I've been using the Saddleback for about 10 months, and I love it. It's big enough for a substantial folding umbrella, a hardback book, and whatever I need to bring home from the office. Some days, that's a lot of heavy papers, but the bag seems to be ergonomic enough for me to deal with it slung on one shoulder. Unlike other bags I've had, it does not change shape or sag when I fill it up. The down side is that it feels just as heavy when its closer to being empty. Like Joel, I'm a fairly big guy (and somewhat bulkier than Joel, but it's all muscle), so factor than in when making a decision.
It has a few open pockets inside that I use for an iPod, note pads, etc. I also throw in a fanny pack for small items and other things that don't fit into those pockets, including a sunglass case, and small things I don't want to get lost. Some companies give you a lot more convenience in that area, but I can accept Saddleback's philosophy of keeping it rustic, simple, and rugged--no zippers, clasps, or Velcro.
P.S. Someone mentioned the handle. Actually, it's made of large amount of thick leather, wrapped around another piece of thick leather. That's why it feels as stiff as PVC, but it's very comfortable in my hand.
In sum, don't buy a Saddleback bag. Part of the fun for me is that it looks unique, and if every B&B'er gets one, I'll look like part of the crowd.
I love the smell of Proraso in the morning!
Mine certainly sounded hollow when thumped.P.S. Someone mentioned the handle. Actually, it's made of large amount of thick leather, wrapped around another piece of thick leather. That's why it feels as stiff as PVC, but it's very comfortable in my hand.
Think of how stupid the average person is, and realize half of them are stupider than that. - George Carlin
I prefer the Mitchell bags because they are more versatile, can be used with a suit or dress casual. I may have to save my pennies for one of these!! Definitely a bag that will stand the test of time. I really like the Mitchell Messenger and Document briefcase below.
Last edited by Cuttingboard; 12-01-2009 at 05:55 AM.
Mike - - Hookem
Outstanding comparison and write-up!
I still carry a backpack, but I look forward to the day when I will own a nice leather briefcase like these.
I won't go any further than that, but I will say that at least one of these bags will be finding its way into my personal inventory before long.
This is a fantastic venue for these manufacturers to show off their amazing products. There are a lot of guys here that fit their target demographic to a "T", myself being no exception.
I like nice things. I'm willing to pay good money for nice things, especially if they will last a while. These bags fit the profile.
Great review! And I'm sure you'll have a lot of fun with the field research for the remaining installments!
Wow Excellent right up. Im looking into a Saddleback ASAP.
That was an outstanding review.
I have been in love with the Saddleback since the announcement of the giveaway in the B&B Carnival.
I hope that their thin briefcase is included in the comparison.
What ever happened to the idea of a group buy?
I'll know that I made something of myself and I've received the fruit of my labors when I own any of these bags. The Saddleback makes me salivate.
"I find your lack of faith disturbing."
This is such a coincidence! I just bought my first messenger bag because I was tired of looking like a kid lugging my eddie bauer backpack to work every day. I'ma 30-year old grown ass man, i should look like one. Anyway, I settled on a bag from Banana Republic (attached is a picture of it).
I wanted something floppy and light. Not hard leather and heavy. This is my first one. If I do end up needing more room and more protection, I will probably look into the fascinating bags listed in this review. I looked in a few bags at the mall, and what really sold me about this bag was that the clasp was an actual clip. All the other ones were held together by one of those little circular magnetic things, and i didn't like that. Even if they had buckles, they were just for show because the magnet was underneath.
I love the bags shown here. Good quality leather goods are lifetime items and are works of art. I love that stuff.
By the way, is there a website for the Mitchell products? I can't find anything. I'm interested in their messenger bags.
Cuttingboard, where did you get those pictures above?
joel (at) badgerandblade.com
This is off-topic, but related:
Where can I find a good leather belt? Last year, I searched forever in stores and tried belt after belt, and the quality was horrible and they lasted less than a year. I want good quality leather, that lasts years, soft leather (not stiff). Any suggestions will be appreciated.
http://www.beltmaster.com/ it's absolutely, positively the best value in a high quality belt. My suggestion is to purchase a cool vintage belt buckle, I've got some pretty incredible sterling silver Hopi belt buckles that are real conversation starters.
joel (at) badgerandblade.com
I have now owned a Saddleback bag for a well over a year. I won't spend a ton of time echoing the comments about high quality leather ... it is all true. The carry handle has very heavy, comfortable padding. The CINCH straps seem to be showing the most wear, and if anything goes, I would expect it to be the CINCH straps. Initially I was more worried about the cinch straps, but after a year, I think they'll be OK ... they just wear differently than the rest of the bag. The SHOULDER BACKPACK straps are fairly comfortable, but a little bulky. My intention in purchasing this item was to have something that looked professional, and that I could also carry to work as a backpack on days I ride my motorcycle. The SHOULDER BACKPACK straps are kind of bulky, and not as comfortable and ergonomic as they might be ... I'd suggest two separate shoulder straps rather than the single strap that runs through a D-ring in the top center ... it would be more comfortable, stable, and much easier to get on and off. Also, I purchased the Medium size based on measurements provided, but you should know that the thickness and bulkiness of the leather and interior pockets and such, takes up space, making the utility smaller than you might guess with the dimensions and I regret not getting the Large size. My medium size will fit "Legal" sized files, but they tend to get smashed on the ends and I have to force the legal files in ... the extra couple of inches for the large would prevent this. If you don't carry a long laptop, or legal-sized files, the width of the Medium would probably be fine. As a backpack, and given the dimension and weight differences compared to my Medium, I can't imagine the XL being very comfortable or stable, but the Large would probably be fine. I guess the point of these comments is that if you really intend to use this as a BACKPACK very often, you may want to look for a more comfortable option .... if you are primarily looking for a BRIEFCASE that you can occassionally carry as a backpack, then this should be great. As a backpack, it rides a little high on the shoulders, again, as a function of the single, central D-ring mounted shoulder straps. Some other notes ... I have a smaller, much less expensive, lighter briefcase that I use when I have a small load to carry ... the point being that if you have a small load, it does seem funny to carry such a substantial piece of leather for a couple of files. If you generally carry a moderate to heavy load, then this is not an issue. Also, the stability is such that the backpack tends to fall backward unless you lean it against something (a small nit), and the "distressing" of the leather looks as if it were done by someone scratching with a fingernail. All in all, this bag has excellent quality, and is a head-turner, but with a couple of ergonomic drawbacks, and I don't use it as much as I thought due to it's bulkiness. I would purchase again, but in the Large size. Also, realize that some of my "nits" may have been worked out since my purchase well over a year or two ago (e.g., I don't seem to see the 'finger-nail" distressing in current marketing photos), and he straps seem to look better finished.
Also note that Saddleback offers three size options in the item reviewed here, and they also offer a wide product range from duffle bag to briefcase,to messenger bag, to backpack, to wallet to coasters ... all with the same sturdy qualtiy you might expect from "J. Peterman" (for you Seinfeld fans).
Great review, and the pics & descriptions are quite enticing! I'm a fan of a bargain.
Does anyone know where these are made and if the trade is fair?
Just checking out this new world of shavin'!
One, two! One, two! and through and through...The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
My Vorpal Razors