Behind the Design - Day Tripper

May 28, 2014

The original catalyst behind the inspiration for this bag was ye ol' carpenter's bag with the hinged metal frame. There's been more than a few iterations of this, so the idea was to borrow the basic silhouette and run with it to see where it lead me. The first thing I knew was that I wanted to do something different for the opening as that's one of the most defining features of the carpenter bag. After some quick brainstorming, I thought it'd be really interesting to try a roll-top since I hadn't really seen a roll-top done in leather before. Of course, roll-tops have their perks as well - water tight, no zippers to break, etc. Per usual, the basic design/silhouette started with a rough sketch and the details started dialing in as I thought about function and construction. 

Above is the original Day Tripper proto. Actually, there was one really rough proto before this, whose whereabouts are currently unknown, made out some terrible upholstery leather I got for really cheap just to play around with. I was basically just testing the general concept of the bag, particularly the roll-top.

I wanted there to be a pocket that was accessible without having to undo the whole bag. The first proto that I can't find had a zip access. I ended up not liking the look and opted for a flap closure on the next iteration, aka this black bag. I needed something cleaner as the zipper was exposed and so was the stitching around it. The flap was a much more elegant solution as it hides all the stitching and keeps everything looking clean.

Note the natural handles and straps a la the carpenter bag.

Here's a close look at the pocket entry. I tried riveting the inside pocket to the bag but found I kept accidentally slipping things into the space between the rivets instead of actually into the pocket. The next version saw the pocket bag stitched on. Though I included finger tabs for easy snapping on the roll-top snaps, I neglected to give the pocket snap the same treatment. Lesson learned. Worth noting too is the handstitching. I didn't have a machine yet and this entire bag was handstitched. 

Here's another look at the handstitching around the boot.

One of the hardest things to figure out was how to get the roll-top right. The roll flattens the bag out and as a result, I wasn't liking how it jutted out past the sides. The solution was to taper the bag in an "A" shape toward the top. Now the roll sits almost flush with the sides (I intentionally kept a small amount of hang-off). The picture above shows where I took in the seams to adjust this. It took a few tries until the proportions were just right. 

This was the next and final proto. I was feeling confident about it's success so I moved onto using Natural Chromexcel and Havana Brown. This colorway obviously stuck. Proportions and placements of things were tightened up a bit and I ditched the natural veg tan accents and opted for an entirely two-tone color scheme with refined handles. I think it gave the whole bag a more refined look, distancing it a bit more from it's original inspiration. 

One thing I kept getting hung up on was the D-Rings for attaching a shoulder strap to. You can see all three variations I tried out on this proto. The final iteration, and the one we still use now, was to integrate them into the handles on opposing sides. This works well as the bag holds it's shape well as it hangs, and it's out of the way of the roll. Persistence pays off.

You can also tell from the patina on this bag that it was extensively field tested. It's been around the world and back a few times but it's still just getting started as far as how much life it has left to give. Sometimes I think about making myself a new Day Tripper but I always end up deciding to keep trekking with this one.