Update (March 2017): Sadly, Kendal & Hyde is no longer in business. Check out other great leather bag options here.
For several years I’ve thought about getting a leather satchel or messenger for myself. However, each time I looked into it, none of the options I saw spoke to me enough to justify a buy…until I saw an ad for the Kendal & Hyde Classic Satchel. The bag I had envisioned being on my side had finally surfaced. Rugged yet undeniably classy and cool, the Classic Satchel is sure to serve well and turn a lot of heads in any situation.
Note that this review is based off several months with the same late-version prototype of the Classic Satchel in our first impressions review. Differences to the production bag will be noted, and details provided in the first impressions review won’t be addressed here.
About Kendal & Hyde
Kendal & Hyde, based in California and Utah, are relative newcomers to the leather world. They are now on their eighth project launch on Kickstarter, none of which have failed to at least double their pledge goal. Their company was founded on the desire to fill modern needs with classic looks and no compromises.
The Classic Satchel is my personal first entry into the leather world. After the aesthetics grabbed my attention, it was time to do some research into what makes a quality leather bag. I quickly realized that Kendal & Hyde were cutting no corners on construction – thick, North American vegetable-tanned leather, solid brass custom hardware, and marine-grade polyester thread (note: prototype leather nor hardware are full production).
Occasionally the stats on paper seem impressive but disappoint when you experience the real thing. This simply was not the case with the Kendal & Hyde Classic Satchel. Upon first sight, the bag exudes strength alongside its classic look. After a few months of use the strength has proven itself without fail. Production models will only be more sturdy.
The Classic Satchel has many useful features common to bags of its type, but enhanced for the modern user. My favorite enhancement is the laptop pocket. It holds your laptop snug in the center of your bag, surrounded by several layers of leather on all sides and edges – it’s extremely well protected.
The front section’s pockets are great for smaller every day carry items, though besides storing a few papers, I usually don’t use the front area outside of the pockets. The back section isn’t compartmentalized, and is best for larger, solid items (since this compartment will hit against your body when wearing). Because of the divisions in the bag, any single item thicker than ~3” will be very snug, but the bag is overall large and will hold quite a bit.
Kendal & Hyde offer several add-on accessories to customize your bag to your needs. The backpack straps are great for when you’re carrying a lot of weight or traveling further. The single/triple pockets were intended for Macbook chargers, but I use it for anything I want quick access to or don’t want any pressure on.
The quality of materials in the Classic Satchel also play a big factor in how well it functions. The thick, sturdy leather and solid hardware is strong and makes the satchel much easier to use than cheaper alternatives.
If number of compliments are the only measuring stick for aesthetic, the Classic Satchel passes with flying colors.
My personal favorite aspect is the patina development on the “natural” color leather. Over time my satchel has developed colors and marks that distinguish it from any other. Kendal designs his bag with this purpose in mind, and it works well – your bag will truly become your own.
Another fantastic thing about the Classic Satchel is the versatility of its look. I’ve yet to find an environment where it felt out of place – from suit to jeans. Here’s where the simultaneously classy and cool look really work in your favor.
The Kendal & Hyde Classic Satchel is strong enough to serve you well for a lifetime and has the looks to fit in nearly any environment. Over time it will become uniquely your own product, whether from customization with accessories or simply from the marks (memories) that will develop on the beautiful vegetable tanned leather. At $500 the Classic Satchel is a fantastic value – and at the time of writing, Kendal & Hyde are still offering a $100 discount to early buyers. Not only is the Classic Satchel a great value, but should last long enough for your children to enjoy too. It is a Buy It For Life product that I highly recommend.