Thanks to our wonderful customer Andrew Z. for submitting this review of the 16" Single Space Briefcase in Black. It was a pleasure customizing your briefcase!
I recently bought this briefcase and wanted to do a quick write up in the hopes it might help someone else considering Marlondo. I’m not a professional reviewer… actually I’m a military helicopter pilot, but maybe my perspective can give greater insight into who might want to buy a briefcase like this.
Why the Single Space? I went back and forth between this and the Double Space for a while. The Double Space would have been great for using as a gym bag combined with a work bag. If you look at the weights and dimensions the 16” Double Space is about 26 liters and 7.5 lbs. The 16” Single Space is 16 liters and 7.5 lbs. It costs $50 more, but when you are making a lifetime purchase that shouldn’t factor too heavily into your decision. In the end I decided that I didn’t want my briefcase to double as an overnight bag. I like the single compartment design and simplicity. To me the size is perfect. It’s not a super thin 3” briefcase that would only fit a computer or legal pad. It’s not a 9” monster that will knock over old ladies on the subway. It’s a perfect size that can hold a useful amount of stuff, but it knows what it is… a briefcase, not a backpack.
What about the Wing? I actually owned one for a few years and sold it. I have nothing bad to say about it, it was just a bit wide for my liking and I wanted a simpler layout. It was actually very easy to flip on eBay and it sold for $50 less than what I paid. Not bad for two years’ service! What about the Thin Briefcase? No side pockets. Otherwise it would have been a serious contender. Those side pockets are surprisingly useful. Plus… the three-strap design on the Single Space looks awesome.
What about Saddleback? Just don’t. They are all over the place with leather quality. Eight years ago, I owned a Saddleback Classic (the equivalent of a Double Space). It was fine. I had to sell it when I switched jobs and couldn’t get away with carrying a ‘tobacco’ briefcase. I’ve seen their recent stuff and it’s different from what they used to produce. The leather has a different feel, the colors are different, etc. Their pricing is all over the place too. This Marlondo is superior in so many ways I would never consider buying a more expensive Saddleback again… but we’ll get to that.
What will fit? My normal carry load is a 13” Lenovo, a few folders, a clipboard with legal pad, planner in an Oberon Design cover, and a “Spec Ops Brand” Pack Rat for all the EDC stuff. Everything fits perfectly with room for lunch on top if needed. Out of curiousity I folded up my flight suit and placed it in along with my laptop. Definitely room for more stuff… despite not getting this bag to serve as an overnighter… it could work if you packed small.
Those with eagle eyes will note that there is no slot pocket across the rear wall. I decided to go the custom route with this briefcase. It was incredibly easy. Just a few emails back and forth with Tim, about a month of lead time, and voila! The ability to get a bag made with a few modifications to fit your needs is one of the things I love about Marlondo. On top of removing the slot pocket, I had them add a small pocket on the side with the key leash. My goal was to maximize the interior space and I absolutely love the results. Here are the two side pockets. First the standard pen pocket (you can see they accept larger pens), and then the custom pocket.
But can it fit a 15.8” gaming laptop in a protective case? Yes… but barely.
One thing I didn’t particularly like about the Saddleback was how the buckles flapped around. The buckles on this bag don’t flap. There are leather loops that hold them down. Such a simple thing but makes the briefcase so much better on a day to day basis. Some days I’ll use all three straps. My wife actually smiled when she saw the briefcase and commented that I normally don’t go for form over function. Well… I’m in my late-thirties now and will allow myself an indulgence every now and again, plus there’s always the off chance I’ll need an emergency belt 😊
There are practical reasons for three straps, maybe the loadout is asymmetrical, or you want to lash something down, but let’s be real… it just looks good. I’ve had the briefcase for less than a week and already received a handful of compliments.
Another difference between this and the Saddleback bag I used to own- chrome tanned vs vegetable tanned leather. This briefcase smells better and feels better. I’m not a leather expert, I don’t own a lot of expensive stuff or know the right vocabulary to use, but I do know this just seems better.
It does backpack mode too. Just for fun I loaded it up with several heavy textbooks and took the dog for an hour-long walk. Works great! I wouldn’t want to go hiking with a briefcase (because that’s silly), but if your commute involves a heavy duty walk (or you bike or motorcycle), you aren’t constrained to hand carry or single shoulder carry.
Is this briefcase for you? It really depends. If you’re looking for a combination briefcase and gym bag, I would point you towards something more purpose driven. If you have a monster 15” or 17” laptop I’d go with something else. If you are a wimp and can’t fathom carrying 7 ½ pounds empty, move on and pick up a nylon job. If you want a classic briefcase which will stand the test of time and not look out of place in a multitude of environments, this should be on your short list. The Single Space won’t let you overpack so you will wind up only bringing stuff which makes you spark joy.
Finally, I’d like to give one last endorsement for custom designs. If there is a small thing you want to change about a briefcase, it pays to chat with Tim. You might be very pleasantly surprised by the cost and lead time… I certainly was! Having a custom briefcase made means you get a one of a kind item. Marlondo is a small brand, and odds are nobody else at your office has one. It’s pretty cool to have a briefcase that nobody else in the world has.
I wasn’t paid, compensated, or anything else for this review. I wrote it because I genuinely love this purchase and there is not much information available about the company. Given my experience, I would gladly buy from Marlondo again!
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