After my trip to Costa Rica, I realized that I needed a new laptop bag. I was using the Booq bag, which is a great bag (especially for a MacBook Pro), but it just screamed “laptop”, and was not really very versatile. It meant that everywhere I went with my laptop, I needed two bags. So I started looking for the perfect bag.
I knew I wanted a leather bag if possible, and something that would perform more duties than just hold my laptop, although it had to do that well since it was the primary purpose. I looked on sites like eBags.com, and checked out more high-end places like Tumi and Louis Vuitton. But in the end I just couldn’t find what I was looking for. Then one day I stumbled across a site that looked like it sold the perfect bag…Saddleback Leather.
The site is pretty great. It gives you not only specs on the bag, but stories about people who use the bag, and even a lot of back story on the creation of the bag. The site also explained some great details of the bag’s creation.
The website was pretty compelling, so I ordered a bag. The one downside of these bags is the cost. I paid nearly $600 for mine! I went with the Extra Large Reddish Brown Briefcase.
The bag arrived quickly, and I rushed to open the box. As soon as I cut it open, this amazing smell of leather came rushing out. After pulling the bag out of the box I started to examine it more thoroughly. It looked a little smaller at first than I thought it would be, but after measuring it, and comparing it to my current bag, I realized it’s actually quite large. I guess it’s good that it doesn’t look too big from the outside.
I immediately got my Mac and placed it into the bag, with it’s protective Booq sleeve. It fit like a glove, which I was very happy about. I then started loading other things into the bag and found that everything fit quite nicely.
My first trip with the bag was just to San Francisco for a meeting. I drove down from Oregon and checked into my hotel. I rode the elevator with another guest who told me she loved the bag. So far, so good. The next day I went to my meeting. No one commented on the bad, but I did see them checking it out. On the way back from the meeting I stopped by a clothing store to grab a jacket while in SF. The sales guy was all over the bag, which was a little creepy. He asked where I got it and how much it cost.
It’s safe to say that you will get attention with the bag. I almost forget how great it looks, and it still catches me off guard when someone comments about it.
I should go into some details about how the bag is made. It’s truly amazing how much thought the bag creator put into this. First the bag is full-grain leather. From what little I know about leather, this is the best leather you can get. It’s difficult to work with, but is amazingly tough. The bag is stitched together with some sort of synthetic string that just doesn’t break. There are also solid rivets at stress points throughout the bag.
But here are a couple details that really amaze me. First, the handle isn’t just connected to the leather, but there is actually a piece of metal in sewn inside the leather. This is to prevent the bag from stretching out of shape from being pulled up by the handle. Another idea to keep the leather in form is the nylon strap sewn inside the leather strap. Because when you carry a heavy bag with just a leather strap, of course the leather will stretch, but the nylon won’t allow it to stretch. This is part of what makes the bag great. Old world material (leather, steel, etc…) when it makes sense, combined with new material (synthetic string, nylon, etc…) when it makes sense.
The interior of the bag is a nice simple suede. It lacks the nice clean surface of a vinyl covering, but there is nothing to rip or damage.
Carrying the bag through the airport is easy. The strap doesn’t have quite the cushion that the Booq bag had, but it does seem to slide off my shoulder a lot less. There is also a nice side pocket built into the back of the bag, which is great for stashing your boarding pass and magazine while getting on the plane.
After using the bag for a while, I think I only had one complaint. Many laptop bags have a nice slip that allows you to slide the bag over the handle of a rolling suitcase. But that would be prone to damage, and the point of this bag is that it’s indestructible. Plus with my new luggage, it’s not an issue for me.
The more I use the bag, the more broken in it becomes, and the better it looks. The bag worked great on my trip to Hong Kong, as well as all my conferences in Vegas. It works really well with my new Rimowa suitcase.
If you’re looking at getting one of these, rest assured it’s as great as the website makes it look.