After reading Julie’s (very favorable) reviews of the Col. Littleton wallets, iPhone wallet (No. 50), and pocket for the iPad (No. 5) and Janet’s announcement that they would be creating a new bag to carry not only your laptop but your iPad as well, I knew I wanted to see it in person. I don’t want to say Julie was gushing, but she did have very positive commentary on Col. Littleton’s outstanding craftsmanship and thick, rich leather; definitely weaknesses of mine. So, when the folks at Col. Littleton agreed to create me a monogrammed No. 42 Courier Bag for laptop and iPad to review, I was excited to say the least.
I have to agree with Julie, the leather and craftsmanship are the best I have ever seen…..true artistry. I have reviewed many leather bags over the years and the Col. Littleton No. 42 is one of the very best. The Col. Littleton No. 42 Courier Bag for laptop and iPad is styled to look like a mail courier bag from the American Old West.
I should take a step back because the Col. Littleton experience goes beyond just a top-notch bag, it begins with their website. Where you first see Col. Littleton’s personality — from the product videos, to the youtube ‘television’ shows he stars in, to the wallpapers he has created for your download pleasure, to product pictures, letters and articles from around the world, and much more. This experience follows into the arrival of your new product; the packing tape is custom made and printed with the Col. Littleton emblem, and even includes a MoonPie (something not easily found here in the Pacific Northwest). What I am trying to say is that Col. Littleton brings back some of the niceties and added touches lost in modern times……like folks checking your tire pressure & oil when you filled up. The Col. Littleton motto says it all ‘Purveyor of Fine Accouterments in the Americana Tradition.‘ But, back to the review :).
The Col. Littleton Courier Bag is exquisitely done; soft supple leather, solid brass hardware, Old World styling, finely done stitching and edge finishing. From a craftsmanship and materials standpoint, I can find nothing but positive things to say about this tech-bag.
The leather is thick and very soft. While obviously brand new, the leather feels like it has been broken in for years if not decades. This is very different from other leather products that I have reviewed, where the leather is so thick and rigid it can stand on its own. The leather is well finished; the stitching and edging are expertly done throughout the courier bag.
The hardware is solid brass and accentuates the leather and style of the bag nicely. Not only does it look awesome, but from an engineering/strength perspective, it is strong and definitely holds the bag, laptop, and iPad firmly on your shoulder or in your hand.
From the leather stamping to the lock assembly, the No. 42 Courier Bag is about the finer details, the polish, the TLC. This bag radiates Old World charm. I have used it on several cross country trips and have received numerous compliments. Even one from an older gentleman in a wheelchair in the airport, asking me where he could order ‘something like that’.
There is no argument that the No. 42 Courier Bag is extremely well made with the finest materials. But I find myself wishing that I could change it’s functional design to better protect and more efficiently transport my tech-gear. I have reviewed/used a great many tech-bags in my day and have become very particular in what and how I transport my gear.
I like/need to carry around a fair amount of stuff with me most of the time. Along with my MacBook Air and occasionally my iPad, the items you see above are my ‘with me all the time’ gear. Except for the sunglasses, they really do not take that much volume. But the overall lack of pockets in the No. 42 bag, leaves items like these rattling around the bottom of the satchel.
My MacBook Air slides into a separate section located on the front inside of the Courier Bag. There is plenty of room in the front slot to hold large laptops as well. The inside dimensions are 14 1/2″H x 12 1/2″W x 3″D. The iPad slides into a leather slipper case that snaps to the back inside of the bag. My only real disappointment with this bag is that the laptop section is not a true pocket. Instead of being a separate compartment, it is an eight inch piece of leather that spans the width of the case but does not keep the laptop isolated from the rest of the bag. Since there are no pockets to hold other stuff, your other items rattle around the bottom of the bag rubbing against your laptop.
Another criticism I have is, when your laptop and iPad are in the courier bag, it is difficult to get other items in and out of the bottom of the bag. Other than the pockets on the iPad sleeve, there are no other pockets inside the Courier Bag. I would suggest as a minimum, that Col. Littleton include two pockets at the bottom of the bag to hold the power cords/pucks of your iPad and whatever laptop the owner carries.
The leather iPad slipper case can be detached (unsnapped) from the bag to carry separately or if you need only your laptop and more space in bag. It has five pockets: one for business cards, two pens, and two for misc paperwork.
On a positive note, the slipper case is not form fitted for the iPad. Getting the iPad in and out of the slipper case is quick and easy. There is enough room in the sleeve to accommodate the iPad in a reasonably large case.
Along with being incredibly stylish, the No. 42 Courier Bag is comfortable to wear over your shoulder or carry via the handle. Even fully loaded, the No. 42 Courier Bag is reasonably weighted and travels well.
Without a doubt, I love the No. 42 Courier Bag for it’s Old World style and craftsmanship. But as I stated above, I would definitely tweak/modify it’s interior design and layout to more effectively carry and protect my tech-gear. That aside, this handmade craftsmanship comes at a price: $695 to be exact. That price tag is comparable to other high end laptop bags from Saddleback, Coach, Dolce & Gabbana and the like. From a quality/style/craftsmanship standpoint, you are definitely getting your money’s worth.