I've been looking for a big front bag for a while. I wanted something that I could use for overnighters and that I could use for daily commuting. I didn't want something with a bunch of pockets: it just needed to be big. It also needed to fit my favorite Alex-rack nicely and it needed to be weather proof.
My new Pelican Porteur bag from Swift Industries meets all criteria. Swift Industries is a 2-person shop in Seattle that makes panniers and other bike bags. They were super easy to deal with: I just filled out a form, specifying the color fabric I wanted and the custom dimensions that I wanted, and I have a bag less than a week later. It was pricey: $200. That's a good value compared to other bags of its size/quality. It also has custom-dimensions and is made here in Washington -- these two attributes really increase the value to me.
A couple months ago, I sold off some stuff (mainly my Rivendell Atlantis forks) to fund this purchase, so it felt more like a trade, which is somehow warmer and fuzzier, if only in my own little fantasy land of commerce.
Anyway, I don't have much to say yet about this bag, since I've only had it on my bike for a day. But I ran to the store yesterday and loaded it up full and heavy and it worked fine. My S24O load this year will be this bag and a sleeping bag under my saddle.