White Buffalo Republic Fairview Messenger Bag Review – $279.99

Jim Bridger, Kit Carson, John Colter, Jedediah Smith, William Sublette – all mountain men who embraced adventure and the unknown on a daily basis. During the westward expansion of the United States, these men and their ways, became the “legendary stuff of legends”. To this day their grandiose deeds inspire. One of the things these guys were known for was their “possibles bags”. Generally a possibles bag was made from some type of leather – most likely from an animal they had harvested on their own. This bag was used to carry Items they deemed necessary and critical to have at hand at all times. While I’m sure today’s list of ‘necessary, at hand items’ is much, much different than during those days, White Buffalo Republic has designed a series of “possibles bags” for modern day adventurers and we’re taking a look at their Fairview Messenger Bag.

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About White Buffalo Republic

White Buffalo Republic is based in Afton, WY. Its full catalog of bags and cases are made in Guatemala. “White Buffalo Republic bags are unique, simple, useful, handcrafted works of functional art. While the modern adventurer and explorer’s tools have changed, the need to have a quality bag to carry the tools in has not. Our philosophy and operations are based on the “old fashioned” notions of attention to detail, pride in our product, and value for our customers. Our calling is not just to produce fine quality leather goods – we also strive to treat all with whom we deal fairly and honestly. We believe that these traits are the marks of true craftsmen.”

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The Fairview, and all of their products, are made with locally sourced, full grain, vegetable tanned leather. The entire tanning process is actually done right in Guatemala by local craftsmen. Each hide is cleaned and dyed using natural oils and waxes to produce an attractive and durable finish. Once White Buffalo Republic’s own team of artisans get the leather, they hand cut and stitch each component of the bag. Every bag is hand stitched using the traditional double stitch method employed by saddle makers to produce an iron tough bond. The hardware is United States sourced stainless steel or nickel, all of which has proved to be sturdy and durable.

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The Fairview is nice and roomy, at 16″ x 10 ½” x 4 ¼”. It fits my laptop and other items well and has ample room for my books, magazines and papers from work. I would like to see a zippered section where I could store smaller things like change, cords etc. It would also be great if one of the inside pockets fit an actual tablet. I find myself putting it in a bigger pocket and I worry about it getting messed up. But none of these minor issues would have me going back to a cheap nylon messenger bag.

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The 1 ½ “ strap is adjustable from 40 1/2″ to 54 1/2″ and includes a leather shoulder pad. The strap and its hardware both feel very sturdy and have performed with no issues. The carry handle is well sized and shaped, and provides a nice alternate carry method. You just need to ensure the main flap is secured in order to carry it with the handle.

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From the White Buffalo Republic website: “All of our bags are made of full grain, high quality, natural veg tanned leather. While each bag will fit the standardize size specifications noted in the description, not every bag will be exactly like the model shown in the picture. Your bag will be unique. Some bags come with brand marks, evidence of insect bites, or a myriad of other marks or scars that add character. (If you find yourself bored in a board meeting, you can let your mind ponder how that scar got there.)” The bag we received has an awesome brand mark right on the front of the bag, which definitely makes it a one of a kind piece. And, it’s something people notice, comment about, and overwhelmingly appreciate.

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My Fairview Messenger is in the color “Antique Brown,” but it also comes in a natural veg-tan color. The Antique Brown color has a beautiful, rich coloring right out of the box, and only continues to darken and develop a gorgeous patina. The double strap, dark coloring, and squared edges really give it that western, rugged flair.


I think close to 20 people commented on my bag within the month I had it…and the comments continue to come wherever I carry it. Some of them have pulled me aside while walking into or out of our office. “Nice bag, man!” is what I hear a lot. And I do love the bag. I love that is sturdy. There isn’t anything about this bag that looks or feels like it is going to fall apart.

At $279.99, the White Buffalo Republic Fairview Messenger Bag is closer to the lower end of the price spectrum, but the quality easily matches bags in the $400+ range. This bag is sturdy, attractive, and quality, perfect for the “modern adventurer.” It definitely qualifies as an excellent purchase for the price. In addition to the Fairview Messenger, White Buffalo Republic has several other messenger and briefcase designs in their arsenal. Be sure to check all of them out.

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  1. oh wow,love this bag….lovely.

  2. this review is meek and doesn’t tell more than what WBR tells me. Can you comment on the quality of the leather and craftsmanship? How about a comparison with competitions such as Kendal and Hyde and SBL?

    • Unfortunately I haven’t had first hand experience with the WBR bag, but I’m very familiar with K&H and fairly familiar with SBL. Comparing my own experience, website descriptions from each company, and BestLeather reviews, the WBR seems to be a great option if you’re looking to save some cash, but likely not quite the caliber of K&H or SBL. The leather appears thinner and less finished (burnished, ironed), and the design appears to be more simple. Fewer rivets and other design features that can enhance the use experience and strengthen stress points. On the other hand, WBR is hand made and saddle stitched, something neither of the other two companies boast, and would normally increase prices quite a bit. Hopefully Tim chimes in and gives even more insight here.

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