Once upon a Wednesday morning I was late to work. Water trickling from the fridge could not fill up my water bottles (1000 ml and 750 ml) fast enough. Confident in my bottle cap screwing ability I threw them in my rugged Mountainback Medium Gear Bag along with a Medium Notepad Holder, coffee mug, and lunch ready to brave the desk diving day ahead. Fast forward 28 min. and fresh brewed coffee later I arrive to work, albeit fashionably late (obviously). Unloading my bag I notice higher than usual amounts of wetness inside (typically just condensation from the bottles reacting to this Texan air). Well, at some point during my journey the 750 ml bottle decided its insides wanted to become its outsides. After slowly removing everything and toweling off each item, I see a peaceful lake of water at the bottom of the bag. I noticed how the water was just happily slushing around in there without soaking the bag or leaking out! So I simply dumped the bag out and used one piece of paper towel to remove a few beads of water. That's right folks, this sucker is waterproof! Believe the hype, these bags are truly over engineered and built to withstand whatever you think you can throw at it.
Also, I wanted to address the Medium vs. Large discussion. I thought I'd need the Large Gear Bag for my daily needs but this Medium is PERFECT. I can stuff it full of more than what I'd need for one day and it looks great on my 6'3" frame. If you're looking for a manly day bag to take to the office or really any adventure then GET THIS BAG.
This is my 6th Saddleback piece. I know because I counted on my fingers. (twice).
I saw this on launch date, and they were immediately sold out. That was fine, because I will definitely consider a long while before spending this much on something.
Dave recently announced that he's putting his prices up, so that convinced me. Not because Saddleback isn't worth an increase, it is. But because that would mean I would be 'thinking about it', even longer.
There are a number of reviews on youtube to watch, but to be honest, none of them do this bag justice. It's much sturdier in your hands than you imagine it would be, and the canvass has an almost musky smell that makes you think of being on the water.
It feels (like most saddleback gear) that it would benefit from a 10kg tow behind my car, and I'm really looking forward to watching it break in. It's definitely another superb design by Dave and his team.
For those that are worried about the comments here regarding the top of the back 'buckling' when you carry it by the handle, it's not only minimal, but you're going to throw this over your shoulder, so it's a non-issue.
I freaking LOVE this bag. Well done guys.
The medium gear bag is everything I have come to appreciate about the Saddleback Leather products. A well thought out design with a perfect balance of refinement and old world charm. The materials are well beyond what is necessary and the construction is over engineered to withstand abuse beyond reason. I have come to the conclusion there is no perfect everyday carry bag and a little variety is a good thing. With that in mind, I will skip the hindsight design suggestions and get right to what I like about this particular bag. The leather side / bottom panel provides structure and comfort and will develop a great patina over time. The waxed canvas gives the owner the ability to control the appearance and functionality with waxing or not waxing in the future. It quickly develops a lived in look and becomes appealing to the touch in a matter of days. The weight is substantial but not overwhelming and closure is clever and easy to use. Last but certainly not least, I believe buying a bag from Saddleback Leather is more than just a bag. It is buying into a story, a dream and a family of compassionate and dedicated people.
Perhaps it's unfair to give this bag a 2/5, because a part of me believes that it is because the leather products are so well made that I'm disappointed with this canvas bag. Then I remember I paid over $300 for it and I get over that concern.
I've carried this bag almost every day since the launch of Mountainback
The bad news:
-Top flap is so pliable it falls and folds in every direction and sometimes it's actually a challenge to get it to fall square in line with the closure. It might have been a good idea to add some rigidity to the flap along the inside.
-The inner pocket does not go all the way to the bottom of the bag (not sure why) and as a result it causes the bag to be unbalanced and top heavy.
-Frayed outer threads appeared within a couple weeks.
-The grenade bag closure is annoying to secure and slightly effeminate looking. I also don't think it's going to age well due to the constant bending.
-The back leather-side does not seem to match the rest of the bag. It's as if the bag ripped and they used an unnecessarily huge piece of leather (because it's all the had available) to fix it to keep it in working order.
-The inner and outer side pockets are so small/tight they are only good for pens, knives and other very slender things.
-There is no way to put the bag down without laying it flat on the leather (potentially spilling out the contents if the bag is open). This makes for a challenging packing or retrieving of anything in the bag. It should stand up on its own.
-The top handle leather is a solid fail. Hard to describe this one: in layman terms: the handle looks cheap, flimsy, and the "slide one inch under a loop while being attached in the other end" feature is just unnecessary and unattractive. The leather is so thin and mailable that it's hard to control the already flimsy canvass bag.
The Good News:
-It's still a fairly good looking EDC bag and the right size for most daily activities.
-Heavy materials indicate strength and quality
-Shoulder strap is perfect
Summary: it's a "good" bag priced at a "great" price. I wanted desperately to love this bag as much as I love my other Saddleback products, but I don't. It's a big disappointment for me and makes me think the logical alternative to leather is still tactical Nylon not waxed canvas.
If this bag stood up by itself it would get 3/5 stars. If the canvas was thicker and less floppy and could stand on its own, it would get 4/5 stars. If you did the first two changes you wouldn't need the over built leather backing. Change the handle to a thicker saddleback leather quality handle, and even with the grenade bag closure it would get 5/5 stars from me.
Sorry, but I'll stick to Saddleback in the future, and I recommend others do the same.
Over the past ten years I have carried Saddleback bags every day. I love the classic look and quality. My only complaints over the years were weight (the classic briefcase is beautiful but a bit heavy for me) and the ease of opening the bag with one hand when it is on my shoulder. Grabbing something from the inside with one hand was pretty impossible, as I could never quite master opening a buckle with one hand, and certainly couldn't close it again.
So when the Mountainback medium gear bag came out I couldn't wait to give it a try. I was one of the first to purchase one and have been using it for a while now. Short answer: it's perfect.
It is lighter than my full leather briefcase, but still substantial. And the "WW I grenade bag" closure is AWESOME. Easy to open and close with one hand (but has never come open on its own). Brilliant. I love the Scottish canvas look and feel, and there is still enough leather to add durability and class. It has enough space for all I carry daily. A pleasant surprise: my iPad Pro and its cover/keyboard fit perfectly in the back pocket inside the bag.
My only "complaint" is that I like using the bag without the leather pad on the strap. That pad won't just slide off over the hardware on the ends, so for awhile I just slid it near the end of the strap. Once I knew for sure I wasn't going to ever need it, I cut it off.
If you are looking for a bag with a unique and classic look that is durable, functional, and just plain cool... get this bag. You won't regret it.
I was very excited to be the 3rd person to receive one of Daves new creations. I loved the style and material. Easily adjustable shoulder strap and comfortable to carry. I like the leather back pocket as it protects your clothes from the fabric finish and allows easy access to reading material or documents. The construction and design continue highlighting Saddleback quality. The closure strap is unique, works well, is secure but seems to be too long whether full or partially full. Copper rivets snugly reinforce top front corners but I wondered why they didn't put them in the back corners too as there seems to be greater stress there. I very much am dissatisfied with the top strap. Very small reinforcement area inside top flap and when used to pick bag up,regardless of items inside, wants to collapse bag in the middle. Being the material is fabric instead of leather I would think the strap would function better attached to top back corners reinforced with leather backing side to side. Nonetheless I would reiterate Robert Duvals words from the movie "Open Range"; "worth every penny". This is a good bag that could be great with a few minor changes.
I have been using this medium gear bag for a week now. It perform very well in a seminar where I had to carry lots of documents and books together with my personal EDC.
It is not over engineered but it is extreme engineered .The materials and hardwares and the built are the best of their kinds . It can be a perfect choice for professions like gold bars transporting or other heaviest objects .I’m sure this bag will perform gracefully .You can not find any canvas bag that is as tough and sturdy yet still look beautiful like this one.
The color and texture is very pleasing to the eyes .The touch of both canvas and leather is so wonderful . It look perfecly distinctive from other products in the market. BUT..the design,especially for this MGB ,is over designed because it has a lot of just-in-case in the design . A D-ring is added just in case it may be use as a backpack, for example.There are ideas I like and dislikes in this bag .The old bull leather backing pad is great idea to hold and keep the bag always in good shape and make an extra back pocket ,at the same time add unique accent to the form. The pad is also used in backpacking mode ,just in case, but then the strap is a bit too shot when in that mode .
The lock , the signature of this whole product line , is well thought and works perfectly .But when on this MGB the lock seems too long for the bag . It look good only when lock it at the last hole , that means when the bag is full , but at middle and the first hole the leather strap will go lower than the bottom line and ,to me ,look akward . When the bag is half empty,which it usually is most of time, it looks best when unlocked .
What I don’t like most is the handle . It ‘s imbalance ruins the look of the bag .It may work well on the duffel or the large gear bag but it’s the eyesore on the medium gear bag. And when using it the bag will be deformed unpleasingly . I think , a better solution is to connect a handle to the backing pad or ,rather ,make the backing pad itself as a handle since the pad seems to be able to hold the whole weight of the bag already. This handle design makes me hesitated to order a simple BP that use the same handle . I hope SBL will find a better solution for handle .