Saddleback Leather Co. Medium Thin Briefcase – $461.00
Editor’s Note: Our arts & culture correspondent, Ben Madeska, has owned his Saddleback thin briefcase for two years now. Click here for his review after the first year. Click here for the first review when it was brand new.
It has been another year with the Saddleback thin briefcase without any real damage or wear, other than the strap (more on that below). I’m officially at the point where I take the quality of this case for granted. Same as last year, the only care I’ve given it is to wipe it down with a wet rag and apply leather conditioner once.
In the past year I moved cities and changed careers, so the way I use this briefcase has changed. No more walking to work with my laptop in it through sun, rain, and snow, day after day. It’s an occasional bag now, and more recreational. I’m more likely to put a book and camera in it on the weekend than a laptop and files. I’ve also now had the opportunity to convert the briefcase to a backpack for biking, which is a truly useful, if not entirely comfortable, feature.
This was also my briefcase of choice for a few rounds of job interviews, with one interviewer complimenting it and asking questions. It does get noticed, which may or may not be what you’re after. (Note: I did not get that job. Apparently work experience and education still play some role).
Apart from the normal accumulation of scratches and scuffs, the only wear I’ve found on the case itself is the end of a single thread that has begun to come undone. It’s still firmly knotted in place though, so I’m not expecting any problems. The copper rivets have oxidized to a dull brown and the nickel d-rings remain bright and shiny. The pigskin lining is holding up even better than the exterior leather with very few scratches at all, and those coming from the times I’ve crammed in too much equipment. For the record, you can fit a DSLR camera in there, though it’d probably fit better if you remove the lens first.
The one busted thread after 2 years of solid use.
There does continue to be noticeable wear on the shoulder strap clips. The metal on metal rubbing that happens while walking with the bag slung on my shoulder has created fairly deep groves in the clips. I mentioned this last year, and it is something that Saddleback has offered to replace. I actually fully intended to get them replaced earlier, but somehow another year slipped by (see the earlier mentioned move and career change). Truth is, it’s not something I think about until I sit down and start looking closely at the bag for damage.
Wear on the clips from metal on metal friction.
Over the past two years, this case has been perfect for commuting to work and spending the day out in the city. I’ve also done some long-distance travel with it – planes, trains, and automobiles – but I no longer consider it my first choice for those multi-day trips. That’s not to say it’s a bad choice, it’s incredibly sturdy and has protected my various electronics well while crossing time zones, but it can be cumbersome when space is at a priority. Depending on how I’m travelling, I often want something with less bulk and with better, more secure organization. Big, open pockets and no zippers or snaps to break are definitely selling points for Saddleback products, but sometimes I need more compartmentalization.
This will continue to be my go-to bag for daily use for the foreseeable future (98 more years in their 100-year warranty), and it’s by far the best-looking piece of luggage I own, but it’s not the last bag I’ll ever need.
Own a Saddleback? What model and what’s your experience been like? Have alternatives? Leave it all below.