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Calling Saddleback Leather Owners!

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#1 paperskater


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Posted 01 February 2012 - 05:25

I've been lusting after the Saddleback Leather Satchel for quite some time now. I've been slowly, but surely, saving up for it and with my tax return on the horizon, I think I will be able to finally purchase it sometime in the upcoming weeks!

I've got my eye on the medium Satchel in Dark Coffee Brown. I'm about 5'4" and weigh about 120 lbs, and I am a little concerned about the size of the medium. I'm hoping that it would be small enough to use as a messenger-like bag, but large enough so it doesn't look ridiculous when I convert it into a backpack.

I've been reading tons of reviews all over the Internet about Saddleback Leather and these bags for close to a year now. I feel like I'm fairly informed about the pros and cons regarding these bags, but what I'm looking for now is just some more feedback from owners or previous owners of Saddleback Leather bags. I'm on the hunt for the Last Bag I Will Ever Buy, because I'm tired of having other bags fall apart.

Also, can anyone describe to me the colour of the Dark Coffee Brown in their own words? I've seen lots of pictures, but I like it when people describe the colour themselves so I can get a better idea.
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#2 cjabbott



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Posted 01 February 2012 - 05:41

I think dark chocolate brown is a better description. Here are my small travel bag and wallet with a piece of Hershey's dark chocolate on top.

Posted Image

Edited by cjabbott, 01 February 2012 - 05:41.

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#3 Pen Nut

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Posted 01 February 2012 - 11:16


Whilst I cannot assist in colour advice I can say that this will be the last bag you ever buy as the construction and thickness of hide used is thermonuclear blast proof and how it could ever be worn out in daily use is beyond me .......however it does take some wearing in to get the best of it to the point of the wallets taking some getting use to in terms of 'foldability' or rather lack of it. To be fair this is pointed out on the website.

Great company to deal with and they have a genuine personal touch. I am also a 'The Bridge' leather fan and must admit to having a man bag by them, never thought I would have one but for travelling they are fantastic, and would not be without one now.

Saddleback downside for us in the UK is shipping, which is obvious, but also import duty in the form of VAT which hits us for another 20% straight away.

Oh and why does everyone in the USA seem to get tax refunds when we seem to get walloped for tax demands!!

Ah well please post pics when you make the purchase.

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#4 Bullwinkle



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Posted 01 February 2012 - 12:22

I have several of their smaller products.. and you are correct you will never wear it out. But, that things weight a min of 5+ pounds empty.
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#5 pelman


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Posted 01 February 2012 - 13:28

I bought a bag from Farseer from this board. At half the price of Saddleback and the construction probably just as good as the Saddleback company, I think you should consider contacting him to see if you can source a bag from him. I have been using my bag for 5 months and it still looks great and have not had any serious issues.

#6 French


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Posted 01 February 2012 - 14:07


I have a large Saddleback briefcase in chestnut. The leather may have darkened a bit over the past 4 years I've owned it, and it does show scratches (which you can alleviate just by rubbing your hand over them). I've treated it once with the Chamberlain's leather milk sold on the Saddleback website. I think the bag will have no problem being the last briefcase I need to purchase, it is showing no real signs of wear, just the previously mentioned surface scratches, which give the bag some character. I don't baby my bag, nor do I abuse it. I do use it every day for work, it has seen rain, snow, sun, heat and cold.

As others have mentioned, and as is pointed out on the website, the large bag is heavy. The website says 7.5lbs, I can believe that. When you load it up with laptop, notebook, pens, portfolio...it gets heavy quickly. On the plus side, I have received many compliments on the bag, from customers, TSA agents, and other passengers in airports and train stations.

Finally, leather doesn't thrive on neglect, you should plan on conditioning it every year or so. When I purchased my bag, it was a big investment, I needed to save my 'fun money' for quite some time. I want to be sure to the proper maintenance to help my bag not need to take advantage of the 100 year warranty.

I hope you enjoy your bag as much as I enjoy mine.

#7 bogiesan


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Posted 01 February 2012 - 14:11

Don't forget Gfellers casemakers in Meridian, Idaho. . This, too, will be the last bag you ever need to buy as long as someone doesn't steal it from you.

last bag you will buy

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#8 coloradogps



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Posted 01 February 2012 - 14:54

You can't go wrong with the Saddleback.

The Dark Coffee Brown is a dark rich brown.

The Chestnut, which I have has a reddish tint to it.

It's tough not being able to see the sizes in person.

Medium should work fine.


#9 humblescribbler


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Posted 01 February 2012 - 20:34

I own the medium briefcase and the medium satchel both in chestnut. Agree with all assessments here, but my briefcase strap went soft after two years and is now difficult to thread through the buckle tongue or whatever it's called. The only other damage was the metal tongue itself bent on an airplane ride. I bent it back.

The medium satchel is pretty large size. I use it to carry music to gigs. I also own the miniature passport/ticket holder/traveller which for my purposes was useless. Didn't hold much of anything.

Everything is going on 6 years old, and as has been suggested I've conditioned them more than once. One time I had the funds and spent $25 to have a shoe repair place recondition it. It has cuts and scratches and is mondo-heavy, and will indeed (I think) outlast me. But my kids aren't going to fight over it unless it's to sell! They prefer the newer models I've seen on their website, which weren't around when I had the funds for these.

ps -- that comment about TSA? No joke, that bag grabs positive comment every time I travel.

Edited by humblescribbler, 02 February 2012 - 18:47.

#10 reprieve


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Posted 02 February 2012 - 02:53

I love the look of my Saddleback bag, but it is big and heavy. I have the medium briefcase in tobacco brown. I am a small female, just about the same size as you, and the bag can be somewhat unwieldy when loaded with laptop, books, papers, pens, etc. It's great for hauling a lot of stuff to the office, but I don't use it much otherwise as it is just too large for me. But it is well-made, and the leather is so lovely, I haven't been able to bring myself to sell it.

#11 Blade Runner

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Posted 02 February 2012 - 03:09

Well made and attractive, but unless you're riding the Pony Express and need an indestructible bag, it is much too heavy in my opinion. With your size I fear you won't use the medium bag very much.

#12 mcnoodle


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Posted 02 February 2012 - 03:41

Most cameras will overexpose dark subjects when used in their default mode, and the "Dark Coffee Brown" leather from Saddleback is no exception. (FYI, the one image posted previously in this thread is also somewhat overexposed). This is what my fairly new Dark Coffee Brown Saddleback briefcase actually looks like:

Posted Image

The closest representation of what the Dark Coffee Brown leather looks like, from what I've been able to find, is at Amazon. Here is a link to a dark coffee brown briefcase, and the image is close to what the leather actually looks like: http://www.amazon.co...28154582&sr=8-1

A Saddleback satchel will indeed be the last bag you will ever need to buy. I cannot see how I can ever possibly wear this thing out! I'd be surprised if this bag doesn't last well into the 22nd century. Seriously!

Hope this helps. :)

Edited by mcnoodle, 02 February 2012 - 06:04.

#13 nvbrennan


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Posted 02 February 2012 - 03:45

I'm a chap, about 5 10" and have the large bag. I love mine. In the chocolate which honestly I think is the only colour I like and I've seen all in real life bar the black. It has a great Indy Jones feel to it, or a colour like you would imagine a saddle bag being in the old Wild West. They are heavy and I carry mine as a backpack almost exclusively but if you like to cart quite a lot of stuff I find it as comfortable or more so than a traditional backpack and I'm not a strapping guy; probably less than average strength. I would think the medium would be fine for you. If not you can probably resell at a good price on ebay.

#14 Chiro75



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Posted 02 February 2012 - 18:03

I have a wallet and an iPad case, two thumbs up for both. Definitely the last wallet I will ever buy. iPad case is in the dark brown and it is a nice color, does pick up scratches and scuffs but not as readily as I thought it would. Very nice chocolate color.

My wallet is tobacco color (the light color) and after a while it changes to a nice burnished honey color, which is gorgeous. Personally, I would always go with the tobacco color on anything else I buy from them in the future.
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#15 jkingrph


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Posted 02 February 2012 - 22:39

I have one of letter size pad holders, and a large wallet. Even these items are rather heavy for what they are, but looking at material and construction, my son and grandson will be using them one day.


#16 redshifteffect


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Posted 02 February 2012 - 23:13

Have you had a look at Vegabond Traveler on Ebay? There bags are about half the price of Saddleback, just as well made. I have had mine for about two years, and though I love it as everyone else has said the main con of this bag is it's sheer weight. It's great when not fully packed, but I find that its becomes very heavy when fully loaded making it hard to really use as much as I would like. One advantage of he Vegabond bag is that you can easily convert it to a back pack; which works very well for when you're using it fully loaded.

#17 paperskater


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Posted 03 February 2012 - 01:21



Wow! Both of these pictures are incredibly helpful, thank you! I think I've definitely decided on the Dark Coffee Brown one.

I'm pleased to see that there are so many pleased owners. The website says that the satchel weighs about 3 pounds empty, which doesn't seem like it would be that heavy. But again, if I end up hating it, the resale value is very high so I don't think I would lose too much money if I wanted to sell it.

redshifteffect, thanks for the mention of Vagabond Traveler. I checked it out, but nothing really jumped out at me and something bothers me about the way he talks about his competition (Saddleback, obviously). It seems unnecessarily snarky and childish. However, I may be referring some friends to Vagabond.
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#18 mameranchu


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Posted 03 February 2012 - 05:56

I have their messenger bag in chestnut. I'm female just about your size, and the bag looks a little big on me, but it's simply because the bag has more height than width. The medium satchel is smaller than this and has more width than height, so it should look just fine on you. If you have narrow shoulders, the shoulder pad on the strap (which is quite wide) will sit close to your neck and may be uncomfortable at first because it's quite stiff. It will soften up with use after a while, so hang in there. The weight doesn't bother me at all, maybe because I'm used to carrying heavy books.

I bought medium briefcase in dark coffee brown for my husband as a gift. Dark coffee brown is, well, the colour of roasted coffee beans (think French roast), quite literally. Very attractive.

He is 5"8 and stocky, the medium briefcase fits him perfectly. He doesn't seem to mind the weight, and tells me how random complete strangers come to him just to comment on the bag. He'd never had such experience with anything else he's ever owned or carried.

People who are happy to put in a bit of extra time/effort/money to appreciate the finer things in life ( I think most of fountain pen users fall into this category) would LOVE these bags. For the quality and style, they're worth every penny. Enjoy! :)

Edited by mameranchu, 03 February 2012 - 08:24.

#19 Silas


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Posted 03 February 2012 - 18:08

After much research, I, too, bought the Saddleback, in Chestnut(kind of reddish, and changes to a bit darker with age) and in Medium. I used it when teaching; carried all my papers in it...sometimes a laptop.

Undoubtedly, it is the SINGLE piece of equipment that has elicited the most responses: all very positive! I had to get more cards sent so I could hand them out when people asked where I got it.

Several of my teacher colleagues have bought one after seeing mine.

Only negative is that, in itself, the medium is heavy. My friend bought the LARGE one and it is way too big. But, afterawhile, one does not let the heaviness of the bag distract.

Now that I'm retired, I will put it to use as the perfect BACKPACK. It is virtually indestructible.

On the site, you can find "seconds." for less. I bought one.....did not notice any flaws and perfectly satisfied.

Oh, and I also bought the "Man bag" just to match....it can fit on the side of the medium bag. I carried it a couple of times....but didn't have much chance to wear it. Put it in the closet and may sell it one day. But it is so darned beautiful!

#20 Koyote



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Posted 05 February 2012 - 19:15

No experience with Saddleback, but I do have a very expensive leather briefcase from a different mfr. 13+ years old and looks better than when I bought it. Expensive stuff sometimes is more economical in the long run.

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