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New Saddleback ROUND satchel

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

Hi all forumites,

First post and time to return the favours of all your insights over the last few hundred posts!


I pulled the pin and placed an order for a Large Satchel, DCB, post to Sydney and with a small ID wallet and a Small gadget pouch for an iPhone.


It was not my first purchase with SBL- I bought a large wallet in December of last year but more on that later.


THis post is not a big pros/cons review or 'unboxing'- and until I figure out how to post pictures, there are none of them either. It is more about the experience of the order process and some of the choice decisions


The day after I placed my order and it was confirmed, the new version was announced. I wrote back in time and they were just able to swap the model to the new type just in time with a small upcharge.


There are two things about the new model that was only barely touched on in previous posts and that is to do with sizing.


1/ The new model is 14" wide, not the older 13 and this makes a difference.

If you are living outside of the USA, you are probably using A4 stationary pretty frequently right?

This new model comfortable fits an A4 binder or Note Book. No Sweat.

In fact it can fit a THICK A4 binder, plus other A4 documents without squeeze or hassle.


2/ The 14 Inches I think also gives the bag a better Aesthetic Aspect Ratio. Ok, so this is subjective thing. I am 172cm tall and 72Kgs, so not tall, not short, someplace in between. THe large size fist me well.


Volume? OK I have not taken a real measurement yet but I can say it is on par if not slightly larger than my Crumpler Western Lawn Messanger bag for comparison. That one is about 14L of Volume on a good day, but advertised as 11L. In a case of natures foodchain, When I received the parcel at work, I took my crumpler and its contents home inside the new satchel



So why not the classic briefcase? Well, to pictures and dimensions it looks really thick. 20odd cm sticks out a fair way on me. I also did not want the two extra straps that no one seems to use much. Weight is the biggest 'complaint' on that bag (Although surely you knew it was coming right?)


Why not a Large thin Briefcase? I thought long and hard about this. A4 would fit in fine, but when I considered the contents of what I carry, an apple is often in the mix for my Daily lunch. The Partitions in the thin briefcase are thinner than an Apple! Ergo, I could not carry an A4 foder and an Apple at the same time without some weird bulge thing happening. THis model was ideal except for the thickness. I wanted something inbetween. 


How about the messanger? Well, the size to get an A4 in seemed quite a 'tall' bag to me, and having experience with a similar laptop bag design, a long front flap I find is not only ungainly to get in and out of, but being leather, not a well utilised used of material and weight.


So the satchel was lined up. 


The ordering process was shit hot. I remember when I bought my large wallet (My old Mambo travel wallet from the nineties was threadbare and falling appart) it was expensive for a travel wallet. But, I wanted to test out the SBL construction quality and get something I needed without committing too much. Freight at the time was a killer.


SBL noted that cost (it was UPS) and I noted that I was not aware of the sometimes missed fineprint about the USPS option. This is not only cheaper but sometimes faster! SBL was kind enough to refund me the balance of the cheaper freight option and secure for me a very much cheaper option for the small ID wallet and the IPhone pouch than what the website would suggest. Those two only added $4 to the overall freight bill of $65 with a 7 Day Delivery from Distribution to Sydney Australia. Pretty Good considering the relative alternatives.


THey guys were super helpful in ensuring the order happened and on time. I plan to "Christen" the bag with a short Business trip into Japan next week and one to the States in 3 weeks time. As it turns out, I think I have something in each pocket of that large travel wallet after passports, cards, iteneraries etc all go in. Maybe then Photos can be forthcoming. I will also be able to give then some insights to pros and cons in the field and how I tried to EDC stuff inside it.


Cheers all and thanks for all the reviews opinions and you tube clips that helped me make my decisions.  




post #2 of 6

Thanks for the thorough review! The only thing missing is lots of photos! Particularly, I'd love to see how you've packed it to get a better sense of what it fits and doesn't fit.


I'm currently choosing between the Large or the Medium Round Satchel and I'm a little confused about what you're writing about A4 binders. A4 is 297mm wide, which is less than 11.75", so I don't really understand how the old 13" model could ever have been a problem with comfortably holding anything A4-sized? Based on the measurements on the website, even the Medium 12" model should fit A4.


Another thing that has me a little confused is the measurements listed on Saddleback's website. For example, here's the Large measurements:



  • 13 ⅞” (35.2 cm) Wide, 12” (30.5 cm) Tall, 5 ⅜" (13.7 cm) Deep
  • Outside Pockets
    • Back: 14" (35.6 cm) Wide, 9” (22.9 cm) Tall
    • Side (2): 6 ⅛” (15.6 cm) Wide, 6” (15.2 cm) Tall, ¾” (2 cm) Deep
  • Inside Pockets
    • Back: 14” ⅜ (36.5 cm) Wide, 9 ¼” (23.5 cm) Tall (Fits a 13” Laptop nicely)
    • Side (2): 5 ⅝” (14.3 cm) Wide, 6 ⅜” (16.2 cm) Tall


Emphasis added -- how on earth can the inside pocket be wider than the outside dimensions of the entire satchel? Are these figures on their website just bullshit, or is there some magic going on here that I don't know of? If the measurements are correct, surely even the Medium Round Satchel would fit A4 sized stuff without any issues:


  • 12” (30.5 cm) Wide, 10 ½” (26.7 cm) Tall, 4 ½” (11.4 cm) Deep
  • Outside Pockets
    • Back: 12" (30.5 cm) Wide, 7 ¼” (18.4 cm) Tall
    • Side (2): 5 ¼" (13.3 cm) Wide, 5" (12.7 cm) Tall, 11/16” (1.7 cm) Deep
  • Inside Pockets
    • Back: 12 ½” (31.8 cm) Wide, 8 ⅜” (21.3 cm) Tall
    • Side (2): 5 ⅛” (13.1 cm) Wide, 5 ¾” (14.6 cm) Tall


Since you own a Large bag, would you mind double-checking the actual measurements on your bag and let me know what's up with this? Also, would you mind putting it on a scale to measure the weight (including shoulder straps)?


Many thanks in advance!


- David

post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 

Hey man thanks for your questions-


One thing to note is that the dimensions you noted are for the page only. A binder measures 12.5" The Medium measures 12.5 on the inside. One poster noted she had to squeeze A4 in and even then only against the back seams where the dimension was the largest. With the large- you have that extra wiggle room. Inside it measures 13.5"


Weight wise- empty it comes in at 2.1kgs. But hey if light is what you want get Nylon- if heavy duty then leather. My feelings at least. Each to their own. But I don't think anyone buys these without knowing it has mass.


Size wise it is the perfect balance for me. It has moonlighted as a domestic travel laptop bag, international carry on, daily commute to work, site bag. It has not proven to be a casual weekend bag for me yet - but then again I don't carry a bag ever on the weekends. On a family holiday it was a good travel tote in the back of the car for easy to access stuff.


Inside on a daily work commute It carries a Maxpedition EDC for odds and sods, Ray bans, a Filofax personal, a Work iPhone, my Samsung Mobile, a sandwich sized tupperware box, an apple, and a pullover in winter.


On site it may also have a waterbottle, A4 folders, a small IBM 11" notebook, a 11"x5.25" (Paper) notebook


International flight it would also have an ASUS transformer, SBL large travel wallet, toiletries and a change of necessaries.

At this point I am cinching down to the third last hole on the strap. I noted a poster complaining that the front strap was too long. For carrying 3/4 full that is probably right, but I am glad that it has been as long as it is. 


Shoulder strap- I am yet to use it in backpack mode. That given, I only use one of the pads, and the extra length gets folded under the loops. Yeah I could cut it off and re-stitch, but that limits the day I might need the backpack mode..... I just tie it down- its out of the way.


The Handle- actually really useful for yoinking in and out of the car, or that short trip from front door to car.

Cheers mate



post #4 of 6

Thanks so much for your reply and for your descriptions of how you're using the bag and what it can contain.


You're definitely right that the people who choose these bags know that they'll not be lightweight. The reason I wanted you to double check the actual weight of your satchel on an accurate scale is because I did that with my Medium Thin Briefcase last week and was unpleasantly surprised. I too had removed one of the shoulder pads and I was curious to see how much that shaved off from the total weight of the bag. It's listed on their product page as 4.25 lbs / 2.0 kg, so I was hoping that the scale would say something like 1950 grams with one of the shoulder pads removed, because I do find the bag to be just a tad too heavy for my taste. Unfortunately, it turns out that my empty bag with the rest of the shoulder strap tucked inside it weighed a whopping 2320 grams! I didn't try with the other shoulder pad added again, but suffice it to say that the measurements on their website cannot be trusted.


The thing is that I was originally choosing between the Medium Thin Briefcase and the Large Satchel. Both would fit my laptop and other stuff I carry with me, but the satchel is more flexible since it has just one single compartment, which would work better for when I'm stuffing it with my camera gear. The only reason I opted for the Medium Thin Briefcase anyway was because Saddleback's Customer Support said the satchel would weigh more. But as I found out last week, it turns out that wasn't correct. So if you say that your satchel really does weigh 2.1 kg with the shoulder strap, that's great news because it means your bag weighs 200 grams less than mine while still allowing to fit more stuff in compared to the Thin Briefcase.


Saddleback's support has been great about it and has offered me a full refund so I can pick up the satchel instead, and based on your review, I'll most likely pick up the large one as I suspect their information about the inner pigskin pocket is incorrect.


To be clear, this is the measurement I'd like to know, if you have a moment to measure it with a ruler:



According to the website, that inner measurement is wider than the outer, which obviously can't be correct given how it's stitched on the edges. I guess since I've been burned in the past with their incorrect measurements and weights, I thought I'd double-double check before I go ahead and purchase the large round satchel. :)


Again, many thanks for your help with my purchase, and congrats on what looks to be a killer satchel! Great taste of color, too. ;)




post #5 of 6
Thread Starter 

GDay again!


that back pocket dimension depends on what you are putting in-


If it is 0.5" thick then you can get away with 13" length

If it is 1" thick then 12"


THis is because of the stitch of the pocket being a single sheet of (unlined) pigskin, as opposed to a pleated design.


Being unlined, it can stretch and conform to your object's shape like the outside pockets did.


I find I normally slip in loose paper like bills that need to be paid  or something of the kind. 


post #6 of 6

Thanks so much! That all makes sense and aren't "crazy" dimensions like those listed on Saddleback's website. :)


And the weight really is 2.1 kg?


Thanks again!


- David

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