Considering a Scaramanga Overlander Satchel for Your MacBook?
If you’re in the market for a top-shelf leather bag to carry your laptop and accessories, the Scaramanga Medium Overlander Satchel 16″ should be on your list.
In a hurry? Here are the high points. Scroll down for photos and more detail.
I heard about Scaramanga through social media a couple of years ago. I didn’t need a bag at that time, but I sort of filed that away for later. Later came sooner than I imagined when the shoulder strap anchor on my Targus bag failed. I started shopping to replace the bag immediately.
Amazon was the first place I started browsing. I was utterly underwhelmed. Then I remembered Scaramanga and headed to their website to browse. The images and information on the Scaramanga site were quite helpful, especially their Bag Size Guides. The site even had a live chat feature, and the chat operator I quizzed helped answer some of my questions. One of the things the representative couldn’t help with was my request for some images of a loaded bag, preferably a bag loaded with a MacBook and a handful of accessories. This post will help fill in some of those gaps, at least for someone looking to use the bag with a 15″ MacBook Pro.
I decided to purchase the Medium Overlander Leather Satchel 16 Inch – SATC12042. I moved in to my new Scaramanga bag last week, and I’ve had a few days to work with it. So far so good! I wanted to gather my thoughts and share some images to help you decide if this bag is right for you.
Note about photos: I love great images taken with a proper camera and lens. But I wanted to present this bag in an absolutely neutral light. These photos are just natural light images shot with my iPhone 5s and are presented with no aesthetic edits. For more artistic images, check out the beautiful photos on the Scaramanga website.
What’s In The Bag?
I’m a nearly 100% mobile professional, and my laptop is my primary workstation. Here’s a list of all I have in the bag:
- MacBook Pro 15″ (Mine is the 2012 non-Retina version, but this bag would also easily contain the circa 2015 MacBook 15″ with Retina Display.)
- MacBook 85w Power Supply and AC Cable
- Apple Magic Mouse
- Earbuds (two pairs…Apple Earpods and a Scosche set)
- Adapters (Mini DisplayPort to VGA, Mini DisplayPort to HDMI, Lifeproof audio adapter)
- Kingston USB Flash Drive
- 6″ Steel Ruler
- Documents and more documents — there are two pockets capable of holding letter/A4 sheets.
I even have plenty of room to carry my Leuchtturm1917 +Whitelines Link sketchbook to my bag.
The Main Pocket
For me, this is primarily a laptop bag. The outer shell is rugged, vintage leather. But there is no padded laptop compartment. If you’re looking for everyday impact and minor drop protection, you will want to add some packaging foam like I did (see below for images). If you’re extremely rough on your MacBook, you might need to look to another product.
The zippered pocket’s opening is just wide enough to accept a MacBook Pro without struggle. But the pocket itself is quite large, able to hold a stack of books about about 5″ thick. If you are a student needing to carry a MacBook and a couple of textbooks, this pocket would suffice.
All the Other Pockets
The Medium Overlander is quite generous with pockets. I will admit, the Targus bag I replaced with this bag had a few more compartments, especially smaller pockets with zipper and Velcro® closure. But this Scaramanga bag has several pockets. I dedicated different areas for my mouse, my earbuds, and my power adapter. There’s another pocket for smaller objects like a flash drive or pens.
Materials and Construction
The materials and construction of this bag seem to be top-shelf. The leather is supple yet thick. There’s a vintage patina, but it is far from worn. It almost has a broken-in feel to it. The zippers and zipper pulls are appropriately sized and have a smooth operation. The shoulder strap alone is a thing of beauty. It reminds me of a top-grain leather belt that I didn’t buy because I thought it was too expensive.
A Necessary Addition: Internal Padding
Most “laptop” bags I’ve seen have some sort of padding to protect the laptop. There’s usually a foam wall for impact protection, and many bags have modular padding or compartments that allow you to create a form-fitting area for your computer. Scaramanga didn’t design this bag exclusively for laptop users. The customer service representative I chatted with recommended encasing my MacBook in a neoprene slip case as protection against bumps and scratches that may occur from minor drops or other objects inside the case.
I did order an Amazon Basics neoprene case, but that wasn’t good enough for me. I had dropped my previous case more than a couple of times, and I knew I needed some extra protection. The answer? Shipping foam. I sourced some fairly rigid foam packaging material and trimmed it to fit the bottom of the bag.
I think the Scaramanga Medium Overlander 16″ Satchel is a fine bag. It’s actually the finest bag I’ve owned. The main question I wanted to answer before I ordered it was related to the number and size of pockets. I took a bit of a risk, because all I knew was that the interior pocket was nearly 6″ thick and that it would easily hold a MacBook Pro.
The shipping stung a bit. I haven’t ordered many things from the UK, but apparently it’s gotten quite expensive. Whereas the shopping cart process charged me £19 shipping for standard US/Canadian delivery, customer service contacted me after the sale and informed me that shipping required an additional £29. That’s a total of nearly $75 with today’s exchange rates. Ouch! Cost aside, the shipping was fast and accurate. It still boggles the mind that I can place an order in South Carolina for a product in the United Kingdom on Monday and then have the product on my doorstep by Friday afternoon. Bravo to the global supply chain! And when the package arrived, I was amazed to see the product encased in a drawstring cloth bag inside the shipping box. The whole shipping experience felt a little like paying for a luxury cruise; it cost more than I wish I had to pay, but it sure was nice.
All in all, I’m pleased with the purchase of the Scaramanga Medium Overlander Leather 16″ Satchel. It cost less than several other options I considered, even with the expensive international shipping. I fully expect this bag will serve my needs for the next decade or so.