Ask The Desk: Cambridge Satchel

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Mary Ann asked:

How has the Cambridge leather satchel been working for you?
I am interested in getting one but would like to know more about it from a user.

my Cambridge satchel. tres bletchley circle!

I’ve had my Cambridge satchel for well over a year now. It is a classic English school satchel in medium brown and measures 15″x10″x4″. Its large enough to tote my 13″ MacBook Pro but on most days I don’t carry it with me since I have a workstation at work.

Cambridge Satchel

It is made from very stiff, thick leather. It needed to be treated with mink oil to help soften and loosen up the leather. Once I did that, it became a very comfortable bag to carry. Because of its generally rigid shape though, it is difficult to overstuff it like you might with a nylon bag or backpack.

Cambridge Satchel side view

The strap is adjustable by way of a buckle and is surprisingly comfortable without any extra padding. There’s a lot to be said for leather. I do wish I had purchased the model with the handle on top which would make it easier to pick up and pull in and out of the car. If you walk or take public transportation regularly, you might not need a handle but if you’re pulling the bag in and out of a car, the handle would definitely be advantageous.

It does limit how much I can carry since I can’t overstuff it which has actually been a good thing.

Cambridge Satchel inside view

I thought I’d share a peek inside the bag to give an idea of how much it will hold and still close easily.

Cambridge Satchel contents

Inside is an A5 and A6 hardcover notebook (Piccadilly and Leuchtturm 1917 respectively), my Lihit Teffa Bag-in-a-bag (holds my letter writing supplies), iPad Mini in a Macally cover, my LWA members pen case filled with lots of writing tools, a reusable shopping bag, a granola bar, hankie, Pantone business card case, keys, sunglasses, Swiss Army Secretary pocket knife, and a few loose pens.

The Cambridge Satchels are available in several other sizes and a huge array of colors. For the higher price and super durability of this bag, I chose a classic color (vintage brown) which would not feel dated or too trendy. The 15″ size like mine is $172 from the Cambridge Satchel Company. The Batchel (the same bag with a handle) is $187. And the Backpack model which is the same bag as the Batchel with straps to carry as a backpack is $195.

Bletchley Circle

If you’re looking for a classic bag made of durable materials and simple good looks, the Cambridge satchels are a good investment. I was tickled to see that a bag similar to the Cambridge satchel was carried by Susan (Anna Maxwell Martin), the main character in Bletchley Circle set in London in the 1950s. I told you its a classic.

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