While I am only a little over a week into my new Messenger Bag in Chestnut, all I can say is what an amazing product. Slightly larger than a medium satchel, but not so large is to seem like/feel like a briefcase. The perfect amount of space for a mid-size laptop, work files and the usual accessories. This will be my EDC except on those days when I need a slightly larger bag to accommodate multiple laptops, etc. I'm looking forward to the Tobacco color coming back in stock so that I alternate.
I'd give it 5 stars, but I've not had it long enough to see how it will break-in/wear over time.
- Dark Coffee Brown now shipping with lighter colored pigskin lining
- Low profile for crowded places
- Converts to backpack
- Removable interior divider
- 2 exterior pockets for sunglasses and water bottles. 1 for magazines
- 1 interior pocket for pens and 1 for cell phones
- 8 exterior D-Rings for lashing
- Attached interior key clip
- May cause spontaneous conversations
- No breakable parts, e.g. zippers, snaps, buttons, etc.
- Because of natural oils shade may vary
- Dimensions (approximate size):
- Adjustable strap length: 34 ½” - 59 ¼”
- Exterior: 12 ¾” W x 14 ½” H x 4 ¼” D
- Interior: 12 ½” W x 14” H x 4” D
- 5.5 lbs
We use natural Markings Equal Inclusion of Exceptional Imperfection Ornamentation
"... Saddleback Leather no longer discriminates against any cow on the basis of age, appearance, lactose intolerance... if the beast has a natural marking or brand, or whether or not they worship the Divine Bovine."
Truth is, sometimes beauty is only skin deep... like with cows. Their poetry is notoriously terrible, but man, their hides are nature's art. We don't believe that flawlessness equals beauty. Beauty is when we're able to see something as it really is.
This is true with humans too. There are lots of quality people who are really beautiful not in spite of, but because of the marks life has given them.
I’ve always held that if one truly believes something, then their actions ought to back it up.
So to back it up, my friend Jake and I took the 4 hour bus ride to welcome in the new millennium at El Zocalo (the main square) in Mexico City with millions of others. And boy howdy did that action backing up my belief ever pay off.
There were at least 200 mariachis playing, famous singers singing, the President cheering and enough fireworks to erupt a medium sized volcano. While my friends were chewing their fingernails at home in fear, we were laughing and crying and high fiving with 25,000,000 Mexicans. We were packed in so tight I felt like we were riding the last free rush hour ferry across an urban river in India. And there with pickpockets aplenty. I don’t think I’ve ever been in a more crowded place. It was A-W-W-W-W-W-E-S-O-M-E. By the way, that was the virgin journey of my original bag.
Well, it was that experience that inspired this bag; perfect for squeezing through crowds with the bare essentials, especially when you wear it as a backpack. If you want to forget about what you’re carrying and focus on what you’re experiencing, this is the bag for you.
Extra funny free Y2K story: My friend, Patrick, was in his paranoid friend’s home, who had stocked up all of his canned goods and water filters so he could drink out of toilets after the disaster, for Y2K. The exact second it turned midnight, Patrick was out at the electrical panel and switched off all the power to his house. Everybody completely freaked out thinking that all the hype was true…until someone said, “Hey, why are all of the neighbors lights still on?”
I have owned the Messenger Bag for four years and it has been carried almost daily for three of those. The bag is built extremely well. I was tired of buying new bags every two years because they wore out or began to look ragged. This bag just looks better with age. I love using it as my personal item when travelling by air as it fits well underneath the seats.
The divider is also very useful. I have carried a MacBook Pro in the bag with no sleeve, just using the divider to keep other items away from it. I've done this for years and it's worked really well.
There are a few things I would change. If I could give 4.5 stars I would. The side pockets are almost useless because they are so small. A little extra leather there would allow more items to fit into them. I would love to be able to fit a water bottle in there. The other thing I would change is that one inside pocket sits lower than the other. This makes it hard to get items out of the lower pocket. That is a nitpicky thing I know, but after years of use it's something I would change.
I got the messenger bag in black from Dave's Deals. No idea what the flaw was with it except maybe a couple of scratches which it would have gotten anyway. Got this as a mid-size option between my large classic briefcase and my medium round satchel. I'm really happy you guys brought back the proper black colour instead of that horrid scuffy carbon colour, now all my Saddleback products match and my black pouch can move happily between bags, clipped to the front with my headphones and coin pouch in it.
I was a bit dubious of the lighter coloured pig skin lining. It looks striking in the photos but I could imagine it getting very grubby over time. I was pleased to find when I received the bag that the lining is not as pale as it appears on the website. Its more of a natural leather colour than a bright beige colour. I have noticed though that after carrying some coloured paper file folders home from work, some of the blue colour has rubbed off on the lining. I wiped most of it off with a damp cloth but some remains. Eventually this won't be much of an issue, it's just the usual when you first receive a beautiful new expensive item - the first few marks and scuffs are heartbreaking, then you get over it :)
The messenger bag works great as a backpack, far more comfortable than my other Saddleback bags when worn this way.
One thing I have always wondered with your bags though, the website states the exterior side pockets can be used for water bottles, you guys must have tiny water bottles over there, because I've never been able to fit one in!
This was my first purchase from SBL, I've been waiting a while to take the leap, and I'm not disappointed. I originally purchased the Rounded Satchel but upon receiving the bag I noticed there was no way it could hold a 15" laptop. I took a gamble on the messenger bag and won, it fits beautifully. I like Dave included a spacer, which is important because I'd hate to scratch my laptop. A little small interior, but again that's to be expected, this isn't the Classic Briefcase. This is my everyday work bag and it fits the bill, I can't wait to go into downtown NYC and convert this into a backpack!
I received my messenger bag a few weeks ago. I ordered the tobacco color. I am truly pleased that I made this purchase. The bag is incredible. The quality is superb. The feel of the leather is amazing. The color is spot on. The first day I walked into work with this bag it took me 30 minutes to get to my desk. Several folks stopped me and commented on how awesome the bag looks. I've owned other leather bags from places like Orvis and Colonel Littleton but let me tell you that the quality and design of those other bags do not compare to what I received from Saddleback. If I could I would shake Dave's hand and thank him personally for creating such a wonderful bag. If you are out there mulling over wether or not to make the purchase because of the price, don't hesitate anymore and just do it. It is well worth the price and you'll see that the bag is made to last a long time.
I just received my bag via UPS and was so excited to get home to open it when I saw the tracking that it was delivered. This chestnut colored bag filled the room of the great smell of leather(not some dead goat smell like the cheap leather goods you can find online).
This is the real deal. The bag is very sturdy and the hardware is awesome. I am planning to use this for work or wherever my journey takes me. That is exactly how I feel when I have the bag slung over my shoulder. I did shorten the strap with the plentiful existing holes so the bag rides higher more so on my hip and kidney area than the side of my thigh and buttock.
Everything is perfect! The bag was surprisingly more supple than I thought, my perceived perception from hearing other YouTube reviews. The only downside I have was because I was hoping to find a keychain that I saw in so many review videos. Oh well, I guess I can live with the georgeous bag and 100 year warranty sans a freebie keychain. Thanks Dave and Saddleback leather, you have a new customer for a lifetime.
A bit bigger than one might expect. I sat in front of the computer with a measuring tape trying to get an idea of how big it was, I do not know how many times. It was bigger than I pictured, which is cool. I like the product because it is simple and rugged. I have several other bags from SBL, but I think this is the best thing a person can buy from this company for the money. Nothing this cool is as low cost.
The only thing I really wasn't insanely excited about was the handle. It seems like it could have been rolled and riveted tighter, but it is completely functional. I just would have made it tighter.
In any event, it is very comfortable as a backpack as well as a messenger bag. It also looks good strapped to a motorcycle or a bicycle. I do both.
Fun. Big. Affordable. Jesus saves.
Bought my bag back in July of 2012. figured I'd write a review that can give people some input based on a long term review. Currently use my bag to carry my work laptop, notepad holder (Not SBL's), eagle creek 1/4 pack for cables and stuff. The bag is still a little stiff on the sides but the corners and flap open up a lot easier. This bag goes from home to car to office and then back most days. Mine doesn't have a lot of scratches but ones that are there are all due to my nails or hitting the car door when I throw it in the back seat.
I have cleaned it every 3-6 months. I use the bag everyday and it has been on trips with me to Scotland, Houston TX and New York. held up great! It finally got a coating of No. 3 water protection. Didn't change the color. (Coffee brown) This leather absorbs leather milk like crazy! It loves the stuff. Next purchase will probably be a Front Pocket briefcase due to the need to carry more stuff. And I feel it will travel better then the messenger bag.
Bottomline: Durable and worth every penny! LOVE IT!
Lacks Theft Protection for the phone pockets, otherwise I would like it much better.
Quality is outstanding and great looking bag....good space and roomy enough for my Surface Pro3, wallet, keys and other items...I found it more comfortable on my shoulders than most bags I own even though it's a heavier leather and stays on my hip and I don't have to keep adjusting it...vintage look but a very classy bag...glad I purchased this bag and won't be buying a new bag for a long time...great price point for a bag of this quality...once the leather breaks in it will be even better...great for everyday use is which I use it for as well as when I travel...
all it is said to be, very pleased with the product----I didn't need any of the corner hardware, bit too 'blingy' for me--- so simply clipped them off with a bolt cutter-----perfect bag for me now !
Cannot go anywhere without compliments------honestly-----get them all the time.
This is a hardy bag-----very heavy and rugged. It really needs to be tossed into a rock tumbler for a couple of days to break it in. Put a Macbook Air and an iPad in it, fits well, but your shoulder is going to crack. Unless your 6'4" and 250 lbs, under 40 and workout, you might consider something else. Otherwise, it's a tough, well made dude and will endure that 10oo years and the next meteorite shower.
I got a chestnut Messenger Bag, I love it! I have to keep an eye on it at work, covetous eyes. The leather is beautiful and smells great!
I purchased the messenger bag in chestnut a few weeks ago to use on a field trip to the Gettysburg Battlefield. The bag was a little larger than I thought, but that worked to my advantage. I was able to fit a USGS topo map in a map case, a pair of binoculars, hand held GPS, small water bottle, a couple of Field Notes notebooks, small LED flashlight, multi-tool and assorted pens and pencils.
I purchased it from Dave's Deals with the 15% discount. The "defect" if you will call it that, is a scar on the front flap. I think the scar adds character to the bag and I absolutely love having it. At least I will absolutely know it is my bag if I ever run into anybody who has a Saddleback Messenger bag in chestnut. Do not be afraid to purchase something from Dave's deals. The qualilty of the product is still the same and I know this bag will last me for many, many years.
Scroll down a few reviews and you'll read that of my brother, Mark. I was shocked at how amazing his messenger bag looked when I saw him open it. I already had a front pocket backpack, but when I saw his, I did some soul-searching. I realized that the backpack was way bigger than I needed, although it was incredible. I sold it (It took one hour on eBay). I bought this bag, and now I feel like my life is that much more complete.
It's not heavy, if you're used to a backpack. Compared to your typical fabric messenger bag, yes, it's a lot more substantial. The strap is comfortable without the pads, the design is perfect, and I'm excited to use it until I give it to my son, as soon as he's old enough to use it, so I can buy a new one.
Thanks for the tax and financial advice, Mark.
I have a serious problem with Saddleback bags. They're all so good, it's hard to know which of the three I own (Dark Coffee Messenger, Tobacco Large Satchel, Carbon Small Satchel) to use on any given day. I love the idea that this bag in understated. Something this well made draws attention to itself. Don't hesitate. I came to SBL from years of carrying messenger type bags. They may last, but I'm not a bike messenger and nylon is nylon. Do yourself a favor and buy ONE saddleback bag, so you don't have my problem. (If you're asking for my favorite, it's this one, with the large satchel and close second).
Its a quality product made by a quality American. It is not a quality product made by a Japanese or German. This means that if you like the idea of a Chevy with the LT package and all the fixins- you might like this bag. If you like the idea of BMW or Lexus- other very good choices- you might prefer an Osprey or ONA. I have all three (bags not cars), and use them on a mission specific basis. The leather bag is uber heavy and as such provides some shock absobtion simply by way of padded mass. It is a 2500 diesel pickup. 99% of the time it is 99% more than you need- in every way. The other 1 percent of the time will make you proud to be an American. (btw osprey and ona are both american companies. just go w/ the metaphor).
I am interested to see the reaction I get when I take such a large piece of leather to a yoga class. HA
This messenger bag (tobacco) is just phenomenal. Taking her out of the box impressed me with her substance. This is no flimsy bag. Expect it to weigh close to 5 pounds on her own.
I got the water proofing number three and she darkened up but still kept a beautiful color. I've had several compliments from strangers in the week I've carried her around. I will use this to carry and protect my macbook and all future generations of laptops that she will out live.
Thanks for an awesome product.
My bag arrived on a day I was flying out to work in Canada's north. At the airport a guy in line said, "that bag looks military grade, it looks like it'd last 100 years!". I told him that was the warranty.
It IS heavy, but it carries well. The wide strap makes it comfortable. It IS minimalist - mot much in the way of pockets etc but I purchased some canvas bags of different colours to organize iPhone cables, iPad cables etc. It's easy to find things that way and I don't collect junk.
I thought the top handle was excessive until I had to pull the ag out from under a small airplane seat and bend over to almost cawl out of an 8 passenger bag. The handle made that much easier.
The leather is phenomenol, the rivets nd stitching are excellent.
There is one weak link. On the side the sin strap is attached with one rivet and a small piece of stitched leather. The stitching WILL fail there and then the rivet will eventually pull through. There could have been interior reinforcing, wider leather, and/or extra rivets for that main attachment. It will probably take to 10 years before that happens but it probably will. For that reason it gets 4 stars. I'm going to enjoy those years and enjoy watching my bag break in beautifully.
I use this bag every day for travel, adventure, and hiking. It holds up like a champ. I feel like Indiana Jones when exploring with it. It is simply bulletproof, and I cannot recommend it enough!
I wanted a nice bag to replace my tired fabric computer bag. I did a lot of research and really found this to be the best option for me. As noted the bag is not full of compartments, but I use some small canvas tool bags and an old canvas buckshot bag to store cables and chargers etc. I carry my laptop and a notebook along with everything else I need for working and it still closes easliy. It is a little heavy but I need the exercise. The outside pockets hold the Poland Spring bottle and if you wad it tightly the USA Today. I don't want any more space as I keep accumulating stuff. My old bag weighed 20 pounds when I retired it !
I travel on short trips often and have received numerous compliments on my bag, including a fellow at the TSA screening, He sees a lot of bags!
My one recommendation is adding a strap on the back to allow the Messenger Bag to slip over the handle of a rolling suitcase. That makes moving around much easier if you are using both. I purchased a set of the accessory straps for grins and it turns out if you use the large one through the two upper D rings on the back, it works just fine. Dave, for +$400 I think you ought to throw in the strap for the travelers until version 2.0 comes out,.
This bag is amazing. I've had mine for a little over a year and it's still just as fantastic. It's been all over the world and travels extremely well as a carry-on/personal item. As everyone else says, I receive complements on it regularly. I am also a college professor and it meets all my daily needs. I would recommend it to anyone.
My bag arrived at my house an hour before I had to go to the airport. I literally pulled it out of the box and through it over my shoulder. And, thanks to Dave's easy to follow video, I converted the over-the-shoulder to a BACKPACK for most of my trekking and climbing. We hiked miles everyday (Zion National Park ????badlands of southern Utah). The first day was hot and dry, the next day it rained on us, and finally, it snowed! I wish I could've posted more pics! Through it all, my SBL Messenger bag was comfortable, easy to access, and solid as a rock. Top quality. This is the best quality leather bad I have ever seen or owned. I look forward to many more adventures with this bag.
I received my messenger bag earlier this week, and I totally LOVE IT! I received a ton of compliments on it just walking thru the airport one morning to catch a flight. The leather is so beautiful and smells so good. I know that I will NOT have to buy another bag as long as I live... literally!!!
Thank you, Dave, for creating a spectacular bag!!!!
I got one of the older ones with suede lining, it smells so good I feel like chewing on it ! Got the coffee brown colour because it's dark enough for business and light enough for casual, tobacco brown would look wrong with a navy suit and carbon black would be too formal with a pair of old jeans, this colour goes with most settings as would chestnut. Comfortably takes my lap top and IPAD but doesn't leave much extra space. If you need more room you may want to look at the briefcase or larger back pack instead. I regard it as a replacement for my computer bag
It's the only back pack that I've seen that looks okay in a smart office and I would feel quite comfortable using it in any formal setting. When using it as a back pack it was difficult to put on as the strap pulls all the way through on the side you put on first. I solved this by putting a fastener through two of the holes so the strap can't move back and forward through the central ring.
A little on the heavy side but understandable when you see how strong it is. This bag will definitely be with me for years to come and Saddleback now have another long term customer. I've just order some more smaller items from them and have another order waiting in my cart, I'm also trying to justify adding the new utility duffel bag to my order, it's very tempting !