The lowly platypus just doesn’t get enough recognition in this world with the likes of lions, tigers and bears roaming around. That’s a shame because the platypus is a fascinating creature. Endemic to Australia, including Tasmania, the platypus is one of just a few venomous mammals with seemingly more in common with a Tasmanian devil than with a duck. The days of the platypus staying in obscurity are soon to vanish though with the Platypus series of satchels by Christensen Bags. A waxed canvas and leather goods company based in San Francisco, California, Christensen Bags makes high quality goods with a focus on minimalism inspired by Danish mid-century Modern aesthetics. BestLeather was able to review one of their minimalistic satchels, the No. 7 Platypus.
A bag is only as good as what it is made out of. Christensen understands this and chooses to work with some of the best materials available. They source their leather exclusively from the Horween Tannery in Chicago, which was established in 1905. They obtain their waxed canvas from Martin Dyeing and Finishing, which was established in 1838. The No. 7 is a combination waxed canvas and leather bag. The outside of the bag is made from a natural, khaki colored waxed canvas, while the interior is a black waxed canvas. The black interior is a smart move as the interior of a bag tends to attract marks, smudges, and stains. If you are unfamiliar with waxed canvas, it is smooth material where the wax is not readily apparent. The wax is impregnated into the canvas as a means of waterproofing the material.
It has become a popular material to use in the higher end bag market, where cost is a factor. Combining waxed canvas with high quality leather produces a super durable and classy combination. If you’re not into that combination and prefer all leather bags, then Christensen has you covered and you can get their No. 3, which is an all Dublin leather satchel with the same design.
I have to say that the leather used for the flap of this bag is impressive. Named Dublin by the Horween Tannery, character comes built into this leather. The leather has a similar pull up affect as Horween’s famous Chromexcel leather, but is all vegetable tanned, which means it will develop a beautiful patina with use. The leather is also thicker than most high quality leather bags and definitely thicker than boot leather. The underside of the leather is unlined, which I think is beautiful, and is also very smooth, an indication of a high quality leather. The same Dublin leather is used for accents as well, namely for the D-rings on either end of the bag, for the flap closure on the front of the bag and for the interior pen holders.
METAL AND THREAD
Keeping to their minimalist vision, there is not a lot of hardware on the bag. The D-rings and the lobster clasps on the strap are all solid brass with an antique finish, which marries well with the look of the bag. The materials are all sewn together with strong and durable no 128 bonded nylon. The perimeter of the flap of the bag is sewn with a dark brown nylon. Technically the thread is not necessary as it doesn’t combine two materials and is purely aesthetic. Personally, I like the look and think that provides a nice finish, but some might prefer the stitch less look.
Minimalism is an important focus for Christensen and the No. 7 is no exception. The bag is an appropriate size for a satchel, but is not a large bag. Measuring 14.5″ wide by 10″ high, by 2 1/4″ deep, the bag is meant to carry the essentials and not much else. Large enough for a 13″ laptop (my 13″ Macbook Air with case fit snugly), a notebook cover, an IPad or other electronic device, and some accessories, and you’re good to go.
The most noticeable feature of the bag is the obvious play off of our lowly platypus with a wide 3″ “bill” that inserts snugly into the front loop and is secured with a single button rivet. The look is surprisingly reminiscent of a platypus, but is still classy and sophisticated. There is something satisfying with not having to tangle with any buckles and clasps when opening or closing your bag. Unbuttoning and sliding out the flap is quick and easy and refastening it is the same. In using this bag, I never felt that the contents of the bag were unsafe with this closure. The bill fits snugly into the loop and stays there. The size of the bag helps with this as you’re not lugging around a significant amount of goods.
Neil, co-founder of Christensen Bags, takes prototyping very seriously. He tests and tweaks their designs, and uses the prototype until he feels it is perfect. He developed their No. 1 satchel to shuttle his necessities from work to home and wanted to sell something that he would love and use. He has currently been carrying a wallet prototype around for the past year, making notes along the way to ensure the perfect product. This fastidious focus on design is apparent in the goods they sell.
The No 7. platypus satchel from Christensen Bags is minimalists dream. It is lightweight, has one main compartment to carry your essentials and opens and closes with ease. It is made from high quality materials made by companies with long histories, and is designed to carry your goods in style. The price of $225 is right for a smaller bag made of premium materials and is designed well. Perhaps best of all, No Platyplus’ were harmed in the making of this review, or the making of this bag. We recommend the No. 7 from Christensen.