I've had my Saddleback briefcase for 9 months and am really impressed with the quality of the design and craftsmanship. It's built to take a beating and look great.
The only thing I would change about the design is to remove the D-rings for the "backpack" functionality. I can't imagine many people actually using them for that and they make an awful lot of noise clanging against each other.
In the end, it's a great product!
I am a busy professional lady who was looking to buy a leather couch several months ago. Before committing to a big purchase like that, I did some research on leather and found Dave's site and his tutorial videos. They helped dramatically when comparing quality leather goods, and now I can LAUGH at ads for bonded leather furniture. Anyway. Fast forward several months and my poor-quality leather work bag's zipper failed. I am a self-taught seamstress in my spare time and thought I could fix it myself. But then, I remembered Dave's site and realized that the leather in the bag was low-quality as well, and just decided to replace the whole thing with something that would last my whole career, or longer. Dave's slogan seemed to fit that goal, so I started doing more research into his bags.
Now, as any lady knows, we are used to bags with complicated inside compartments and zippered pockets and dividers and complex seaming for the sake of design. The extra seams and girly design stuff I can easily do without. But I was worried about losing all of the organizational inside pockets. Ladies, have no fear, the Thin Front Pocket Briefcase may be just the bag you're looking for.
Why I love my bag:
1. It is made to last a lifetime. Watching all of Dave's videos should convince you of that. 'Nuff said.
2. It looks great. OK, so it's not a "ladies" bag. But the front pockets add (functional) visual interest and make it look less, in my opinion, like the standard men's briefcase. Not to say that it isn't manly in the hands of a gentleman, because it is. But I think the styling of this bag says sophisticated no matter who is carrying it. (And yes, I am a Chestnut through and through.)
3. Organization is not a problem, even for all of the junk I normally carry in my purse. I decided on the large, and here's why. My old bag had two main compartments, (and a zippered center divider and a zippered inner pocket...) but otherwise was slightly closer to the dimensions of the medium thin front pocket. By switching to only one main compartment, I decided to overall go bigger to compensate. It has worked perfectly. I can carry several folders of papers, my on-call manual, a pathology reference handbook and my SL Trifold Wallet on one side of the main compartment and still have room next to the books and folders to carry a travel mug and my extensive collection of keys. I have also substituted a nylon pencil pouch in the bottom of the main compartment for the zippered inside pocket of more conventional ladies' bags. This keeps my smaller miscellaneous and random items that I don't need in the front pockets corralled into one place. The front pockets are, of course, wonderful for other small items like my phone and pager. The pen pockets inside the main compartment, unsurprisingly, function as advertised and carry all of my normal pens and marking pens.
4. I was worried about the weight of the bag, but it was unfounded. I am a smaller lady, 5'4" on a good day, and, we'll say a dress size 4. Yes, the bag started out heavier empty than my old bag (also empty), but with the quality of the strap and the wide padding, I hardly notice unless I am trekking back and forth across the hospital for hours. Even when my shoulder does tire, and it would even with my previous bags, I simply switch it to cross-body to re-distribute the weight.
5. I thought I wouldn't like all the extra D-rings, since I don't really plan to use them to carry bedrolls or tripods or whatnot, but they don't bother me at all, in fact I hardly notice they are there.
6. Another feature I was wary about was the buckled closures, since I am used to zippers or magnetic snap closures. It does take more time to get into it than a zippered bag, if the buckle is closed. However, I am getting faster at this, and most of the time during the day I simply keep it open or tuck the strap into the keep without buckling it. I think the few extra seconds it takes to fasten or un-fasten it outweighs the potential to have a zipper break.
7. As I said, I am on the shorter side, so I was worried that the shortest setting on the carrying strap, 34", would be too long. Luckily, it is the perfect over-the-shoulder carrying height for me! The tail of the strap is long, though, so with some patience, I was able to tuck the end under the fixed loop to keep it snugly tucked up out of the way of rolling-chair wheels and car doors.
8. Did I mention it's gorgeous and fantastically well-made and will last for my entire career and longer?
So, there you have it. I am one satisfied lady with a Large Thin Front Pocket Briefcase in Chestnut...and you can pry it out of my cold, dead hands.
So this is my 3rd SBL purchase in the last year. Full disclosure, I’m now an addict.
Picked up a large tobacco bag off of eBay & will admit, I was initally taken aback by the weight of the bag when I first picked it up. After I gave it the once over, I realizred the this weight is SBL going for quality over the ability to save a few ounces. Heavy straps, thick leather, solid buckles & rings - nothing comprimised here, real quality throughout.
The main pocket easily fits my laptop, iPad, iPhone 6Plus, as well as a good inch or two of documents, leaving plenty of room for your keys and a handful of pens, markers, etc. I would think this should be more than enough space for the average business man/woman. The front pockets easily fits my Air power cords, headphones, & the like. Really dig the “hidden” front pockets, I can put my iPhone 6Plus here (with obligatory SBL case). This is key as you can quickly access the phone if it rings, where working the straps can take some effort. I don’t use the back pocket too much, but looks roomy enough.
Overall, yes it has some heft, but I love the fell of this bag in my hand. Highly recommended.
WOW! This is one beautiful piece of art.
I am a very simple guy and do not need a lot of bells a whistles, but this bag has both! Not only that, but it is amazingly well put together.
I'm reminded of a few things every time I look at, touch and open this bag.
1. A brand new baseball glove
I've only had a couple (real) baseball gloves in my life. There was about 10 years of use between the 2 of them. The only reason there were 2 is because I outgrew the 1st. I come from a Baseball family so I was kinda born into it.
New gloves take some love. You really have to work with the leather to make it able to fully function as a glove. This bag is exactly the same! The best part is that when you wear a baseball glove it fits different for you and the person sitting next to you. It will be the same with your Saddleback Bag (whichever one you choose). So it will become a part of you. The folds, bends and lines will mold to how you use it.
2. My (late) Grandfather's saddle
Grandad had a bunch of saddles, but none of us grandchildren were allowed to use (read in his words "play around with") his. It really was a thing of beauty. It had decades of use and (again) molded to his every bump and curve.
3. The Gig Bag that carried my Bass Trombone
I have a degree in Music Performance on Bass Trombone, and my "axe" was my livelihood for about 20 years. It had to carry, hold and protect (not to mention look cool) it in cars/trucks, busses and planes between teaching engagements and gigs for the entire time. The bag is still with me (almost 3 decades later), but I have had to replace the zippers MANY times. Not only this, but there is some definite wear in the bends and seams. I paid a pretty penny for this bag, but the leather is not near as good as what I got from this bag!
So here is the thing. I am 100% sold on every product that Saddleback Leather offers! There is not another product offered on the market (to my knowledge) that will out perform this bag. The one that I was given (Dark Coffee Brown Thin Front Pocket Briefcase) might not be big enough for everyone, or the color might not match their suit (neither matter to this guy since I live in Maui and have not worn a suit for about 1/2 a decade (If you want it to match your suit...get a color that matches) and I do not need to take a ton of stuff with me)), but there is good news! Saddleback offers bags that are bigger, and in different colors!
No matter what your needs are, they can meet (read exceed) them. Just look at the dimensions in the description of each offering and make sure that it will work for you. If your stuff will fit (and the color will match your clothes) you WILL NOT regret this purchase! If it costs too much to buy for yourself, put it on your gift list. This is what I did and my wife got it for me, but now that it is part of my everyday life, I wish I had made the purchase when I found Saddleback Leather over a year ago! Needless to say...my wife got a ton of "Brownie points!"
I don't usually write reviews... But this is hands down the nicest bag and accessory I own. Right out of the box you can tell it's all quality. I was torn between this and the Front Pocket Briefcase... This is plenty big for my needs. I don't have an office and travel for work with all my work related items, and it's perfect. It's worth every penny.
I received my bag back in March and I can honestly say that I have never been happier with a purchase. The quality and craftsmanship are evident in the sturdiness and utility of the bag. I got the tobacco brown and it is absolutely true that the bag is the ugliest on the first day you own it. Since then, my unmarred bag has accumulated scratches, gouges, bumps, bruises, and a load of personality. It looks better with each scratch that is added to the leather. I regularly receive compliments on this bag and often catch myself sneaking a look at it, tucked underneath my desk. It has uncovered a small bit of vanity that I had previously not known existed…
I will say that I am 5'5" and I got the large thin FPB. It looks a bit big on me, as I have a smaller build, but I don't mind. Plus, it gives me a bit more room for my stuff and forces folks to give me a wider berth on the sidewalk.
Simply put this is a solidly built bag with excellent functionality. Description was 100% accurate. I encourage you to read it fully before you buy. Reading about the imperfections made me excited to get mine broken in instead of fearful of the first crease/scratch. I got mine in tobacco, which I think shows the wear more. If you prefer one that shows less, the website page recommends a darker color. The leather is obviously top notch and the limited hardware appears to be as well. I'm getting a huge number of compliments, and I look forward to using it for the rest of my career.
Been looking for months and deciding this or one from Morlondo that someone told me about. First one had crease on front pocket. I know over time creases will appear, and get the 'perfections are part of the beauty...' but it just kept bugging me. Customer service was wonderful, sent return slip for me to return, and I just got my new one in Chestnut today. It is perfect, and I am so glad i didn't try saving a few bucks and get a lower quality one from Morlondo. All top notch construction, and every part just feels 'meaty'!! stiff as hell (too stiff right now to loop the strap to use as a backed!!), but i know that will soften over time, and shape nicely...
bag 100% as well as customer service!!!
I purchased the large thin front pocket briefcase in DCB color. Having toiled over which size I finally pulled the trigger on the large and I am happy I did so. I stand 5'10" tall medium build. The large size is perfect. The medium would have been too small. As I already have the classic in the large size, which I use for longer trips, I wanted something for everyday commuting. This is noticeably lighter and more compact than the classic which is more than double the width. Since I tend to pack heavy, this had enough space for everything I would cart to and from work.
It goes without saying this product is beautifully made, strong and very smart looking. I actually wanted Monday to come so I could go out the door with it!!!
My hubby surprised me with the tobacco one, I was literally floored. I mean jaw dropped floored. Folks lemme tell ya this bag is amazing. It is exactly as described. It is tough as rocks. It's going to be my carryon for our trips, carry my tablet laptop, ipad, and other entertainment for the boring plane rides.
I don't think there is any negative things I can say about this. I love the imprint of Blue just inside the front flap.
Breaking it in is going to be fun, yes it's stiff, but as use happens...it'll soften and age and become that well loved gorgeousness. Not one zipper or cheap items on the bag, as I said exactly as described on site.
It WILL last a lifetime plus some. I'm already looking at a smaller everyday bag....
This bag is awesome! It smells just like a brand new baseball glove and reminds me of great times when I was a kid every time I use it. At first I thought it wasn't going to have enough storage areas, but the front pockets actually easily hold all of my stuff. It is unbelievably well made and I am thrilled with it. I have the large size bag.
Over the years, I've owned many Saddleback products. They age well and look great. This bag is no different. I love my bag, but when I first received it, the metal ring to convert the bag into a backpack wasn't welded completely.
I emailed customer service immediately about this thinking that it was a manufacturing defect since all my other bags have completely welded rings, but was told that structurally there would be no difference between a completely welded ring and a partially welded ring. Aside, of course, from aesthetics. Because of this, I went on using the bag, but every time I saw that ring, it bothered me. It came to a point where I decided enough was enough and emailed customer service a second time a year or so later.
Customer support was wonderful (as they always are at Saddleback) in being able to offer me an opportunity to send in the bag to have the ring replaced with one that was perfectly welded, but for a fee. It was a shame to have to spend more to get my bag just the way I expected from the beginning, but feel it was well worth it. I sent my bag in and a week or two later, I received it with a brand new backpack loop and what appeared to be a fresh coat of Chamberlain's Leather Milk.
I am happy with my bag now, but wished I could have had a perfect bag from the beginning with no extra cost associated with it.
Now the one thing that would complete my wishlist would be a cell phone pouch that I can attach to my bag's strap. Please, Dave? I know others who would be interested too!
After over a month of constantly reading descriptions, watching videos, and scouring the Internet for other reviews, I finally bought the Thin Front Pocket Briefcase (medium) in chestnut. I ordered it late Friday and it arrived Thursday via UPS ground.
The testimonies, pictures, and videos do not do this bag justice. It truly is a work of art! The moment I opened the box and ripped open the plastic bag holding the briefcase, the intoxicating smell of leather rose up and thus began this briefcase's hold over me. (I can't stop sniffing this thing.) The leather is perfectly tanned, nary a blemish, and looks amazing in the sunlight. The bag has a robust heft without actually feeling heavy. The leather is solid and expertly made. I must say that this is the highest quality leather product I have ever encountered other than perhaps a cow itself.
The hide is thick and solid, yet is pliable and gives just enough. I can immediately tell that the leather will soften well as it ages with use. As I carefully inspected the stitching and seams it was readily apparent that a human assembled this bag, someone who took great care to make it right. The pockets are surprisingly more capacious than I expected, and even the "hidden" pockets behind the visible pockets are pretty roomy. My 14" (diagonal) ultrabook laptop just fits inside along with a large hard-sided notebook, an iPad Mini, a mid-sized moleskin notebook, and a file folder with a few sheets of paper, with a bit more room to spare. There's room on the sides of these items for me to fit an umbrella as well. Once the leather softens and relaxes, even more will fit, I'm sure. The hardware (rings and buckles and such) are all solid quality. The streets of New York City will be no match for this briefcase. I travel frequently for work so this bag will be run through its paces, and there is no doubt in my mind it will be a great asset.
I was pleasantly surprised to find a little gift in the hidden left-hand pocket of the briefcase. I won't give away the surprise but it means a lot to me and it makes me even happier that I gave my money to Saddleback Leather. Dave and Suzette are good people with good hearts. I encourage you to read their stories and get a feel for their character, which shines through the products they sell.
Customer service is excellent. Thanks to AK, I also bought two belts (Four Stitch and Old Bull), both of which arrive next week. Oh, on a whim I bought the Sleeve Wallet with the briefcase. That's pretty cool, too.
So, if you're considering a briefcase, you cannot go wrong with a Saddleback Leather product. Quite honestly I was a bit hesitant because of the price but now that the Thin Front Pocket Briefcase is in my hands, I think it's probably worth more than I paid for it. But don't worry, Dave, you'll be getting plenty more of my money in the coming months.
This bag is everything I thought it would be, the leather is beautiful and when you put your hands on it the pride that the folks at saddleback take in making these shows, it's done right. If you're in Canada like me the briefcase will cost you just shy of $1000 after duties, shipping and the exchange rate, so that's a lot but it's well worth it and I can't imagine ever finding a better made bag.
I've had my back for a few days now and thought I would give a review. One big thing to note here is that I haven't broken the bag in yet, just keep that in mind.
Pros: The bag looks and feels like top quality, as in nothing is going to hurt this thing. All of the metal feels heavy duty, and of course the leather is like nothing you have seen before (unless you own other saddleback products). My bag came with stretch marks and veins showing in the leather, so it definitely has some good personality out of the box. The interior is nice and smooth, even where the rivets are. I'm not worried about anything I put in it getting scratched at all. The two front pockets are pretty handy for small items, but a little small for something like a moleskin notebook. You can put a notebook in them, but you won't be able to close them, and that becomes a bit award to deal with the flap. So far the pockets seem good for cords, pens, small stuff like that. There are pen holders in the main compartment, but I'm not a big fan of them. I'll explain why below. There is a lot of metal on the bag, but it is all really smooth and you don't need to worry about it catching on your clothes or anything.
Cons: The first is the main compartment is just one big compartment. This means all your notebooks, folders, computer, etc. all get lumped together. There is plenty of room for all this and more, but every bag I have ever owned had some kind of divider inside. Usually just one piece of material that kept your computer separated from everything else. I wish this bag had that so that my computer didn't flop around and bang into all the other things I put in there. No divider plus a large storage area work together to create this problem. It isn't a huge issue, and not something I would avoid the bag over, but just a heads up. The other issue is the pen compartments on the insides. I put this as a con, but it is a con due to the quality of leather used. If you want to clip your pens using their built in clip to the pen holders in the bag, that is some pretty thick leather for them to clip on. Brittle plastic clips might break, nicer metal clips might get a little warped. That is why I prefer to use the pockets for my pens.
A couple of side notes, not necessarily pros or cons. The leather is stiff when you get it. It is going to take time to break in for sure, lots of time and love. This means that the buckles on the flap and two pockets are somewhat difficult to work with at first, especially if you want to close them tightly.
The smell, I have had this with two smaller Saddleback items I bought, and this bag was the same. When you take it out of the box it has a strong smell. Some people really like it, but to me it smells like leather (awesome) and chemicals (not as awesome). Good news is that the chemically smell has gone away within a few days for me every time, and the leather smell has remained. I've never seen anyone else ever mention this, so maybe I have a weird nose.
I have to admit: I was the slightest bit disappointed when I got my bag. It just didn’t look quite right. I had ordered Chestnut, but it looked kinda dull and brown. Did I get the wrong color? Was my batch of leather the full 20% off-color that is possible? Was it just the lighting in my office?
I should have known better, having brought leather shoes before. Leather always looks weird when it’s new. Now I’ve had my bag for a couple weeks, and just the process of moving it around, loading & unloading it, and handling it with my hands has begun to show its true beauty. And it is beautiful! The smell, y’all. Even when it’s 4 feet away on the floor, I can still smell it. It’s amazing.
I got the Medium size, mostly to haul my 15-inch Macbook Pro for work. It was a pretty tight fit at first, and I wondered if I had made a mistake. But after a couple weeks of use, the sides of the bag have started to soften and bow out, making the computer fit quite nicely now. Snug, but not awkward at all.
I’m a slim 6’5” and I feel like this is a decent bag, even for my size. I probably could have gone with the Large and been happy, too, but the Medium is pretty much the same size as the Swiss Gear bag I was replacing. I know it’ll fit in those horrible TSA buckets, under the airplane seat, and be generally easy to travel with. I also plan to take it on vacations and load it up with cameras, lunches, and stuff. I would never do that with my boring Swiss Gear bag.
I purchased this bag for 2 reasons: style and quality. To me, the style of the bag hearkens back to a more rugged, classic time. The front pockets absolutely cinch that feeling and the design of the bag really speaks to my personal taste. It feels substantial and unlike most things you buy today. And time will tell, but this bag certainly feels like it’s going to last and last and last. For now, Saddleback has 100% delivered on its promises. There are very few things I own that I look forward to beating up a little bit, but this is one of them!
My fiancé gave me this briefcase for my college graduation gift. It is an absolutely beautiful bag. The leather is heavy and clearly good quality. The hardware is strong and looks very nice. I love that there are no zippers and that it can be a back pack too!!! Can't wait to purchase more items ð
Received delivery of the Thin Front Pocket Briefcase, in the new black, prior to my recent business/leisure trip. Could not be more satisfied with the quality and overall workmanship. Was using a Zero Halliburton S3 briefcase for years, the new Saddleback briefcase priovides as much space with pockets for easy use. No disappointments, definitely makes a statement!
So i purchased this thin front pocket briefcase in Tobacco color on Dave's Deals at 15% off. I honestly did not find anything wrong with the case, Maybe Dave needs to get his eyes checked? I'm a contractor and normally have at least 7 to 10 projects going at the same time, at first i thought all my files would not fit in it at the same time, i was wrong, there's plenty of space inside to at least hold 12 to 15 files. The build quality of this thing is AMAZING, I wouldn't be surprised if a bulldozer ran over this thing and nothing happens to it. You should see the looks and questions i get when i walk into construction meetings, it re-assures me that i made the right decision to order. If your looking for a briefcase to last forever, looks goods, attracts attention and can probably with stand the test of time, then DO NOT HESITATE like i did for 6 months and order this, you will not be disappointed!
I'm not sure how to start this review, i'm not sure if this is even a review... I come from a filson background, so believe me that none of the saddleback products seems heavy to me, it's simply because i'm used to the heavy materials found in filson bags...
where i live and work at the moment, people are not used to saddleback leather...though they are filthy rich, when they want a leather briefcase, they will simply go to alfred dunhill, louis vuiton, mont blanc etc... so the idea of value simply doesn't exist in their heads...anyway, i received my dark coffe brown FP briefcase and took it out while anticipating what people will say about it...here are some real things i heard the first couple of days:
1- well...i don't know...ummm...it seems old....as if it belongs to your grandfather.
2-ohhh...but look at the scratches!!! did you see the scartches before buying it?!?
3-what's that awkward smell in your office?!
4-what!?!? you paid 500 USD for this?!
Instead of hating my bag because of what people are saying, i honestly love it more now...what they dislike is exactly what i adore about my new bag...
I think what mont blanc, dunhill, coach, ghurka etc. fails to bring forward is character...their briefcases are good looking but they don't have attitude, they don't have a story, they don't have character...
I'm a software engineer; so wherever I go - my tools of the trade must come with. This includes my 13" Macbook Pro, my iPad Air, the necessary accessories and, of course, my holy grail "Design Patterns" nerd book and my Moleskin notebook (also wrapped in glorious Saddleback Leather). This bag fits them all like a glove.
Quite simply, I'll never have to buy another bag again for my nerd accoutrements. Thank you, Dave, for this amazing product.
I really love this bag (carbon). I've had it for about a month and get compliments from strangers daily. The front pockets are extremely handy and I can still access the 'hidden' pockets without un-strapping the main flap. The pigskin is soft, yet tough. And though the leather itself is easily marked, when wiped with the Chamberlain's, the marks quickly lessen in appearance. This allows, in my opinion, for the larger marks to stand out over time without the smaller scratches giving it too much of a 'used' or scuffed look. Also love the cigar pocket as I find it handy for my favorite pen and mini flashlight.
The only thing I would love to see improved on this bag is the internal depth space. All of the other internal compartments on the other briefcases measure 4" deep and up, starting on medium sized bags. This bag, and I assume it's because of the exterior pockets adding more overall space for the entire bag, has only 3" deep interior space. The height of the bag is good to accommodate laptops and can allow for stacking of items, however, that doesn't make them easy to access if you need to reach for something on the bottom of the bag.
This is my second SB item.
I had been searching for a replacement for my attache case for quite some time. The size is perfect to hold my 13" MacBook and cord and the file and books I need for most any day. The quality and attantion to detail are obvious upon opening the shipping box - also the smell of it is a great bonus.
The new Carbon colour suits my vocation (Priest) without being too fussy.
Next on my list is a case to carry around my hospital Eucharist kit and prayer books.
I ordered the chestnut thin fron pocket briefcase. The bag is stunning! Beautiful. I tucked a rolled bath towel in the bottom to see how wide it would go. It widened very nicely. The pockets are generous and the adjustable strap is a winner. I took the shoulder pads off, but tucked them in a front pocket in case I need them. This is by far the nicest bag I have ever purchased.
I liquidated a lot of stuff to raise the money to buy this bag for myself. I am beyond pleased. I ordered the chestnut. This bag is stunning. While it seems sufficiently thin, I rolled a bath towel and pressed it into the bottom to help the bag stretch. It widened nicely. Ill probably leave the towel there when I am not using the bag. The outer pockets are a nice size and the hidden pocket is great for pens, a stylus or similar object. This is by far the nicest bag I have ever owned. I cannot see the need to buy another anytime soon. If I do, it will be from SBL.