I'm Australian and have to admit I freaked a bit about spending SO MUCH MONEY on a bag I'd never seen. I already owned a saddleback wallet when I ordered the simple backpack, so I expected quality - and was not disappointed.
This backpack is the favourite thing I own, I've used it almost daily despite not really needing to use such a big bag most days. I leave it casually lying around just so I can admire it. Basically like most saddleback shoppers, I'm hooked. This was my second purchase; I have my third, fourth, fifth and six items on the way.
I have the medium sized backpack, which is quite large. I'm 5"7 and wouldn't want a larger bag. I'm also a curvier lady and find that the straps are comfortable - unlike packs I've used in the past.
This bag cops a beating; I use it hiking, for small trips interstate, at work.. I've used it consistently for six months and it's wearing in nicely.
I've not encountered leather products anywhere near as well made and strong in Australia. R.M. Williams etc have NOTHING on Saddleback Leather. If you're umming and ahhing just do it. Worth every cent.
Here's the thing about no zippers ... its expandable. You can intellectualize the concept, understand that there will be metal to break, but until you are in a hotel room and need just that last few inches I don't think you grasp it.
The 14" lays incredibly lightly across your back, is beautiful and functional, and depending on your shoe requirements carry 2-3 days of wear. I've added this to my gorgeous, large chestnut water bag, and a handsome large classic briefcase and between them any pairing will cover me in almost every travel arrangement.
What an awesome pack. Lots of compliments and it gets better with age. I traveled with it and have use it as an every day pack. The quality is top notch.
I had been dying to add this backpack to my collection of Saddleback items for several years. When I purchased the large front pocket backpack for my husband I just had to get myself the simple backpack in medium. The leather is beyond compare! I tried to purchase a leather backpack from a similar custom leather website in hopes that I could get a comparable product for less money...bad idea! The other "top hide" leather felt very waxy and cheap compared to SBL. Listen to the man, Dave, buy nice or buy twice! It's very true. I'm a 5'3 female and the medium was the best choice for me, I can fit so much into it and the weight feels great thanks to the padding in the back and shoulder straps. I love this bag & would highly recommend that you treat yourself to one too!
Three words to sum it up : LOVE MY BACKPACK !!!
And it smells good !
I am a 6'8 ruggedly handsome man that loves leather products. I have been told that I am a better looking version of John Wayne. With this said, I own the 17 inch version of the simple backpack. This bag is big and strong enough to carry all of my supplies including my ego. I own multiple Saddleback products and each one has exceeded my expectations. Quality products from a quality company.
I'm hooked. I love Dave's "Why" and the passion that everyone at Saddleback has for what they do. I had been trying to justify spending $600 on a backpack for 18+ months. I finally did it and I'm absolutely loving the bag. It's excellent for everything that I need to stuff in there. Computer, iPad, jambox, files, lunch, firearm, etc. I love the smell of the leather. I love the look of it. I've taken it on 2 trips thus far and it's not easy to "put under the seat in front of you" like a typical briefcase. Thus far, that's my only tradeoff. Otherwise, I'm excited to have this bag for the rest of my life.
I ordered the Thin Front Pocket Briefcase - too small - returned it. I ordered the Large Thin Briefcase - too big - returned it. I thought about the larger Front Pocket Briefcase, however all leather types were out-of-stock with an expected 30-day restocking date.
Bummer! 30-days? I needed support. I visited YouTube to view what others were saying about SBL briefcases and clicked on some business guy telling about his new SBL backpack. A backpack? Really? After, I revisited the SBL site to view and hear Dave's video about the Simple Backpack. I was sold!
My Simple Backpack and Cable Bag (placed inside for small items) arrived last week. Unlike my past briefcases, my backpack will get no weekends off. I plan to carry my new best friend on weekend hikes, camping, canoeing, sailing, fishing, to the beach, and more.
I'd like to thank SBL for putting up with me during my returns. Their CS folks are down-to-earth and truly want to make sure you are satisfied with your purchase. Dave, you should be proud - of your products (Wow!) and your team.
Final thoughts: I'm 5'11" and weigh 175. I ordered the 14" backpack - it's way big enough. These backpacks hold a lot. Don't look at a 14"H x 12"W nylon JanSport backpack for sizing and think it represents. The 17" would've been too big for my needs. Also, I recommend ordering one or two Cable Bags to use inside the backpack. They're great for organizing what doesn't fit in the two side pockets.
I rarely buy things on a whim. I research most of what I buy, because, as Dave says: buy nice, or buy twice. Therefore, the fact that I choose to buy a large, chestnut Simple Backpack is a compliment in itself, but the tale does not end there. I have had it in one year now, and have taken it everywhere. From long walks on the beach in sunny, summer France to skiing, here, in cold Lillehammer, Norway. This backpack can take any challenge you throw at it. It can carry enormous amounts and will be you're best friend during every or any travel you may embark on, ever.
Full disclosure, I'm a Saddleback Leather junkie. I started out last year, my first purchase was a Large Thin Briefcase in DCB, well since thin I've purchased quit a few other items, my latest being a medium Simple Backpack in Tobacco. As usual the quality is excellent, the leather is thick, the stitching and hardware are top notch. I love this backpack because it's pretty light (by Saddleback standards) and the perfect size for daily use carrying around my "stuff" (all the miscelaneous things I feel compelled to have handy, i.e. extra socks, work gloves, hand tools, flashlight, notebook, etc.) . It's not too big but big enough to carry most anything I need to cram in there. The side pockets are convienent for smaller loose items and the simple large main "bag" holds a ton and since it's leather you can really stuff it. I hope this backpack stays around for a long time, not that I'll ever need to purchase another one, but I might just want a different color in a few years! Keep up the good work Saddleback.
This is the prefect adventure backpack. I'm 5'9" with broad shoulders and the Medium fits me perfectly. It is very comfotable. I have taken it on several long hikes and it feels great. I also commute with it by bike. Not much else to say about it. Great, simple, lightweight design that will stand the test of time. Great work Dave!
This is simply the best backpack available. Solid, soft, accommodating and rugged. It's those great locking straps that give me the confidence that NO ONE will mess with my stuff. The quality of the bag keeps my electronic gear protected and safe. (Of course I have those wrapped in Saddleback also) Never disappointed with Saddleback. I am glad she got it for me, get one for yourself.
If you are reading those reviews, that means you are interested in that backpack. Just don't spend too much time drooling over it and BUY IT. There's a reason why there are only 5 stars around. I consider myself as a Bag Freak, I used to have a lot of backpack (many famous brands) and bags but since I purchased it, sold most of them (or gave them away). I usually get bored very fastly with bags but it's a different story with the simple backpack. I've had it for 2 months already and took it with me for my trip to Japan, so many compliments from people there. Fits my macbook pro retina 15" perfectly and tons of my gadgets.. Here is a picture of the bag in front of the Gundam Statue in Tokyo !
Keep up the good work SBL Team !!
I orginally discovered Saddleback Leather back in 2009 while looking for a replacement for my trusty college pigskin backpack. At the time, only one true backpack was offered by Saddleback Leather, and it wasn't quite what I was looking for. Last fall, the Simple Backpack was released, and I bought it without hesitation. It's exactly the backpack I've been looking for. The size is perfect for fitting underneath the front seat area on an aircraft, I can fit a 15" Macbook Pro in it, the shoulder straps are extremely comfortable once broken in, and the color is really phenomenal. I've used the bag exclusively for the past few months, and everytime I open it, I want to tell Dave "Thank you for making this."
The simple backpack is simply beautifull.
I love everything about this backpack. Its lightweight and the combination of soft bag and rigid flap, the plain front part and those really sweet pockets...
Also the straps and the option to use them with or without the pads..
The size is perfect for just anything. I can fit my largest laptop in it and all I need for a weekend. It is really comfortable to carry.
I live in Europe and paid 20% extra to customs to own this bag, but it is absoluetly worth it.
I am sure this bag looks great in any color, I got mine in tobacco and think it is the perfect color to get this beautifull worn "in the wild" leather look after some use..
I can highly recommend this backpack, I am extremly happy with it.
One of the things I love about Saddleback products is that they introduce me to my favorite possessions, and this is one of my favorite of all of them. This backpack rocks, and there is nothing you can't do with it, and no place you can't take it. It works if you are backpacking to a new rock climbing spot or carrying your laptop to Starbucks to study. For those of you who are new to SBL, this product is the highest quality that you will probably ever come into contact with. Beautiful and long lasting. I have had this backpack in tobacco brown for about 4 months, and I have literally nothing to complain about. It is the perfect product. I made a video review that features this item along with some others, and you can see it here... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kuOe2JxFylc
Ordered this in dark chocolate for my birthday treat. My wife is getting worried about me as I seem to buy a lot of bags, and that should be a feminine activity! Anyway, after a long anticipated wait (I live in Scotland and customs takes ages and charges the world! In fact I think that may be their motto?) it arrived. Straight out of the box I was impressed, the smell, the look, the quality.
I had been worried that the bag would be too small and was going to wait for the 17" version, but just couldn't help myself. On size, the bag is excellent. I think that the 17" would have been too big. I can get my work laptop (a Dell 15" Latitude) in with my private laptop (Dell 14" XPS), my filofax (A5 size), my BIG Saddleback wallet, a large Oakley sunglasses case (yes, the sun shines in Scotland), chargers and there is still space, it does not look over stuffed. Not that I would normally carry all that, but needed too on one particular day. The bag showed no signs of strain, like a good workhorse it accepted the load gladly.
This is easily the best bag I have ever owned and will likely be the last backpack I ever buy. All the others, Eastpak, Northface, etc are all going on eBay. Wonder of wonders, my wife likes the bag! That is a first. This little baby is in for some travel this year - up Ben Nevis, Sweden, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium and South Africa for now. I'll take some pictures as I go lol
One thing that was funny is that I have never seen a Saddleback case in my travels in the UK. The day before I received the backpack I was on a trip to London from Edinburgh airport with my trusty Saddleback Messenger bag when I noticed in the security queue someone with a nice looking black briefcase. As we got closer, I saw that it was a Saddleback logo. Unfortunately I did not get to meet the gent with the bag as I had to rush to board my flight - rushing at ungodly hours seems to have become a past time.
Anyway, I cannot say how impressed I am with this bag. It is truly a work of art and I look forward to it wearing in and developing more character. In the couple of years that I have had my messenger bag I have had two people comment on how nice it is. The backpack has already surpassed that. It is comfortable, not bad weight wise, very useful in the minimal pockets (no opening silly zips into nasty little pockets that seem to lose things) and has a rugged class to it. For those of you that have read the Dark Tower series, this is what Roland's gunna must have been, crossing the ages and the wastes with him. It is known in the household now as my gunna. I even happily gave my Barbour bag to my daughter as her gunna.
Right, I'll shut-up. In short - great bag - buy it.
This backpack is amazing. A true and rugged work of art. And it will only get softer with time. The more tough love it gets, the more character it will develop. At first I was unsure about what to go with, the satchel or this backpack. But being more of a backpack type of person in general and owning many of them over the years, I went with my gut and chose this. I'm glad I did. I really like that it is indeed simple with just the 2 side pockets and one big "hole" on the inside. It's much bigger than I expected it to be and is very generously sized. It will probably outlast me. And it smells good, too. Even my cats think so. GET ONE.
I have been " Sattlebacker " since my son introduced me last year. The backpack is awesome, its size and features make it the best pick for accompanying me as I go through my day. I would highly recommend this bag to anyone and speaking of which, my wife is now interesting in getting one in Tobacco Brown. (mine is Chestnut).
Dave , keep up the good work in offering such highly prized products!
i received the simple backpack (large size) and it was so perfectly well made. it was a work of art,the size, balance & the craftmanship are well made that will last many years of usage . dave, keep the good work .
God bless you. thank you...
I picked up the large simple backpack in tobacco and can honestly say it has exceeded my expectation. We just returned from 2 weeks in Spain and used this on an almost daily basis. Very comfortable and well balanced for a bag this heavy when fully loaded. The tobacco color is beautiful and the leather feels almost velvety.
i've purchased many saddleback products, but they all eventually end up in the closet due to their heavy weight. they look great but were simply too heavy for daily use. well they finally hit the perfect combo of form and function with this one. by eliminating the pigskin backing on most of the bag, they made it much lighter . i love this bag! finally a saddleback i can really use. thanks dave for constantly improving and moving forward. now only if saddleback made watch straps...
get this bag!!! i'm thinking of getting another one in a different color.
Simple Pack, Lg,Chestnut
Read SBL site ( and Google others), to learn about how high quality leather is supposed to be processed, tanned, dyed, and worked. Dave is no B.S er. Well, at least not about leather.
The shoulder straps *alone* are designed with more care than many ENTIRE $1000 bags. Every detail is functional, and made superbly. There are plenty of attachment points to tailor your bag
for your gear, and for the uses of your choice. Honor a cow; get
this bag. Use your attention to deal with other issues during your
travels; you sure won't have to worry about a Saddleback!
First off I wanna say that this is my 5th saddleback leather product so I am a huge fan of their products.
I was so taken aback by the size of the large simple backpack, it is enormous! Not in a bad way though. For most people the medium size would be ample but im 6'1 and thought that the large would suit me better.
Workmanship is top notch as always and I think the price is very reasonable for what you get. I wanna glue this pack to me, its simply a work of art and can hold a lot of stuff. And when I mean a lot I mean "a lot!".
If there was one thing that I could add to the design would be a small pocket on the inside of the bag just enuf for a pen or two but thats no big deal as I used the backs of the side pockets.
If ur thinking about getting this bag.....stop thinking and buy it now!
Dave, ur a legend mate :) Cheers.
If simple means excellent design, workmanship and utility this bag exceeds expectations. It can go anywhere, anytime...it looks great and can bill filled with anything from my camera gear, to computers, to business papers.
I am thrilled to own this and eager to indeed pass it along to the next generation. While it is not inexpensive, it is certainly higher in value.
Keep up the excellent work an don't be tempted to ever cut corners. This is the first place I will look fr my next leather products!