on business and had some time to kill).
After the first year of daily use, the leather began to break in and take on a more classic look and feel. 5-years later it looks even better and still holding up strong.
I use conditioner about once every 10-12 months; the first few years using Lexol and later switched to Chamberlains Leather Milk. Both work great. If your bag gets a lot of scratches and scuffs as mine does, the conditioner will buff it out like new. But no worries, scratches give it character - women like character ;)
After 5-years of almost daily use, I truly believe this will be the last brief case I'll ever need. It gets better with age - Better Than New!
Most things that are refined and elegant are very fragile and fall apart with even a harsh word or stern glance. Far too many things that are durable and reliable are built with all the craftsmanship and care you would find at the local chapter of cavemen united for progress.
These bags don't force you to choose! The bag is tough and very well built but doesn't look or feel like a battle tank. The bag draws compliments from women who shop at Macy's and the men who shop at Gander Mountain. If you are looking for a bag that that you can count on to last and make a statement, this is the bag for you. Sure they are expensive, but quality always cost more up front but is cheaper in the long run. I got my in Chestmut and I just love it!
Keep up the great work Dave and Crew!
Technology Exec & avid outdoorsman.
....... 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 is a very stylish bag with the rugged durability. Just what a manly man needs
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.
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've been going to this site for years and I always end up picking the large dark coffee brown classic briefcase. The styling is classic. The proportions are just right. And the dark leather has a depth of character that'll grow old with you!
I rate this at 5 stars because for my uses it is a 5 star bag. But it won't be that for everybody, just continue reading for a true review.
I have had my briefcase for a little over 2 months now. I absolutely love this bag. I carry it everywhere. It has all of my necessities and plenty of room for a laptop and textbooks and such. Weight is not an issue for me, I am just over 6 feet tall and weigh in near 270 pounds, and I spend many hours a week in the gym. This bag is perfect for me.
However, that will not be the case for everybody. It is big, and heavy. If you are of a smaller frame, I recommend the Satchel or Med. Briefcase. I personally had a Satchel for a while, but it just wasn't quite big enough for my stuff. It also lacks some of the "conveniences" that those used to nylon bags would like (zippered pockets, lightweight...etc.). So that is a consideration to make also.
The quality is outstanding. The leather is beautiful, the stitching is solid, and the pigskin lining that I got is amazingly durable. I have no doubt that it will last well past my lifetime. If you have been looking at these bags, you already know that and there is nothing more for me to add.
It is beautiful to look at. I used to carry a canvas bag I picked up at a military surplus store. I picked it up in highschool, and it served me well for 3 years, but it looked terrible. I didn't carry it when wearing a suit or anything like that. Nor would I carry a nylon bag with a suit. But this bag, no issues there. It looks formal just as well as it does casual.
Overall, for me the bag is worth 5 stars. My life is in that bag. But, for some it may not work as well. It just depends on what you are after.
I have had my Dark Coffee Brown large briefcase for a little over 3 years now. It is obviously a very durable bag. Also, it gets constant compliments. For example, on a recent airplane trip I got quite a few compliments and lots of stares (with jaws dropped). Most notably were two examples:
1. Boarding the plane one of the flight attendants exclaimed: "Wow - that is an amazing bag. I like it!" That says a lot from a woman who probably sees tens of thousands of bags per year.
2. In the Dallas Ft. Worth airport I was headed down an escalator to try to catch a connecting flight. I could see in the window a man in a suit was pretty well running down the escalator to ask me about this bag.
I love this bag. Also, if you pack right it holds a week's worth of clothes, or 6 bottles of rum (or a combination thereof).
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
Just a pic of a week old bag...
...further to my detailed review, weight is not an issue. I man you don't buy such a bag if you want nylon weight. You buy it because it is so solid.
I love it.
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've been a 100,000+ miles per year flyer for the past 12 years, and got tired of buying the black nylon rolling briefcases with supposedly a "lifetime" guarantee, but I could never seem to get more than 2-3 years out of them before they were shot. Not only that, but they were just like a million other bags out there -- nothing distinctive, and they sure don't build up character over time -- they just look old.
Anyway, this time around I decided to go with more of an old-school leather bag, but there's a lot of junk out there in that category as well. I ran across Saddleback in a web search a couple of years ago, and ended up getting a passport wallet, luggage tag, iPad case, and portfolio, all of which are great. I pulled the trigger on a Daves Deal Large Classic briefcase in Dark Coffee Brown about 6 months ago. I'm 6'4" and 220 lbs and supposed I could have pulled off an extra large, but when I fill up this one it is definitely heavy. I think the large suits me just fine, and forces me to think a little about what I really need to be carrying.
Since I received it, I've logged over 60,000 air miles with it, and it's gone to China and Germany with me. People are always commenting on it and saying how great it looks. I did have a small issue with a rivet coming loose on the handle, but Saddleback Customer Service was great. They sent me a prepaid return label, and I had it back in my hands within about 3 weeks (this was during the holidays, so it took a little longer).
My bag and I are off to China again at the end of the month!
If you're like me and you've been debating whether to get one of these, I can recommend that you go ahead and make the purchase. You won't regret it.
I didn't buy the bag for the compliments. I just love great bags and leather. I get stopped and asked about the bag a lot.
The site refers to the XL Briefcase as being for those with overactive pituitaries. I am not one, as I am 5-10/200, but I carry the bag everywhere I go without pain or discomfort. I've had it for almost a year, and it keeps looking better and breaking in more. I use it for my daily work briefcase, and as my travel carry-on. (Yes, the XL, stuffed to the brim with a pouch attached can fit on even regional jet overhead compartments.) For instance, I put 2 laptops, my dSLR, 3 lenses, iPad, Moleskine (w/ Saddleback cover) and a book all fit into my bag, and fit into the overhead compartments.
The bag is so incrediby well-made. I tend not to baby my bags, and I have torn the handles off of several by overloading them. I am confident this bag will not have this issue.
I bought the dark coffee brown bag, as I love the color. After getting a chesnut Saddleback wallet, I began second-guessing my color choice. I think future purchases will be chesnut. Both colors are great, but the chesnut is nicer, IMHO.
The bag is very utilitarian, as it has pockets everywhere I could want them. I thought the pockets on the inside were going to be in the way, but they work perfectly, as I can stack wider objects under the interior pockets, fill the pockets and then put other items in front of the pockets.
The strap is very comfortable. I left both "pads" on my strap despite never converting my briefcase to a backpack. They help whenever I through the bag over my head and wear the strap across my chest.
I promised my wife this would be the last bag I bought, and while we both understood this to be a little bit of hyperbole (I have a bag problem...) this is the last bag I will *need.* (I might still buy the large duffel from Saddleback, though. :))
I have had my briefcase now for one year. I'm writing this review to let everyone know how happy I am. What an awesome product. I wanted it for 5 years and I finally got it December 2011. I use it everyday for my work. I carry my change fund ( I'm a bus driver ) my books, lunch , light jacket and a water bottle on the side. I carried it across my shoulder for a while but just switched to backpack mode. Wow, I still get compliments all the time. Don't wait any longer...just order the bag you really want. What item do you carry that makes you smile every time you see it ? Life is too short. Thomas Stewart
Just received my briefcase. After being in courthouses for 15 years, I always admired the briefcases carried by older attorneys. In speaking with them, many times, they would tell me stories of how their father or grandfather was an attorney or judge and how the briefcase had been passed down a generation. I would look at the briefcase and just picture the many jury trials and legal fights that were supported by the books and briefs transported by the briefcase. To me, I was just in awe of the briefcase - almost as if the briefcase itself had a magical aura. Imagine my happiness in receiving my own briefcase and have the initial thought that it looked exactly like the briefcases I had always admired. At only 42, I could now look like a seasoned attorney with a history of my own. Even though neither my dad or granddad were attorneys, I could now appear like I came from a family of legal scholars. Instant confidence booster to me - if I looked like an experienced lawyer, I must be a great lawyer. Thank you for building such a wonderful product. The thought that keeps coming to mind is "Built like Granddad's with the power to continue the family legacy for generations." Simply beautiful. A. Castillo
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 just received my Classic Briefcase in Dark Coffee Brown and it is GORGEOUS! It is going to be exactly the work bag I have been looking for. I saw someone at the airport recently after I ordered mine who has obviously had theirs for some time. It looked great with a little worn-in characteristics that I look forward to mine having.
Everyone from start to finish in the order process couldn't have been more friendly and more responsive. I would and will recommend their products to everyone I know.
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 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!