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2014 Badger & Blade Awards – Briefcases

Return to the Badger & Blade Awards Announcement page.

At Badger & Blade, we’re fascinated with and inspired by exceptional quality. We expend tireless efforts to find, review and share items that stand out from the pack. The Badger & Blade Awards are designed to recognize products of special significance – those which rise above the rest. The finest products are not mere inanimate objects; rather, they are works of art, tirelessly crafted by artisans and truly distinctive. In that spirit, we are proud to announce the award winner for best in class briefcase:

Saddleback Thin Briefcase ($461)

When you think of a well put together gentleman, the last thing that comes to mind is a disorganized mess of papers, books, laptop/tablet piled across his arms. More than 50% of Americans own a laptop computer and 34% own tablets. Whether you need a bag or backpack for your portable technology, or lowly paperwork, nearly all men require some form of transport for their gear. Men typically sport few accessories and keep items until they literally fall apart, so one as large and visible as a briefcase should be carefully considered. Thankfully, Dave Munson at Saddleback has simplified this equation to merely two questions – what size and color?

SB2While it rings in at $461 for the medium in dark coffee brown (pictured) and $474 for the large, it’s still a relative bargain. Just ruminate on the following, this briefcase sports a 100 year warranty. Sure, they may not be around in 10 years, let alone 100 but hold one in your hands and use it for a few months and I think you’ll come to the same conclusion as I – this is a briefcase that pending no unnatural act, will actually outlast its warranty. Let’s further ponder on this for a second… buy one of these bags today, and there’s an awfully good chance that in 2114, someone will still be carrying it.

While it might be hard to grok a 100 year amortization, let’s just use 20 years. $461/20 = $23.05 per year. For under $2 a month, you’re carrying an incredibly stylish briefcase with loads of character, versus what? Well the $180 Solo bag I used in the briefcase comparison 5 years ago lasted about 2.5 years of hard use before falling apart. 20 years of carrying Solo briefcases at that rate would run me $1,440. My 5 year old Saddleback from the same comparison still hasn’t been fully broken in. I wouldn’t bet against a Saddleback bag in a longevity competition, regardless of the competitor’s price or brand.

The best thing about a bag built to withstand everything a reasonable human can throw at it for 100 years, is that the quality of the materials used must be absolutely remarkable. Everything about this bag screams quality. There’s really only one complaint I can lodge – and that is what I affectionately call “goofy backpack mode.” The shoulder strap boasts a long adjustable piece of leather and two shoulder pads that when properly threaded through the confusingly abundant hardware, converts this thin briefcase into a goofy looking and carrying backpack. Without the additional hardware, and the two padded shoulder strap, this bag would look much cleaner, and to my eye, more appealing. That said, it’s still a handsomely rugged bag.

Dave sent us this bag to go toe to toe with some of the big boys, but I’m no stranger to Saddleback’s products and recently bought their large backpack in Tobacco, as well as their leather desk set, multiple wallets and more. I’ve put Saddleback’s products through a lot of abuse, and their bags and briefcases are second to none in terms of quality, craftsmanship and longevity – and for that, they win our award for the best briefcase.

Click the images below to enlarge.

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A Slim Saddleback Briefcase from Dave Munson can be found here.

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Joel

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