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Backpacks

Drive By :: Seventy Eight Percent Katz

by , August 27, 2015
7.8
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Everyone has a story about seeing someone and being immediately taken by them. Maybe it was the way they walked, maybe it was their eyes, maybe it was the way that their hands emphasized what they said in a way that was both effortless and profound.

It doesn’t matter why you were taken by them though. You probably hadn’t even thought about it. You were and that was it.

Then you spoke to them. And…nothing. No chemistry, no connection.

For all your attraction there was just nothing inside for either of you. It’s no one’s fault – it just didn’t happen. So you left disappointed.

This isn’t one of those stories. The Seventy Eight Percent Katz won’t disappoint.

This might not be a surprise: Seventy Eight Percent has made its name through attractive bags built to last. They try to make ideal partners for your inner-city adventures, taking from home to work to a bar and back again. Surprise: that’s what the Katz will do.

Seventy Eight Percent Katz

Who It Suits

People with lightish carry requirements who favour style and organization. A healthy back would help too.

Seventy Eight Percent Katz

Who It Doesn’t

Anyone who needs to haul a lot, ride a bike or break into a run now and then. This bag is for mosey-ers only.

Seventy Eight Percent Katz

The Good

This bag looks nice. It’s striking; the “boxy” shape just works. People will gush over it.

And they’ll gush even harder when you open it up. Both pockets have a nice patterned lining and the front pocket is just plain well organized.

Seventy Eight Percent Katz

There’s a mesh pocket for your cords, cables and what-have-yous. There are two wide slips on one side and a smaller, conveniently wallet-sized slip on the other. At the bottom you’ll find a deeper pocket, perfect for a Kindle or journal. There’s also a “designated pen slot” but don’t feel obliged to do what Seventy Eight Percent tell you to do.

Seventy Eight Percent Katz

Seventy Eight Percent Katz

One of my friends saw it and said “It’s like a wallet, but a backpack”. That’s a perfect description. The Katz is a back-wallet.

Am I gushing? I feel like I’m gushing.

It’s striking; the “boxy” shape just works. People will gush over it.

The back compartment is less interesting. There’s a slip that seems to be for a laptop but, for some reason, it’s only padded on one side. I’ll come back to that in a minute.

Seventy Eight Percent Katz

The Katz has some stellar materials. The bulk of it is a nice, hard-wearing Japanese canvas with Italian leather accents – think base, zip pulls, handle and strap adjusters. The canvas will hold up to a lot and the leather looks like it’ll age well.

Seventy Eight Percent Katz

Seventy Eight Percent Katz

There’s an external zipped pocket for your to-do needs. I put my keys in there but you’re probably more exciting than me.

Seventy Eight Percent Katz

To top it all off, it features splash-proof zips from YKK. It’s a small detail, sure, but it’s nice to have. And, best of all (as far as I’m concerned), their color offsets the canvas nicely.

Seventy Eight Percent Katz

Oh, and there’s also a small slot on the front of the bag. Seventy Eight Percent say it’s for “business cards, notes, etc” but, honestly, that sounds a bit naff to me. Maybe they just thought it looked nice? If so, they’re right. It throws off the bag’s symmetry in the right way.

Seventy Eight Percent Katz

The Not So Good

For all its functionality, the Katz puts form over function.

I wouldn’t want to carry too much in this bag – the straps don’t exactly scream “long haul” support. I’d even hesitate to throw a moderately heavy coat in the main compartment. You’d get it in there, sure, but it wouldn’t be pleasant.

Seventy Eight Percent Katz

While I can’t confirm this, people over 6′ may want to measure this bag out on their back. I’m guessing most have to do this anyway but I have a sneaking suspicion that this shape will really emphasize the “small bag on a big person” problem.

For all its functionality, the Katz puts form over function.

Thankfully I’m Captain Average when it comes to body shape but just something to keep in mind.

Seventy Eight Percent Katz

And that laptop slip. It’s padded, sure, but the bulk of the padding seems to face away from your back. Your computer (up to 15″) won’t crush your juice box but your spinal column won’t be happy with you when you run for the train.

Seventy Eight Percent Katz

Others to Consider

KILLSPENCER’s Rucksack is slightly cheaper and delicious as far as aesthetic. And the Tanner Goods Voyager is cheaper again, has less organization, but nails that heritage vibe.

Verdict

My recommendation? Leave for the train five minutes early.

If you’ve come here after eyeing the Katz elsewhere and want me to confirm that, yes, dropping USD $410 on a self-proclaimed “lightweight” and “minimalist” backpack is a good idea then, yeah, I say do it.

One of my friends saw it and said “It’s like a wallet, but a backpack”. That’s a perfect description. The Katz is a back-wallet.

This is a well-considered and well-crafted bag. It sacrifices a bit of comfort for that style but, given it’s designed for light packers, that sacrifice isn’t noticeable. There’s not a lot more to say.

People will look twice when you pass them in the street and you’ll want them to. Because you know the Katz isn’t just skin deep. It’s got the insides to charm too.

Seventy Eight Percent Katz

The Breakdown

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Geek (Performance)

Space & Access
8
Organization
9
Comfort
6

Style (Design)

Look & Feel
9
Build, Materials & Hardware
10
Features
8

Stoke (Experience)

Warranty & Support
9
Brand experience
5
Value
6
X Factor
8

Reader's Review

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  • Okc Dave

    Maybe if you live on the wealthy side of town and stay there, but in a mixed environment, ghetto, or your average US city, this marks you as a rich kid who is ripe to mug, follow home and rob, or hold for ransom. I kid you not, thugs see dollar signs on your back with bags like this but they don’t want the bag, they want the source of that money.

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