Fans of this blog know that we are suckers for sweet rugged leather iPad accessories. So when we learned about Copper River Bag Co, we instantly got on the horn and ordered us up a review unit of their Rugged Safari iPad Bag. Copper River Bag Co is a family owned business in the foothills of Nevada City. They individually handcraft every one of their bags, hand cutting each piece and hand sewing them together in the good ol’ US of A. And let me tell you, they don’t disappoint! These bags are rugged, sexy, affordable and backed by a 100 year warranty. Check out our full review inside!
We instantly fell in love with the Rugged Safari iPad bag when we saw it. Appropriately sized for commuting, the bag is 10.5” x 10.5” x 4” which is more than enough to hold your iPad and anything else you might need for your daily commute. Constructed from thick but soft and supple leather with plenty of shiny bits and pieces, it’s the kind of bag you want to take with you to see the world. As the name implies, it’s built for a rugged safari on the African plains, or a weekend camping trip with the guys. The leather is a full grain water resistant stone oiled leather. It is stitched with a heavy duty UV resistant thread and is covered in gleaming heavy duty hardware. What’s not to love?!
The bag closes with three sturdy snap button straps and has a handle on the top for easy moving. It won’t open up unless you want it to, that’s for sure. There is a quick access rear pocket to get to anything important in a flash as well. The heavy duty hardware gleams and can be used to turn the bag into a backpack with a few quick modifications. Our unit came with the upgraded leather strap and found it to be immensely comfortable and appropriately sized. The heavy duty hardware gleams in the sunlight and lets everybody know that you are carrying one stinking awesome rugged man bag.
Inside there is a large main compartment and a dedicated iPad pocket as well. The naked iPad fits very tightly into the pocket, perhaps too tightly, so it won’t come out unless you really want it to.We’re sure that once the pocket gets worn in a little more it will work great. There is also a nicely sized pen pocket next to it. One of the cooler features of the bag is the false bottom for hiding cash, ID, or a passport. As avid travelers, we love this feature.
Everything about this bag is hand made, and it shows. As the included pamphlets say, the bags are “rugged with perfect imperfections. The scars, scrapes, uneven stitching and brand marks give every Copper River Bag its own unique character. No bag is the same, but every bag is crafted to last a lifetime.”
We can vouch for the quirky and interesting imperfections that come with every bag. The stitching is indeed uneven at times, though never in way that will negatively affect the durability of the bag. The edges of the leather are a bit frayed, like it’s been well used. There are a number of scars and scratches and marks that come on the leather of the bag, but that all just adds to the charm. This isn’t a mass produced product made in some factory in China, this is hand made in the US and has the personality to prove it.
Perhaps the most attractive feature of Copper River Bag Co’s bags is the price. The Rugged Safari Bag is only $89.95. That’s the best price we’ve ever seen for a leather bag of this caliber. Their larger bags are only marginally more expensive and well South of what a typical Saddleback bag would cost. Which brings us to the elephant in the room…
“It looks like a Saddleback bag!” That’s the first thing we said when we saw it. Any fan of the blog knows we are huge fans of Saddleback’s products. Saddleback makes one of the coolest leather iPad cases on the planet and one of the best leather iPad bags around. Their quality and construction is unmatched. But the pricepoint can be quite high. This is where Copper River Bag Co has found it’s niche.
Saddleback’s bags are made from a slightly tougher leather that takes some breaking in, the leather has no scars or scratches on it when it ships. Copper River’s bags come with a much softer leather that is already broken in. Saddleback has double stitching with marine grade thread on all the seams, every stitch is perfect and in line, and there are no frayed edges. Copper River’s bags are single stitched on most seams and has uneven stitching here and there, and the leather edges are a bit frayed from being hand cut. However, Saddleback’s iPad Satchel’s cost between $200-$300. You are paying for the quality, durability, and perfection- a jewel of a bag that will last a lifetime. Copper River’s bags cost half as much, usually between $89-$150. You are buying a rugged bag that is full of charm and personality that you can take anywhere and everywhere.
Obviously, we love them both very much, but differently. The nice thing is that Copper River Bag Co backs their bags with a 100 year warranty as well, so if it falls apart (highly unlikely) then they will replace it.