Check out the older versions of this bag around the world with the new bags in the pictures below.
This full-grain leather bag is over-engineered in that it has no breakable parts. No magnets, zippers, buttons or snaps and it is reinforced with rivets and hidden polyester strapping wherever there is stress. Leather stretches over time and we didn't want that to happen. It's designed with the fewest and biggest pieces of leather that made sense. The reason was to have fewer seams because seams are always where things start coming apart. And those seams only have 5 stitches per inch so that there is more leather between each hole. Holes are really just the beginning of a tear in any leather briefcase.
Leather- Full grain leather is the key to a quality leather briefcase. The grain of the hide is like the shingles on a roof. If you take off the top part of the leather (grain) it's like taking the shingles off of the roof. They get rid of the toughest and most resistant layer of the hide. Here's why there are so many cheap leather briefcases out there. When the tannery gets a hide from the slaughterhouse, it's really thick. So, the tannery splits the top half with the grain from the bottom half. Now they have two hides to sell. The tough and beasty hide that still has the full amount of grain (full grain) is expensive and that's what we buy. The low quality bottom half is great for making low quality budget leather briefcases or laptop bags that will dry out and fall apart in a short time. They may look great, but the leather doesn't have any grain, though they have made it to look great.
Lining- And then we glue and sew tough and strong luxurious looking and feeling pigskin to the leather. And the pigskin is even stronger than the cowskin. We've chosen this instead of using a shiny pretty fabric lining.
Hardware- Our custom hardware is 316 Stainless Steel. If you are a metallurgist then I'm sure you just gasped. It's the metal you want to be used when your life depends on it. The testing laboratory told us that our clips were rated to hold up to 750 lbs.
Thread- And if all of that isn't enough, our thread is unbelievably strong and UV resistant German industrial marine-grade polyester thread. It doesn't deteriorate when the sun hits it like nylon thread does. And we use the thick Double Ought version of it. Honestly, there is no other leather laptop bag like this.
Hidden Reinforcing Straps- Polyester is good and bad. The good is that it doesn't stretch and never deteriorates. The bad is that it never deteriorates. When it comes to polyester in your sheets and blankets, you won't sleep as well. When it comes to polyester straps sewn into the stress points of a bag, it's the best there is.
Backpack Feature- Our leather briefcase converts into a laptop backpack with the shoulder strap that has two shoulder pads.
Removable Side Straps- The side straps can be removed for use as an emergency size 36 belt, tie-down or tourniquet (hopefully you won't need that). But on the bag, they are great for holding wet umbrellas and blueprint tubes to the top of the flap.
Secret Comparment- There is a hidden flap on the bottom of this leather briefcase for hiding passports, extra cash, and other secret things.
D-Rings- The d-rings are designed to strap on blankets, dirty boots and fly rod tubes.
Removable Shoulder Strap- Handy feature for taking off of your briefcase to tie down the Christmas tree to the rack.
Extra Hole- And just a small detail, but the main center strap has a hole all the way at the tip for closing when your laptop bag is really overstuffed.
The Classic Large holds 17" laptops.
Shoulder strap adjusts long from 34" - 59".
Dimensions (W x H x D)
Large: 16" x 12" x 9"
Weight: 7 lbs
A Nice Story to Go to Sleep With
So, in the morning, as we three, clean-cut smiley white guys emerged from the cheap hotel, everybody looked at us with suspicion. The government suspected us of bringing money to or training the rebels and the rebels thought we were government spies. Why else would any sober gringo carrying a leather briefcase visit Ocosingo? Unless, of course, it's just where the last truck we hitched a ride with dropped us off?
But it was a morbidly interesting place with the relatively fresh bullet holes and anti-government messages of the rebels on the walls. Only a few years back, Ocosingo was the site of a major bloodbath where about 150 Zapatistas and Mexican soldiers were killed in a firefight, some found shot in the back of the head after surrendering. Tensions were still high. One could make an argument for it being the least touristy town on Earth. So, shortly after our silent breakfast, we headed out.
But the cool thing was, Ocosingo wasn't far from where we wanted to be. The massive Mayan ruins of Palenque were breathtaking, and if you looked into the jungle you could see the majority of the ruins still unexcavated.
And then when we got to the jungle waterfalls of Las Cascadas de Agua Azul, we grabbed a vine, hacked it and used it as a rope swing into the river, Tarzan style. The place was amazing as the clear blue river stepped down for miles creating a series of huge waterfalls. It was my original leather briefcase's first big trip of many, but it easily could have been its last.