Big Mouth Leather Backpack

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Product Overview

Over-engineering happened here. The leather of this backpack is the tightest, strongest and most resistant cow leather we can buy. None of the top layer of grain was shaved off to get rid of icky icky scars or natural marks. It’s full grain leather and was designed with no breakable parts like zippers, velcro, magnets, buttons or snaps. Any piece of leather on this backpack that gets pushed or pulled on, gets reinforced with hidden polyester strapping or a rivet or both. Leather naturally stretches but those straps don’t. And then we line it with pigskin instead of some shiny world map fabric because the pigskin is tougher than the cowskin.

“They fell apart at the seams” isn’t a saying for no reason. Seams are the weakest point on almost any backpack. So our solution for that universal problem was to design this backpack with pieces so big, we don’t have to use more than two or three of them. The fewer the pieces, the fewer the seams. FYI, a backpack made with a lot of little pieces sewn together makes it cheaper to produce because it saves leather in the cutting process, but it makes for a weak backpack. To see what I mean, watch our fun seam explanation video where I show a leather duffle bag made with 85 pieces of leather.  

In New Zealand one time, I interviewed an old sailmaker and he said that a sewing machine is a perforation machine because all of those needle holes next to eachother tears easily. So, they try to keep the needle holes as far apart from the next one as they can. That’s why we only sew our backpacks with 5 stitches per inch so there is more leather between each needle hole. This leather backpack is designed for you to be the first owner. So break it in good, because a few more generations will be using it. It’s like planting a tree that you may enjoy a little bit, but it’s really for those to enjoy who come after you. And that’s why we over-engineered this leather backpack. It’s just the right thing to do. 

This leather backpack is made with the toughest leather we can buy. It has a full 100% of the grain on it (full grain). The grain resides on the top of the hide and goes about a quarter of the way down. Those fibers are tough as nails and tightly woven together too. The grain resists water and stains and tearing. A lot of companies ask the tannery to shave off the top of the hide to get rid of the natural blemishes so they can use almost every square inch of the hide and they save a lot of money. If they remove most of the grain, it’s called Top Grain Leather. If they remove all of the grain, it’s called Genuine Leather. Read our easy explanation of what’s the difference between full grain vs top grain leather here. The grain of the leather is the toughest tightest densest part of the hide and because it’s mineral tanned with Chromium (Cr). Chrome tanned leather is super corrosion resistant and so your backpack will laugh at the rain, extreme heat and will just plain thrive on neglect. To learn more about leather, simplified for 5th graders to understand, read here. 

Our hardware is 316 Stainless Steel. If you’re a metallurgist, then I'm sure you just gasped for air and a tear formed in your eye. There are different grades of stainless steel, but this is the toughest grade. Our clips can actually hold up a 750 lb bag of cats over the edge of a 2000 ft. cliff without breaking. But add one more whisker and it’ll get ugly. Let’s just say it's the metal you to be using if your life depends on it. 

And I would be remiss to not mention our thread. It’s a German thread they use for making sails for ships. It is a UV resistant industrial marine-grade Polyester thread and the strongest and toughest we could find. Nylon thread deteriorates with heat and when the sun hits it, but ours doesn’t. Polyester is good and bad. The good part is that it lasts forever. The bad part is that it lasts forever. It’s really good for you if it’s in the form of thread. It’s really really bad for you if it’s in the form of bed sheets or underwear. Super bad. To read our eye opening explanation of Polyester, click here. Apart from using witchcraft or something, we don’t think there could be a longer lasting more durable leather backpack made like this one.

Coolness features are where it’s at and this leather backpack has at least two. We used a similar Gladstone Bag closure to the Flight Bag. It opens wide and stays open until you say otherwise. You can reach down into it if it’s on the floor next to your chair or if it’s wide open laying on the table in front of you. And the second coolness feature is the smaller front pocket that opens 90 degrees with that same metal frame closure. It doesn’t have a zipper so it takes a little to open, but if you open it in front of strangers, they’ll tell you how cool that is.

I chose a single leather strap with holes punched all the way out to the very tip, just in case your backpack is way overstuffed or if you want to stick your umbrella or blueprints under the strap horizontally or leave the laptop bag open to stick your stuff out vertically. 

I heard you asking for it so here it is. This backpack has two side pockets that are large enough to fit a big Yeti tumbler or Nalgene water bottle. There are also two big interior back pockets and two smaller side pockets for pens and whatnot.

Product Details
100-Year Warranty

Dimensions (W x H x D) 
14" x 16" x 7"
Weight: 6.50 lbs

Can Fit
A 16" Macbook Pro

Product Videos


(39 reviews) Write a Review

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  • 1
    Don’t Touch White Clothing

    I have several Saddleback bags and they have been great! I purchased this backpack for short business trips and leisure travel… when carrying this bag in any warm/humid climate the color rubs off. Unfortunately I didn’t notice this until a few days into a trip and looked at my previous days clothes to realize I was ruining my shirts.

    I tried wiping down with a moist towel hoping it would improve the situation but it doesn’t seem to help.

  • 5
    100% Saddleback Leather Quality and Craftsmanship

    It is exceptionally well made. Sturdy and substantial. Heavyweight and Heavy Duty. It will be a welcome addition to the collection that I have.

  • 5
    Big mouth review

    Excellent love it. A tad heavy, but a great bag.

  • 5
    I have bought more backpacks

    I have bought more backpacks that I care to remember. Both for backpacking and business. While this backpack may not work for a thru-hike on the AT, it definitely works for business trips and EDC. The Gladstone opening is fantastic, and of course with all thinks Saddleback Leather the quality is bar none the best!

  • 5
    My Search for the Perfect Bag is Over!!!

    I have been searching for the perfect bag for years...and I mean years...but my search is over. If I can't get it in this bag I really don't need it - the size is perfect and the pockets make it highly versatile! Of course the exterior is both tough looking as well as cool, but I also love the pigskin on the inside, and the Gladstone bag closure really makes getting in and out of the bag with two free hands so easy. Add the fact that it's a backpack with two super strong straps, and that's why I'm completely content with this bag and will be for the duration. It's built like a tank and I've had people come over and tell me they had been admiring it from a distance. Bigger than it looks in the pictures, I was a little surprised at first sight - but I have been thankful for the space. Great job Saddleback!!!

  • 5
    Nice velvety tobacco finish. Very

    Nice velvety tobacco finish. Very nice backpack.

  • 5
    Super-boss backpack

    I bought it for when I commute to work on my motorcycle. It's good and sturdy. I'm looking forward to watching from beyond who fights for it when I'm dead.

  • 3
    Consider your needs

    This backpack might be perfect for you, or it might be way too much. Because of the gladstone opening, the backpack is built around that to accommodate its dimensions. This makes it very wide (compared to its length) and also very deep. More like a luggage bag than a backpack in that regards. It can hold a huge amount of stuff, but because of its rigidness it feels off if you only have a moderate load (like a computer and a notebook). Just a lot of empty space. Also, it is very heavy even empty.

    My opinion is that this is not a practical every day carry, but would make for a nice weekend bag, a nice bag to take to Farmer's markets, and one to have when you really need to carry a lot. As an every day bag, it is too cumbersome, has odd dimensions, and just too massive overall.

  • 4
    Very Functional

    The bag has a mass amount of space. It's great for packing lots of stuff, but also good as a daily carrier. It is heavy when it's full, and the big mouth opening is great when open, is slightly awkward when closed. It folds up nicely, but must be buckled at all times to prevent it from opening when you grab the top strap.

    Overall this is a great bag, and I will use it for many years to come!