I ordered the new Saddleback Leather Simple Backpack in Dark Coffee Brown (DCB) last Friday and it arrived this morning via UPS. I was very excited to unpack it and it definitely has exceeded my expectations thus far.
If you have other items from Saddleback, the first thing you will notice about the Simple backpack is that it is very light. Due largely in part to the fact that only the top flap, back panel and some of the bottom is backed in pigskin. The rest of the pack, including the pockets is just wonderful soft unbacked leather. This will allow it to break in quickly and will give it a great rugged look.
The pack is very well designed and is very comfortable. It uses a lumbar pad stitched into the bottom of the back panel that feels just right. In addition, the bottom of the straps connect around the side of the pack so that they do not poke you in the back. I took the included shoulder pads off, as I prefer the look, it eliminates unnecessary bulk and it is more comfortable to me without them.
The closure on the pack is very cool. As we all know, Dave hates zippers, so he has chosen to use a Large Utility strap to pull three rings together (see pictures). It works well and is a good fit for the rustic Indiana Jonesish design aesthetic. The buckle for the top flap is the same one found on the Classic Briefcase.
This backpack is listed as a Medium size and Dave states that he will be offering a Large in early 2013. I was initially concerned that the pack would be too small, but it is actually larger than I expected. I have included a couple comparison pics next to my Tobacco Medium Thin Briefcase and my Chestnut Medium Classic Briefcase. I think you will agree...it is plenty large.
Here are some pics and I will check back in with more impressions as it breaks in.
Thanks for looking:)