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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  • 5
    Beautiful bag a bit large

    Beautiful bag a bit large

  • 5
    Just perfect

    Just perfect

  • 5
    I bought folded wallets in

    I bought folded wallets in tobacco and monogrammed them for my nephews and brother n laws for Christmas. They love their wallets! I got my son the backpack for Christmas and you can tell by the smile on his face that it is win!

  • 5
    Incredible quality. This was a

    Incredible quality. This was a gift for my wife and she loved it. Unfortunately it was a little big on her so we sent it back and choose a smaller one. I was tempted to just keep the big mouth for myself. Thank you Saddleback Leather Company for making such quality products.

  • 5
    Own several pieces of Saddleback

    Own several pieces of Saddleback leather and have traveled all over the world with them. Love this big mouth backpack! I love the room, the pockets, and the arrangement as well as any bag I have owned. Between this and the Flight Bag, I just don’t know what else could top the quality and design!

  • 5
    Perfect size

    Absolutely love the size, feel and capacity of this back pack. I highly suggest it.

  • 5
    It is my 8th bag

    It is my 8th bag and it is wonderful just like all the others

  • 5
    Top notch product

    Absolutely phenomenal design, well thought of engineering. Coming from someone that owns several bag packs, including three different styles of saddleback backpacks, this is absolutely stunning. It seems like the more you add to the mouth the better it feels. So comfortable.”Trust they will fight over it when you’re gone. absolutely worth the fight. I’ll have to put this down as an absolute favorite. You did it once again SADDLEBACK. I’m not surprised. 5 Stars for sure. Definitely happy I got my hands on this particular one.

  • 5
    "Dad, you have a whole cow there"

    Have been waiting to buy a leather backpack from Saddleback. Finally got the Gladstone Backpack.
    Very impressed with the quality and workmanship. Love the smell of real leather. I am only 5' 5" and 132lbs. This well proportioned bag sits snug on me without the shoulder straps digging into my armpits.The wide mouth really stays open so putting stuff in and getting out is no problem. And the strap over the mouth gives it added security so no one can 'dip' into the backpack when you travel in some crowded European cities! Loads of space.
    When my son saw the bag the exclaimed, "Dad you have a whole cow there!" Thanks Dave. Looking forward to years of travel with this.