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Copper River Bags - Reviews

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    Copper River Bags - Reviews

    Awhile back some of us had a discussion about leather messenger bags. I received the 15" Journeyman in brown last week and here is my review:

    15" Journeyman Laptop Messenger Bag from Copper River Bags

    Price: $133 shipped, (w/o extra leather strap)

    Warranty: 100 Years

    Delivery: 32 days, shipped via USPS

    Weight: 3 lbs, 12 oz w/ nylon strap

    Inside Dimensions (main pocket): 10.5" H, 4.25" D, 15.5" W*

    Outside Dimensions (including outside pockets): 10.75" H, 4.5" D, 16.0" W

    *Inside dimension taken without stretching, at the seams.

    The bag has 3 outside pockets (1 on each side, approx 5.5" h x 3" wide), and one "iPad" pocket in the back (accessible without lifting the top flap), approx 10" h x 14" w. Inside, the bag has two pen pockets (1 on each side), and one document-sized pocket in the back. It also has a water bottle strap (best seen in IMG_0092)

    The bag is made from (what I think is) full grain leather (tanned all the way through), approximately 3/32" thick, oil finished (reminds me of my Florsheim Hawleys). None of the bag is lined; it is constructed of single ply leather with a single row of stitching, except on the handle where it is double ply, double stitched.

    Photos on Flickr. I will continue to update these.

    My opinion:

    The reason I bought this bag was because I wasn't willing to wait or make the sacrifices necessary to buy a Saddleback Leather briefcase. At about 25% of the cost, I don't think any of us expect the Journeyman to match up and I think it would be an unfair comparison. Top differences I can see: Saddleback uses thicker filament, includes a lining & all-leather strap, adds additional dividers / pockets, and overall I think the construction is more solid (tank vs truck?).

    Pros: The Journeyman also includes a 100 year warranty (as all Copper River Bags do). As expected, the stitching can be irregular, and my bag already had a couple scuffs when I pulled it out of the box. Character. Made in the US.

    Cons: So far my only disappointment is that I cannot secure the top flap with a 3" binder (really 3.5 wide) in the pocket. The binder is too tall and it keeps the strap from snapping in place. I may come up with an extension, although that would throw the handle off center anyway. Obviously this is a minor gripe and related more to how I will use the bag. The logo on the flap bothers me a bit; not sure if dislike it enough to cut it off or if I will just mentally tune it out after awhile.

    Bottom line: It is pretty close to what I expected for the price and (right now) I would probably buy it again. I'm undecided on buying the ($60 + s/h) leather strap, it's almost half the cost of the bag.

    Let me know if you'd like me to take additional photos or if you have any other questions. I'm going to put it through it's paces some more this week, maybe even try out the backpack feature.

    My Measurements: 6' 1" height, 35" sleeves, 41-42" chest/jacket, 35" waist, 34" inseam, 11.5D/EEE shoes, 200 lbs


    I think the classic business briefcase is similar to what you got without the logo, but it's an extra $80. Thanks for the review.



      Looks nice Yacko. I've been drooling over a few but they are upwards of $300 ( That looks great, especially for $133.

      "You don't need money to dress better than you do" - Salvatore Romano



        Thanks a bunch for the review. Been waiting for it. Still torn between saving up for a Saddleback or getting the Copper River. Snap buttons don't last forever, but they are a tad more convenient...



          Thanks, I've been struggling to find much information on this brand and they're bags. Still not sure how they can produce the bags in the US at that price, but I guess it does look less "substantial" than a Saddleback. I'd definitely prefer a lining and some more internal pockets, but for the price you can't complain. Might end up buying one.



            Nice review Yacko, i actually have thier website bookmarked becasue i want one pretty bad. I just think spending more than 200 on a bag is feasible even if i have the funds. I think this will due well enough, and honestly, i just want a nice leather bag. You review doesnt create any reservations in my mind, it will be a purchase sometime fown the line...

            "The key to Success is the Quality of Execution"



              I spent a long time looking at the Copper River bags earlier this summer when I was in need of a briefcase for my internship. My mom ended up loaning me one of hers (she's a lawyer), but I've still got Copper River on my radar for the future. Good to have a review handy. My only reservation is that they seem to be on the smaller side - more aimed toward people who only carry around a Mac Book and one or two small notebooks than someone who has to lug around lots of files and folders.




                @Greg S: Love the Duluth duffel, I'm eyeing that for a weekend bag. Someday.

                @Glen D: Good point about the snaps, I didn't think about that. If they fail, I guess I have the opportunity to test out the 100 year warranty! I may even try making a snap to buckle conversion...

                @BenR: I probably didn't fairly show what the 15" bag can hold. Here is a pic showing the main pocket filled with three 750+ page textbooks and one thick spiral (total about 5" of depth/thickness). I was able to close the flap to the middle snap, keeping the handle centered. The bag bulged out slightly.

                For my use, I may just transfer files from my 3.5" binder into two 2" binders. The bag will close with those (they are shorter) on the highest snap. Weight is also a factor for me; I won't be wearing this as a backpack so having that much weight on one shoulder while walking would get old.

                My Measurements: 6' 1" height, 35" sleeves, 41-42" chest/jacket, 35" waist, 34" inseam, 11.5D/EEE shoes, 200 lbs