Copper River iPad Messenger Bag

As some of my long-term followers may know, I love leather carry cases. Be it a briefcase, a Messenger bag, a pouch or what have you, I love my leather bags. Typically I purchase from Saddleback Leather.

Saddleback Leather Collection
Saddleback Leather Collection



However, in my quest for the ultimate leather bag, I recently purchased a new bag from an entirely new seller of leather goods, Copper River Bags.


Even though I feel a deep loyalty to Saddleback Leather, they do not produce a bag like the one I had in my imagination.

And as typically happens when you cannot get what you want from your current supplier, my thoughts began to turn to other companies in the hopes that they could provide what I was searching for; a perfect little bag to carry my iPad, a couple of diapers, baby wipes and a few little snack bags.

Enter Copper River Bags. They were having a Mother’s Day Sale, and, well, it being Mother’s Day and all, I splurged and bought myself a Safari iPad Messenger Bag…as pictured below.

Front of Copper River Bag
Front of Copper River Bag


Now, I have to admit that Saddleback Leather Bags are relatively expensive. The fact that Copper River Bags are not nearly as expensive, well, I was sold. At least sold on the idea of trying a new bag maker.

Of course what is included in the price of a Saddleback Leather bag is top quality craftsmanship, full grain leather and a 100 year warranty.

Big shoes for Copper River Bags to fill. The bottom line, they did. Sort of.

The CR Messenger Bag comes with an adjustable nylon strap. A leather strap costs an additional $75. I chose not to get the leather strap. And I’m okay with that decision. (Note that I corrected the cost of the leather strap…it is $75, NOT the $25 I initially stated)

Snap Closures
Snap Closures

An oddity in the design of the Safari Messenger Bag is the fact that if you load the bag full so that you need to use the second snaps on the closing straps, the middle strap does not have a snap that aligns. That means the middle strap is left flopping open. A design oversight?


As far as quality goes, the leather is a nice weight. It is not lined so it is not as thick and muscular feeling as my Saddleback bags, however, the fact that it is not lined makes it very nice to carry. The leather is quite supple and it fit to my side very quickly. There will be no years of breaking this bag in. It is good to go, right out of the box that it arrived in.

Speaking of the box it arrived in, like many leather bag makers, Copper River Bags sells their wares online. The online ordering process was a bit disconcerting. Easy enough, go their website, pick the bag you want and then check out. They use a service called Etsy. Easy enough but very impersonal. Shortly after ordering my bag I received an email thanking me for ordering from them and letting me know that each piece is individually made and not just pulled off a warehouse shelf so it would take 10-14 days to ship it…and that was it.

About 14 days later I received an email from Pay Pal telling me that my bag had been shipped and so-and-so was the tracking number. Within five days the letter carrier knocked on my door and hand delivered my Copper River Messenger bag! Funny thing is that I never received any correspondence from Copper River Bags. No thank you, no follow up, nothing.

Now a little more about the quality of the bag…

Inside Handle Attachment
Inside Handle Attachment


The handles that carry the weight of the bag and the contents are stitched and riveted to the main part of the bag. Probably good enough to last the 100 years that they warranty them against (same warranty as Saddleback Leather), but it looks weak. As I say, probably NOT weak, it is just that the attachment style does not instill confidence.




Also, some of the stitching shows what I would call

Inside top flap
Inside top flap

a lack of attention to detail. If you look closely at the stitching on the straps you will notice that they are not perfectly aligned. Will this make a difference in the life of the bag? Probably not. And really, I don’t mind that it is not perfectly stitched.



Another “complaint” I have about my new bag is the top handle. The one I might slide my hand through to carry if I wasn’t going to put the strap over my shoulder.

Top handle
Top handle

Well, as you can see, I can




Well as you can see, I can’t slide my hand through the handle.

To be fair, I am not sure how this could be remedied seeing as the straps that run down the front of the bag are on each end of the handle and affix it to the top of the bag. Perhaps slide the straps out by half an each each? That could add another inch and make the top handle much more useful.

One final quibble is about the pockets on each end of the bag. They are just a tiny bit too small to hold my phone or my camera. They are also not quite deep enough to give me confidence in leaving my keys in them. Which I suppose is another quibble I do have, there is no clip on a strap to click my keys onto.

Overall, I am very pleased with my purchase. At just over $100 US I believe I received good value for my money. It is not perfect and the craftsmanship could be better and there are some things about the bag that irritate me but the fact remains, I am happy with my purchase and would happily refer any friend to Copper River Bags if they were looking for a lower cost, good quality leather bag.


 Disclosure: I received no financial or other form of incentive to write this blog post. As always, editorial control remains with me, the writer of the content. The bag that I described in this blog post was purchased by me at full retail cost from Copper River Bags.


  1. Stacey, if the bag is filled to capacity and you need to use the second snaps on the outside straps, do you really need the centre one?

    Maybe you could snap it closed with out pulling it through the D-ring and use the D-ring for something else – camera pouch, bottle pouch, pouch-pouch containing things like a cell-phone.

    Just a thought.

  2. I chose to go with the same style bag from Copper River Bag Co. and I love it. I especially love the fact this company is an American Company and the bags are made in the US. After finding out Saddleback Leather bags are made in MEXICO!??? I was PISST… Another American company outsourcing to another country. At the price of their bags I would expect them to be made in the US. Love their bags but don’t like the fact they use cheap labor and charge $$$$. sorry for the rant but I think people need to know what they are buying and where it is actually made.

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