Owners and reviewers agree that the High Sierra Fat Boy is comfortable and offers lots of storage space for its size and weight. That said, they warn that it's not an "oversize" pack, and it gets mixed reviews about its durability.
The highest-capacity pack. The High Sierra Fat Boy's 2,380-cubic-inch capacity provides ample space for multiple heavy books and notebooks and can even accommodate 3-inch binders. Reviewers say that it's spacious for the size and weight, but some take issue with it being marketed as an "oversize" pack.
Two angled compression straps keep gear secured and reduce the sagginess that can occur when a backpack isn't fully filled. This has the added bonus of keeping the load balanced close to your back. One owner, who uses this pack while biking around town says it rides high enough not to interfere with his pedaling. Although the compression/suspension straps are generally popular, some say they can interfere with the zippers and opening the pack completely.
A few reviewers say they would appreciate the addition of a laptop sleeve or water-bottle pocket, but they still like the Fat Boy for its basic functionality. We also found a few noteworthy but not common complaints that the zippers sometimes snag.
Weighs fewer than 2 pounds. Despite its name, the High Sierra Fat Boy is light enough that it doesn't strain shoulders and backs. The straps are padded and adjustable to fit smaller or larger frames. One reviewer on Amazon.com says it fits her 14-year-old, 5-foot 2-inch son well, but another says it's too big on her 7-year-old.
Mixed reviews for durability. Described as "one of the most abuse-proof" backpacks evaluated by the Good Housekeeping magazine, the High Sierra Fat Boy draws mixed reviews from owners. Some back the magazine's evaluation, praising the backpack's sturdy construction and saying it holds up in the short term, but others complain about the Fat Boy's durability.
One less-than-thrilled owner writes on Amazon.com: "This backpack was delivered at the end of January and by the end of April was falling apart." Others say a zipper broke within a short time.
The Fat Boy isn't waterproof, so gear can get wet if it's in the rain for a prolonged period; one mother, writing a review of this pack on Amazon.com, notes that her son's gear got soaked when he ended up in a downpour. On the upside, this bargain-price pack is backed by a lifetime warranty.
Although the High Sierra Fat Boy isn't tops in any class and gets mixed owner reviews for durability, it was one of the best performers in durability tests from Good Housekeeping magazine. Users agree that with an estimated price of $30, this is an excellent value. They say the Fat Boy is comfortable, even when carrying heavy loads, and it's very spacious and yet lightweight for its size.
1. Good Housekeeping
Very good Editors of Good Housekeeping magazine give the High Sierra Fat Boy an A rating, handing it high marks for durability. Other factors evaluated include comfort and practicality. Dozens of backpacks are evaluated in this roundup, but most get only a brief paragraph explaining the results.
Review: High Sierra Fat Boy Backpack, Editors of Good Housekeeping, Sept. 2010
Very good Of the more than 500 owners who review the High Sierra Fat Boy on eBags.com, 94 percent say they'd recommend it to a friend. Owners appreciate this bag's ample storage space and numerous pockets and pouches for organizing all their supplies.
Review: High Sierra Fat Boy Pack, Contributors to eBags.com, As of Sept. 2012
Very good The High Sierra Fat Boy receives an average of 4.3 stars out of 5 in more than 100 owner reviews. Reviewers say there's ample space to carry multiple books and notebooks, although a few mention that the pack's not waterproof.
Review: High Sierra Fat Boy Backpack, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of Sept. 2012
Very good Buzzillions.com includes reviews from sites such as Staples.com and Dick's Sporting Goods. Owners give the High Sierra Fat Boy backpack an average rating of 4.4 stars out of 5 in more than 45 reviews, saying it's comfortable and easy to use. A few complain the zippers don't seem durable.
Review: High Sierra Fat Boy Backpack, Contributors to Buzzillions.com, As of Sept. 2012