Marlondo Leather Backpack Review – $398.00

Serendipity means the gift of finding valuable or agreeable things not looked for.  When I received the Dark Brown version of Marlondo Leather’s new Backpack two days prior to a camping trip in Montana, I understood what it meant to be a beneficiary of the concept. If you’ve never been excited about owning a backpack before, you will be when you see this one. It is gorgeous in its full-grain leather, brass rivets, and nickel-plated hardware construction. Equally at home in the office or on the trail, the craftsmanship and durability of this pack will serve you for years to come.

Marlondo Leather spent a significant amount of time re-designing this pack from the previous version (read their no longer produced Rucksack review here), and the thought that went into it shows. They managed to combine beauty and functionality into a design that yields the perfect day pack for the adventurer, traveler, or full-time student.


About Marlondo Leather

“Ma”, as he is known, is a Chinese entrepreneur who has worked to give the Marlondo name the meaning it has today. He turned early setbacks into a thriving online leather store that ships all of its products from US distributors and understands the importance of good customer service.



The Marlondo Backpack is a heavy, beautiful beast constructed of full-grain cowhide leather, sourced from the United States, weighing in at 3 pounds, 10 ounces. Leather thickness varies from 2 to 3 millimeters (6-8 ounces) depending on the part of the bag measured. It is stitched with marine grade thread that can withstand exposure to sun, salt, chemicals and more without degrading. The designers saw fit to use heavy duty nickel-plated hardware for the buckles to ensure worry-free closure of the outside and main pockets.


The D-rings on the outer flap of the main pocket, designed to be used with the optional utility straps – available in 3 different lengths – for holding a blanket, sweater, or similar item, are just as solid in their design. In addition to the aforementioned hardware, brass rivets at all stress points ensure you will probably wear out before this pack does.



There is an outer pocket held closed by two buckled straps, two open side pockets, and an unlined main inner pocket featuring a two-pen holder (a neat idea, since I always tend to lose pens when the holders have been on the outside of the bag). The main chamber also sports a recessed pocket big enough to hold a 7” tablet. There is also a carrying handle, and two adjustable shoulder buckle-style shoulder straps.



Overall, it is a tough, heavy bag designed to take the stresses of the road. It’s less likely you’d want to take it on long hiking trips due to the extra weight the leather adds.


I’ve carried this pack for three weeks in the mountains of Montana and the concrete jungle of Spokane, Washington. In every case, I’ve carried the pack for a mile or less at one time. The pack never felt uncomfortable or too heavy, even packed up with 25 pounds.


There’s room for water bottles on the outside pockets, and the front pocket serves for carrying a phone and other odds and ends. The main pocket has buckles on the sides that allow you to expand or contract the opening. By loosening these buckles, I was able to fit my 17-inch laptop inside and then cinch them back up for a snug fit. With no padding in the main chamber, you will want to be a little more cautious about dropping the pack on the floor after a day at the office. Even after putting in the laptop, there is still room for accessories and your schoolbooks. It also sports an inset pocket that held my 7” tablet and case with room to spare. I was still able to access the penholder on the inside of the main pocket, but it becomes somewhat less useful when the main chamber is filled with other items.


In regards to the closure systems on this pack, everything is secured by buckles. These buckles do make getting into and out of the pack slower than other pack closure systems such as a drawstring or quick release plastic clips. Some might see it as a criticism of the pack, while others will appreciate the quality and craftsmanship that went into building the pack this way. In this case, it depends on whether you value function over aesthetics.



If you want a backpacker’s pack, you can find them everywhere. If you want a beautiful leather backpack that you can take to work and out to play for a day, look no further. The covetous looks of family members when I first brought this pack home were enough to tell me what I already knew: don’t let this pack out of your sight, because someone will steal it.


Full grain leather has a tendency to scratch easily. I think the scratches add to the look and patina of the leather on the pack. However, it is possible to buff out the scratches with a good quality leather conditioner depending on your preference. I do recommend you use a good conditioner (Marlondo offers one on their site), as this pack is an investment. The nickel-plated buckles and D-rings give a nice contrast to the bag. The brass rivets look great as well. However, I’d consider using non-plated buckles and D-rings in the future to give an even look to the metals on the bag. For me it is a very minor issue, but one worth considering.


In regards to the buckle and strap closure system on this pack, I love the charm and toughness they give to the pack. While I may miss the occasional phone call if I put my phone in the front pouch, I can live with that.


Serving as an eye-catching day pack or traveler’s pack, the $398.00 retail price certainly isn’t cheap, but it is a good value. The Marlondo Leather Backpack, even with its beauty and functionality, is a significant investment in leather. If you choose to do so, you won’t be disappointed.


If you are someone concerned with the amount of weight you put on your back (back-country hikers, for example), you might look towards a synthetic material pack weighing significantly less. If you are someone who needs quick access to your pack all the time, there are no plastic quick releases here. I’d also have a hard time putting the pack somewhere that I couldn’t see it at all times. Its look and quality unfortunately make it a great target for theft in this day and age.

Other than those considerations, the aesthetic appeal, durability, and functionality of this pack make it an excellent choice for anyone who appreciates fine leather goods by artisans who care about the products they craft. While I do own other backpacks, they’ve been, ahem, temporarily set aside while I continue my study of this pack for the foreseeable future.





Marlondo Leather Vertical iPad Satchel Review – $145

I have to admit, when the iPad first came out, I was skeptical that I could ever love a giant screen. I was even kind of skeptical until a few months ago when I was lucky enough to receive one as a gift. Of course, the fact that I could watch Netflix without getting out of bed won me over immediately, and now I take it with me everywhere (Don’t worry, I use it for important stuff too, like playing videos of crickets and watching my bearded dragon freak out). Of course, now that I’ve begun writing for Best Leather, I’ve embarked on a quest to find the nicest accessories for my fancy new iPad, and found that the Marlondo Leather Vertical iPad Satchel is an excellent choice.

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Marlondo is a small, US-based company that uses full-grain American leather to create hand-crafted goods at an affordable price point. The Marlondo team loves to design and create durable and functional pieces using high quality leather and signature brass rivets.

Marlondo Leather iPad Satchel 7



Using full-grain, chrome tanned American cowhide, the Vertical iPad Satchel is sturdy and durable. The simple, classic brown is lined with dark colored pigskin. Over the last few weeks of use, the leather has darkened up considerably and gained a nice patina. Buff it up with some leather cleaner (check out some of our favorites here) and it maintains a beautiful color that only gets better with age.

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The Vertical iPad Satchel is a long, thin bag just big enough to carry a standard iPad. Its dimensions are roughly 8.5” x 10.5” x 4”. There is a divider down the middle to keep your iPad protected from the rest of the bag’s contents. There’s also a small pouch built in to the back, perfect for storing things on the go.

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The bag is built extremely sturdily. Almost every seam is double-stitched or reinforced. All the hardware is heavy brass, and each piece is held together with hefty brass rivets, which are also a nice design detail. There’s no part of this bag that feels cheap or flimsy. It will easily outlast the next few generations of iPads. Who knows, maybe you’ll be able to carry your holographic virtual reality machine in here in a few decades.

Marlondo Leather iPad Satchel 2



This bag has quickly become one of my favorite items to carry every day. It’s thin and unobtrusive yet its simplicity makes a statement. The pouch perfectly fits my iPad 2 and keeps it from rattling around. Any iPad with a slim case would fit in as well. The other, slightly larger pocket isn’t huge, but it fits exactly what you need it to. I’ve found that this is a wonderful personal item for flying. It fits an iPad, a book, wallet, phone, headphones, and pack of gum perfectly, and you don’t feel like you’re going to knock over other passengers when you’re carrying it.

Marlondo Leather iPad Satchel 1


I am usually a fan of quick-access bags with fasteners that come undone easily. However, with this bag, I’m a huge fan of the heel bar buckle, because it keeps everything so secure. I don’t feel like my iPad is going to come flying out if I move too quickly. Plus, if you need a quick place to put things, there is a little pouch on the back so you don’t have to unbuckle the whole thing.

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The Marlondo Leather Vertical iPad Satchel has quickly become a favorite, both for traveling and every day use. This is a design that I haven’t seen anywhere else, at least not in such a slim and classic style. Its high quality leather and durable construction are a steal at $145. This is a bag that will last you a lifetime and will look good doing it.


Marlondo Leather Classic Bifold Wallet Review – $34

The Marlondo Leather Classic Bifold Wallet impressed me the moment I tore open the package. The texture in my hands reminded me of my dad’s old baseball mitt. The leather itself smelled like my grandpa’s office. And the tiny imperfections and wear made it seem like an heirloom from an Arizona Ranger.



About Marlondo Leather

Marlondo Leather is a small U.S. company—their leather all comes from America too. Since they care about simplicity, they keep logos and branding on their products to a minimum, which I love. Everything they sell is hand-crafted and designed for durability—tough enough to follow you on any adventure you’re daring enough to pursue.




This classic wallet is made of heavy, 100% full-grain leather. Marlondo brags that it’s “built like a tank and will last forever.” I can’t yet confirm it’ll last forever, but having used it for some time I don’t doubt their claim. It really is built like a tank—rugged, durable—you name it. It’s also sewn with marine-grade thread, meaning it’s hearty enough to make voyages through salt and seawater. I’m willing to bet it’ll take as much punishment as you can and then some.




It has 4 card sleeves and a large pouch along the back for bills, checks, and receipts. At first, the card sleeves were tight when fitting more than one card, but, like a good baseball mitt, they loosened up once I started to break it in. I now fit 11 cards in the wallet. I wouldn’t expect to push it much further than that though, so, if you have more, this might be the perfect time to weed out the ones you never use.


At 4.5″ x 3.6″, its dimensions are rather large—and this may be your main consideration before buying. The full-grain leather is solid, which is good for durability, but at the wallet’s thickest point, you have 8 layers of leather stacked on top of each other plus the thickness of your cards and cash. For many, its large size is a bonus. But for some jeans, it may barely fit into the back pocket. If the large size is a downside and you’re looking for something a little sleeker, I recommend you look at Marlondo’s Business Card/Credit Card Wallet, which has the same durability and classic look but with a lighter form factor (but the tradeoff is that it won’t fit as much inside).




The leather arrived with a few dings and scratches that immediately gave it style. Due to the distinct fiber structures in individual hides, each wallet will be different and unique. As I used mine, it continued to look better and better. It really is a thing of beauty—the sort of classic your grandpa would have used, and one you’re proud of every time you pull it out. Yes, it’s that cool.


Also, you can get it in two colors. The photos here show the color tobacco. You can also get it in dark brown, which looks just as amazing (but darker).


BestLeather Conclusion

I definitely recommend the Marlondo Leather Classic Bifold Wallet. It really is a classic. And at $34, it’s a steal. Not only is it an item that will last a lifetime, it will last for generations. I can already see the park-bench scene where you’re gifting it to your great-grandson.


Marlondo Leather Single Space Briefcase Review – $380

Marlondo Leather is back in action after a surprising hiatus. Some of you may already know that as a result of our review of his smartphone wallet back in August. This time around we’re reviewing one of Ma’s classic briefcases – the 15” Single Space Briefcase.


About Marlondo Leather

Ma Londo, founder of Marlondo Leather, made quite a splash when he entered into the leather bag world. He quickly garnered some good press, rave reviews of his creations and then, he was nowhere to be found. Fortunately, he is back and appears to be going strong with an updated website full of wonderful leathery goodness.

In non-typical form, Marlondo’s products are made in China…but with leather that is purchased and imported from the United States. In Ma’s own words, “Our bags are made to be used without worry. There are no cheap, breakable parts, no big, ugly logos, just products that will be loyal to you your whole life.”



I know it’s cliché to say, “it’s built like a tank” – but, the Marlondo Leather 16” Single Space Briefcase is built like a tank. Really. It ranks right up there with Saddleback and Thrux Lawrence as far as being über heavy duty in its construction. Thick, 100% full grain leather, heavy duty stitching, pigskin lining, solid brass nickel-plated heavy-duty hardware, and rivets…everywhere (40+ of those lil buggers).


For those of you who are, well…more “seasoned” in life (ahem, older) you might remember the American Tourister commercials with the suitcase being thrown around by a gorilla. Remember how it attempted to beat the snot out of it to no avail? I imagine this briefcase could easily withstand that same type of abuse. It’s solid, it’s heavy, it’s thick, and seemingly will last eons.



As its name alludes, this briefcase only contains one main pocket in it. It’s spacious though and will easily transport a 15” laptop and any accessories you wish to carry. It does have one internal slot (a MacBook Air, iPad, or other thin device can slip into it easily), and on the side it features a couple of penholders and a key strap. Outside, it features a magazine/newspaper slot on the back, an open pocket on one side that’s suitable for a water bottle, while the other side has a pocket that is secured via a buckle and belt set up.


The other nice feature of this bag is that it has attachment d-rings all over it. There are plenty of aftermarket straps and accessories that will easily clip on to this bag allowing you to add on and customize it to your liking. And, you can reconfigure the hefty shoulder strap so that the bag may be carried as a backpack. The strap does include two soft, cushy strap pads making this an even more appealing method of carrying the bag.



Aesthetically, it’s very pleasing. The nice dark brown leather is already aging well at this point and is garnering a nice patina. Currently my middle son is carrying this bag in college over in Montana. So, it is seeing daily usage. He has grown very fond of the bag and says it gets lots of compliments from friends, other students, and professors alike. Personally, I think the Marlondo Leather 16” Single Space Briefcase is an ideal every day carry bag. It sports enough capacity to carry whatever is needed and it does so in style. It doesn’t feature a unique design – but personifies the classic leather briefcase style really well.


In addition to the comfortable shoulder strap pads, it also features a thickly-padded handle. One thing to note – with a classic briefcase in this style (from virtually any leather company), you must completely close the main compartment’s flap via both buckles if you wish to carry the bag by the handle. It’s not a big deal – just something that needs to be pointed out about the basic functionality of this classically styled briefcase. If you prefer to keep the straps unsecured, you just need to plan on carrying it by the shoulder strap only.



Marlondo Leather’s 16” Single Space Briefcase is a solid performer. It truly is built like a tank and will take virtually any abuse you can shell out while still maintaining great looks. It’s fairly priced at $380 given its time-tested design and use of high quality materials. This briefcase is also available in a 14” version should you desire a slightly smaller version. Marlondo Leather looks to be back for good this time, so purchase with confidence and enjoy your leather.

Marlondo Leather Smartphone Wallet Review

Ma Londo, owner and proprietor of Marlondo Leather, is kind of an enigma. He burst onto the leather working scene a couple years back with some very cool and interesting takes on (what has become) the standard leather briefcase styles, and he also designed some smaller pieces like Dopp kits, belts, and wallets.

And then . . . Poof!

He was gone.  His website was taken down, there were communication difficulties, and all that was left were some very loyal fans and some really great leather pieces.

But now, he is back–with a streamlined operation, an Amazon storefront, and some new designs like this nifty little phone sleeve/card case.

Construction, Aesthetic, and Use

It is a pretty simple design–just a single piece of leather that is lined in pigskin, folded in half, sewn together, and then reinforced with rivets.  There is a second piece of leather attached to one side that will fit two or possibly three cards.

The sleeve is not specifically created for an iPhone, but its occupant definitely needs to be approximately iPhone sized.  I tried to squeeze my HTC One X+, which is slightly wider and taller than my iPhone, to no avail.11

The sleeve is great for a night out, or for traveling very light.  It will only hold your essentials–phone, ID, and a single credit or debit card–so it might not be suitable to be your everyday carry, unless you are very organized.  Challenge accepted?

To order something from Ma, check out his website here, choose one of his current designs, or talk to him about creating something specific to you.

Marlondo Leather Thin Briefcase Patina Followup

Here are some photos of this Marlondo Leather Thin Briefcase that has been in action for almost a year now. It’s beautiful. The back is smooth and shiney where it has rubbed against clothing and the front is rugged and smooth with use. No signs of any weakness or failures yet and I don’t suspect there will be.

Interestingly, as I was shooting these photos in the coffee shop a gentleman walked by with the oldest floppiest Saddleback Leather Classic Briefcase as well. There are two photos of that at the bottom.

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Can A Lady Wear A Rugged Leather Bag? Absolutely!

This is a guest post by Kristin from Los Angeles, California.

I’ve had this bag since August of 2013. I liked it when I first saw it but since then I have grown to love it more and more.

Marlondo Leather Classic Briefcase Review1

It’s a beautiful coffee brown Marlondo Leather Classic Briefcase. It has a strap that can either make it a one shoulder briefcase or a backpack. That feature is extremely useful because of the weight of the bag. I am a young lady and not terribly weak, but this bag is heavy when you put a computer and a few books in it. I have a huge dell laptop (which adds a lot of weight) and so when I had it during school I couldn’t take it to all my classes like I needed too because I didn’t know about the backpack option and the one shoulder that it was hanging on started hurting really badly. However, I soon learned how to make it a backpack and since then I have had no issues at all.
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It has two main pockets, two smaller pockets on the inside, and one pocket on each end outside the bag. The leather is strong and durable. There was a time where I accidentally dropped it with my computer in it but the bag protected my computer and it had no damage whatsoever. It holds and protects its contents quite well.

It’s very professional looking and perfect for my meetings with photography clients.

Marlondo Leather Classic Briefcase Review2

Like I said before, I used my bag primarily for school. I was using it on a daily basis taking my books and computer to classes and in that way, the bag is tremendous! I also have used it as a camera bag. It protects my gear as well as holds it all with plenty of room.

The bag is extremely durable. It is extremely comforting knowing that I don’t have to worry about it falling apart and breaking. The wear and tear that the leather gets looks awesome and as time goes on the bag simply looks cooler. It has some scratches on the front but they add character to the bag.

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I get comments and compliments on the bag everywhere I go. People are very impressed with the quality and appearance of the bag. It’s very classy and professional looking. I feel pretty cool walking around with it.

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Saddleback Leather “Tank” Backpack vs Marlondo Leather Backpack Review

Editors Note: This is an out of date review. The latest Marlondo Leather Backpack compares quite favorably against the SBL backpack.

Prolegomena: a discursive introduction

I impressed it upon TJ that I retain the full copyright for this piece and TJ is permitted to use it so long as he publishes it in full. He is a good friend to me, and an excellent human being, in my judgment–and he let me borrow the backpack for the review. I insist on full disclosure, and not all of what I am about to say is positive. I would rather write something and have it never see the light of day than to have it shred to pieces by an editor as if it were the American constitution and he were an American president in the late 20th or early 21st century.

Disclosure: Conflict of Interest and/or Bias

I own an older Saddleback Leather Backpack in chestnut. I am the guy in this review. The data reflects a strong correlation between owning the Tank and liking it. Therefore, due to my background, my interest in reviewing the Marlondo Backpack as objectively as possible conflicts with my unavoidable confirmation bias.

And, in the spirit of full disclosure, at the risk of adding unnecessary details, I should also tell you that I own an SBL chestnut iPad case and a chestnut portfolio. I’m sure I’ll be smeared as an overly loyal SBL fanboy by that one obnoxious dude in the Facebook forum. I forget his name. But at least now you can’t accuse me of hiding it. So go pound sand, obnoxious guy whose name I can’t remember and prefer not to look up (for obvious reasons).

“There are no solutions, only tradeoffs.” -Thomas Sowell

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the SBL Backpack
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the badass sporting said backpack

Silver Lining?

The good news is that I am in a good position to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the Marlondo piece in light of extensive use of a rival bag. And in fact, rather than attempting an uninterested, context-insensitive review of the Marlondo bag, I think I’ll take the liberty to review this backpack as it relates to my specific use cases. For those who can’t relate, tough. There will be someone out there who finds that this review provides the exact insight he or she needs, right when he or she is at the decision- making stage of the sales funnel. And you, my good sir or madam, are welcome.

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Should you buy this bag?

It is my assessment that this leather backpack represents a remarkable value given its retail price. Whether it is the most beneficial leather backpack option for you, given what it costs you personally, is contingent on data and subjective qualitative states that I neither have access to, nor any interest in attempting to evaluate.

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What could you use this bag for?

This bag is good for going to the gym, going to the beach, traveling (casual affairs only; and it should be ok as a carry-on), toting your study materials and gym clothes around campus, and day hikes. In terms of utility, it is 1. lighter, 2. more flexible, and 3. has a greater capacity than the classic SBL backpack (I understand Best Leather has a forthcoming review of the newer SBL Square Backpack, so stay tuned for a comparison there).

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Leather is good.

Let’s get one thing on the table. Leather is beautiful. It smells good. It is durable. When I saw this piece, it was a delight. The point is that this is a good bag and it is made of leather. It is 1. beautiful, 2. fragrant, and 3. durable. I would rather own it than not own it. It bears some finite, nonzero quantity of value.

What’s more is that the Marlondo backpack is unique. The Saddleback backpack is unique too, but that’s a red herring. So given that 1. leather is good and 2. the Marlondo leather backpack is unique; therefore the Marlondo leather backpack gives off an eerily deceptive allure.

I will proceed to rip this thing to shreds and say that the SBL backpack is far superior (it is), but there is a part of me that already misses this bag. There are aspects of it that are uniquely attractive, even if, net of everything, I still prefer my current bag. It is a strange disposition to articulate, but there it is.

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Misc. Initial Observations

• I do like the appearance of this bag. I like the overall visual impression it gives, and I really like the profile of the bag when worn. My model of SBL backpack has a well-known tendency to dig into the lower back and lean away from the shoulders of the wearer. The leather on this thing has a remarkable matte texture. The leather on my SBL BP is further toward the shinier end of the spectrum.

• The hardware on this thing is not shiny at all. I strongly prefer the shiny nickel-plated brass on the SBL goods.

• The pigskin liner is significantly different than the SBL material. Thinner and more flexible. The interior of my SBL bag feels like a smooth football. I hardly noticed that this bag had a distinct liner.

Complaints After Use

1. Lack of External Hardware.

2. Lack of Convenient Exterior Pockets.

3. Lack of Interior Pockets.

4. Flexibility

5. Narrow Closure Piece

6. Short Distance Between Closure Loop and Closure Hardware

7. Skimpy Top Flap

8. Rucksack Drawstring Thingy

9. Seams Not Double-Stitched

10. Lack of Detail

11. Lack of Hardware

1. Hardware adds weight and utility.

I like to do things like hang my sunglasses and my keys from the d-rings on my SBL backpack. This Marlondo piece has none such. It’s lighter for it, but if there is a use case for the d-rings and the trade off is worth it to you, take heed.

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2. Lack of Convenient Exterior Pockets.

I keep a microfiber cloth on the keyboard of my MacBook when the clamshell is closed to keep the screen clean. When I first sit down and open it up, I swipe the cloth from the keyboard and stuff it into one of the exterior pockets. I was thrown off when I went to do this with the Marlondo bag and discovered that it didn’t have any always-open exterior pockets. After this I started realizing how much I take those pockets for granted. Buyer beware.

3. Lack of Interior Pockets.

When I first got my SBL backpack those two interior pockets got in the way. They are a bit rigid, especially when they’re new, and if you already have half of the bag full, vertically, the interior pockets make it difficult to fill the space beneath them. This is a problem for me because I utilize all the space in the bag. That said, I started relying on them to carry my Magic Mouse, USB cable, external hard drive, etc. It’s nice to have them at the top of the bag, and it’s nice to have them in leather pockets that prevent them from banging around and scratching each other. The bag has become slightly more flexible with use and I’ve molded my packing workflow around them. The Marlondo bag has none such pockets, and it changes the way I have to pack the bag. I actually had to introduce smaller pouches just to carry these pieces, and I never got comfortable with it.

Oh! I also used the flat pockets on the sides of the interior of the SBL backpack for business cards and writing utensils. I have no good place for that stuff in the Marlondo bag.

4. Flexibility (AKA lack of protection from rigidity)

The pigskin on the classic SBL backpack is fairly rigid and the general construction of the bag results in a fairly sturdy structure. One time I had an older MacBook in a Jansport and, upon entering my Toyota Corolla, I lost my grip on the bag and it slid down a couple of feet and met the road. It did $900 worth of damage.

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Flash forward a few years and I have my current machine in my SBL backpack on top of a stack of luggage in the back of a shuttle in Las Vegas. The driver opens the rear door and my backpack rolls off, drops about five feet, hits the road, and rolls another five or so. “Whoops,” he says, and smiles. I was furious, but I kept my cool. Anyway, the bag and it’s the thousands of dollars worth of contents, were all entirely unscathed. As if it never happened.

I can tell that if I dropped the Marlondo bag on the street it would damage my laptop. I feel like I need a case for my computer while it’s inside the bag, which 1. eats into the available space, 2. adds weight, and 3. adds expense to the setup. It also gives me one more thing to handle when I need to retrieve my laptop and setup for work.

But again, it’s a tradeoff. The flexibility of the bag may be an advantage for certain use cases.

5. Narrow Closure Piece

This strip of leather is slightly wider than the ring through which it must pass. This makes inserting it and extracting it more difficult than necessary.

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6. Short Distance Between Closure Loop and Closure Hardware

The short distance between the closure loop and the closure hardware makes it difficult to insert ones fingers in order to pull the closure piece out when opening the bag. This does not reflect usability testing.

What other issues might this bag have due to lacking usability testing that I haven’t yet discovered?

And, actually, the closure loop is surprisingly thin. Given than I carry very expensive cargo, which I use to earn my living, I can’t tolerate this kind of thing.

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7. Skimpy Top Flap

For the generous capacity of this bag, its cover flap sure is skimpy. I live in the Pacific Northwest, where encountering rain and snow on the three-to-four block walk to my car from the café where I work is not uncommon. I need my goods to stay dry in my bag.

This flap makes me nervous.

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8. Rucksack Drawstring Thingy

Not impressed. It feels cheap, it’s inflexible, and it’s insecure. It bothers me that, given the large mouth of this beast, it is drawn together with this sorry excuse for a closure and immodestly covered to boot.

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9. Seams Not Double-Stitched

The double-stitching on the SBL bags looks strikingly handsome. 20% of the people who come within 20’ of my SBL backpack approach me with compliments.

The batting average of the Marlondo backpack fell somewhere between a Jansport and the SBL.

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10. Lack of Detail

You get what you pay for.

The SBL backpack is meticulously assembled. Compare and contrast:

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While we’re taking pictures however, note that the older SBL “overstuffed” straps use leather so thick that it can’t comfortably conform to one’s shoulder. In order to bend, it creates bumps that are fairly hard and uncomfortable. This is unfortunate. They may wear with time (20-100years?) and there may be workarounds, but still.

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Also, the seam that rubs along your lower back can be extremely uncomfortable after a while.

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Over-engineering comes at a cost. All of the touches SBL wanted to put on their straps added up. There is some added functionality/aesthetic value due to some of these little touches, but the end result is a lot of added thickness and weight and price.

The Marlondo straps lack the detail, but aren’t plagued by the thickness and weight. They were fairly comfortable. Also, significantly cheaper.

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So there you have it.

Saddleback Leather & Marlondo Leather Backpacks Review04

Buy Marlondo Leather Backpacks

Saddleback Leather Backpacks on Ebay

Mmmm… New Leather Products From Marlondo Leather

Ma, the owner of Marlondo Leather, has been busy the last few months redesigning their website and product line to be more durable and usable. It’s gone well as you can see. Marlondo Leather has upgraded the quality of leather they use (imported from the United States), added durable pigskin lining, and implemented some hefty brass hardware.

Expect to see more from Marlondo in the coming months as they get all the products listed on their website and develop new ones. I love that golden brown hue of leather. Sign me up!

It will be interesting to get our hands on the new product line to examine the changes in construction and material. The photos sure do look amazing.

The Marlondo Leather Messenger Briefcase – no longer offeredMarlondo Leather Briefcase Thin

The Marlondo Classic Briefcase – $398 to $428Marlondo Leather Briefcase Classic

The Marlondo Leather Classic Briefcase (single space) – $269 to $339

Marlondo Leather Briefcase Single

The Marlondo Leather Brass Buckle Belt – $44.50 to $47Marlondo Leather Briefcase Belt

Passport Wallet – $24

Marlondo Leather leather_passport_wallet_4_1024x1024

 What do you think?