In this video I describe how during the making of this bag they could taper the nylon webbing that is used inside the shoulder strap and continues around the body of the bag.
After doing some research into the use of nylon webbing I have since learned that it is not possible to cut webbing without losing the desired structural integrity that the webbing provides. So, my suggestion in the video really doesn’t work.
Disclosure: The folks at the Crushed Leather Company sent this bag to me with the request that I return it to them once I have completed my review and I will be honouring that request. There was no financial or other form of compensation paid to me for this review and as always, editorial control of my blog remains with me.
Here is a video review of my latest leather goods purchase, a Bexar Goods Co Porter Satchel. I will say up front that this is not my best video work, but here it is anyway.
I didn’t make it clear in the video but this is a leather bag that I purchased used from a friend so it is more than a couple of months old. In the time that I have had it, it has really has developed a lovely character and feel to the hand.
I often find myself using the Bexar Goods Porter in backpack mode on the weekends when I am out and about with my family. This Porter Satchel from Bexar Goods Co is a beauty in the city and out in the woods.
Reading the “About” page for Avallone Leather intrigues me; “Avallone specializes in handmade leather goods. We are built on a foundation of strong work ethic, attention to detail, and a need for the highest quality products. Whether you’re a working professional looking for leather accessories or someone with a love for adventure and travel, our original style and superior quality will help fullfill the everyday demands of your busy life.”
I am very interested in seeing how the Avallone bags compare to my Saddleback Leather and Marlondo Leather bags.
I will let you know as soon as I have the Avallone City Messenger bag in my possession.
Disclosure; Although I do not yet have the Avallone Leather bag in my possession I want to be perfectly clear that the bag is being sent on loan and NO financial or other form of incentive was provided by Avallone Leather to me for writing this blog post. As always, in all my blog posts, I maintain full editorial control.
A few days ago a reader of this blog asked a question about the differences between some of the leather bags I have purchased. I promised to provide that info, and, better late than never, here it is.
The first leather bag I came into my possession was my extra large classic briefcase from Saddleback Leather. I can’t remember exactly when I received this bag, approximately 4 or 5 years ago.
This is the bag that got me hooked on leather bags. It is a beauty. However, it is also a beast because of its size. It is heavy. Really heavy.
Being an extra large it can hold a lot of stuff. Then you need wheels to go under it. I carried it for about a year as a daily carry bag with my laptop and books and stuff in it.
I love this bag. It has a beautiful, supple leather that is supple to the touch. Even though it has a pigskin lining the bag is very flexible and feels very natural. My primary use for this bag is now as a weekender-overnight bag.
The next bag I bought was a Saddleback Leather Messenger bag. The leather the Messenger bag was made from was very different than the classic briefcase. I had the Messenger bag for three years (I have sold the bag now) and it never softened or become supple. It always felt like it was made of some kind of leather plywood.
After the Messenger bag I purchased a Copper River bag. The purpose of that bag was to be a daily carry for when I was out and about the town with my little kids. I wanted a bag to carry diapers, wipes, snacks, and all that sort of stuff without carrying the traditional diaper bag.
The Copper River bag really is an inexpensive bag in comparison to Saddleback Leather bags. I don’t remember the exact price of the Copper River bag but if memory serves me correctly it was about $100.
The leather the Copper River bag is made from is much thinner and unlined. It feels thin. It is leather but it just feels thin and unsubstantial. Add to that the snap-closures. Snap closures are a pain in the butt on a bag. To close them you have to press hard into the bag which can crush whatever is inside the bag. The Copper River bag has never really become a favourite of mine. It does a good job of being a light-weight easy to carry diaper bag. That is all it is.
This picture is from when I first received the bag. It is interesting from me to note how much darker the leather of my Marlondo Leather briefcase has become.
I did treat the Marlondo bag with a generous helping of Fiebings Neetsfoot oil as a leather conditioner. It made the leather a beautiful deep brown that draws many oohs and aahs.
Another interesting thing about this bag is that the leather it is made from is very reminiscent of the leather that my first Saddleback Leather briefcase is made from. It is soft and supple and slouches around quite beautifully. The leather feels natural and organic, not the plasticky-never softens-up kind that SBL seems to use now.
This Marlondo bag is my current every-day-carry-bag. My MB, iPad and assorted cables all fit into the briefcase quite perfectly. I can easily add a binder or text book or two and the bag is still comfortable to carry.
Another upside to the Marlondo bag is that the inside is lined with suede. That adds to the very supple feel of the bag.
The one thing I miss on the Marlondo bag is the fact that there is no key chain/leash inside the bag. I carry three separate large rings of keys and do not like to have them in my pocket. That is a minor quibble though. To deal with this deficiency I have attached a carabiner to one of the D-rings on the outside of the bag. Easy fix.
The bottom line comparison of the three bags? The Saddleback Leather and Marlondo Leather are in a league far and above the Copper River bag. The Saddleback Leather bag has a 100 year warranty that protects the purchaser from any defects in craftsmanship. Even though the Marlondo bag does not come with such overt declarations of their quality I have no doubt that my Marlondo bag will last just as long as my Saddleback Leather bag. And, even if it doesn’t last 100 years, the fact that my Marlondo bag costs a fraction of what a Saddleback Leather bag costs means I could purchase another one or two and still be well ahead of the game.
And finally, when I am out and about town, I carry my Marlondo Leather bag and get endless comments on the beautiful look of the bag and it doesn’t make my shoulder ache from the weight.
Disclosure; each of the bags I have described in this post were purchased at full retail cost by me. No financial or other form of incentive was provided by Saddleback, Marlondo nor Copper River. As always, in all my blog posts, I maintain full editorial control.
I added that it was unlikely that I would be buying another bag anytime soon. She just laughed at me and said, “You know that is simply not true. You will be buying a new bag, it is just a matter of time.” That time came yesterday.
This week I have been working (through email) with Stitcho Mitcho, the designer/leather craftsman at Leather Werk to design a new iPad carry bag. There are many days when I only carry my iPad, chargers and projector connectors, a few file folders, my wallet and my Moleskine day-timer I don’t need to carry my briefcase on these occasions
After sending quite number of emails back and forth we have agreed that he will create for me a hybrid, one-off bag based on the style of bag he already makes, the PouchUn. The difference between the bags he has previously made and the bag that he is going to create for me will be 9.5″ wide, 12″ tall and 3″ from front to back.
All of the bags created by Leather Werk are made as one-off bags and they are made in the USA. They are individually created as they are ordered by customers.
As soon as I get my hands on my new leather iPad bag (probably in 10-14 days) I will post pics let you know how it works for me. Until then.
My first SBL bag was the extra large classic briefcase. It was a gift from me from my mother and father and I will not part with that bag. It is a gorgeous piece of leather work.
However, through the years I have found it to be too large and too heavy to use as an everyday carry bag and I primarily use it as an overnight bag when I travel.
So I have been searching for a new everyday carry bag/briefcase.
And that is when I found Marlondo Leather.
I have to admit that at first it was difficult to communicate with the owner of Marlondo Leather. That was until I realized that he was awake and working starting his business day when I was about to go to sleep. Yes, he is in China and I am on the west coast of Canada. Once that difficulty was worked out we communicated very easily and promptly, that was, as long as I was willing to email back and forth between 11pm and 1am out here in BC.
Once our communication system was worked out I was able to order the exact bag I wanted. One cool thing about the Marlondo Leather bags are that they are sold by their size. They don’t mince words; you can buy a 16″ or 18″ or whatever size you want. I like that. Except I wanted a 14″ briefcase, which they do not list on their site.
The answer to my request was “no problem.”
And a couple of weeks later my new 14″ briefcase arrived.
It took me a bit to get used to the feel of the new ML bag seeing as it is suede lined, not pig-skinned lined like all my SBL bags have been.
Suede lining makes the bags much more comfortable to hold and carry right from day one whereas pig-skin lined bags stay stiff and unwielding for many years.
I have to admit, I am in love with this new bag. I love the slouchy, slumpy feel of the bag. Perhaps if I could afford a SBL suede lined bag I would feel the same way about it, but for $200, this bag is fabulous. A fabulous bag and fabulous value.
Now, here are some pics of the bag from a variety of angles.
This one shows my new briefcase loaded with my typical carry load; a binder, 13″MB, iPad in SBL case, textbook, SBL cable bag, small moleskine notebook, pens, pencils etc, mobile phone, and point and shoot camera.
In this picture you can also see the suede lining.
Now although the Marlondo bag has a quick release clasp for the shoulder strap, if your hands are sweaty or damp or not perfectly dry, this clasp can be difficult to open one-handed. The plus side of this clasp is that it will likely never fail seeing as it is of very solid and substantial construction. It will also never come undone on its own.
Another thing that the people of SBL pride themselves on with their bags is the quality of the stitching. Even under very close inspection of the ML bag I could not find fault with the stitching.
Will it last 100 years so that my grandchildren can fight over it? I don’t know and more importantly, I don’t care. I know it will last me as long as I want to use it. And longer.
As much as I do love this new bag, I do have a quibble or two about it. It is obvious where they have put in cost saving measures. And the cost savings measures really do detract from the quality of the bag.
For example, inside the outside rear pocket you can see that the top grain leather does not go all the way to the bottom of the inside of the bag.
It stops about a third of the way down inside and it is the suede lining that goes all the way. Yes, the outside of the bag is still top-grain leather but this is clearly a shortcut on quality.
Another minor quibble is that the grab handle is hard on the hand when you first get it. It is very square to the touch because it is made up of what looks like stacked leather.
I have gotten used to that feature of the bag and accepted it as such.
I do like the use of the heavy duty rivets and what I am told are Chicago screws for holding the stress points of the bag together.
Everything about the bag feels heavy duty. Although it is not as heavy, or as large as my extra large SBL briefcase, it still has the same heft to it. The leather feels thick, and in fact is thick. The seams all look straight and the stitching is even.
I will say it again, I am very impressed with this new addition to my leather bag collection. It is large enough to hold my essential daily needs and yet not too large so that it gets to be too heavy to carry.
And the best part of this bag? The way it slouches like a teenager! I have never had the pleasure of owning a suede lined SBL piece so I can’t speak for them, but this Marlondo Leather bag has a wonderful slouchy, slump to it.
If you are a budget conscious leather addict, I have no hesitation in endorsing the Marlondo Leather 14″ briefcase.
Disclosure; I bought and paid for the Marlondo Leather Bag with money that should have been used for groceries for my family. Marlondo Leather provided me with no incentive to write this review. As always, in all my posts, I maintain editorial control.