Product: Laptop carrying case
Manufacturer: Saddleback Leather Co.
Accommodates: Up to 17″ laptops
Retail Price: $265.00 for medium, $285 for large
Availability: Out now
You’re paying for leather. Let’s get that clear straight away. Mind you, it’s quality leather. 100% waterproof full grain boot leather with a high density Neoprene padding, as Saddleback will tell you at their site. But is that worth $265? I suppose so, considering how much people spend on leather boots and jackets.
The Saddleback Leather Laptop Case is also an exercise in simplicity. There’s no elaborate folding scheme for airport security checkpoints, no hidden pockets for iPhones and whatnot, there aren’t even any zippers. It’s just leather with some heavy duty stitching and metal clasps for the shoulder strap (it’s nice to see a company using metal against instead of plastic).
The back contains one large pocket for magazines or documents. There’s not much give there, though, so don’t expect to store your novel manuscript. Beyond this, all you have is the main compartment for your laptop. It’s a bit too wide for the modern MacBooks, so there will be some jostling. Put your laptop in a sleeve, though, and you’re good. The flap that covers the compartment is held in place with a leather strap, not a button or magnet, which holds quite well and helps to complete the look.
You’ve got two options for carrying the case around. The rugged leather handle—wrapped around an aluminum bar—isn’t form-fitted to your hand, but becomes more comfortable with time. That’s the beauty of leather, after all.
The shoulder strap also takes some breaking in; it’s 100% leather as well (aside from metal latch mechanism), and its stiffness will wear down with use. I thought the lack of padding on the slidable shoulder rest would bother me, but because you simply cannot weigh down this bag with excess junk, you won’t really need it…unless your laptop is a brick.
There are a couple other things to consider here. First, it comes with a second, smaller pouch that attaches to the bag’s handle, allowing for storage of a power cord, phone or iPod, mouse, etc. This pouch has its own shoulder strap, as well, if you choose to carry it that way.
Second, the leather/Neoprene construction will help to keep your laptop cool, as leather is really good about blocking outside temperatures. It’s also very durable, so you know your laptop is safe inside of it. The corner/edge construction provides for solid shock absorption, and the Neoprene is waterproof (although the bag won’t do you much good if completely submerged). In other words, your laptop will be safe, and the bag will last for quite some time. In fact, it case comes with a 100 year warranty.
And finally, there are a few color options. You can get the case in carbon black, chestnut (shown in all images in this review), dark coffee brown, dark tobacco brown and light tobacco brown. Don’t those color names just scream manliness? Carry this case around, and you’re a cowboy. A computer nerd cowboy—the kind of cowboy real cowboys point and laugh at—but a cowboy nonetheless.
Still having trouble justifying a $265 laptop case that can’t even hold your water bottle? I get that, and the Saddleback Leather Co. does too, which is why they have an answer for “How can I get my spouse to understand that I need this?” in their Common Questions section. Read it before you put this on your wish list.
Would I use this bag? No, but that’s only because I need my laptop bag to carry much more than this one can. But I will say this…after testing the Saddleback Leather Co. laptop case, my standard case, which itself cost over $150, suddenly felt more like a $30 Wal-Mart Hannah Montana bag, and I’m not very happy about that.