Saddleback Backpack Questions
April 24, 2011 4:10 PM   Subscribe

Questions about the Saddleback leather backpack. Can't find many reviews about this particular piece. How is it for carrying? How is it in the rain? And most you like yours?

I'm looking for a bag. The "vibe" that Saddleback goes for strikes a chord with me. The rustic/indestructible thing. I shop for a long time, and then I buy something once. I don't like cheaply-built stuff, I like stuff that ages well, and I think their stuff is gorgeous.

So I'm close to pulling the trigger on something from Saddleback. But when I fly, I like having the main compartment closed but still having reasonably quick access to some outer pockets for little stuff (kindle, snacks, boarding pass) that I need during the flight itself. Very few of Saddleback's designs have much of anything in the way of exterior pockets.

So I'm leaning toward the backpack. It has a back slim (paper/magazine) pocket, a front slim pocket (under the flap), two covered pockets on the sides, and two open pockets on the sides (behind the covered pockets). Waaaaay more than anything else from them. But there are very few reviews/comments about the backpack online.

So...anybody have one? How do you like it? How comfortable is it for backpack carrying? How is it for one-strap (lazy student) carrying? How about shoulder carrying (with a different strap)? How is it in the rain (I'm in Portland, OR)? I'm a little worried about rain getting under the pocket covers or into the *open* pockets (behind the covered pockets on the sides)?

Alternatively, any other bag ideas with the Saddleback vibe/style that might work for me design-wise? The backpack is about the capacity that I'm looking for, and I want some exterior pockets that are reasonably quick-access.
posted by madmethods to Shopping (3 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I don't have the backpack but I do have a Saddleback duffle bag and a briefcase and they're excellent. I'm probably gonna sell the dufflebag and buy the water bag as I think it suits my needs a bit better.

I have no real complaints about the SB bags, really. Just remember that they're fullgrain leather through and through and have metal clasps so can be a bit on the heavy side. The bags live up to the expectation you get from going thru their site.

The only other brand bag that I'm loyal to like SB is Freitag. I have the two SB bags but I have 9 Freitags. Though their backpack is awesome (Hazzard), it has nowhere near the capacity for travel that the SB backpack does. It's mostly a bike riding around the city type bag. My favorite Freitag is the Dexter. When I travel for up to two weeks, I take just two bags: my Dexter and my Saddleback duffle; they both qualify as carry-on.
posted by dobbs at 4:22 PM on April 24, 2011

I don't have the backpack, but I LOVE my Saddleback briefcase. I can't say enough about the quality and style. Their customer service is excellent. I highly suggest you contact them directly and ask them what they think.
posted by Silvertree at 4:51 PM on April 24, 2011

Yet another Saddleback briefcase owner here testifying to the quality being up-to-promises, and yet another owner with no backpack experience, sorry.

What new info I will impart is that I solve your stated problem (I need airplane access to stuff) by carrying a no-frills messenger bag (specifically a Levenger "Bomber Jacket Laptop Messenger" but any small messenger would work) inside one of the two main compartments of my SBL briefcase, with phone, laptop, Kindle and all the usual tech-sessories inside that. It has magnetic flippy closures and easy access to insides.

Stowed away inside the briefcase, it's just about a perfect fit, occupying one of the two halves of the divided main compartment. I pull the gadget-loaded messenger out before boarding and carry it as a man-purse, keeping my gear much more handy than it'd be buckled inside the briefcase. Briefcase, now containing nothing I need in-flight, goes overhead. The messenger stays on my lap, underfoot, or most often smooshed between my hip and the fuselage.

This sub-bag full of electronics also makes for a handy sub-sort at security checkpoints. Easier than fishing for and re-stowing individual gadgets inside the big briefcase.
posted by rokusan at 11:26 PM on April 24, 2011

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