Buffalo Jackson Denver Leather Toiletry Bag Review

Introduction:

Go ahead and read the intro on the brand Buffalo Jackson in my other review about the Padfolio!

I was fortunate enough to be able to receive two items from the Buffalo Jackson inventory as most brands only have the resource to allocate one item for a review. In addition to the Buffalo Jackson Denver Leather Travel Padfolio, I also received the Denver Leather Toiletry Bag in Sienna Brown & Dark Walnut w/ Green Waxed Canvas. I know, that does sound like a handful of different materials, but I assure you, it’s worth it!

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Buffalo Jackson Denver Leather Travel Padfolio Review

Buffalo Jackson Denver Padfolio leather loop closure.

Buffalo Jackson is a company based on North Carolina that makes leather goods such as briefcases, duffle bags, wallets, dopp kits, and other luggage.

Portfolios are a tricky item to discuss. They’re like wallets, every person has their own specifications they want in a portfolio. Some of them hold notepads, some of them hold business cards, some even hold an iPad tablet. But you know that leather portfolio that is built to last a lifetime? Buffalo Jackson just might make that very one.

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One Star Leather Coin Pouch Business Card Case Review

Intro

When I was younger and out and about grocery shopping with my parents, they always carried a small zippered coin pouch with them. Often times, it was filled to the brim with quarters, what we used in coin laundry. All of this was part of the experience growing up under a generation that was not used to using credit cards or loans. Instead, every other weekend or so, my parents would withdraw cash from the ATM and allocate that towards for groceries and expenses. That way, we would know how much money we were spending and not go over budget.
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Tanner Goods Camera Strap Review

Introduction:

There are so many camera straps available out there in many material types such as nylon or leather. Hopefully, this Tanner Goods leather camera strap review will be of use to you. Shortly after I purchased my first DLSR in 2014, I visited the recently opened Tanner Goods flagship store in Downtown LA. At the time, Tanner Goods was still using Horween Chromexcel as their primary leather with the colorways “Rich Moc”, “Chicago Tan”, “Dark Oak”, Black, and Natural. Every couple of years, Tanner Goods switches the leather on their goods to change things up. I had a hard time deciding between Chicago Tan and Rich Moc. I ended up purchasing the Rich Moc camera strap because I felt that the light brown tone would patina well. The Dark Oak was a medium brown and would have been a solid choice also. I liked the simple design of the strap and lack of “synthetic” materials (other than the nylon cords).

 

To me, Tanner Goods and Horween Leather come hand in hand. I feel that the brand’s success was because of their selection of leather, particularly Chromexcel, at an early time when not many other leather makers were using it. Nowadays, CXL is very prominent especially in footwear.

Details:

Tanner Goods SLR Camera Strap in “Rich Moc” Leather
Price: $130 USD

  • Made of 3.5oz Horween Chromexcel Leather
  • Attaches to camera via two high density nylon cords
  • Nonmetal hardware attachment reduces possibility of damage to camera
  • Easily detachable for tripod use
  • Burnished, waxed, and dyed by hand
  • Dimensions 36″ end to end
  • Made in the USA


Impressions:

The design of the camera strap is pretty innovative. It uses Tanner Goods’ signature belt loop and brass button stud attachment which is very secure. While many companies use a button stud, Tanner Goods went further to secure it using a leather loop so that unintended stress in any direction will not detach the leather. While I have no doubt that the button stud will stay secured, the leather loop adds that extra comfort of mind.


The main leather piece that sits on your neck or shoulder has 6 parallel slits on each side. The straps are connected to this piece by weaving through these slits alternatingly and then looping through itself to secure it. This placement allows the strap to occupy 3 of the 6 slots at a time. The camera strap initially comes with the straps at their longest (aka the lateral-most 3 slots of the 6). If you want to shorten the straps, you can remove them and position them in the slots more towards the center. Therefore, there are 4 potential positions to shorten/lengthen the strap. (654, 543, 432, 321).


I’ve carried a DSLR with a hefty lens without any problem or doubt. The main strap actually has a curved side which is supposed contour around your neck. Keep that in mind when you’re re-attaching the cords! Personally, it doesn’t make a difference to me whether the shoulder strap is facing the correct way as I carry the strap on my shoulder not neck.

I have tried to utilize the inner slots to shorten the strap length on several occasions but felt that in doing so, the main leather piece sticks out at its ends, making it look awkward. Also, it takes several minutes to adjust the straps, using the other side as a model to find out what loops through what. Ever since, I just leave it on the most longest position which is the most natural looking as the strap position allows the main shoulder/neck piece to completely curve. Moving to the straps shortest position only decreased the total length by about 4 inches!

The stitching and leather burnishing is very well done on the main leather piece. The lateral straps, however, do not have burnished edges which is one of my main irks. This leads to the straps having “fuzzy edges” which looks like a bad hairday! Perhaps the straps could not be burnished because of they were too thin.\

A trick that I used to get the nylon cord through my Fuji X-T10 was using dental floss to thread it through. On larger cameras, it is more practical to use O rings.

I love how easily the straps can detach so that it does not dangle in the way when on the tripod. Another technique is to to wrap the strap several times around my hand to prevent the strap flopping in front of my camera. The straps do not have any metal hardware that can scratch your camera. The nylon cords at the ends seem very securely riveted to the leather. But if anything were to fail first, it would probably be the nylon cords detaching.

Conclusion:

I nearly forgot about the MSRP of the Tanner Goods camera strap being $130. Even though the price was steep, it’s pretty much been the only camera strap I’ve used. I like the design and innovation of Tanner Goods being made of a material that ages gracefully. You can, however, find the straps lightly used on eBay for around $70-80. That’s a more affordable price!

The Rich Moc Chromexcel leather developed very prominent creases and perhaps even creased in an undesired looking manner. However, this creasing does not at all affect the durability of the product and is just cosmetic. The second Natural tooling camera strap that I also owned has darkened significantly in the places exposed.


The current leather that Tanner Goods uses is English Bridle Leather. I haven’t had much experience with that leather, but the design of the strap is still the same. One thing I love about Chromexcel is how soft it starts with. The Bridle Leather that I felt in person initially felt a lot more rigid and dry.

When I’m not using the camera or strap, it’s stored away safely in my Filson Photographer’s Backpack (check out that review here)!


One Star Leather Park Sloper Senior Notebook Wallet Review

One Star Leather Park Sloper Senior

I started journaling in 2011 in a Moleskine Cahier / Field Notes size notebook. My thoughts back then were that I wanted a canvas to jot my thoughts and ideas, and I felt using a phone to do that appeared too oblivious to others. When you see someone using their thumbs on their phone, you likely think they’re texting someone, but if you see someone writing in a notebook, you think elegance and sophistication.

A lot of my Moleskin Cahier sized notebooks were roughed up on the edges with the notebook spine almost fraying apart. My first notebook cover was purchased from Renaissance Art in ‘Flight Jacket’ Cover. Just a simple leather stitched notebook cover with a sleeve for the front and back of the notebook.

I used that for some time along with a Saddleback ID wallet for my everyday carry. I would jot down my workout numbers, notes from a sermon, and grocery lists. But the biggest issue that I had with the cover is that I’d often fumble finding my pen in the bag. I wanted a cover that integrated a pen slot with it. Lo and behold, the company that popped up after a Google Search of “moleskine cahier cover with pen slot” was One Star Leather Goods. I didn’t “need” the card slots as I had another wallet at the time, but it was attractive anyway. At the time in 2013, there was only one review online of it, mentioning that Keegan, the owner of One Star Leather, suggested a Natural Chromexcel exterior and a Hermann Oak leather interior for the card slots. This way, the Chromexcel will age and develop a patina beautifully with time and the Hermann Oak leather will minimize card stretch. I browsed through One Star Leather’s Etsy site and found the exact same makeup!

Park Sloper Senior without the notebook
Park Sloper Senior interior

Details

Cost: $141.00 including shipping

Ordered on 11/17/2013

Park Sloper Senior can fit a Moleskin Cahier or Field Notes or other similarly sized notebooks. The Parker Sloper Sr has a pen sleeve on the exterior that is designed to swallow the whole pen including the clip. In later versions, Keegan added the option to remove the pen slot.

Exterior:  Horween Natural Chromexcel Leather

Interior card slot leather: Hermann Oak Brown Leather

Interior slot for folded bills or receipts
Interior slot for folded bills or receipts

Initial Impressions

The Chromexcel leather had a overwhelming smell of quality leather and had great pullup leather quality. Natural Chromexcel started as a light brown color with much variation in color and darkened with use. The pen I was using at the time was a Zebra F-701 Stainless Steel Retractable Pen and the pen slot was large enough to swallow the whole pen. Two logos were present, one on the inside between the card slots, and the other stamped on the inside back. I liked that the logos were not gaudy or present on the outside, just subtle.

The Brown Hermann Oak leather I chose for the card slots was more rigid, lacking pullup quality, but stretched a lot less than Chromexcel. Even though I had a wallet at the time, I tested the card slots by stacking many cards, perhaps up to 4 cards each. Also, the stitching and thread were very well performed without any crookedness/misalignment.

To this day, I went through a lot of Moleskin Cahiers, perhaps up to 12, and the Park Sloper wallet held up very well. The natural Chromexcel darkened quite quickly and absorbed denim bleed. More than 4 years with it, I feel that the color has saturated and won’t get any darker. I never used the Park Sloper primarily as a wallet, but as a notebook cover instead. I would sometimes keep a few rarely used cards in the cover because I wanted to slim down my primary wallet. In the jeans I wore at the time, the Park Sloper with a pen fit comfortably in my back pocket.

There was later occasion where I switched over to a Parker Jotter pen which was significantly thinner. Because the pen sleeve had stretched out, if I turned the wallet upside down, the Parker Jotter would fall out. I remedied this issue by wetting the whole pen sleeve with water and taking a hairdryer on high to it. The chromexcel leather shrunk and then the sleeve only stretched out to the slimmer size.

Pull-up leather quality on the Horween Natural CXL
Pull-up leather quality on the Horween Natural CXL

The only other notebook cover I purchased after was a Loyal Stricklin Edison Wallet in Honey Harness leather. The total price for this wallet including shipping was $147.03. I initially purchased this wallet because I saw a pictures of a beautiful patinaed version by @har.bach on IG. A few differences I would note from this wallet: the pen sleeve instead is on the interior which creates additional thickness, and it has 3 vertical card slots instead of horizontal. When I used all the card slots, they would overlap and create too much thickness. In conclusion, the Edison Wallet ended up being too “thick” especially when it was in my back pocket, and I retired it after a few months.  The quality and stitching of the wallet was on point though!  I loved the patina created from the Wickett & Craig harness leather.

Conclusion

I love the One Star Leather Park Sloper wallet just as much as the same day I received it. The leather has darkened significantly, but has varying tones in direct sunlight. I like that the pen slot is on the exterior because it doesn’t add that much more thickness when it’s in your rear pant pocket. I now use a Tactile Turn  Glider Pen in Titanium which is a lot thicker than the Zebra, so I actually place the pen clip on the exterior (I really don’t want to risk tearing the pen slot) . I would absolutely recommend this notebook cover if you’re looking for a field notes sized wallet with a pen sleeve. I tried searching for alternatives, but none other have sufficed as well as this design!

Tanner Goods Legacy Cardholder Wallet Review

Back when I started getting into menswear in 2011-2012, the most recommended wallet was a Saddleback ID card holder. I still have that very same one. Front pocket wallets that were slim had a huge popularity then. No one wanted a large bifold wallet that could potentially give you back pain in the long run!

The first time I was able to feel a Tanner Goods Cardholder wallet was at Unionmade’s flagship in San Francisco. I noticed that the current version was made with a full cover flap instead of an angled flap piece that I had seen online.

I purchased the Tanner Goods Legacy Cardholder in Chestnut Dublin leather sometime in early 2015 for about 85$. It was the first time TG brought back the “angled design” now calling it Legacy Cardholder. To me, the cardholder with the angled flap is the iconic Tanner Goods piece. The Dublin cardholder started with very interesting characteristics such as tiger striping. The dublin leather felt very similar to Chromexcel but seemed to have more variation.

 

What’s cool about the design is that it’s made from only two pieces of leather. On the rear side there are two wrap around leather pieces from where you can store folded bills. The interior can support up to about 15 cards and will still even stretch to accomodate more (depends on the leather). You can also place cash in the interior with a bill folded in half once in either orientation.

What I love: Simple and iconic design. Quality leather and hardware. Made in the USA.

Ehh: Takes time to get used to a cardholder (looking for credit card within the stack of cards) but all cardholders essentially have this problem. Bills have to be folded in an “undesired” way – either folded twice to fit in the back or folded once and creased on the edge.

 

Thrux Lawrence Drop Dopp Review

Stores that carry different “third party items” such as Railcar Fine Goods located in Monrovia, CA are often my favorite stores to visit. You get to feel the fabrics, pinch the thickness, and smell the aromas of different brands. I’ve been in and out of Railcar Fine Goods a few times, and this dopp kit on the shelving above the Red Wing Boots caught my eye. The listed price on the Railcar tag was 49$ (differs from the brand’s website of $149)

Thrux Lawrence is a company built upon the passion that goods should outlast you. The brand uses a THICK leather (8-9oz Horween leather) instead of the typical 3-4oz that Horween recommends for “bags”, and a 24oz canvas that supposedly is “anti-mildew”. Mildew? I’ve never had that as a problem for dopp kits…

Love: The bottom is leather lined, flesh side on the inside. Spills will leave a patina. Brass rivets. A handle to hang/carry. YKK zippers with a leather pull. Made in the USA.

Not fond of: I pretty much have to graze my hand against the zippered teeth when I reach in due to how robust/sturdy the bag is. Maybe once the leather “softens”, this won’t be as much of a problem! The logo branding is only seen on the interior bottom “#Thrux Lawrence”. The brand font could use some improvement to make it more memorable!

For now, I’m constantly trying to pry the zipper teeth apart to soften it a bit. I’ll use it to carry my camera flash!

One of the unique things about this bag is it has the double stitched leather alongside the zippered opening. The purpose of this is to keep the bag’s opening structure even . You commonly see this used as such on Filson’s Original Briefcases.

 

Fluco Shell Cordovan Watch Strap Review

The first watch I purchased myself was in college – a Timex Easy Reader. A simple white watch face that shows the date and also the day which was useful in college haha! I bought a couple of NATO straps to go with it.

However, a problem with watch straps is that they get smelly easily. NATO straps are usually made of nylon and I’d have to scrub them with dishwashing soap at least once a week. The nylon straps emitted a strong odor from the dead skin and body oils that smelled… raunchy? Nylon just seems to absorb these smells quickly.

The reason I chose a shell cordovan watch strap is because shell cordovan is not a skin (like regular cowhide leather) but a fibrous muscle. At the time, what was the “cheapest” shell cordovan watch strap? A hidden gem German company called Fluco.

I purchased an 18mm Fluco Medium Brown Horween Shell Cordovan from eBay for about $73 USD shipped. I remember selecting the “padded” strap option which has flattened down quite significantly.  I’m familiar with Horween Shell Cordovan, as we all know and love. The strap brand new started off close to a whiskey caramel color. To this day I haven’t conditioned it with anything… other than my natural skin oils, dirt, faucet water, etc!

Love: Horween leather. Shell Cordovan. Minimal “stretch”. No residual smell. The patina. The price.

Not fond of: Excessive glue spilling out.

The smell is basically non-existant with this shell cordovan watch strap. I’d have to place the strap in front of my nose to smell something. Definitely would recommend this strap! Be sure to order the correct lug size to your watch face!