Yep. I must admit, I never thought I'd be writing a review of this type for this company, but I think you dropped the ball on using the less substantial D-rings on this bag. I've enjoyed my classic brief case for almost 10 years now, I think. One of the best things about the bag are the super-duty D-rings and other hardware. When you set that bag down on a desk, it makes a distinct sound: the sound of quality and principle. The sound of not doing things halfway. The sound of integrity. The sound of "hey, did you just dent my desk with your bag?" So when I heard that prices were about to go up, I set my bag on my piggybank and ransacked that bugger.
Then I got the bag in the mail today. I was excited. I waited to open it. I secreted it away into the basement so my 4-year-old wouldn't ask if he could have this one, too, when I die. I turned down the lights, put on some Barry White, and opened it.
One look at the hardware and I felt cheated. I shrieked like Gollum beside the lake--his precious gone--my cry echoing from the cave walls deep below the Misty Mountains.
Then I thought, hey, Dave knows what he's doing; it must be to lighten the weight of the bag, for aesthetics. Something. It couldn't be that they just want to shave the cost of manufacturing the bag. Surely that can't be it. Well...
Please rethink this decision to start using less substantial hardware, Dave. The bag in your video has the old size rings. The bag I got in the mail simply doesn't reflect the ethic of your original premise. To make top-notch bags with no compromises. This backpack has the mark of compromise shining from every part. Heck, make it another hundred bucks or two, just give us the original D-rings back. Or give us the option of ordering a version with the more substantial hardware. And if you're thinking of making your other products with these thinner rings, please indicate their gauge in the description frankly and honestly. Because if this is the future of Saddleback, it's going to be a very disappointing future for your reputation. Thanks for reading.
I love this pack. I had a L classic briefcase which my wife promptly stole, thats right, I said stole, she said, "borrowed" but we all know the truth. Good thing I love her. I purchased the L Front Pocket pack and could not be happier. There have been some complaints about the shoulder straps and lack of padding, but I don't think it is that great of an issue. If you never had the padding you'll never notice it wasn't there. I travel internationally with my job and find this bag not only comfortable but ideal for what I do. If your looking for a great travel companion, this bag is perfect. You can fits a ton of stuff in this bag, and it is perfectly comfortable to carry, it is well engineered.
When I consider the number of bags I have purchased in the 25 years I've been working, if I could have bought this Front Pocket Bag 25 years ago it would have paid for itself several times over. If you are just starting out in your college or professional career, buy a Saddleback bag and you'll never have to make another purchase again...unless of course you buy a saddleback wallet and passport holder which I too own.
I previously had the large version of this bag. It was my travel companion through the UAE and Afghanistan for a year. I loved it. It survived great and had only one scar on it from being stowed in a black hawk helicopter. It was extremely comfortable even fully loaded. It had the old style shoulder straps. It was stolen from me recently when my apartment was broken into and robbed. Unfortunately the thieves had a very stylish transport mechanism to steal my goods and haul them out with.
I just replaced it with a medium sized one, I was very excited to get it because the large I no longer had a need for. The bag is absolutely beautiful. I got it in Tobacco this time instead of Oxford and I am very glad I did. The leather and workmanship are flawless, except...
The new shoulder straps are terrible. While I have no desire to return it because there is nothing else close that compares to it, the new style shoulder straps do not hold up like the old ones. They are nowhere near as comfortable, especially when you are toting around a heavy HP EliteBook, they do not hold their shape and dig in to the shoulders. I cannot understand this design change at all.
For a company that just sent out an email saying they are significantly increasing their prices, I would not have expected this kind of design change. I can see no good reason for it to be the way it is other than to cut corners. The old design was perfect.
And sadly, even if they go back to the new design... I will have this one for life unless it gets stolen from me again. I took off 2 stars because of this and let me explain the logic behind that. The bag is amazing and the bag is beautiful. However the entire function of a backpack is to be able to wear it on your back... comfortably. Cutting back on the shoulder strap design is the worst possible place to cut back on a backpack. The new straps are "OK", but if we are just looking for "OK", we really aren't here looking for Saddleback leather are we?
I purchased the large FPB in Dark Coffee (after receiving the Classic Briefcase in the same color as a gift and absolutely loving it) and took it for it's first flight a month ago. I got the first compliment from the ticketing agent in the airport, and two more from random people on my way to my gate. The coolest though, was when I was boarding my flight. As I boarded the plane from the jetway, the pilot comes out of the cockpit to say how much he liked my backpack and asks where I got it! As we are chatting, people in first class are listening to our conversation leaning over to look at my bag! How cool is that?! I travel a lot for work and I have to say this was the first time that I ever experienced this. Thanks Saddleback for putting out products that make us look like "rock stars"!
I did extensive research when looking for an ALL leather bag. Everyone else’s was just pure garbage! I don’t remember exactly how I came across Saddleback Leather but so happy I did. I looked at everything on the website! I found exactly what I had been looking for: The Front Pocket Backpack in ALL BLACK!
What finally sold me is when I watched Dave’s Video: How to Knock off My Bag
I went back & forth on the small & large size. I chose the Large size. Waited 3-5 days w/free shipping! It came to my house & I opened the big box it came in! Only 2 words came to mind: BEAUTIFUL & BEST I’VE EVER SEEN!!! The fresh smell of full grain leather filled the air around me! I was VERY IMPRESSED.
Customer service = ABSOLUTELY AWESOME!!!
I also had my eye on a couple other things so I ended up buying ALL in total: Front Pocket Briefcase (Large/Black), Front Pocket Backpack (Large/Black), The Big Leather Wallet (Black), & 1 bottle of Leatherman’s Milk. I could not be HAPPIER!!! Kudos to the Saddleback Leather Company :)
I'm putting this same review in the reviews of the other items I bought because they all deserve the same praise!!!
Originally i was puzzled on what size to get as i was going to be using it for school and my families travels. I got the large and it works amazingly for school and i have yet to use it form travel but sure it will be a life saver there. By far the best $609 i have ever spent totally worth the price!!
This is both a very attractive bag (Tobacco) as well as durable and useful!. Just delivered last week and all ready on a 7 day business trip with the bag. Compliments have been plentiful with this bag. I have the large bag and it's slightly large to fit cleanly under the seat in an airplane. Other than that, I have no problem with this investment. Already ordered the cable bag so I can organize miscellaneous stuff like chargers and such nicely.
This was a quality purchase for a quality bag. I expect this bag to travel throughout the world with me and those behind me!
Customer service has been great as well. I'd like to think I did my homework prior to spending this type of money and the message was clear.....buy this bag! I am a happy customer so far.
After several months of research and trying to justify the cost, I had a little luck at a casino and decided to get the front pocket backpack. I love this bag! I spend a lot of time on my Indian motorcycle and since I don't have saddlebags, this bag fits the bill in every way. A lot of folks say they can't wait for their bag to "break in" and get weathered. Here's a newsflash- get it in the weather..everyday, and it happens quicker than you think.
I would have to agree that a bit longer straps would be nice but I solved that problem by putting on a passenger seat and now the bag rests perfectly with hardly any weight on my back or circulation cut off to my arms or hands.
I even personalized it some by fastening an "Indian Motorcycle" concho to the main pouch strap- looks great and some of my Harley friends are asking where they can get one.
If they ever peel me off the pavement, I'm confident this bag, with its superior quality and craftsmanship, will be in great shape to give my son. Keep up the great work Saddlebag, you have a customer for life!
I bought this after many years of lugging around my wife's pretty, pretty baby bag. I realized that every time we go out, I end up flipping that bag over my shoulder and carrying it around all day. I wanted out! A stinkin' red and black oriental inspired pattern, that I could only hang like a messenger bag? Woo! Please take me to Disneyland now!
So I naturally began my research here at Saddleback. This is my third bag and probably my tenth purchase from this wonderful company. The bag, as usual, is top notch and amazing construction. I mean AMAZING! It will take me years to soften it up, but decades, perhaps centuries to destroy it.
Now about the baby bag decision. The side pockets fit multiple bottles in each. I use one for those and the other for sunglasses and my portable battery for devices and phones. The front pocket is perfect to fit diapers, we are at size 6 now and they fit perfectly, and the wipes container. The secret pocket behind the front pocket fits the little changing pad (the only useful thing that came with the wife's lady baby bag) exactly. A lucky and welcome coincidence.
Interior has nothing except space. I start packing formula and snacks, filling the bottom completely, then start in on the waters and from there, move to the sweatshirts and jackets. I have four boys, so I needed a lot of room and chose the large. It works perfectly. I have never been in need of space yet, and am finding new uses for the bag every day.
New uses? you say! Why yes! Besides a baby bag, I use it to secure my boys' tablets, and take them to work so they can't use them. (Do your homework!) I pack food and snacks for all the little league games (three teams for three of the boys at the moment) and attempt to stay boy scout ready for any contingency. I have snacks that last in there long term, sweatshirts for every size of kid, and replenish the fresh fruit and such on a regular basis.
My only change I would make, would be to include the shoulder pads, such as on the briefcases and waterbag, or sell them separately. It's the little extra padding that makes a long day at Disneyland, Seaworld, Legoland, or Knotts Berry Farm that much easier. Especially since I usually have to put the straps on their last hole, as I've packed the bag extremely full, it would move the padding to the front of my body. Oh, and slightly longer straps for the same reason. Need more holes, believe it or not. However, the more times I use it, the more the bag is conforming to my body.
But that front strap and cover is deceptive. It never gets full! I can keep putting stuff in the bag and I've never not been able to close it! A fun and helpful touch is the strap to cinch the top closed, like a rucksack. Just makes me feel a bit safer and secure when packing this baby for the parks.
Once again Dave, you knocked it out of the park, or off the top of the roller coaster, or some other amusement park related comparison. And the staff of your wonderful company is AMAZING! They make me feel incredible with every contact, and have even given me information about where to visit when I mention where we are traveling. I wish I could remember her name, but she sent me a package of materials about Mount Rushmore and the surrounding areas, knowing we were going to be traveling there in the near future. We had to postpone our trip, but I feel more confident we will have that in hand when we do get there. Keep up the amazing work, Saddleback and Dave Munson! (I'm coveting the Beast Duffel and one of the suitcases now.)
P.S. The warranty is real. Believe it and use it if you need to.
This is a great bag. Looked at a lot of others and almost bought from Coach. Dodged a bullet on that one. Highly recommend this backpack and especially Saddleback. Thank you Dave and your great employees.
I bought the medium Front Pocket Backpack about a year ago as an every day backpack and to take hunting and camping. This bag is perfect for everything I use it for. It is way better than any bag made for hunting because all of those bags use material and/or closures that are noisy. You can walk through the woods all day and not hear a peep from this bag. For camping, you couldn't ask for a better setup. I use some paracord to tie a sleeping bag and tent to the D-rings on the bottom and I stuff it full of everything else I need. I fill a tupperware container with food and other essentials and put it in the bottom of the bag and it fits like a glove. The little pockets behind the pockets are perfect for storing stuff that you want at the ready, and they are accessible without taking the backpack off your back. Don't worry if it is raining or wet because the contents of the bag will stay dry.
The bag is very durable and you will not find a better bag for hunting/camping.
First, I have a Large front-pocket backpack.
I travel nearly 100K miles per year by air and, let me tell you, this backpack is tough!
All the pockets, and the pockets behind the pockets, are nearly perfectly sized. The interior is cavernous and I have the optional computer separator which works a treat! No problems with a laptop, iPad and multiple day's worth of clothing including boots!
The pig lining is excellent and the more it's used the better it looks.
I have not flown a single day that someone has not commented on it's good looks and rugged construction.
It only costs 100% more to go first class.
Buy it if you're considering it!
After about 3 years of having saddleback open in my web browser and scrolling through the same few photos of this backpack, I finally got one. Let me start by saying that this is unrivaled by any bag I have ever owned or even seen. I can't force myself to stop looking at the thing. I purchased the large fpb in tobacco and its just as beautiful as everyone claims. Obviously as seen in all of the other reviews, the functionality of the backpack is excellent, so I won't dwell on it. I'd just like to say thank you to Dave and SBL for making a quality product at a great price; unlike competitors such as ghurka leather, whom sell products of the same quality for 3 times the price. Well done.
I really, really, really hate that I have something negative to say about this bag. I absolutely love Saddleback, and have a sickeningly large collection of leather to prove it. That having been said, as time goes by I find myself really disliking it. I have the large version in tobacco, and have used it for a little over a year. The problem I've been having is that as it ages the top flap sags further down. Without anything taller than 15 inches inside, the flap will sag all the way down to the front buckle and the strap barely holds it up. That might not seem like a big deal, but when the flap sags that far down it starts bending the back of the backpack over the top, which does two things. The first is that the portion of the bag that now rests over the opening is less wide than the main portion of flap, which was designed to cover the opening from the elements, and the second issue is a hump is being created in the back portion of the bag. The recent hump development is what's killing the bag for me, the hump is just above my shoulder blades and it's starting to put pressure on my back in that spot. Without the full backside of the backpack pressing against the back, this thing is not comfortable. Perhaps if I always had something really tall and firm at the back of the bag keep the flat surface that would help, but I don't. The smaller version might not have this issue since the bag is not as tall, too bad I didn't buy that one.
I have been looking for unique Backpack for years and came cross this website, saved it and kept coming back looking at the design. I showed my wife the site and I got "ummmm... No." from her. After our trip to Disneyland and had no clothes or a backup bag for a day there which we got baggage back from the airport next day. I was looking at a Classic Briefcase or the Thin Classic Briefcase but I needed a travel bag. I needed one that wont go under the airplane. So I saw the Dark Coffee brown Front Pocket Backpack online. When I got all the items I would load in the backpack for a trip I realized I needed pockets. When I got the chance to buy it, my wife said she got it for me. When I got it I was excited. After watching and reviewing Dave and his wife model this backpack video for years and Youtube video reviews I'm happy with what I got.
Front Pocket Backpack, was used to hold my asthma machine and its cords (using tie wraps from Home Depot, sorry Dave), 1 set of clothes for my wife and I, blanket, Laptop, and some room for more stuff. It worked out. We take it to Sedona trips and took it to my wife family cabin in Sault Ste. Marie Michigan in August. Yes, at first the backpack is heavy 6.5lbs which was ok for me. Quality is amazing. I had to adjust the straps fit better to my comfort. Some reviews said there would be errors or mistakes in the making/packing which I didn't have any issues with. Getting it in overhead compartment in airplane fit and when its full. Having this backpack full we did have a good standing up bag to put our feet up while waiting for any flight. We spilled items inside by accident, cleaned up nicely even thou I freaked out when it happened but now I'm good. LOL! My wife was impress with the Backpack, we now able to use it on our trips.
I still look at site here and there for ideas for my backpack. Great item to have even thou it took me years to decide on it.
I'm a bit obsessed with Saddleback products, I have the traditional briefcase, round satchel, dry bag and messenger bag, as well as a few smaller things, and have been eyeing off a backpack as well. I got this in black to match all my other pieces, medium size. I love the bag, it's extremely capacious, fits my 14 inch MacBook Pro, my notepad holder and plenty of other things. The utility strap used to cinch the main opening is fantastic, works very well. Even fully packed it's reasonably comfortable to carry, though I wouldn't want to go too far with it. The exterior pockets are also great, I like the fact that they're a bit fiddly to get into, it feels more secure on crowded trains. The buckle for the main cover being located on the front pocket is a little weird, but seems to function fine. I love the space behind the exterior pockets, this is great for water bottles and my umbrella.
Couple things I would change - on earlier versions of this bag there was padding on the straps, it doesn't have that now. It's fairly comfortable, but I do feel it would benefit from some padding, something like the sliding pads you have on the briefcases and satchels (where you even have two for when converted to wear as a backpack, but none on the actual backpack?). I even thought of borrowing the pads from one of my shoulder bags, but they don't fit :(
Also I'm dubious about the suede pigskin lining. I wasn't aware of that when I placed the order. I'd gotten used to the natural coloured pigskin in my messenger bag, which shows marks but can at least be wiped clean fairly easily. But suede? Doesn't seem like the most durable material for a lining. I've now put Scotchgard on mine, and will be interested to see how it ages. I know the whole idea of these bags is that the marks and scuffs add to the character of the piece, but I don't see the point of lining them with "tough" pigskin but using the soft side...
Last, one little thing, I miss the key-clip strap thing that's in the briefcases and satchels. That would have been a great addition to one of the side pockets of the bag :)
Let me first say that I MAKE LEATHER PRODUCTS, such as knife/sword/axe sheaths and notebook covers and this is one amazing piece of craftsmanship. The small scuffs and scars on the leather are perfect! they add that 'I adventure like Indiana Jones' feel to the bag (and it's just down-right beautiful). I can't wait to get it all broken in and patina this thing.
A few things to note about this AMAZING bag: 1. it is big, that is exactly what I wanted but to some people I could see that being a deal breaker (I am a 5'5" female) I'm also a grad student so I basically have my life in my bookbag, this is the ONLY bag that has ever fit everything with some room left. 2. the pulley type strap used to close the bag is so convenient and brilliant. 3. it's beautiful. 4. The ample pockets on the outside are wonderfully big and I'll actually have trouble finding enough things to fit in them.
Beautiful piece of leather, and my second Saddleback. My Front Pocket Briefcase has been fantastic in every respect. So, when I ordered this >$500 backpack, I did so with confidence, given my 100% satisfaction in the briefcase. When I received the backpack, it was sturdy, well-built, and looked well thought out.
I took off the tags and proceeded to wear this backpack during a long 5 day weekend vacation with my family in DC. And while the vacation was fun...this pack was incredibly uncomfortable. Narrow shoulder straps that cut into your clavicle, hard fold in the pack that rides your lumbar, and side pockets that rub the back of your arms.
Saddleback advised me they would not accept a return since the pack had been worn. This makes little sense, as it would be impossible to determine whether the pack was comfortable without wearing it. Saddleback's customer service actually said that my best option was to sell this 5-day old, $509 dollar pack on Ebay or Facebook.
So while I love this company, and love my briefcase, this particulat backpack and the return policy leave much to be desired. Saddleback needs to provide better options to customers buying a super-premium luxury product including a robust returns policy for packs that just don't work. That would only reinforce customer loyalty, rather than insult it.
I purchased the large front pocket backpack from SBL in early January, 2015. From the day I received it until now I have been using it almost daily for everything from grad school, camping, hiking, hunting, and as a range bag. I have even carried my 90 pound dog around in it after he was injured on a hunting trip. I have loaded it up to well over 160 pounds of stuff for camping trips. The large size bag is able to hold as much, if not more than the ALICE or MOLLE packs I was issued while on active duty. While large for my body size, I am 5'5", 170 pounds, the pack is very comfortable when it comes to carrying heavier loads for hours at a time. There are plenty of attachment points on the pack that allow you strap a sleep system, bed, roll, shotgun or rifle, and so on in such a manner that you can still access the main compartment. Water resistance is quite good. I have worn the pack in heavy rain and snow and the interior has always remained dry, provided I have done my part so the large flap fully covers the mouth of the main compartment.
The craftsmanship on my pack is superb. I would not hesitate to recommend this pack to anyone who is looking for an extremely well built, tough, resilient pack for everything from everyday activities to rough and tumble activities.
I've received my front pocket backpack today. I'm always a bit concerned when ordering anything due to the new leather with more natural marks. I'm actually OK with healed marks, but the pigskin on one of my previous orders had unhealed marks that were actually holes--not cool. I'm happy to report that the cow leather and the pigskin were both in good shape on this order. The design of the bag is great, but the first thing I noticed was that the shoulder pads did not have the padded sleeve. I called customer service and they told me that they phased the pads out. Unfortunately, Saddleback has not updated their website to reflect this. Half of the front pocket backpacks pictured have the pads and half do not. Customer service did apologize. I assume that this is another cost saving attempt, but the pads would be value added. Still, I'm keeping the backpack and I would recomend it.
This is my second bag from Saddleback and it's just us good as my Classic Briefcase. Looks great, super high quality and the medium is the perfect size to take with me every day for personal gear. I use my classic briefcase for work and the front pocket backpack for my every day items. Can't recommend it highly enough.
This bag is absolutely beautiful and made for the adventurer in all of us. I bought the large FPB and have used it as my daily carry bag for a while now but the main reason I bought it was to be my luggage bag for my Harley motorcycle. I have to say that it exceeded all expectations when it came to doing what I bought it for. The rings located on the bottom of the bag provide the perfect place for some bungie cords to go through so that the bag sits on the back seat perfectly. I have just gotten back from a 400 mile ride and it didn't move one bit and it turned the heads of more than one person on the road. Thanks Saddleback for making a perfect backpack for my bike and me.
Last summer I took this bag to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro. It was absolutely overkill for the six day hike, and carrying the extra weight of the full-grain leather was not especially great for my back. But I ABSOLUTELY had the coolest backpack on the mountain, and knowing some of the scuffs and scars on the bag were from VOLCANIC ROCK is a pretty great way to build memories.
Overall, the bag has been a phenomenal purchase. It's incredibly sturdy, absolutely gorgeous, and has more space and pockets than I know what to do with. I don't always use the D-rings on the bottom, but with a couple of utility straps on hand, they're super helpful. Unless this bad boy gets stolen at some point, I'm sure it'll be something I keep with me the rest of my life.
My only complaint is with what the bag looks like when it's not totally full. When there is nothing pushing it up from below, the top flap goes kind of concave, and makes the bag look a little bottom heavy. Generally, I'll just roll up a Maasai blanket and keep it under the top flap, which makes the bag look like it should. And hey! My Maasai blanket is handy whenever I need it. So that's cool.
All that to say, I'm a world-traveler (26 countries so far) and I tell you without a shadow of a doubt that this bag is PERFECT for staying on the go. I haven't regretted the purchase for a single moment.
Love the backpack, it holds so much and is comfortable to wear-- I am 5'2" female. But wish the tobacco was a creamier color as several items other I have from a few years ago. I don't like the smokiness of the new tobacco and wish I had ordered any of the other colors.
I received my "large front pocket backpack " over a week ago, and it has already been on a trip with me. I travel a decent amount with my job, and I always use a backpack as a great way to keep me organized and the things I need close at hand in an easy portable way. I had wanted a leather backpack for years but I kept putting it off as many leather backpacks on the market are too small and use cheap leather. I knew what I wanted and I found it at Saddleback. The cost initially made me hesitate as the price for the backpack seems excessive. However I sell fine leather furniture and after watching the videos on how your leather is made and your items are constructed, I could see, you do make your products to last. I had another trip coming up and had the backpack sent 2 day air. I ordered the Tobacco as I prefer natural leather to dyed leather and the leather showed range marks and scars but I was expecting that and would have been somewhat disappointed if the leather was perfect. The leather used for the backpack is thick and stiff, but that's new leather, and it shows the quality of leather used, you put good stuff in you get good wear out. I was concerned the bag might be too small for my needs, but I was pleasantly surprised to find it is adequate and if any bigger would be too big to bring as carry on luggage on a plane. I loved the fact that after coming back from meetings and leaving the bag in my room I open the door and the whole room smells like leather. The only negative I found with the bag is this, I wear white shirts and unfortunately the leather does bleed and my shirts had brown streaks on them where the straps rested. I am hoping that doesn't happen much more. Other than that, I love the backpack, and see it becoming my best friend on all my future trips and expeditions. I got compliments on it from the baggage screeners at all the airports and from fellow travelers. It is an exceptional product, worth the price in my opinion, and one I would highly recommend to any in need of a quality backpack that likes the old baseball glove look and feel.