Travel is a wonderful thing. I enjoy traveling immensely and fortunately, get to do quite a bit of it each year for work and play. As many know, airline travel within the United States has changed dramatically over the past few years. With the ingenious [cough] decision to charge passengers for checked luggage, many people have turned to carry on only bags. Due to that change, the choices in luggage have been pretty static – small rolling bags and duffels pretty much dominate the space.
Satchel & Page, in an effort to continue creating unique leather products that tap into old, classic, proven designs while incorporating modern amenities, has developed their Suitcase. I’ve had the privilege of using this bag recently on an extended trip to Florida and California.
Behind the Design
BestLeather has reviewed several pieces from Satchel & Page, who is based in Austin, TX. You can read them here. When speaking with Daniel, one of the founders of Satchel & Page, this is what he told us about the new Suitcase:
“This is the headline bag of our new collection and it’s inspired by a suitcase my family still has that was used by my great grandparents when they immigrated to the US from Europe in the 1910s. That old suitcase is a family keepsake and we designed our new collection with that same character and longevity in mind. The other focus of the collection is on elegant design and functionality, which we feel is very well represented in this Suitcase.
We felt that the classic suitcase is a beautiful design that has been forgotten, basically because most suitcases don’t have the functionality and ease of use that we require nowadays. So we designed this suitcase from the ground up. The sides are reinforced so it holds its shape, but the front and back are soft which makes the bag comfortable to carry and air travel friendly. Our Suitcase also has a shoulder strap and converts to a backpack, which is super convenient for travel or daily commutes.”
The bag is made with 6 oz. vegetable tanned leather for the body of the bag, and 8-9 oz. leather for the handle and straps. The rivets are all solid copper. The heavy duty YKK zipper is a two-way design, allowing one entire side of the suitcase to open up. Inside the suitcase you’ll find an attractive tartan lining along with leather patches surrounding the zippered pockets and key clip. The Suitcase comes in deep brown, but they plan to offer black as a stretch goal in their current Kickstarter campaign.
If you’re already a Satchel & Page fan, you’re definitely going to like the Suitcase. It matches all of their other pieces with the same colored leather, hardware details, and stitching.
The overall appearance of the bag reminds me of suitcases you see when watching movies depicting the early 1900s or viewing photographs from the same era. The Satchel & Page Suitcase has a similar look to some that my grandparents still used throughout the 1930s through the 1950s. The biggest differences from those old leather clad suitcases are: the adjustable shoulder strap, the large zipper, the side handle, and the ability to configure this suitcase to be carried as a backpack.
The dark brown leather is luxurious in both look and feel. The hardware and stitching all match with it to create a piece of luggage that is instantly recognized as custom and special. At roughly 20″ wide x 15″ tall x 7.5″ thick, it easily complies with airline carry on rules while still offering plenty of room to haul your essentials. Upon opening the bag, you’re greeted by the great looking tartan lining and leather accents. Inside you’ll find two slot pockets along the bottom that stay closed with elastic – very reminiscent of old school suitcases with the right section having a small key clip too. You’ll also find a thick leather strap used to cinch and secure items into place within the suitcase. The inside of the main flap also contains two flat zippered pockets for storing various items.
My initial trip with the Satchel & Page Suitcase was a pretty lengthy one, but I thought it would be a fitting test of the bag. This trip involved leaving Spokane, heading to Florida to visit my middle son’s potential college of choice, spending a few days in various Disney parks with family, and then going on to a conference in Sacramento, California before heading home. All told, this trip was 11 days in length.
It took a bit of planning on what to pack and how to pack it, but this is what ended up making the cut:
- 1 pair of jeans, 1 pair of khakis, 3 pairs of shorts, 1 swimsuit
- 4 t-shirts, 3 henley shirts, and 2 polo shirts
- 4 pairs of calf length socks, 4 pairs of short ankle length socks
- 1 black leather belt, 6 pairs of boxers
- 1 pair of leather sandals, 1 pair of black wingtip dress shoes
- 1 hat
- Adjustable shoulder straps that are used for the bag’s backpack carry option
I do use packing cubes when traveling to maximize my use of space. I used 4 cubes for this trip and it seemed to work out very well. Also, to give you some scale on the items packed – I’m not a small man. I am 6’5” and wear 3xlt shirts. A smaller, average sized person will definitely be able to pack more items into this bag without issue.
The Suitcase is an excellent carry on choice. I had zero issues in fitting this into the overhead bin on all of the flights for this trip. I also received comments upon boarding and exiting every one of my flights. This also occurred when picking up my rental car. The bag is definitely one of those unique pieces that people notice.
The only thing I found somewhat disappointing about the bag was the shoulder strap. The shoulder pad is a great size, but it is slippery. The bottom portion of the pad slipped off of my shoulder every time I attempted to carry it in this manner. Consequently, I ended up just carrying it from the top or side handle most of the time. Other times I slid the shoulder pad down to one end and carried it directly on my shoulder using just the strap. The strap is also not long enough for cross body carry (at least for me). The shoulder pad is a great size and looks nice; it just lacks the ability to have any grip. **UPDATE** The team at Satchel & Page is taking care of this issue in their production pieces by using a softer leather that is broken in so that the pad curves and better conforms to your shoulder when you carry the Suitcase. This should eliminate the slippage issue reported above.
At a price point of $650, the Satchel & Page Suitcase is expensive. It’s definitely an investment. But, it’s an investment that will last the rest of your life. In keeping with Satchel & Page’s dedication to quality, the bag is extremely well built, looks fantastic, and will serve regular or occasional travelers with panache and ease. It’s definitely a Buy It for Life item and comes highly recommended from me. If you act quickly, you can snag one for $495 and save some bucks during the Kickstarter.