I love bags, backpacks to be specific. I can remember where this infatuation came from, it was one of my first Burton Snowboard packs, it was bright pink and it had two straps across the front to carry your snowboard. I used that backpack until the zippers fell off. Turns out this magenta gem had a predecessor. My Dad dug out of the basement the first pack I ever had as a kid, an ancient Gregory with leather zipper pulls. Simple and durable, I used this pack and still have it today, it came down the Grand Canyon with me.
My Dad was an avid rock climber when I was growing up. One of my earliest and favorite memories I have of him is the many nights spent organizing his racks, carefully by color and size, and into the pack they went. When I got big enough to have my own gear, he always advised to have one backpack for each activity, lest you scramble your things together and end of forgetting important pieces of equipment (born from experience of arriving at the ski hill sans mittens, goggles or neck warmer).
I really took this wisdom to heart. I have since invested in many backpacks. A larger Gregory to travel through India, a small Osprey for my mountain bike pack, a Black Diamond for backcountry skiing. All have their own purpose and place in my life. As I designated bags for each sport I learned to use my bags like little worlds, knowing exactly what went into each pocket and compartment. It occurred to me that bags are this hidden parts of our lives. We don’t see into each others packs but I think they say a lot about a person. What they do or do not carry. I think maybe, without realizing it, we are carrying more significance on our backs than we know (#thethingstheycarried).
When I moved to Colorado I started working two or three jobs a day, plus whatever fun I could sneak in. I would leave the house at 6:30 a.m. and not return until near midnight, making coffee, snowboarding and then waiting tables at night. I would pack my whole day into my bag each morning and unpack again that night. Things haven’t changed that much, many jobs, various activities, tons of bags. My roommates are constantly laughing at me as I schlep in and out of the house with a day or two worth of clothes, books, food and gear.
Today my life revolves around skiing, biking and yoga. What I realized I was missing was the perfect bag for yoga! Instead, I was sticking my yoga mat in and out of various backpacks, messenger bags and duffles. Suffice to say, I made due for years until I simply could not live with this void. I searched and searched for the bag of my dreams only to realize it did not exist. I’d have to build it. But let me be clear, I did not build it, I begged and pleaded with a highly talented local craftsman, Rich Shoup of Craterpacks, to build it. It took a year of desperate persuasion, but he conceded, mostly because I have an impeccable reputation as a babysitter.
So here I sit, with the design for my dream messenger bag put into reality, version 1.0. It hangs snug over the shoulder, it has waist band that actually fits my hips for biking across town, it holds my mat independently and securely so I may use the body of the bag throughout the day. And most importantly, it’s the color of all my first and most favorite bags in life.
What you don’t know yet is that it’s my dream to design bags, bnackpacks for life. The kind that create the attachment that has motivated me to sit and write about how much I love backpacks. The kind of bags that enable you to go and do the things you love, all of them, with everything you need.