I’m a minimalist. The sort of guy who strives for less-is-more. For example, I use a tablet with a bluetooth keyboard as my main writing device. I wanted something to carry it to work and meetings, something smaller than a normal laptop bag (it just seems weird to carry a mostly-empty bag). I found the perfect thing, the NutSac Satchel Pro, and it has become my go-to carry for just about everything.
I spoke with Greg, one of the founders, on the phone. I couldn’t help but ask about the brand’s name. He laughed and said, “It’s pretty funny to us, but we’re just a couple of nuts trying to sell bags.” Then he added, I suppose with tongue in cheek, “And nobody ever forgets our name.”
NutSac does high-end, affordable, American-made bags. I could tell you how they get their leather from Massachusetts and their canvas from New Jersey, but the most telling detail is posted on each of their product pages—a table titled “Transparent Pricing.” They list the costs of each product down to the penny, including the labor, materials, and freight costs. Then they show you their markup, less than 50%. This gesture is amazing to me—their willingness to be so candid with their customers, an integrity mirrored in their products.
When I asked Greg about this radical transparency, he said, “We want to be different in how we do things. Our job is to provide customers with the best information possible, to help them decide whether they want our products or not—their decision.”
I’ve been carrying this bag daily for the last seven weeks. It’s rugged, durable, and handsome. It’s made of heavy materials. The leather footing across the bottom lends it structure, even when empty. The strap, which is plenty long, also feels sturdy, more than other bags I’ve tested. I’ve even used the canvas as a drying rack for my lunch-time plasticware, and it does a fine job. The drops just dribble off.
The Satchel Pro is scrubbed down to just the essentials, a feature I love. None of this extra-pockets-all-over-the-place business. Greg mentioned that this keeps labor costs down. It also makes the bag handier to use (you never forget which pocket your keys are in). One caveat though: there’s a pocket on the outside of the bag, under the flap, that I’ve never used or opened. Maybe you will. Who knows.
The flap has a magnet inside which keeps the top closed, a nice touch (though the magnetism is not super powerful). The clasp is awesome too and latches snugly over the peg. I like the design. That said, I often don’t bother to close the flap, just because it gets tedious if you’re accessing your stuff very often.
The strap attaches just a tad low on the bag, which means I’ve picked it up and upended my stuff a couple times. It was frustrating at first, but it doesn’t happen if you know to watch out for it.
As far as space goes, it fits my Pixel C tablet easily and could fit a device a few sizes up too. In fact, it snugly fits my 13″ MacBook. I’ve also used this bag to carry lunch to work, and it’s big enough to fit a change of clothes or tuck a pair of shoes (if you don’t mind them poking out the top).
American men shy away from carrying small bags, but internationally it’s commonplace, particularly in Europe and Asia (which explains why NutSac bags are so popular overseas). Personally, I have to admit that I felt a little chagrin when I first started carrying this. Kept worrying someone might ask, “Is that a murse?” (man + purse). No one ever did, but I’ve still got my comeback ready: “No, it’s a NutSac.”
The bag is clean, simple, and not gaudy, or presumptuous. But when you look close, you see the workmanship is sturdy, almost like it’s a vintage military piece handed down from your grandfather who fought in WWII.
The NutSac Satchel Pro costs $149, a reasonable price for quality product. If you’re a minimalist looking for a rugged travel companion, this is a sure bet. I’ve enjoyed mine a ton.