I've had the bag for a few weeks and it is just as advertised. The appearance, quality, functionality, etc. is just as it appears on their website and the numerous video reviews.
The dimensions are just as they appear on the website as well.
My struggle is that I use this for work everyday and the medium size i purchased is not wide/long enough to slip in a file folder. You can't even slide in a short stack of 8 1/2 x 11 papers without them bending/curving.
So, what is clear now is that, if the medium satchel had been designed with just 3/4 to 1 inch more width (hardly noticeable) it would have opened up the functionality of the bag in a huge way for me. Just that much.
Yes, I could have bought the large satchel but, for me, and my size, that was too big. My point really centers around not only designing around all of the electronics that are listed, but to have considered the standard paper and file folder sizes that are a part of every office.
Otherwise...good to go....though I will confess it will be awhile, SBL, before I use the bag each day and NOT have this reflection... :(
There is nothing about my tobacco-colored medium satchel that I don't like. It's a stunning piece of work. I love the color, the pockets, the versatility of how to wear the strap (cross-body, over the shoulder, backpack, or handbag without the strap), and since I bought it, I haven't stopped getting compliments on it. I bought this one on a Dave's Deal and to be quite honest, I'm not sure what was 'wrong' with it. My untrained eyes couldn't find a flaw. So, if you get a chance to get one on a Dave's Deal, scoop it up!
Some things to note: the medium satchel is a bit smaller than I anticipated, but still fits quite a bit of things. I'm glad I didn't get a small -- it would have been too small for my purposes. I often use this bag for work, so while I can fit a standard file folder in the bag perfectly, I can't quite fit it in the inside long pocket along the back of the bag (outside or inside pocket). The seam of the pocket makes it too small to fit a full document folder in. It would be helpful if the inside pocket could fit a file folder. On a given Sunday I can fit a full-size bible, notebook, bulky eyeglass case, thin pencil case, a day planner, wallet and a few other things in it.
It would also be cool if there was a way to access the inside of the bag without constantly having to strap and unstrap the belt, but, I'm not sure what that is. :-)
This bag is great, and the folks at Saddleback are gifted craftsmen and women. Well worth the investment. Love this!
I have owned a large Satchel in Chestnut for nearly three years. It is my go to every day carry bag. Recently I took a week long trip to China. I traveled only with my Satchel and a medium Waterbag in Tobacco. The Satchel worked great on the plane to hold items I needed during flight. It also dubbed well as a lap table for reading, writing, and sleeping during the thirteen hour flight. While in China, I converted the large Satchel to backpack mode to carry around during the day. I felt good with my wallet, travel documents, and items I picked up during the day in a bag that is secure. The straps distribute the weight well across the shoulders and back. Because the large Satchel is no too thick, I was able to sit down at restaurants with the bag still on my back. This is good because you do not sit items on floors in China. To document the trip I took this photo at an older section of the Great Wall.
I've had a large satchel for a few years now and thought it would be a good time to provide an update. I ordered it in tobacco, and was initially disappointed by its light shade. No worries, it darkened up considerably over time. It's great for packing essentials for short trips, as carry on, and any time I require a tough bag to lug around whatever I'll be using that day. I have to say, though, that my favorite use is to carry assorted alcoholic beverages, cigars, and accessories. Whenever I show up with it slung over my shoulder, people who know me are immediately drawn to it, and the anticipation of what treasures it contains is palpable. (my tip for the day) I'm an author and once used the bag as the model for an old satchel, found after being lost for decades, containing the map and other clues to a long lost fortune. Overall, the theme here is: I love this bag.
I decided to put off writing a review for this bag until I spent enough time with it to really get a feel for it. After three years I figured it was time to write a review.
Color: This was my first SBL bag in Dark Coffee Brown and I did not know what to expect. If you want a bag that looks beat up and totally worn-in after a few years of use, then your best bet is probably either Tobacco or DCB. I also own the Large Satchel in Chestnut and it does not look as scarred as the DCB leather after taking it on trips overseas. Since it was my intent to have a bag look like it's been through Many Adventures, I am rather pleased with the result.
Size: The small satchel is a great EDC if you're getting from one place to another with the essentials and maybe a book or iPad (or both) to entertain yourself in the lulls between. I've carried in it at one time a wallet (big or small depending on my mood), sunglasses, a cell phone, a chunky set of keys, medication, lipstick, lip balm, makeup compact, oil blotting sheets, sanitary napkins, a pen, a notebook, first-gen iPad mini in a thick case, and a Kindle Paperwhite shoved into the magazine slot in the back of the bag.
Weight: Yes, it can get heavy. (This is where I take off one star because otherwise this bag would be perfect.) I'm 5'3 and 135lbs, so I'm not tiny but this bag still wears me down if I've been walking around all day with it stuffed to the brim on one shoulder. Empty it's 3.2lbs; full it's too many pounds. If I only have a small wallet, cellphone, keys, lip balm and either an iPad or a Kindle in it, then I can wear it all day. Otherwise, if you're going to wear it messenger-style on one shoulder, then be prepared to occasionally shift it to the other shoulder to give that one a break.
If you have it in backpack mode, then the weight becomes negligible and you can pack it full of stuff and still wear it comfortably for hours and hours. Backpack mode is pretty cute for the small satchel, so I really don't mind. The only issue I have with backpack mode is that I have really long hair - even in a pony tail it goes part way down my back - and sometimes the strap, which is moving freely through the D-ring, catches my hair and pulls it, often breaking it. I now knot the strap around the D-ring so nothing is moving and that has solved the hair-pulling problem.
Leather: It has broken in so beautifully. When I first received the bag, it was really stiff and almost plastic-like, which I guess is a SBL thing because so far I haven't experienced this with other companies. Other leather brands tend to use softer full grain leather that is almost broken in for you. SBL makes you work for it. And it's worth it. After three years of on and off use, the leather is much more pliable and soft. The parts that are not lined with pigskin have started to sag into the bag, giving it a slightly slouchy look. It's still stiff enough to stand up on its own, however, so don't worry about the bag tipping all over the place.
Slight disclaimer about breaking in the leather: I am very rough on my bags. (This is why I buy SBL products.) This bag has been repeatedly tossed to the ground (cement, gravel, grass, wood, you name it), into car trunks where it slides around, sat on, kicked, slammed into walls, etc. When I'm busy with something the last thing I'm worrying about is babying my bag. How you treat your bag might change the time frame for breaking in the leather.
Overall, I really love this bag. Occasionally I'll be lured away by a new shiny bag, but I always come back to this one when I want something small that can take a beating and come out looking great.
I have wanted one of these bags for years now but just couldn't afford it I finally saved up enough and bit the bullet. I ordered it in tobacco because I love that color but it is much darker than The photos. the bag is closer to brown. With that being said though I love the bag I had scoured the Internet looking for a similar bag for cheaper and there is no equal, I wanted a rugged Survivable bag which I could have forever and looked great and this fit all the bills. The bag has scars that just add to the character. The simplicity is both functional, good looking and provides a blank canvas for my fiancé who is an artist to put a beautiful design on to make it my own.
-Much darker then shown
-Cost (but the bag will be there long after the crying)
I will most definitely be buying here again
I'm reviewing the large tobacco satchel that I got in the mail yesterday. Like many others I'm sure, I made the mistake of trying to save money early on by buying a similar looking, but much cheaper satchel. The previous one I had been using was similar in size to the medium Saddleback satchel, but was about 50% less money. It was still made of leather, and in many ways, very closely resembeled the Saddleback. I loved the bag, however, after only two months of daily use (not even rough use), some of the stitching began to get loose and pull up on it. It was a shame as I was really loving the bag. Realizing that the bag would likely not even last a year I decided to bite the bullet, cry once, and purchase the real deal.
While I loved the size of my cheaper satchel, after a couple months of use, I saw that a step up in size could be useful, so I decided on the large to be my forever satchel from Saddleback. I debated on the classic briefcase as the looks of it are incredible, but I think the 9" depth would have been too much for me. When my new satchel arrived in the mail yesterday, I was as excited as a kid on Christmas morning to open it up. I can say that I was not disappointed the slightest (though I did not get the overwhelming leather smell when taking it out of plastic??). After looking it over and handling it, the reality was clear; this was by far a superior product compared with the cheaper one I had been using. The leather felt sturdier, the hardware more refined, and most important to me, the stitching looked and felt more durable.
Now the bad. I think I agree with others when I say this new satchel is likely at its ugliest when new. It looks too perfect and does not have that beat up and broke in look that I'd like. It will take time, and until then, I'll have to deal with a bag that looks a bit too perfect. I can't wait for it to loosen up, break in, and look more worn. As it stands now, it is truly ugly in my opinion.
To help quell any rumors out there, or to counter some of the reviews I've read on other sites, I will say this. I had read that changes over the past couple years have been made to the leather Saddleback uses. Some reviews stated "plasticy" feeling leater, etc. With the bag I recieved, this is not the case at all. No plastic feel, just nicely conditioned/tanned leather that moves and feels the way leather should. I also seem to have gotten a bag without any markings, bites, etc. on it...though one of the side pockets does have some great looking stretch marks to add some character. I was hesitant after reading some reviews, but they were unfounded in my case. I do not feel at all like this was overpriced or lacking in quality. Just my two cents.
Overall, I wish I went this route to begin with. While it is a bit expensive to buy this satchel, I would have saved money by going with my instinct and buying this bag first, rather than essentially wasting money on the cheaper one that only lasted a short time. Live and learn I guess. In the future I plan to post a followup review after I've had this a while, because right now, all I have is a new bag that hasn't seen any use.
I have spent years looking at this website with the desire to purchase a bag from them. However, it took until just recently for me to finally pull the trigger. Now, this was not because I needed convincing this company is phenomenal and true to their word about quality. The real reason I could not pull the trigger is because I never knew which bag it was I wanted. It seemed overtime that the bags were slowly being improved (which is hard to do when they are already such a high quality), and this steady improvement made me wait to see what else Dave had up his sleeve. It is for this reason, like Dave, I would like to tell you the story of how I got to the point of buying the Large Leather Satchel.
Within the bast year, I have debated between the Thin Front Pocket Briefcase, the Messenger bag, and the Satchel. I was looking for a bag that I could use while I finish graduate school and afterwards as a Priest. While in school I need to carry my laptop and books, along with various folders, I didn't necessarily need all of that as a Priest. This is what made me decide that the Messenger bag was not for me. What I really needed in a bag, both now and in my future ministry, was something that could carry many odds and ends without having to worry about space. This is ultimately what pushed me towards the Large Satchel. The fact that the Satchel does not have any interior walls helps one to pack it full in a way that would be more difficult in other bags. Within my Satchel, I can easily carry: my laptop (macbook pro 13"), books, cords, folders, loose paper, pens, and a thermos (that is until i stretch the pockets out enough). Overall, the Satchel just stuck out to me as a bag that is made with more possibilities. It does not seem to be molded into one role, but open to many uses. (i think this distinguishes it from other bags)
A word about the color choice... I bought the tobacco brown, and I am so happy I did. Now, many people will ask why someone who is going to be wearing black on black on black the rest of his life would want to buy a brown bag, and my response is "Because it looks amazing!" The tobacco brown is a truly beautiful tan and it slightly darker then the website color.
The new pigskin is also a game changer. I have a friend who has had a Saddleback Thin Briefcase for around 4 years and the pigskin lining in his so tough and hard. However the new pigskin is very soft and makes the whole bag feel softer.
I would recommend, if you are still on the fence about purchasing this or any other Saddleback bag, then buy something smaller first. I bought the Front Pocket ID wallet months before purchasing the Large Satchel. This really reassured me and gave me something tangible to use and feel.
I hope whether or not you choose to buy this bag or any other that you still have blessed day.
I got the small satchel in black and I was a bit worried it was going to look like a purse...(my wife always calls my bag a purse so I call it a man pouch!) but this thing is like a brick! looks very manly.
I've been carrying a tumi leather sling bag for the past 4 years and I always have it jam packed it gets hard to find my stuff and there's zero room for anything extra I want to carry. I took everything from my current bag and put it in the small satchel and just to test what else I can fit in there I put a gigantic pair of headphones and a full roll of duct tape!
this thing is manly rugged looking I think especially in black and the perfect size for a day bag if you carry a bunch of stuff. The best thing about this bag by far is that I don't have to baby it, this can take a serious beating.
I carried my large satchel for about two years before giving up on it. The chrome tanned leather is, other than being bad for the environment, one dimensional in its coloring and doesn't patina well. Instead of developing a darker, richer character, the leather just gets worn out looking. There is something artificial about it... in the future, I would MUCH prefer a thicker, higher quality vegetable tan leather rather than this depressing pigskin-lined chrome stuff.
If it's really about quality over money as you put it in your videos, why go with this mass produced chrome leather?
On another note, I found all the flashy stainless steel buckles tacky, awkward, and cumbersome. They aren't nearly useful enough to warrant their inclusion, and are noisy when the bag is carried.
Overall, I think the best thing about Saddleback as a company is there terrific branding and marketing. The bags are only just "ok". There are dozens of smaller companies out there that make better quality bags for a similar price.
After buying a number of smaller items from Dave, I thought it was time to make a bigger purchase, and I started with this satchel in a small size (in tobacco; it's such a great color and just gets better looking as it breaks in and ages). It's been fantastic from the moment it arrived.
For me this size has been perfect for holding a bit of kit for hikes or a day out (tablet with charging brick, wallet, keys, sunglasses, and foldable hat with room to spare). Great minimalist's carryon as well, fits under a seat with no fuss.
The strap is plenty long enough for a tall fellow (I'm 6'5") to wear crossbody with no issue. The side pockets are too small for a water bottle, but are perfect for your sunglasses case or rolled up magazine. Like all of Dave's stuff, it is built like a tank and is heavier than most gear of a like size.
Think I will be looking at getting a Dry Bag next for weekending.
I stumbled across the Saddleback website 4 years ago...and since then, I have wanted to own one with a fervor not unlike Gollum's longing for jewelry.
Oh, preciousssss, we loves our bag...doesn't we? Yesssss!!!
This year, I finally found myself in the rare, but enviable position of being able to afford one. I opted for the satchel because, unlike the briefcases, it is more austere...less of the flourishes that I want, but know I don't need. I'm a teacher...I carry books and papers and a laptop The satchel seemed more manageable (it didn't hurt that there was the very satchel that I wanted in Dave's Deals). And now that I have it in front of me, I know I made the right choice. It's the perfect balance of functional space and rustic elegance. It's not, by any stretch, understated...but neither does it scream garish opulence. The bag speaks for itself...a classic design that's built like a tank. I can't say that this will be the last bag I'll ever own...it may get stolen or fall victim to some other tragedy. I can say, with reasonable certainty, that if I ever need to buy another bag, it'll we a Saddleback.
I purchased this after realizing the gadget bag I purchased was a bit too bulky for traveling with my camera. I re purposed the gadget bag as my daily lunch cooler (works great), and purchased the medium satchel after looking at the dimensions carefully. The main compartment is easily accessible through the main buckle. In the main compartment I carry:
-Sony A6000 camera with attached Sony G 18-105 lens
-Sony 35 prime lens
-Sony 55-200mm zoom lens.
(The lenses that aren't attached to the camera i keep in soft neoprene lens pouches)
-A small canvas soft bag holds my accessories (lens cleaner, caps, extra battery, battery charger, extra sd cards).
The side pocket holds my Joby Gorilliapod. A full tripod is attached to the bottom D-rings with a bungee.
Having all my gear in a satchel allows quick access and comfort knowing that it's secure from drops and weather in the thick leather that makes this satchel. The quality of the bag is amazing and the bag doesn't scream, hey there's 2000.00 of camera gear in here!! it works for many more occasions than a traditional camera bag or backpack so I also find myself taking my camera to many more events than before.
I previously owned the classic X-Large brief case which I traded for the large satchel (don't worry he made up the difference in cash). I love this bag. It is ideal if you travel light. I use it for work so basically its my 13 in Macbook air, a moleskin journal, a small bible (I'm a pastor), and various cables etc.. i am please with the amount of space I actually have with this bag...its perfect for the daily commute. As fifty draws nigh..a light weight bag is preferred...this fits the bill. Its pretty simple so if you want some extra's I would go with the classic or the front pocket.
I recently received this bag in Tobacco Brown color and Large size. First I'd just like to counter a recent review and say that, for me, my iPad Pro with the silicone case and keyboard cover all attached can fit in the interior pigskin pocket. I'm not sure if the other reviewer had a Medium sized bag, or simply refused to let the leather give a little, but it works perfectly for me. Beyond that, I'd just like to say that the bag is beautiful. It smells wonderful, looks wonderful, feels wonderful, and I've already received compliments. My bag came with some beautiful scars on it too, which I'm proud of. I'm so excited to watch it age! I'd recommend this to anyone - iPad Pro owner or otherwise.
I have been looking at the satchels to add to my classic brief and I wasn't sure whether to order small or medium. I don't carry a purse but I decided I could do a satchel as they are so good looking and functional. I ordered on Christmas Day and the mediums were sold out so I decided rather than wait to try a small size. I am so very happy with the small...it is absolutely perfect for me! It will work to throw on my shoulder to run errands etc and there's plenty of room, I can fit my iPad in it no problem. It's worth every penny and the smell is intoxicating. Love Love Love it! Now looking for the next piece to add to my collection!
I bought the small satchel for use as a range bag. It's sturdy, handsome, rugged, just the right size for a day of sporting afield.
I find that more often than not, I reach for this bag for non-work related activity; it is too small for files or the Macbook Pro but I have briefcases for that purpose. Its good to keep work functions separate sometimes…..
This one carries a sketch book, pencils, camera, cell phone, spare lighter, knife….all the accumulations that won't fit in my pockets and don't need to go into the office.
Its handy and should be a hard working addition to a life on the move.
I would say that this is a wonderful bag for anyone seeking old school quality and simple elegance.
Well done, Mr. Munson!
Merry Christmas to all.
I had a Front Pocket Briefcase which I used for about a year for travelling, and perhaps weekly when I have to carry many things. However, this bag is not good for daily used due to its size.
Hence, I ordered a Leather Satchel Medium in Tobacco, which I received about two weeks ago. I am extremely pleased, and more than happy as I have made the right choice. The construction is extremely sturdy and quite suprizingly the weight is also not heavy as I have anticipated. The quality of the leather and pigskin lining are also of top quality as with my FPB.
This Leather Satchel Medium will now be my daily bag, replacing a rather disappointed previous bag, although also leather, but have broken at the strap holder, and a tear at the back of the bag. I will feel safe now with Saddleback 100 years guarantee, and of course do not expect this bag to be damage by daily used.
Despite living in Singapore and had to pay more than US$40 for international shipping, everytime I made an order from Saddleback, will not at all deter me from any future orders. This is one leather product maker that had exceeded my expectation.
It took me well over a year to take the plunge, started out looking at the briefcases, then thought backpack. Finally settled on the satchel. Rugged, handsome, durable. Nothing like it out there and I searched and searched - obsessed really. I'm just a blue-collar guy, but this bag is worth the money, period.
The iPad Pro does fit into the satchel. It will NOT fit in the interior sleeve which fits most other devices. The iPad Pro will fit snugly between the interior pockets and the back. And by snug, I mean it is very close. The new keyboard cover does not impeded the fit at all because it does not add to the length of the iPad. But if you have a case on your iPad Pro that extends the length, then you might run into trouble. My guess is that you'd have to insert it at a diagonal which is not the best solution. The height of the satchel matches the width of the iPad almost perfectly. You have some wiggle room there if you're getting a case. Because the iPad Pro is not going into that interior sleeve, then any kind of junk you have in the bottom of the bag will cause the iPad to elevate which may make it a bit more vulnerable. My suggestion to Saddleback would be to dispense with the inner sleeve and simply have a separator for where devices would go and the rest of the satchel. However, the bag is perfect for me as is. No bigger than it needs to be and provides great protection.
I bought this Satchel along with the SBL Long Tri-fold wallet as I needed a new carry on bag and wallet for when I travel for work. Its absolutely perfect for carrying my necessities, The inside pocket easily Fits my IPad Mini 4 which an Otterbox Defender case on it. I love the key strap on the inside great for holding my keys. I'm so digging the depth of the bag is awesome, and I love the extra D rings on the side. I wish SBL sold straps separately for lashing cause I know this wont be my last SBL purchase, as I'm going in for the Travel case, Pouch, Utility duffel, Squared Backpack, and Beast duffel bag. I'd love to see how I can lash them together. All in all I'm happy for this purchase and I'm coming back for more.
Back ordered the medium chestnut satchel and was glad to see that I didn't have to wait very long for it to be delivered. They kept me up to date about the status. This is a solid piece of craft built to last years. I have not found a single part that I would consider a future fail point. The leather is thick and beautifully stitched together. The hardware is heavy duty, will last for years, riveted into the bag. I expect this satchel to survive everything I can throw at it. Bigger than my previous fabric bag, which I loved, it's still taking a little getting used to. It's heavy. Empty it's rated at 4.1 pounds empty. Go grab a bag of sugar and heft it. When I accidentally bumped my wife with my previous bag, she'd complain. If I bump her with this guy, well, let's just say I do everything I can to avoid that. The leather is hard. I think with time it may soften a little but time will tell. The outside pockets are great but a little tight for a water bottle. If you use the interior pockets which are on the other side of the exterior pockets, you'll have even less room. Vice versa too. The shallow pocket on the exterior back is good for holding onto docs you need to produce immediately and a packet of wipes. The interior has the one pocket that will fit an iPad easily. I am hoping that it will fit the iPad Pro. Saddleback assured me that it would. It looks like it. I think a MacBook Air would easily fit that pocket as well. The main interior pocket is spacious and the lighter color is welcome. The keyring leash is useful since it is easy to use. Easy put keys on and off. Except for the two interior side pockets, and the big sleeve, there are no other organizational features. I put in an extra organizing pouch (yes, from my previous bag) which I like. Helps to keep my stuff from just being the big pile of junk at the bottom. Took the bag out on an Amtrak trip almost immediately. Stuffed it with change of clothes, snacks, water, chargers, iPad, and all kinds of crap I didn't need. Slammed it around, kicked it under seats, banged it against stuff. Still looks new. The top handle is great for just grabbing it. The fact that it can convert to a backpack is a killer feature for me. I've not actually tried it yet though. Need to watch the video since it's not completely obvious how to do it. Watch the video btw. I would have liked it to be lighter and a little more soft but not at the expense of ruggedness. The strap to buckle it closed can be used to loop through the center metal ring on the back to keep the flap open. Populating it was a real joy. However, I would recommend to the company that they skip the little insert. I understand the desire to do this and I am way past getting bent out of shape over things. But it detracted a little from that initial "wow this is so awesome" experience. The email from Dave Munson, El Presidente, noted that part of the cost of the bag goes toward aid organizations. That is very welcome. All in all, this is a great bag that is worth the price. Highly recommended.
I was so happy and excited to finally receive my first Saddleback product! I've been browsing the site and dreaming for about 2 years now, and was happy to receive this satchel as a 2nd anniversary gift. As I've just opened it today, all I can say so far is that it's gorgeous and fits all my things (I'm using it as a purse replacement) without being too heavy. I put some WonderBalm on it and the color didn't change, nor did any of the dye rub off, which I expected from such a high-quality item. I also received a keychain on my tether, which I thought was a nice touch. I can't wait to start breaking my satchel in!
A note about Saddleback customer service: my satchel shipped without a shoulder pad for some reason. I called customer service and the helpful woman I spoke to said she'd ship me one immediately; I've already gotten an email confirmation that the order is ready to go LOL. I've had plenty of experience with brands who have great products OR great customer service, and I'm happy to report that Saddleback is a rare company that has both. Looking forward to being a loyal customer for a long time!
Classic QUALITY rarely seen. After receiving it understand the 100 year warranty. Custom look and design is not often seen in today's market and while the price may seem high, you get what you pay for....this is a Rolex in a Timex world. Mine is the small but will soon order a medium for a little more room and different color maybe. Cannot wait until it is broken in and develops its own character. Would like more outside pockets but will get my packing organized better.
On top of being the toughest, best looking and overall greatest bag I will ever own, I found that my Toshiba Thrive tablet, known for being the thickest on the market, as it has a full USB, HDMI, SDMI chip, etc, fits snugly in the inside pocket of my medium satchel, leaving the rest of the interior, pockets and all, free for objects such as Sankhara Stones, the Koh-i-Noor Diamond, or other priceless artifacts that would be kept safe by the tough yet smooth pigskin lining.
The fact that I don't need to tie up the whole bag for the tablet or, Jobu forbid, carry another bag, is priceless. Actually, that's not true, anyone can have that by buying the bag.
The Room of Great Adventure