Given the amount of antici..........pation for the Jumbo Fatboy, there hasn't been much detailed discussion since it showed up, so here's my detailed review, with most of the comparisons focused on the original Fatboy, as I imagine many people are considering moving up to the Jumbo. I'll be adding photos later tonight or in the morning.
As always, my disclaimer is that I am a Maxpedition dealer, but I've been reviewing these bags well before that happened, and I plan to continue to do so, and do it from a user's perspective.
OK, we all know the story of the very popular FatBoy versapack, perhaps the winner in the 'Man-Purse' universe, with pockets, straps, zippers, buckles galore, plenty of room for gadgets, widgets, and all the other stuff that clutters the pockets of the modern Man. I carried my FatBoy as an EDC for about 9 months, and only the need to cart around a 12" Laptop on a nearly full-time basis pushed me into a mixture of Falcon backpacks (too big), a Devildog versipack (too small), and now a Typhoon Gearslinger (just right, except for the left-handedness of the bag). I still love my FatBoy, and if I get back to a life with no laptop, it'll come out of retirement in a heartbeat.
However, many many people found that the compact FatBoy didn't have room for much else besides what lived in their pockets, and perhaps a pair of gloves or something else small. Trying to fit a hat, gloves and earmuffs inside just didn't work, and even the smallest and thinnest of windbreakers overstuffed the main compartment of the Fatboy. Carrying water, drinks, or anything larger than a Coke can was pretty much a non-starter, and thus the chorus of requests for a 'supersized Fatboy' began.
After a long and painful wait, Maxpedition is now shipping the Jumbo Fatboy, which is in many ways simply a FatBoy writ large - about 50% bigger. However, it's also a VERY different bag, and a VERY different user experience, at least in my point of view.
The overall concept is the same as the FatBoy - a layered pouch built up on an asymmetrical 'backplane', with the wings of the backplane extending above and forward of the main pouch, both to stabilize the bag as it rides on your body, and to provide mounting points for pouches, sheaths or other gear. The Jumbo Fatboy is built around a goodly-sized main pouch, with smaller pockets on the front, back, both sides, and on the covering flap.
Where the main pocket of the FatBoy was sized about right for three 12oz Coke cans (two upright, one horizontal), the main pocket of the Jumbo will hold five cans comfortably, and a six-pack without real difficulty. For those used to the petite FatBoy main compartment, it seems like a vast cave, with room for a couple 3.5" hard drives, a stack of CD's in jewel cases, a rolled-up Gore-tex shell, hat/gloves/scarf, a standard building brick or two, etc.
Since someone always asks, you CAN fit a Spec-Ops Pack-Rat into the main compartment. It's about an inch taller than the main pocket, but it's well within the capacity of the tent and flap to cover and still close very comfortably.
The Jumbo shares the one giant failing of the Fatboy - there's no functional way to carry paper. It's nowhere near the right size or shape for 8.5X11" paper. You can't carry paper flat at all. Just can't be done. The Fatboy wasn't even big enough for a sheet folded in half, but the Jumbo can be made home to a few sheets folded in half, and tucked into the back of the main compartment, or perhaps the large flat pocket along the back of the bag. However, neither of these is a secure, crush free location - even folded paper is likely to get crumpled, at least around the edges.
My preferred workarounds involve rolling paper into a tube, and sticking in the main compartment of the FatBoy, or the water bottle pocket of the Jumbo - OK for magazines, still pretty hard on standard paper.
The Jumbo has the same 'tent' closure featured on the Fatboy, and it's actually a better tool here - on the FatBoy, it creates a bit of a 'tunnel' into the bag, and it's always in the way, at least for me. On the Jumbo, the opening is enough larger that the tent is out of the way, and the closure is more critical, so it's a net positive.
I'll note that on my Jumbo, the edges of the tent fabric are a bit poorly attached on the rear corners - looks like the thinner fabric may not be well-matched to the greater strains put on it in this use. We'll see how this holds up, but if the fabric separates further, this Jumbo will go back to Maxpedition.
OK - enough about the main compartment - on to the pockets!
The front of the Jumbo's main compartment has essentially the same pocket set-up as the FatBoy - a zippered compartment with a mesh divider inside, and an open-topped external pocket on the outside, with all of this covered by the main flap. I keep pens, my iPod, gum, cough drops, and other small sundries in the zipper compartment, and leave the external pocket open as a place to stuff random items during the day.
As the main flap closes over the main compartment and the front pockets, it latches with a massive 2" buckle, up from the 1" Fatboy buckle. The large buckle and strap, which continues all the way to the bottom of the bag, do a great job of keeping the bag and flap stable and compact.
The Flap has two pockets, one a flat zippered pocket built into the flap, and one a boxy zippered pocket on top of the flap, unique to the Jumbo. On the FatBoy, the flat zippered pocket was quite small, and just about big enough for a couple credit cards, or a few dollar bills, or perhaps a small tube of sunscreen or lip balm. On the Jumbo, it's big enough for my bifold leather wallet, with some room to spare. I don't like putting my wallet here, though, as it adds too much weight to the end of the flap, so it's hard to keep out of the way.
The zippered pocket on top of the flap is just about perfect for my flat digital camera, or it could hold my 2.5" Firelite portable hard drive, or a first-aid kit. Once again, too much weight here makes the flap hard to manage.
On the sides of the main compartment, there are two larger pockets. One is a zippered boxy pocket, with two smaller dividers inside. My giant, boxy LifeDrive PDA goes into this pocket, and a couple pens or other small items would fit as well. This is also a good place for boxier digital cameras, like a Canon S50.
On the other side, to the rear when carried, is one of the most unique features of the Jumbo, the fold-flat water bottle pocket. Taking a page from the CountyComm BOB/Maxpedition Nucleus bags, there's a solid fabric pocket closed with a clever adjustable paracord and velcro flap, which will hold the pocket flat when empty, or stabilize a drink bottle, radio or other item. A great addition, as the one thing I miss from the Nucleus is this feature.
Finally, there's a large flat zippered pocket behind the main compartment. On the FatBoy, I carried my wallet here, and it was just about right. On the Jumbo, it's a vast expanse of space, which Maxpedition has enhanced by adding velcro strips to allow attachment of various items, including holsters. There's plenty of space for anything up to a full-size handgun, or a smallish book or notepad, though the interior of the pocket is bare nylon, which is quite abrasive - I wouldn't put anything that I didn't want scuffed up here.
There's a wide variety of external attachment points for Sheaths, cell phone holders, etc. I've got an M2 waistpack on the forward point, and a Single sheath on top of the zippered box pocket on the flap for my L4.
Wrapping it all up - Here's my one observation about the Jumbo - while the original was small, compact, and easy to manage, everything on the Jumbo is much bigger, and a little harder to live with, just because there's much more of it.
The flap is large, and a bit in the way, at least for me. The pockets are bigger, and once again for me, tend to gather stuff into slightly jumbled piles. The main compartment holds more, but I tend to stuff too much into it. There are more attachment points, but the bag is quite heavy once you've got all these things attached to them.
Almost two years ago, I wrote "If you can't fit what you need into a FatBoy, you probably need a backpack.", and in some ways, that's true. The Jumbo is great, but in terms of size, cost, complexity and weight carried, it's right on the edge of backpack range.
All that said, it's an outstanding Man Purse, and it's got enough pockets and versatility for just about anything you'd want to do. For my own personal use, I think if I'm going to carry something this much larger than the FatBoy, I'll probably choose something that will carry paper more comfortably.
The Jumbo will probably become my 'Tourist' bag - my first choice when I'm going to be walking around for a day, and I need a bit more with me (water, windbreaker, first aid kit), but I don't want a backpack.
For all those who wanted a larger Fatboy, the Jumbo delivers an outstanding product.
I think those looking for a mid-sized 'Man Purse', it'll be a tough choice between the Jumbo, the similarly-sized but very different DevilDog, and the slightly larger Typhoon and Monsoon Gearslingers. Maxpedition now offers more products in this mid-size range than any other manufacturer I know of, and I think it's actually becoming harder for users to select - in all liklihood, one of these products is right for your needs, but matching up with the right one is tough - each one has very different pros and cons.