Saddleback XL Leather Briefcase Review

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by jc1234, Sep 2, 2010.

  1. bobm

    bobm Senior member

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    Yes. I wanted to find out more about them. Im not into fancy suits, ties, shoes, watches, or any of that stuff that people obsess over on this forum. I like big heavy leather boots, big heavy leather jackets that dont get much attention here. However, This is the only forum I found where saddleback had their own thread. Anyway, you cant use the search function without being a member, so absolutely, I joined solely to find out more about saddleback.


    I bought my SB bag about 2 years ago, but would have appreciated your review if it were available then! Yep, SB reviews are very hard to come by and think you gave an honest and thorough review. Funny, becuase only yesterday I was looking on their website to see how much mine cost, because I am seriously considering selling it - just too "heavy" for my purposes.

    Bob
     
  2. jc1234

    jc1234 Active Member

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    So as an update. I contacted Saddleback again and talked to Jana their customer service manager (twice). I told her my concerns and that I did feel they should mention on their website that while these bags are built for function and meant to last a lifetime, the tanning process is specifically intended to make them look like an aged and well used bag very quickly.

    Anyway, she offered to take the bag back and refund my entire cost including shipping both ways. The company did not have to offer that, but they did, because they have great customer service.

    I am still undecided and told her I would let her know on Tuesday.

    As an aside, I have looked around on the net for similar bags and the only things I have found that come close to this bag in terms of oz weight and styling that I would personally use are Walden Bags and Custom Hide. I also like Mitchell bags. The fact is though, that custom hide is more of a refined look, which I already have in a Jack Georges case. Walden Bags are nice, but again a bit more refined and double the price for what I would want. Mitchell is beautiful and if I ever buy a dressy executive style brief again it will likely be Mitchell, but from what Ive seen on the site is just not big enough for what I want, twice the price with the features I want, and I would feel awful if I scratched it up when I go on site, which while not often, is a requirement of the job. Additionally, one of the reasons I went with Saddleback in the first place is that I could use this bag as both a weekend bag, carry on, or briefcase. The lack of dividers and small pockets allows for more versatility. Although Im sure custom hides and Walden Bags would work or be made to work to these requirements.

    So, that being the case, I may either keep this bag, or look for a good deal on a factory second after returning this bag. Seeing as its going to look worn in scratched up in a week or so of use, it seems silly to pay full price for a blemish free bag.

    On the plus side? Well, aside from all the other positives I have mentioned in previous posts, the one other nice thing about this bag is that when I go onto work sites that are indoors or out, whether its on a cold cement floor or outside on a rocky work site in the middle of winter, I can rest easy in in not caring if the bag gets scratched up. Id be upset if I scratched up my Filson, Hartmann, or Jack Georges...not this bag and that is a nice load off of my mind. Kind of like the jacket posted above, the more beat to hell it gets the better it will look...I still wish would take some effort on my part though. But either way, the company has been honest and willing to do everything in their power to make me happy.

    Even if we have to agree to disagree on the best way to treat the leather, I cant fault them on their commitment to customer service.
     
  3. jc1234

    jc1234 Active Member

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    As a follow up I did ask saddleback to look for a factory second and they did locate one, but with the cost of shipping the bag back or paying the shipping of the bag to me, it really didnt work out to be worth the savings to me.

    Saddleback did everything they possibly could have done short of changing their manufacturing processes to make me happy. We disagree on how the bag should be finished, but thats ok. Would I buy the bag again knowing what I know now? If I was interested in a slightly more refined design, or if I did not have a nice leather briefcase, then no, I would not. I would go with one of the other companies mentioned. However, given the fact that I already have a nice formal brief bag that I am emotionally attached too, I will keep the saddleback bag for the reasons mentioned earlier in the thread that I bought it for. However, I do still hope that in the future they change their leather finishing process, or at least specify that the bags are made to look worn quickly. If they have already made mention of this on the website, then I have missed it.
     
  4. acl1

    acl1 Senior member

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    Though some people might find these updates and posts singularly about saddleback to be annoying, I really appreciate the effort you've put into giving these an extensive review. I can't remember the last time a product has been this thoroughly examined or followed up on.
     
  5. bobm

    bobm Senior member

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    As a follow up I did ask saddleback to look for a factory second and they did locate one, but with the cost of shipping the bag back or paying the shipping of the bag to me, it really didnt work out to be worth the savings to me.

    Saddleback did everything they possibly could have done short of changing their manufacturing processes to make me happy. We disagree on how the bag should be finished, but thats ok. Would I buy the bag again knowing what I know now? If I was interested in a slightly more refined design, or if I did not have a nice leather briefcase, then no, I would not. I would go with one of the other companies mentioned. However, given the fact that I already have a nice formal brief bag that I am emotionally attached too, I will keep the saddleback bag for the reasons mentioned earlier in the thread that I bought it for. However, I do still hope that in the future they change their leather finishing process, or at least specify that the bags are made to look worn quickly. If they have already made mention of this on the website, then I have missed it.


    I think Saddleback has leather/products that have that certain look to them - sort of like the Indiana Jones/worn look and as such would be that non-glossy, easily markable leather. The pics on their site, clearly show that look from the get-go. Having said that, perhaps, they should, as you mention, state as such in their descriptions. More info is always preferable to less.
    Bob
     
  6. bobm

    bobm Senior member

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    Though some people might find these updates and posts singularly about saddleback to be annoying, I really appreciate the effort you've put into giving these an extensive review. I can't remember the last time a product has been this thoroughly examined or followed up on.

    Agree 100%. But for heaven's sake, if someone finds thisor any other post annoying, just don't read it. No one is forced to read anything they don't want to read.

    Bob
     
  7. jc1234

    jc1234 Active Member

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    thanks for the responses. Its always hard buying leather goods online, as leather is such a complex material in its depth, grain, tanning, etc. If this item could be bought across the country in stores, then I would not have reviewed it nearly as much.


    As far as the look of the bag, it really depends on the color. For instance in the photos, to me, on my computer screen, there looks to be more of an oiled finish to the bag which makes it look like it has more of a protective finish applied during the tanning process for the black and the chestnut. The tobacco bags on the other hand look natural without this finishing. This could purely be my error, but when it comes to items in this price range that can only be bought online, as mentioned by another member, I think more information is always better.
     
  8. Bandit44

    Bandit44 Senior member

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    One option might be to sell it to another member, take the money recouped money, and apply it to something else. Just looking at the For Sale forum, it appears a lot of people sell off pre-owned merchandise.
     
  9. jc1234

    jc1234 Active Member

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    One option might be to sell it to another member, take the money recouped money, and apply it to something else. Just looking at the For Sale forum, it appears a lot of people sell off pre-owned merchandise.

    Saddleback would have taken it back for a full refund, they give a 30 day return policy. I chose not to return it after weighing its strengths and weaknesses.
     
  10. Bandit44

    Bandit44 Senior member

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    Sorry, missed that in your previous post.[​IMG]
     
  11. ekimneems

    ekimneems Senior member

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    Bringing this thread back so as not to create dupe threads.

    I'm heavily considering getting a Saddleback bag, but as the OP and others have mentioned, there are cheaper alternatives that will also stand the test of time and also look similar.

    I was wondering if anyone had any recommendations as to what the alternatives are, and has anyone actually purchased one? It'd be nice to get some reviews of those products.

    One I was looking at is this one from DiazBags: http://www.etsy.com/listing/57946482...ttt_id_5801948 - The reviews on the site are all really positive and the guy seems to be pretty honest about what you're getting.

    I've also heard people mentioned a company called Rustic Leather - price and style are pretty much identical but you can find them pretty cheap on eBay (as low as $280 or so).

    What do you all think?
     
  12. JDelage

    JDelage Senior member

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    Great thread - thanks to the OP.
     
  13. Doc4

    Doc4 Senior member

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    thanks for the responses. Its always hard buying leather goods online, as leather is such a complex material in its depth, grain, tanning, etc. If this item could be bought across the country in stores, then I would not have reviewed it nearly as much.


    As far as the look of the bag, it really depends on the color. For instance in the photos, to me, on my computer screen, there looks to be more of an oiled finish to the bag which makes it look like it has more of a protective finish applied during the tanning process for the black and the chestnut. The tobacco bags on the other hand look natural without this finishing. This could purely be my error, but when it comes to items in this price range that can only be bought online, as mentioned by another member, I think more information is always better.


    I have both chestnut and tobacco products from SB, and the tobacco does not have the same glossy/oiled finish that the chestnut does, but is more of a dry/suede-ish finish, so it feels different to the touch. I doubt that there is any difference in durability or scratch resistance, although the lighter colour does tend to show a patina sooner.

    Thanks for all your comments. I am [​IMG] at that tank of a jacket!!
     
  14. jc1234

    jc1234 Active Member

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    I wanted to post a follow-up to my original review after having the briefcase for the better part of a year. I still don't drink the saddleback koolaid and I don't think that they are the divine gift from the heavens that some fanboys make them out to be, but they definitely have grown on me and here is why:

    1. their customer service and sales are always top notch, not some of the time, but ALL of the time.
    2. I still have yet to find anyone who has thicker leather bags...sure there are some that feel thicker, but the few I have found have material between the leather and lining to make them feel thicker.

    But here is the biggest reason I decided to order a saddleback wallet and ipad2 case after I had the briefcase for a while:
    At first I didn't get it, I thought they could have made the finish tougher like some of my jackets. But finally a few months back I realized what the deal is with their stuff. It was bugging me...I loved that damn briefcase but I had no clue why. I've never gotten a compliment on it anwhere Ive gone and Its not really exquisite in any one way. The fact is, I love it because its wears like iron and unlike everything else I own, there is no point in trying to keep it looking new because it marks up the second you touch it...but thats sort of the beauty, its really nice to have something that I can just beat to hell and never worry about it looking worse or breaking. My truck is a ford super duty and wears like iron, but I don't want to dent it, my jackets are also made tough as nails, but I don't want to scrape the leather against anything. The saddleback stuff though is worry free and carefree because every time you bang it against something or scratch the leather, it just looks better and takes all the worry out of having a nice expensive leather product.

    The same is true of their other products I own. The workmanship is great and as the dollar has fallen in the last year, they have become a better value for the money IMO. You can still get great stuff for less, but from what I have seen, its the little things like the hardware, number of stitches, uniform thickness, and most importantly strength corners that make saddelback worth-it in the end for me. I like several other high end handmade briefcases that are actually made in the USA (at 2-3 times the price). After having the saddleback though, I doubt I'll ever be interested in worrying about keeping a nice more dressy and less rugged looking briefcase nice looking. Its just too convenient to have one less thing to care about.
     
  15. Lawfor

    Lawfor Well-Known Member

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    Did you join this forum for the sole purpose of talking about Saddleback leather? You haven't made a post that wasn't about this company.

    I continually find it fascinating to see the number of reviews and comments from posters who joined just to discuss Saddleback bags.
     

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