I am a huge tobacco fan. That being said, I have been disappointed with the darker tobacco as of late. I tried asking if SBL could "hand pick" my bag to assure that I would receive the lightest one in stock. No such luck! They just aren't capable of doing that at the warehouse. I gambled and received my new FPB in tobacco yesterday. It definitely IS darker than my other lighter tobacco products BUT I have to say that I really do like it. It's right in-between the darker and the light that I am used to. That being said, it's a KEEPER! Thanks SBL for another wonderful product. I've attached a pic of a lighter color dry bag next to my new FPB.
I'm a 162cm female, and bought this even though it wasn't in the women's category. I've been using it for the 4th month now, and I love the look. The simple backpack's lack of a front pocket just didn't do it for me because of the large number of small items I have (cables, keys, portable charger, lip balm and other girly items). The quality of the leather is astounding, and now, leather products that aren't from Saddleback are very very unappealing.
The angle of the straps are perfect, and the usual issue I have with backpack straps forcing my arms into perpetual outward tree branches isn't a problem here.
The only thing I regret about this is its weight. I understand, though. With the quality comes the weight, but I sometimes spend half the day on my feet. My 15inch MacBook Pro, notebook, pencil case, makeup bag, thermal flask, cables/chargers, and occasional packed lunch are in this bag, and walking around in Singapore (32°C and unbelievably humid) with an extra 5.9 pounds isn't the best of ideas. It would be great if Saddleback had a smaller (less wide) version of the front pocket for women.
Overall, a lovely travel bag, but for women, prolonged carrying of this bag (>1 hours
of walking) wouldn't be a pleasant experience.
After a delay because of weather I received the backpack. My husband brought it to me when he was picking me up from work. He knew I couldn't wait to open it. The smell of the leather filled the room. It had some character marks already on it ,so I'll just have to create a fantastic story to go along with the marks. My husband even remarked how well the stitching is and how thick the leather is. I plan on taking it when we go to the dirt track , camping and any other trips we go on. The side pockets will hold my thermos and snacks in one and girl stuff in the other side pocket.
I put one of my favorite lap quilts inside the main compartment for cool weather.even with the lap quilt in it I still have room. I hope they bring the carbon color back in the future. I think carbon and chestnut are my favorite colors. Thank you Saddleback Leather. Your products are a blessing to me. Be blessed.
I really love this bag. I got the large FPB in Tobacco. I've gotten so many compliments on it, I can't even keep track. This is my first big SBL purchase (I have the median bifold and large passport wallet) and I couldn't be happier. I was looking for something that I could use for traveling, as well as day to day. I've used it for work, as a range bag to go shooting, as my bag for weekend trips out of town. It even held up nicely at South Padre Island. It can easily hold two days worth of clothes, along with my toiletries, Surface Pro 3, chargers, journal, Bible, and whatever else I think I might need. Besides the product being amazing, the customer service is top notch. I had some questions about the product so I called and they were very friendly and professional. I've already looked over the website to figure out what I'm going to get next.
Just ordered it. So I'm anxious to get it. I know it will be great. Because everything I get from Dave's deals always is the best. Thanks Saddle back leather. Be blessed.
Another great quality Saddleback piece. I just received the medium front pocket backpack in Tobacco to go with my collection of Saddleback products. I would have ordered this in a small size if it were available. However I am happy with the medium size. I am 5'10" and believe that anything larger than the medium would be to large. Great quality piece that gets a lot of compliments!
Hiked Chisos mountains in Big Bend national park a few weeks ago. Wore the large tobacco backpack for 30 miles of day hiking. Pack weighed about 30#. Balanced well and the straps never chafed or hurt. Only downside was backpack does get wet from sweating, need to figure out a way to get air circulation between back and pack. Of course got numerous compliments on the "old school pack". Even got compliments from the milligram minimalist backpackers.
I waited 1 year to get myself to buy one, I spent a lot of time doing research looking around for a beatiful bakcpack. And finally decided to get a large dark coffe brown front pocket backback, and it is amazing.
The leather is top quality, the color is deep and elegant, the space is great, the desing is superb. This is a product that will last for a lifetime for sure, there are not many products out there that will last long. There is lot of concern about the weight, but I dont really find it heavy.
I have been online looking for a hand crafted leather backpack for several years. I had a few made with local leather shops but the quality I was looking for they could not meet. they lasted a few months then would get destroyed. I do a lot of traveling around the world for work. Most places I go are not friendly areas. so my bags straps would break or they would rip apart at stress points. Then I found Saddleback leather. when I read how well they were made and watching like everyone else a 100 reviews on YouTube. I ordered my first backpack. I went with the Medium Front pock tobacco leather. I could not be happier then I am now when it arrived. It has meet all my expectation and then some. If you are looking for the best quality and well crafted, and great looking, look no further. if you are concerned on the price. I am here to tell you .... IT IS WORTH EVERY CENT.... Since then I have also purchased mac pro cover, moleskin cover, Bible cover, Small pad cover, pass port holder, and the small wallet. so take my word on this it will be the best and last thing you every buy....
I bought myself this backpack for myself as a three year gift for becoming a non-smoker. It is awesome. A functional piece of art. I just want to sit here and take a look at it.
I received my tobacco colored large frontpocket backpack today, and it is nothing short of amazing. The bag is very well made and after a few years of pondering whether to pull the trigger and purchase one, I am very glad I did as it is very well made and will be sure to out live me. For those wondering if it is worth the money, Absolutely!! (Remember like any purchase you get what you pay for). My customer service experience was also outstanding (shout out to Ara) she was able to guide me to the product I needed based on my business needs, and she was able to find me a divider which help narrow down my choice between a squared backpack and frontpocket backpack. This backpack will be replacing my Swiss gear backpack which served me well for the past 8-10 years but the Straps were beginning to wear out..This won't be a issue with this bag. I will use as my daily backpack for work, and carry on bag when flying. I chose the tobacco color as it will undoubtedly take on a life/character of its own between work and travel..
I travel extensively for work and frequently manage to insert some pleasure in many of my trips. Saddleback products have accompanied me to the Taj Mahal, Tibet, Mt. Everest and hundreds of places in between. Most of my trips result in at least one piece of broken luggage. Not one time has a product from this company failed in its task.
I use the backpack as a carry on for international trips to complement my thin front pocket briefcase and for weekend trips as a solo piece.
Giveaway business class travel kits from the airlines fit perfectly in the front and side pockets to retain the shape of the bag and keep things organized. This leaves the center section to fit everything else I need while in flight and a change of clothing (or two) in case my checked bags get lost.
For a little security if I have to gate check OR to discourage "pilfering" in the front pocket and center section, I puchased a TSA lock with a very short cable and loop it through a strap eyelet and the buckle. This works with most Saddleback designs.
Bottom line..... quality, durability and customer service from Saddleback Leather is the best I have experienced. Any doubts... pick up the phone and call the number on the website. Within seconds you will be talking to a friendly person committed to answering your questions..... They go the extra mile every time!
This is a negative review. I'm really sorry SB…I really like the other SB products we have, and I tried to love this bag, hoping it would grow on me over time, but I really don't…and after eight months, I'm currently trying to sell it. I'm giving it two stars because I love the color (carbon) and of course, the quality is really lovely in materials and construction, and SB customer service.
In general, this is a beautiful bag with quality construction and materials. Obviously, it's not a pack that should be used for bedbug riddled, hostel hopping, or slumming it around the world, or serious outdoor excursions. But for developed-world travel, car trips, or just throwing it in the back of the truck for a gear haul, it would be great. I have to mention that I really like the pockets. Not only are they huge, but the way they're sewn onto the bag so that there is a small space behind them to slide in tickets or a notebook is really fantastic. I also love that I don't have to baby my SB products...in fact, aside from conditioning every once in a while, I don't give them a second thought...it's like the meaner you are to them, the *better* they become.
However, I've run into several problems with this pack:
1) This pack (I bought the large, in the smokey carbon color) was intended as a luxury carryon and car travel piece, but the external measurements on the website are off and don't include the pockets (why?!). So the bag ends up being roughly 15.5 inches wide and 11 inches deep…too wide and too deep to squish into the carryon dimensions unless you flip the bag upside down…some airlines will be more picky about this than others. You might be able to get away with it, but you also might not.
2) It's bulky, stiff, and unwieldily. This is not something you can just slide into your lap or flip onto your shoulders…well, maybe if you're over 6 feet tall…which I'm not, I'm 5'5, and female. Of course it would become softer over, say, a decade of use, but frankly, I'm not willing to invest nearly $600 + 10 years in hopes that I'll love it later. I've found this as cumbersome to wield (put on and take off, and sit/store beside me, in the car, stow in the overhead, carryon cabin etc) as my old, fully loaded Dana Terraplane...that's really saying something considering how huge the Dana is and how much more weight it carries. (I realize the Dana and the SB are two completely different packs, to be used for completely different things, I'm just giving an example of how difficult the SB can be.)
3) Doesn't carry weight well, even when packed correctly. This is to be expected for something that's essentially a rucksack and I don't expect it to carry beautifully, but the whole back and shoulder area are just uncomfortable...and I'm no stranger to wearing packs. Maybe it's just not suited for a woman's frame. Not to mention, it's heavy. Yeah, the weight is listed, but it's a different game once the thing is loaded AND not carrying well.
4) I find the cinching, top closure difficult/time consuming to fiddle with and use correctly, and it doesn't close completely, unless the bag is almost empty. The cinching can be remedied quickly enough with some webbing and a buckle, in case anyone else is tired of fumbling with it.
CARBON, A note about the carbon color: This is my favorite color from SB (I have a small satchel--which I'm quite fond of, in carbon also). It's very difficult to photograph well: it's a grayish-black, dusty/smokey sort of of color, soft to the touch. As it ages, it becomes a little more shiny and darker--that's the patina. A very rugged, post-apoc, looking color. It might not be the attention getter that tobacco or chestnut is, but it's definitely the "baddest" color.
Obviously this pack was a bad fit for me. However, should you find it might be perfect for you, you'll never be disappointed with the quality materials and construction, or SB customer service.
Honestly, unless you want to start a life of compliments, constantly telling people 'Where you got that?!?!?!' don't buy this backpack.
This backpack will make sure you never get to take a train ride, or walk in the park, without someone starting a conversation. If you are single, get a puppy, or a baby or something, you'll receive less attention.
Not to mention the fact that you'll spend your first few minutes, upon arriving home, gazing at it, wondering why you didn't take it with you today. (because your large Saddleback briefcase would be crazy with jealousy if you did....).
Unless you want your kids asking you if they can have it when you die (seriously? I only just unwrapped if for Christmas...), do NOT buy this backpack. My son is eight, and I think he wants to push me down the stairs.
This is my fourth Saddleback piece, yes I have a problem. If you buy this backpack, you will have a problem too. They need to make some sort of full grain leather methodone program....
Is it too expensive? That's what people will think, when you answer their second question. But that's just fine, just remember, you're saving them a life of torment and punishment.
Dave is mean, so mean. He must be stopped.
I waited a while before writing a review of the front pocket back pack. I have used it for over 6 months and I love it. I got mine in Large Chestnut and seems to have darkened a little which is fine with me. This pack is made very well, I actually bring it back and forth on helicopters to work offshore. No matter where I go, airports, hotels, elevators, I get asked about this bag, people love it.
I debated between the medium and large. I went with the large and glad I did. I have not had any issues with the bag yet, it is heavy, so keep that in mind. This is my 5th product from SBL and most expensive!
Started my first semester of college this year and I knew I needed a good durable and reliable bag... Definitely did my research and kept coming back to this bag (I purchased the Large Carbon bag) so I thought I'd give it a try. Lets just say I am 100%, hands down completely satisfied with this bag! Not only do I use it for school, but my family travels a lot, so I use the bag also as a carry on bag / overnight bag. I get so many nice comments on how classy and nice the backpack looks. It can carry so much and is very comfortable. I would definitely recommend this backpack or anything made by Saddleback Leather to anybody!
The one and only thing that I thought was weird, which was not that big of a problem, but the bag looked a little lighter in person. I was expecting a really, almost black color. To me, in person, the Carbon color seemed a little more brown... But I still love it!
I purchased this backpack in May of 2014. I wanted to experience this piece before writing a review.
I bought the large dark brown size and it's a very sound investment. I get 10 compliments a day about the style and
look of it.
If your considering another backpack (perish the thought) if you have another backpack throw it away and get this piece.
Your mind may be wrestling with $600 bucks for a backpack, I promise you will not regret it.
No cheap zippers and crazy moving parts to easily break. It is simply a work of art‼️
GO BUY IT ALREADY :)
I purchased the Medium Front Pocket Backpack in Chestnut and the Large Classic Briefcase in Tobacco. 4 Stars are for the cinch system in the backpack not closing all the way tight. I will be documenting as much as I can from unboxing to deeply worn in. My videos are honest, showing what I think are flaws, as well as awesomeness. My playlist is here: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLt38FZPTgXG_caLAAkyV3YfhJv7gGSzOa . Simply copy and paste the link to your browser of choice. Let me know what you think.
Yep! I just coined another word to describe this beast of a backpack. I had a friend come visit me in Toronto from Houston and saw the Squared backpack in the trunk of his rental car and that marks the beginning of my obsession!! I could not stop thinking of this pack throughout our trip from Toronto to Ottawa as I was longing to get access to a computer and do a little bit more research. Eventually I was able to research and my findings pointed to the front pocket backpack (large) in chestnut since I am about 6" 3' 210lb. I ordered it and surprisingly got an email about some few hours later that my order had shipped - faster than a Sputnik eh. I had braced myself for a long wait since it had to cross the border but my wait only lasted a week and some days. Anyway, not to bore you with unnecessary rhetoric, I got the pack and the ride had been smooth ever since.
The pack spent a couple of days with me on the same bed (was was not around) as I could not get enough of the sweet leather smell. I was struck by the enormous attention to details in producing this pack and I instantly realized how expensive the pack would have been if it had one of those popular designers' logo on it. A backpack doesn't come better than this. I wasn't sure if I should be carrying such a beauty to work on a daily basis since the pack has the tendencies of drawing attention away from me (already jealous) - wink. But I figured I have to break the leather somehow. I have not changed the pack since the very first day I started carrying it (mind you, I have 3 other backpacks that I now consider totally inferior). I am going to resist the urge of telling you all the different accolades I have received for they are too many and some of them are very hilarious - like an attendant in a leather products store going completely berserk on seeing my pack (a story for another day).
Anyway, I have succeeded in gaining my wife's buy-in and I will be ordering the Beast Duffel Bag pretty soon together with some 'girl's' stuff for the wifey also. Top 3 of my best investments for 2014.
One last thing, I did not see any of the tracts in my pack and I was wondering if you have succumbed to the pressure of those who are against putting such tracts in their order. May be you can solve the dilemma by including a check-box at check-out to include the tracts so it will be at the request of the customer. Just a thought........... Thanks Dave!!!
I help lead a group of teenagers on thier annual missons trip to Costa Rica. We partner with an organization down there called Roble Alto. They seek to break the chains of abject poverty of children and there families. Well it is great to see a group of teens get up early, work hard all day, and then play with the kids into the evening.
Well this year I recieved a front pocket backpack for my birthday ( I'd been hinting pretty heavily the last couple years), and was looking forward to getting some 'character miles' on it (You Saddleback owners will know what I'm talking about). Being allergic to synthetic materials and having an all leather bag and loving to travel it seemed a good pairing, except for sleeping arrangements. It seems that polyester is the material of choice world wide. My new bag, having been birthed from genius (Thanks Dave!), was given four "D" rings on the bottom which is perfect for a bed roll. The bag being stout, girthy, and ruggedly hansome (Like it's owner), I was concerned with adding too much weight. Not for the bag's sake, but my back. A quick visit to the local military surplus store I aquired a large wool blanket, with a bit of help from my favorite seemstress (Thanks Mom!) got one side of it flannel lined.
Back to Costa Rica. After a week of serving with and being blessed by both groups of kids we spend one day for R & R on the coast. The night before leave one third of our groups comes down with a stomach bug. I learned that day that Montezuma's Revenge extends to Central America (and lasts a month). This great bag carried everything I needed, either in the main compartment, one of the three outer pockets or strapped to the outside. I also learned that the smell of high quality leather settles an upset tummy. To all you aspiring travelers. Sometimes the only luggage that arrives with you is what you carry on, so carry quality and luggage stores in airports are for people who don't have Saddleback Leather!
P.S. A bag of scrap leather is a great source for making cords to tie stuff to your bag...say a bed roll.
Peace, Love, and a whole lot of Jesus,
I expected no problems with the front pocket backpack for its price. But it has design problems.
When its not fully packed, the body folds down for lack of anything to hold it in place, thereby exposing the contents to possible pilfering from "pickpockets" (I just moved to a place where pickpockets are particularly skilled). I'm sure those with similar backpacks know what I'm describing.
Another issue I have is that the buckle that is used to close the bag is located at the front pocket. When loaded, the stress is on the front pocket thereby greatly deforming the bag. It also places a lot of stress on the front pocket that I fear it might break. While I know the bag has a great warranty, getting the back to the US for warranty and getting it back to me after it has been repaired is a big, big, expensive hassle which I would prefer not to go through.
I contacted Saddleback Leather about ways to solve the problems. While they were very prompt in replying to me, they could not do anything to solve my problem and passed me on to their "sister company" who cannot help me either. So now, I'm stuck with this bag that I cannot use as my daily carry bag, as I planned to, for fear of getting my belongings stolen specially when I go through crowded areas.
On the good side, the workmanship of the bag, like all the SBL bags I have bought, is superb!
This was my fourth Saddleback Leather item that I purchased. However, this purchase was for my Mother's 60th birthday. I ordered the Chestnut medium. Now, I thought that there would be a "gift" option in the end of the sales transaction where you would be able to include a message--there wasn't. So I emailed support and asked them if they would include a birthday card with my message. Saddleback replied and said that they would try to get the message with my gift. And they did!
This is amazing! This is why I love this company, there is no other company that would provide such personal interaction and commitment; sorry, I don't believe that this is customer service, I believe that this is personal interaction.
I had my medium front pocket for a little over two years before I decided to sell it for some new leather but I loved every day I had it. My FPB took me all over New England and the tri-state area. On every trip I was able to pack more than enough clothes if needed and used the pockets for chargers and toiletry storage. The long strap on the main compartment meant that I could overload the heck out of the pack.
A great buy.
Yet another amazing product from Saddleback.
The Front-Pocket Backpack (large) is awesome. I recommend it actually if you want to do any sort of hiking in order to have enough supplies on you. It makes an excellent day-pack, and the d-rings allow you to carry any tripods or accessories along with you. However, I feel like the straps need a bit more R&D, but overall it is a very good pack and an excellent choice if you are a traveler and/or enjoy doing day-hikes / overnight hikes. This bag fits my 15" macbook-pro with Retina display, WITH a thule case, in case you need that info. For you camera enthusiasts out there, the front pocket fits a film SLR, and a digital/film rangefinder with ease (although I don't recommend it if you are going to be bumping around stuff since the pocket is not padded).
Check out my video review. This is part one; there are three parts. I will update my review after climbing Mt. Fuji in August.