The Sitka leather messenger bag was created by an outdoorsman who found ordinary bags to not be durable enough for everyday use. In this review, you will learn if this bag worth a buy.
Okay, why is this bag sell?
Sitka is touted by the creators as being very durable. It’s made out of high-quality “buffalo” leather. All of the parts, zippers, snaps, feet, etc. are made from brass. It’s a very stylish bag and very masculine.
It comes in two colors of brown: antique and chestnut brown. It’s big enough to hold some laptops in, with a compartment specifically for laptop storage. There is a long shoulder strap that can be adjustable. It can adjust from 55” down to 49”, which doesn’t seem like a lot, but sometimes those few inches are crucial.
There’s also a luggage strap on the back for when you don’t want to use the shoulder strap.
It’s designed so that a person could use it for outdoor activities, for business needs, as an everyday carry-all, or for travel. And it’s sized in such a way that it fits those needs well. (It’s 18” tall!) There are even additional items you can add to it on the Kickstarter page, such as a wallet, a gear bag, and a padded camera case insert, as well as leather creams.
Sounds cool… but for that price? you’re kidding.
Review and Discussion – Why you shouldn’t buy this leather bag?
In case you’re wondering why they would sell leather creams, it’s because Sitka actually requires maintenance.
You have to condition it with leather creams around every 6 months to keep it moisturized and keep it from cracking. It is, after all, made of high-quality “buffalo” leather. However, this is mislabeled. The only actual type of buffalo is the African water buffalo. It is probably made from American bison leather. But, that’s not really a great way to go, either. The American bison was on the endangered species list for a long time and has only recently pulled off of it. It’s still a nearly-endangered species, having a couple hundred thousand now, as opposed to the 30-40 million reported in the 1800’s.
There are other drawbacks, as well. There is a zipper that seals the top part of the bag shut, which is under a flap. But, it was made so that you can stick your hands in the sides and pull things out easily, which creates a gap. It doesn’t entirely seal shut. The creators say that when using the shoulder strap, the weight pulls the bag down and mostly closes that gap. But if you aren’t and you’re using the travel strap, it bows out a bit. So, even though it’s touted as being durable even in exposure to elements, it’s probably going to get some rain in it if there’s a torrential downpour.
Another exposure issue: if you live where there is a lot of salt being put on the roads, Sitka will get a white discoloration to it. You can put the leather cream on it, but it may not be the same after that.
There is a laptop sleeve on the inside. However, it will only fit a 15” laptop. So, if you have a 17” laptop, it won’t fit in the sleeve. There’s an option to add on a padded camera case insert for $30. I’m not sure why it’s optional because if you don’t get it, your stuff is going to slide all around inside the bag. You can use the insert to stand a water bottle up in it. It’s fairly big and heavy. It’s 18” tall and weighs in at 4 lbs, 15 oz. If you don’t live in the United States, international shipping is a bit pricey, coming to $30. Also, the thing costs $199 all on its own. In compared to a similar and cheaper leather bag like this one on Amazon, Sitka is 4x of the price.
Overall, Sitka is a nice bag if you’re going to use a huge bag on a near-daily basis. It’s not for me, however. I can’t justify paying $230 (because let’s face it, you need the add-on insert so your stuff doesn’t slide around in there.) for a giant, heavy bag that’s made out of a nearly- extinct animal that I have to actually maintenance and may not be as element- friendly as is advertised.