I'm going to review my small Saddleback Leather Company (SBL) tote. This tote comes in either small or large and can be purchased with or without the liner. This way you can buy one bag with the liner and if you want the same bag in a different color you can then buy just the "shell" without the liner and use the one liner for both bags (the liner is detachable). I'm not going to talk about what I can carry in the tote since I did that here. Suffice it to say that the tote can hold quite a lot! And this is the small so I can only imagine how much the large must hold. For this post I'll be reviewing only its features.
The tote is made of thick full grain saddleback leather and is available in four different colors: tobacco brown (mine), chestnut (you can see this one in my What's In My Bag post...I just sold this one), dark coffee brown, and carbon black. I sold the chestnut tote because I preferred the tobacco brown color (and the proceeds helped me to buy a different bag...I know, I've got a problem).
|Front with Saddleback name|
The tote has quite a bit of attention to detail. It was designed by the company's founder's wife, Suzette Munson. SBL products are made in Mexico.
|Thickness of the full grain leather|
The tobacco brown color is a lovely rich honey color that will darken and age nicely with time and use. The leather is wonderful to touch. It is soft and fuzzy. It also scratches easily but that just adds lovely character to the leather and helps it age nicely.
The inside has a detachable liner that is made of pigskin. You can detach the liner - with its contents in place - and move it to a different colored SBL tote, if you have one. Great feature! The liner is held in place by these "buttons" that snap into the shell. Another great thing about the liner is that it is super easy to wipe clean if there are any spills.
|"Button" and SBL logo - a labrador named Blue wearing a sombrero. |
Blue was the founder's dog
The liner has an attached key fob, a cell phone pocket, and a larger pocket with a closure strap.
With the liner out you can now see that the bottom of the shell has a little surprise! It has something that SBL calls a "false bottom". It has a flap of leather where you can lift and place extra money, passport, important documents, etc. in.
This is a feature that can be used any time but would be extra handy when traveling. If you are unlucky enough to get pick-pocketed, they won't take everything if you've hidden your passport and some money in the false bottom under your liner.
The built-in handles are incredibly comfortable to use and I tend to use them a lot! I like the way the bag looks when being held by the handles and I like the way that it feels in my hand.
When the need arises for hands-free use, I use the shoulder straps. The straps are adjustable using the buckles. It has a buckle on the front and one on the back. The straps can also be taken completely off the bag.
You've probably noticed that the tote has several D-rings on it as well. It has a total of 8 D-rings (four on each side). Besides being interesting accent pieces, they can serve to attach and hold things to the tote. You can use a clip or a strap to attach one of SBL's other products...like their pouch...or you could use a strap to attach an umbrella to the bottom D-rings.
The shoulder straps have an additional feature; one strap has a "button" on it while the other has holes for you to feed the button through it. Suzette Munson added this to avoid having one of those pesky shoulder straps fall off of your shoulder while using the bag. This way the straps are attached and solidly held in place on your shoulder. It's a great concept but the few times that I've tried it I've noticed that half the time I'm able to get the straps to unbutton and separate. Not sure how I manage it but I do.
I love using this tote! I get compliments every time that I use it and I get asked many questions about it. It is certainly an attention grabber.
Please let me know if you have any questions about it. I'm happy to answer. I'm really pleased with SBL products. Along with this tote I also have their Big Wallet and their medium Classic Briefcase.
SBL and Colonel Littleton leather goods are my current favorites and I'm happy to blog ad nauseum about them.