This is a continuation of my ongoing review of the Saddleback Leather Squared Backpack which I am doing in video form. The text below is the transcript of the video. You can see/read episode one here.
I have been out hiking for a few hours now. You can see the sun is starting to go down. It’s really gorgeous down here in the middle of this stream bed. I wanted to give you some details on the Saddleback Leather Squared Backpack.
comfort on a long hike
It’s been impressive so far, the Saddleback Leather Squared Backpack, especially compared to the last Classic Backpack. These straps here are a major improvement over the classic. You notice when I bend this shoulder strap there’s no giant nodules. Those nodules would have made things pretty painful when you’re hiking or going for long distances with the Classic Backpack, the tank. But this, there’s a lot less of that leather scrunching up. And this leather is also a lot softer. It’s a much more comfortable shoulder strap.
They’ve got some padding right there that they’ve sown in (on the bottom of the backpack for your lower back) and it is a massive help. I have not noticed, really, any discomfort except for a shoulder scapula injury that I’ve got but unless you’ve got that sort of injury you shouldn’t be having much of a problem.
Leather products aren’t known for being ultra-comfortable. This is no sophisticated hiking backpack. I’m using it outside of the normal realm in which people would use it, but I wanted to give it a good test.
I’ve got about 15 pounds of gear in here with food and water for a couple of hours of hiking and it is doing really well as far as comfort goes. And obviously there’s plenty of space to get more stuff in here. You could travel for a few days out of this backpack. Over time you will get soreness in the tops of your shoulders. I think some of my pain is from a lack of hiking lately.
The build quality is just showing itself to be quite immaculate. They have really done a great job. You notice that this front flap of leather goes around to the back and all the way to the bottom. This is all one piece of leather, which is just remarkable. That’s a large piece of leather. In the classic there is a seam and this right here, along with this extra piece of padding—you can kind of see an outline there—is much more comfortable. No seam digging into your back and much more flexibility.
compared to the Classic Backpack “Tank”
I’ve got a friend with a Classic Backpack (we’ll be comparing these two backpacks soon) and he’s used his for a year now or more than a year —this back area has formed to his back given enough time. But with the added flexibility of this Squared backpack, and extra width, I’ve noticed that the Squared Backpack just forms far more easily to your back, much more easily than the Classic Backpack. So there’s none of these big seams that are digging into your back.
leather & the main compartment strap
The leather is just doing really well. You’ll notice it’s acquiring some scratches just from use. Another thing which is interesting is when it’s sitting up, because it’s not as rigid as the Classic Backpack. See how the top flap is crooked. That’s because of this strap adjustment here so you can close up the top. This is now more flexible than the Saddleback Leather Classic Backpack. And sometimes when the front flap is buckled over it it will sit crooked, depending on how you’ve got this top strap tightened down. So I don’t have it tight at all but I did want to mention that because some people have asked me if it was actually made incorrectly or if it was sewed crooked but no. It’s not sewed crooked, it just collapses the top of the main compartment a bit which makes the front flap buckle down crooked (as shown in the photo below).
UPDATE: I have since decided I do not like the leather strap on the main compartment since I cannot determine any good purpose for it. The front flap sufficiently covers the main opening so that water can’t drip in so I don’t know why one would want to tighten the main compartment up. It’s not going to make the backpack any smaller since the front flap is still the same size. The strap and the flexibility just makes that front flap crooked way too much of the time. I was going through a lot of my photos of the backpack and noticed it is crooked in a majority of them.
So yeah, the Saddleback Leather Squared Backpack is doing well. I’ve got another couple of hours to go on my hike so we’ll see how she does. Perhaps I’ll have more thoughts. I would say, basically what they’ve done here is they’ve taken the classic and the benefits of it, the good pockets and what not, and they fixed all of the problems—limited capacity. It’s very narrow yet deep so you could put stuff way down into it and you kind of have to stack your stuff. Another problem with it was that seam on the back. That was a major comfort issue. And the shoulder straps. But I’ve think they’ve done a good job of fixing these problems.
You can tell that there’s a lot of design and a lot of thought that’s gone into fixing those issues.
If you have any questions, feel free to put it in the comments and I’ll try and answer you on any questions that you might have for the use and comfort of it.
I hope you guys find this useful and if you have any questions, feel free to be giving me a call. ‘Til then, I’ll catch you guys later!