SirSuturesALot

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
https://www.saddlebackleather.com/briefcases.htm

The descriptions from the above website paint the picture of an incredible bag, but I'm having a hard time believing them. I did a search across multiple boards and found that 98% of the time there was a post promoting these bags, it was suspect and most likely made by the shilling owner himself. (For example, he did this on SF and was subsequently banned.)

Nonetheless, the claims are just too good to pass up without additional investigation so I'm wondering if anyone have any actual experience with this company and their goods?

FYI, I was able to find one substantial review of the bag, and it was not good:
https://www.nathanbranch.com/2007/09/092807.html
 

fullgrain

Senior Member
Funny, I was about to ask the same question, after reading a poster's mention of it yesterday. I too, found the copy a bit too good to be true, and when I read that line about the imperfections a sign of quality handstitching, I kind of wen't hmmm.

It did look like a nice bag, but not worth the price premium over, say, customhide. I'd be interested to hear folks' experiences too.
 

DSD

New Member
Saddleback Bags

I also found the claims impressive and ordered the bag a few weeks ago. It is a nice bag but I was a bit disappointed in it in some areas. I did not have any stitching issues per se but found that the leather on the sides near the stitching was 1/4 of the thickness of the leather everywhere else and looked prone to rip. In fact, a small tear developed in one area. I sent the bag back and am deciding what I want to do about a replacement. It is very cool-looking bag but seemed carelessly made in some respects. In the seam areas you could also see excess glue (?) that was used to bond the leather - it made glue stains in some areas that made it either look very handmade or rather cheap, depending on your point of view.

Personally I did not like the fact that it was stamped inside with a "100% genuine leather" and "made in mexico" as it made the bag seem somehow like something you would pick up from a street vendor in Mexico if you were a tourist. That may be more my issue than an issue with the bag itself. It does appear very stout but certainly not finely crafted, IMO. I do like the fact that the bag lends itself to more than one use in that it could be used as a good travel bag, weekend bag, gear bag, etc and not only as a briefcase.

Bottom-line for me - a nice leather bag but lacking in some respects and certainly hyped a bit above the reality of the product.

Regards,

DSD

PS - I just ordered a flap-over SAB in London Tan :)
 

giff74

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
I LOVE MY BAG!!!

Let me preface what I am going to say. I was looking more for Indiana Jones than I was Dow Jones. I wanted rugged, heavy, tough and kind of mean looking. Kind of like a good muscle car, instead of the Ferrari for once.

I have carried my bag from coast to coast with laptop and tons of stuff piled into. I have found my bag holds up very to the challenge of airport security scanners, plane overheads, plane under seat storage, taxi's, the Ritz Carlton and Ritz crackers.

It's also important to point out that I sometimes wear rubber soled shoes, have had a phone/blackberry attached to my belt while wearing a suit and wear lots of RTW clothes. I guess I am not the tradition member here, I often put function before form, but to date none of my clients seem to mind.

To get to the heart of the matter. All of the stitching is not exactly equal to the edge and the rivets that hold the center strap on are not exactly even. To me this thing shouts hard working character. It is NOT a soft, subtle, "prissy" bag. It's for someone who needs to carry a bunch of stuff and at the same time doesnt want to be carrying a bag that they are afraid of getting a scratch on.

Just my two cents after a couple of years with my satchel bag.

Giff
 
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DSD

New Member
Pics

I have my replacement bag on the way and will see how this one is compared to the one I had to return. I will take some pics later in the week and post them if Giff does not get a chance to. I also found some of the posts that you mentioned where it appears the owner posted some misleading threads trying to drum up business. Interestingly on other sites where I have seen some comments on the bags, it is often someone with only a few posts on that forum.

I did find another review on a website

https://the-gadgeteer.com/review/saddleback_leather_company_briefcase

and it was positive. I was told my bag came over from mexico in a shipment with 500 other bags so it does not sound to me like there is one old master craftsman with a couple of helpers making the bags by hand "with the old craftsman making or personally checking each and every one before it leaves" as is stated on the website for the product....

Regards,

DSD
 

marlinspike

Advanced Member
Seems to me that with such a small and casual bag you might as well get something like a Billingham Tura that is known to be of the highest quality and last decades (just realized they have bigger sizes...still though Billingham makes comparable sizes too).
 
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SirSuturesALot

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
I also found some of the posts that you mentioned where it appears the owner posted some misleading threads trying to drum up business. Interestingly on other sites where I have seen some comments on the bags, it is often someone with only a few posts on that forum.
That's exactly what I'm talking about! Feels like none of the positive forum reviews can be trusted.
 

DSD

New Member
Bag

Seems to me that with such a small and casual bag you might as well get something like a Billingham Tura that is known to be of the highest quality and last decades (just realized they have bigger sizes...still though Billingham makes comparable sizes too).
Can you tell me where I can find out more about the bag you mentioned above (Billingham Tura)? I have done a lot of looking at bags and don't recall coming across this one. I did a search with the name but did not come up with anything. Thanks much.

DSD
 

marlinspike

Advanced Member
Can you tell me where I can find out more about the bag you mentioned above (Billingham Tura)? I have done a lot of looking at bags and don't recall coming across this one. I did a search with the name but did not come up with anything. Thanks much.

DSD
Billingham is a british camera bag maker that makes THE best camera bags. They also make a line of non camera bags (based off of their camera bags). Go to www.billingham.co.uk and then MB Travel under the bags drop down. I know you can get most of their bags from bhphoto.com, but I think the non camera ones you can only get direct. Now, they are not full leather (canvas with leather straps and such), but those Saddleback bags are casual too.
 
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DSD

New Member
Thanks

Nice stuff but not exactly what I am looking for. One thing that I will give Saddleback credit for is that they do seem to have a unique niche in the market in that I have not found another bag like the one they make/sell. There are several that are close in overall style but none that I have found that are the same. If they can improve the quality control and manufacturing / tone done the hype just a bit to me more honest in advertising, I think they could really have a winning product. Just my two cents of course.

Regards,

DSD
 

marlinspike

Advanced Member
What about them do you like? Have you looked at the Korchmar adventure series (looks like Korchmar has finally decided to kill off their various names, these used to be called Schlesinger).
 

Hockey_Magnet

New Member
Let's be fair

This is my first post and the only reason I went through the trouble of joining this forum was this thread. I recently bought a Saddleback Messenger Bag to use as an everyday bag and laptop case. I found this thread when I googled Saddleback to find their web site again. Over the years I've purchased many bags, mostly high end laptop bags with one or two in leather. To be fair, the Saddleback web site really sells on the basis of the bags' rugged leather and construction, NOT on smooth perfect tailoring and shiny leather. Anyone spending more than five minutes looking at pictures of the bags can clearly see what they are buying - there is one picture of a bag being held by a Mexican policeman with an automatic rifle that particularly shows the bags' "rugged" appearance. When I received my bag it was exactly what I expected and a bit more - incredibly thick leather and solidly put together with no fancy details. Actually, given the thickness and stiffness of the leather and the fact that the lining is rough suede, not fabric, I think it would be very difficult or impossible to make this bag with really fine stitching and detailing. If you're looking for a bag to make a "sophisticated" impression in a board meeting, etc. this isn't it. If, on the other hand, you're looking for a bag that certainly looks like it will last forever with quality hardware and rugged construction, look no further. The only downside for me is that due to the thickness of the leather, the suede lining and the solid hardware, these things are pretty heavy to lug around but I really don't mind.

Lastly, I received excellent service from Saddleback - when my planned ship date was delayed over the weekend, they expedited my shipment at no extra cost and I received it 2 days later (I live in Canada)
 

Hockey_Magnet

New Member
If you're patient, I can possibly take a couple tonight. Is there any trick to uploading photos to this forum? - I don't want to spend a lot of time trying to figure it out. I don't host any photos on line so would not have a url to link to.

Thanks
 

DSD

New Member
Pictures and further thoughts...

I took a slew of pics of the replacement bag last night and will try to post some this evening. The replacement bag had some minor issues also but at this point I plan to keep it and use it for rougher use during law school.

I think, for me, it is not that I was expecting the bag to be dressy or finely detailed - as observed it clearly is not that kind of bag. I have a new SAB for that kind of use.

My issues stem more from what I believe to be quality control. The marketing of the bag certainly implies that it is incredibly well-made. Rugged and casual, yes, but also very well designed and made. I found the reality to be otherwise. I find some of the elements just sloppy and indicative of poor workmanship - not ruggedness. On my replacment bag the rivets on one strap are completely crooked making the end of the strap also crooked, the main strap has a small tear, and there are some other examples of sloppy craftsmanship. The bag is still attractive in its overall presentation. You can say that misaligned rivets, small tears, glue stains, and such are part of its "charm" as the website implied but I would not agree. You can still have a very rugged and plainly constructed item that is also well made. After all, we are not talking about a $100 bag. If it were really inexpensive it would be another matter but it is, price-wise, on par with other mid-range bags.

I also found some of the advertising done by the owner to be misleading and dishonest, despite the fact that he promotes a high moral code. This is, for me, a turn off. Will my children fight over this bag when I am dead? I highly doubt it. Perhaps my SAB but surely not this one :)

Opinions are highly subjective so take mine with a grain of salt - your mileage may vary. I am very particular about quality and just did not find it with this product.
 

DSD

New Member
Pictures and further thoughts...

I took a slew of pics of the replacement bag last night and will try to post some this evening. The replacement bag had some minor issues also but at this point I plan to keep it and use it for rougher use during law school.

I think, for me, it is not that I was expecting the bag to be dressy or finely detailed - as observed it clearly is not that kind of bag. I have a new SAB for that kind of use.

My issues stem more from what I believe to be quality control. The marketing of the bag certainly implies that it is incredibly well-made. Rugged and casual, yes, but also very well designed and made. I found the reality to be otherwise. I find some of the elements just sloppy and indicative of poor workmanship - not ruggedness. On my replacment bag the rivets on one strap are completely crooked making the end of the strap also crooked, the main strap has a small tear, and there are some other examples of sloppy craftsmanship. The bag is still attractive in its overall presentation. You can say that misaligned rivets, small tears, glue stains, and such are part of its "charm" as the website implied but I would not agree. You can still have a very rugged and plainly constructed item that is also well made. After all, we are not talking about a $100 bag. If it were really inexpensive it would be another matter but it is, price-wise, on par with other mid-range bags.

I also found some of the advertising done by the owner to be misleading and dishonest, despite the fact that he promotes a high moral code. This is, for me, a turn off. Will my children fight over this bag when I am dead? I highly doubt it. Perhaps my SAB but surely not this one :)

Opinions are highly subjective so take mine with a grain of salt - your mileage may vary. I am very particular about quality and just did not find it with this product.
 
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