I am very fortunate to already own a classic briefcase, a thin briefcase and a front pocket backpack. Yet this Mountainback gear bag is now my absolute favourite SB product.
The SB pieces are amazing - but let's be honest, they are by nature heavy and lugging them around airports can put some strain on you shoulders and back. Of course, we still do it because they are such outstanding gear - but having a lighter alternative is most welcome and I look forward to taking this bag everywhere.
I won't comment on the leather because, as all Saddleback aficionados know, SB leather is simply THE best. But the quality of the rest of the bag is also second to none. The cotton is incredibly thick and deeply, DEEPLY waxed - and it brings a piece of Scotland closer to us. Stitching and riveting is such I believe this bag will never unravel - often, these kind of leather and cotton bags are weak where the two materials join, but it is clearly not the case here.
As others have noted, not only is this bag roomy, but it also has numerous and clever pockets that make keeping everything in order very easy.
As I live in Europe, not only did I have to pay for the shipping, but also 20% tax. I still consider this purchase a bargain!
- 100-Year Warranty, details here.
- Free Shipping, details here.
- From the Mountainback Collection
- Built with uncommonly thick 24 oz waxed canvas from Scotland that is extremely rugged and water resistant
- Right at home in the office as a laptop bag, even better on a mountain trail
- Top flap secures quickly and easily with two pad eye closures
- Removable canvas shoulder strap has a thick leather shoulder pad; Strap can also be used to carry bag as a backpack.
- Can be carried by shoulder strap or top Old Bull grab handle that lays flat when not in use
- Dark Coffee Brown Old Bull leather back pad covers the back and bottom of bag for comfort and protection from being jabbed by the inside contents; Leather is stamped with month and year of construction.
- Exterior leather pad doubles as an exterior pocket and allows for items, such as a tripod, to be carried under the bag
- Internal laptop divider keeps contents separated and can be unclipped and dropped to the bottom of the bag to create a single interior compartment
- Two useful exterior pockets and four interior pockets - 2 side pockets, one large back panel pocket and a front security pocket with a flap, keeps you organized
- Is as functional as a toothpick after a plate of ribs
- Will outlast you and maybe your kids, or even your kids' kids
- Easily fits a 15” Macbook, iPad, or Notepad Holder with room to spare
- To be noted: Waxed canvas is the original water resistant fabric, and comes with the attendant charms and quirks of being a centuries-old technology. In the young days of your bag, you may experience slight wax transfer from the canvas to any particularly absorbent contents in the bag (such as paper, etc). It is recommended that these contents are kept in a case while in the bag. Something to keep in mind as the bag breaks in.
- Dimensions (approximate size):
- Adjustable strap length: 38 ½”-61 ½"
- Exterior: 12 ¼” H x 15” W x 6” D
- Interior: 12” H x 13.6” W x 6” D
- 5.9 pounds
One word Fantastic, I had to take my wife to couple of times dinner for her to agree on this purchase. Very manly, stylish and truly built to last. I have yet to test on Minnesota's weather, not sure how will it hold up. Only thing is a little bit of inconvenience to fit > 13 inch laptop as it has be unhooked and hooked back. Decent number of pockets, very stylish both cross body on side shoulder. Still plenty of leather in the bag and love the locking mechanism.
One request to Dave is: Never, Ever loose the quality products you are producing. Great work and good find for me.
Next on the list: wallet, and Old bull belt.
Recently received my new Mountainback Large Gear Bag. I have a number of Saddleback pieces (beautiful, will last forever etc) so the only question was size. For me it's a perfect fit (I am 5'10" and 200lbs). The quality of the workmanship is excellent, the waxed canvas is absolutely beautiful and ruggedly functional. The features are terrific - inside pockets, leather backing/outside pocket. It fits everything the product description says including my 15" MacBook Pro - put the computer in my Saddleback laptop cover and it's a tight fit but manageable. I have used the bag as a weekender/overnight bag and as my briefcase (for a business casual environment). I have a number of trips this fall to cool damp countries and the waxed canvass is perfect. Also the Mountainback Large Gear bag is "personal item" size for my airline of choice so I can add it to my Waterbag for nothing but carry-on luggage (heavy but so much faster).
For me this new Mountainback bag is simply an outstanding purchase and although I wondered about the price, now that I have it, I know it's worth every cent.
If it suits you just buy the dang bag!
Just received my large gear bag and I'm once again blown away by the quality of the materials and craftsmanship. Speaking simply about the aesthetics of the bag, I love the waxed canvas, old bull leather, and copper rivet combination. The brown stitching and nickel hardware adds a rough, classic appearance.
Let's move on to the durability of this bag. Overkill is an understatement and that's what I dig about all my Saddleback products. Every stitch of this bag screams 100 year warranty. I will be enjoying this creation for a very long time.
Thanks again Dave!
This bag appeals to me on several levels. It is overbuilt to last and the quality of the materials and workmanship put into the bag is second to non. The Large Gear Bag is also sytlish with the leather accents on the front, the top handle and the large piece of leather that rests against you when you use the bag. I absolutely love the way you secure the flap to the bag which is both simplistic yet ultra cool. The metal rivets give the bag additional strength in all the right places (did I already say the bag is over engineered)?
There is so much space inside the bag that I have to keep reminding myself not to over pack it which would make for a bag that is too heavy to carry. The size of the bag is deceptive given the amount of room inside, since the outside dimensions of the bag does not look that large as the name implies. To me this is a positive as it is not too large or small, its just right.
Just got this bag and I absolutely love it! It's a perfectly sized messenger style bag that was exactly what I was looking for.
I can fit my Nikon D4s, along with a couple of lenses in this bag no problem and I don't have to worry about the weight at all as this thing is extremely well built. I simply hadn't found anything that suited my tastes, but when I saw the Mountainback gear I knew it was what I had been searching for. I've bought a lot of Dave's leather and it's always been exceptional quality, and this bag is no different.
Before seeing it I was concerned it might be too big - it is the large gear bag after all. However, it's an ideal size for my tastes and will work great for just carrying around your stuff, as well as what I think is a great size for an airline carry on bag. Materials and craftsmanship are top notch as usual, this thing looks like it's going to last a long time.
I look forward to years of use for this bag, whether it's hauling around my camera gear or taking with me as my carry on when I travel. Just have to keep it out of my kids hands as they all wanted it as soon as they saw it!
I have had the fortunate opportunity to purchase several Saddleback Leather products including the Classic Briefcase, Leather Satchel, a belt, iPad / iPhone cases, a Bible cover, and a Moleskine cover. (I have a very understanding and beautiful wife!) All of these products are robust and built to last a long, long time.
When Saddleback introduced their new Mountainback product line I was intrigued and I began to follow reviews on various forums. These reviews continued to speak highly of the new product line. This eventually led me to purchase the Mountainback Large Gear Bag a few months ago.
Opening the box, I wasn't met by the typical rich leather smell. Rather, and expectedly, I was met by the smell of waxed canvas. The packaging was ample and the bag arrived without any marks on the associated leather. I quickly unpacked the bag and loaded it with my typical EDC gear (rain coat, a couple Maxpedition bags, assorted charging cords, Bible, a few work folders, MacBook Air, etc). The bag swallowed all of this and asked for more within the 12” H x 13.6” W x 6” D interior. The size is large (12 ¼” H x 15” W x 6” D exterior), but it is not off-puttingly excessive. At 5'11" and 185lbs the bag fits my frame to a tee. The interior of the bag is simple as it doesn't contain numerous zippered pockets or hanging attachments. That said, the Large Gear Bag has enough spots to organize typical EDC fair. I particularly like the simplicity of the small flap closure of the front pocket. It is surprisingly secure while maintaining ease of accessibility. Also, the main closure system for the bag is very unique, and this allows one handed access to the bag when worn across the body. However, I am curious of the long-term durability of the locking leather straps - time will tell and I would hope this would be covered by the 100-year warranty should one fail.
I really love the construction of the bag. The 24 oz. canvas is thick but it is also very flexible out of the box. I was afraid that the canvas would have too much wax on it and that this would mar clothing and contents. Thankfully, this has not been the case as I have carried the bag in both light and dark clothing. Rather, the canvas is waxed just enough to create a water resistant material that also seems abrasion resistant. The color of the material is a deep moss green that reminds me of the forests of the Northwest. The clothe edges are stitched tighter than fort Knox and I haven't notice any fraying or loose strings as others have mentioned. The color of the fabric contrasts strikingly with the deep, rich brown of the leather while still maintaining an earthy pallet. The leather, marketed as “Old Bull Leather”, is exceptional - thick and flawless. I appreciate the placement of the leather details. Several rivets are reinforced with leather on the inside of the bag, and this is just the attention to functional detail that you are purchasing with the Mountainback line. The largest piece of leather protects the back and the bottom of the bag. This accomplishes the assigned task of also protecting your side from unruly poking from books, computers, or the random concealed carry item. Also, the leather at the bottom of the bag increases the abrasion resistance of the bag a thousand fold. The strap is thick and moderately comfortable. Remember, the bag only comes with one leather strap pad made of the same Old Bull leather found in other locations. That said, it is enough to get the job done and I for one will seldom if ever use the bag in backpack mode. My one gripe is that the metal strap adjustment thingy, for my size, hits my clavicle and requires me to shift the bag every so often as a pressure relief. The strap attaches to the bag with a stitching pattern that provides strain relief and this feature is reportedly adapted from New Zealand sail makers. I appreciate that the hardware is stainless steel and not plated metal.
As mentioned, I use this bag to carry my typical work related EDC. I typically carry the bag across my body, but I am glad it has the top grab handle too as this makes getting in and out of my truck a little easier. I am still in the beginning stage of owning this bag and I look forward to bringing it along on life’s little adventures. In my opinion, this bag hits the mark of functionality, durability, and aesthetics. At 5.9lbs the Mountainback Large Gear Bag sits slightly heavier than my large Leather Satchel (5lbs) and substantially lighter than my large Classic Briefcase (7.6lbs) while maintaining cavernous capacity. As a result of the composite of winning features the Large Gear Bag is my new favorite Saddleback product. I would recommend this bag to anyone who enjoys portability and adventuring. It is well suited for a casual office environment or for exploring backroads.
Firstly, I'll say that I own the thin front pocket briefcase and use it as my "professional" bag, which I bring to meetings and conferences. I bought the MB large gear bag to use as an EDC bag, as the thin front pocket briefcase doesn't have enough carrying capacity for what I need. The larger saddleback bags/briefcases are too heavy for me to use as an EDC because I walk several miles each day at work, and a few extra pounds from the bag makes a big difference. I've been using the MB large gear bag for a few weeks now and have been pleased with its performance. It has met my expectations and served its functions well. As others have commented, the bag is very tough and durable -- I like that the canvas is more flexible than leather and results in a lighter bag. The outer locking mechanism is unique and works very well. I've had no issues with the carrying handle on top -- there seems to be a deformation issue on the medium gear bag when using the handle, but this doesn't seem to exist with the large bag. In my personal opinion, the leather saddleback briefcases are much more professional in appearance, so if that's a consideration for you, then be aware -- the waxed canvas looks very nice and outdoorsy, but I would not take this bag to an interview.
A couple of criticisms. (1) the internal and external pockets are fairly rigid and thus don't have much holding capacity. I'm able to carry what I need, but I really jam these pockets to the max. Hopefully they become more flexible over time and can hold more. (2) the internal divider used to create the laptop compartment is a nice feature, but I would say that it is misleading to think that you could easily fit a macbook 15 into that slot (which is part of the stated product description). I am just barely able to slide a Dell XPS 13 into the laptop compartment, so I would not try to cram a much larger laptop in there. A macbook 15 would certainly fit into the main compartment though.
Overall, I am very happy with the purchase. The bag is beautiful and very unique in appearance. As with all of Dave's products, extreme durability is a given. Its carrying capacity is comparable to the medium classic briefcase, which I have owned in the past. I wrote this review to provide some perspective on real-world function so that others can be better informed prior to purchase. As long as your expectations are appropriate, the bag is well worth the money.
I was debating between this large gear bag and the medium gear bag. I ultimately chose the large gear bag and I am extremely satisfied, albeit a little less than had hoped.
The bag is exceptionally built and crafted although that is no surprise. The waxed canvas has a great feel and look. It is rather stiff but this is to be expected with a new bag, The stitching and hardware are second to none and compliment the bag in every way. The very thick pieces of leather are simply stunning. I have no doubt that this will bag will last several decades without issue and without compromise on style and looks.
My only small complaint is the size and weight despite both clearly in the description. I was debating getting the large or the medium but felt the large would be a better experience overall. I wanted this bag for everyday use. From carrying to work (finance), to weekend bag (everyday items), to travel bag (carry-on), etc. I wanted a bag that would go anywhere and do anything. The medium felt just a tad too small when reading the description and I did not like the look of the bag when using the handle (read the review and there are youtube videos that show this better) as I really appreciate a bag with a sturdy handle. So I purchased the large and...well....it is large.....and fairly heavy. I am a 6ft, 200lb man and this is still kind of too much bag for me. I live and work in Manhattan so I average 3 miles walking daily. Carrying this around does begin to get tiresome when loaded up to capacity!! My daily pack contains a Surface Pro with sleeve, water bottle, phone charger, Saddleback medium notepad holder (work days), moleskin with cover, headphones, and small odds/ends. Often I may have have an extra keyboard, mouse, other gadgets, umbrella, and or scarf/gloves and that is when the space of the bag helps tremendously. I honestly do not have anything that cannot fit in this bag.
I cannot recommend this bag enough; for the style, for the craftsmanship, durability, warranty, etc. Just keep in mind that if you are walking many miles a day, this will be a heavy bag for you. Although, once the bag is broken in (a few months I am guessing) I am sure it will begin to get more comfortable.
Great looking bag and I would purchase again.
Arrived fast and did not disappoint. The large is a great size, significantly more casual and rugged than the Sb Classic range but that's a big part of the charm. Thick, over engineered, waxy enough to make you feel its weathered. The handles are well designed and I love the divider. Only missing thing is, if you want two shoulder pads for backpack mode, you're one short. Would be nice to have two and be able to choose. Small gear bag is the same utilization as the book bag. I like a big bag so will either gift it to my wife or daughters or use it to clip on to others for easy access to phones/ tickets/ books etc.
Overall, thrilled by the new take on ruggedness and looking forward to road testing properly.
Roald Amundsen (A.D. 1872 - 1928)
The year Roald Amundsen reached the ripe old age of 15, coincidentally, was about the same year his mother became the most active prayer warrior in all of Norway. Roald’s curiosity drove him to risk his life over and over again for the joy of experiencing the unknown and the uncharted. Those desires eventually took him, but not before he lived one of the coolest lives recorded in history.
In 1903, he was the first to make his way from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific by going over the top of the North American Continent, now named the Northwest Passage. In 1911, Amundsen was the first to reach the South Pole and in 1926, the first to reach the North Pole. I can only imagine the beautiful scenery and animals and all around fun experiences he took in and had. Makes this man want to go out and explore something right now.
And you can bet that when Amundsen was purchasing gear for an expedition, he never said anything like “But this one is only half the price of the really good one, and it’s probably good enough.” or “But it looks so nice and the lining has a really pretty world map on it”. When your life depends on it, quality trumps it all, period. If a tool failed, and he or one of his crew lost life or limb, the “100% Money Back Guarantee” was cold comfort. The selection of tools and materials were mission essential and vital to his team's existence and success.
Did Roald Amundsen become an inspiration to thousands, live the amazing experiences he did and are we talking about him so long after his death because of the gear he carried? Absolutely not. He was successful because he was the kind of man who valued a quality life, who surrounded himself with quality people and carried only the highest of quality gear. Now you go and do likewise.