That's my order number.
I'm still undecided on a water bag, but in the meantime I picked up a simple backpack (medium, dark coffee brown) from Dave's deals. I ordered it last Thursday and it was sitting on my doorstep when I arrived home last night. From Texas to northern Idaho in two business days is quick service. I'll follow with some quick and initial impressions of the backpack.
My initial impression taking it out of the box, apart from the new leather scent, is that it is bigger than I expected -- but not in a bad way. To be certain, this bag is capable of carrying more than it's dimensions would indicate. The wide open compartment and additional width are a welcome change compared to the North Face backpack I've been carrying. I think this will carry enough for the average weekend trip. I wasn't sure if the medium would be big enough, but now I think the large may be too big for me (I'm 5'8").
I've been hung up on color choice since deciding that I wanted a couple of Saddleback bags, but this being on Dave's deals made the color choice easy. And as it turns out, I do like the dark coffee brown. I think chocolate brown with a very faint black undertone is the best way I can find to describe the color. Also, it turns out to be close in color to my father's old saddle and chaps. In that regard, the color of the backpack evokes some nostalgia and sentimentality for me.
There are no surprises with the leather or construction, both are top notch and explain why Saddleback is comfortable offering a 100 year warranty. Even with heavy use, I can see this backpack lasting for many, many years as long as the leather is not allowed to dry and crack.
I was a bit worried about the lack of a sternum strap but it seems comfortable without it. I loaded it up and carried it this morning and I'm initially impressed with how comfortable it is. It seems to do a great job of distributing the weight properly. I think after a break-in period, it has the potential to be very comfortable. The only issue I had this morning was the temperature outside. It was 25 degrees which made the already stiff leather even more stiff. The cold strap was difficult to pull up and out of the buckle. Of course, as the leather softens I would anticipate it to become less of an issue.
Finally, since this was purchased as a Dave's deal I did check it over thoroughly and I'm not sure why it was sold at a discount. I can find nothing wrong other than maybe some wrinkles that are only present on one side of the flap; which is not an issue since it just adds some early character.
So far I'm impressed.