Bags | A Continuous Lean.

Arc’Teryx’s Forever Backpack.

Apr 2nd, 2015 | Categories: Bags, Canada | by Michael Williams

Nomin-Pack-Black (1)

As in, it took forever to make this awesome backpack. It will probably last forever too if you were wondering.

There’s really no explanation for this, but I’m pretty crazy about all types of different bags. To the point where I have to strictly ban myself from buying any new type of bag. I have a pretty expansive collection of carryalls at home and I recognize the fact that I really need to focus on using on what I already own. That said, there tends to be some new faces around and there always seem to be exceptions. One such deviation for me was this incredible Veilance pack that I acquired from Barneys last fall in a brazen act of defiance of my no-new-bags policy. Although, the policy is really nothing more of a governor rather than an all out ban. I digress. Recently when speaking to the Veilance design team I discovered an interesting fact about the Nomin pack, I learned that Arc’Teryx has amazingly been working on developing this particular bag since about 2010. 5 years for one backpack?!?

Tanner Goods | Onward Into The Outdoors

Sep 18th, 2014 | Categories: Accessories, Bags, Jake Gallagher, Made in the USA, Menswear, Oregon, Portland | by Jake Gallagher


Like a menswear Mystery Machine, the Tanner Goods’ Dodge A-100 has become a staple of Portland, Oregon. Cruise through Downtown and you’re bound to come across the forty-eight year old matte white box van in between a Tanner Good’s road trip. As a brand, Tanner Goods has come to embody the dichotomy of modern day Portland – with the lush Pacific Northwest wilderness on one side and the crisp air of modernist design on the other.



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Shopping New York | Billykirk

Aug 19th, 2014 | Categories: Accessories, Bags, Jake Gallagher, Made in the USA, Menswear | by Jake Gallagher


Billykirk is what I would call a foundational brand. When a new menswear store pops up, be it a brick and mortar boutique or an e-comm behemoth, Billykirk’s bags are sure to be available right from the start. In their fifteen years (yes, fifteen) Billykirk has amassed nearly one-hundred stockists, and while that figure is certainly impressive Billykirk hasn’t had a store to call their own until now.

It was nine years ago that brothers Kirk and Chris Bray transplanted Billykirk from Los Angeles to the East Coast, establishing their headquarters in Jersey City. And now, as their business continues to expand they’ve made yet another, albeit less dramatic move, setting up their first physical shop just over the Hudson on a burgeoning street in Downtown Manhattan. While Billykirk’s leather goods will still be produced over in New Jersey and at workshops throughout the U.S., their Orchard Street location will function as a proper homebase for the brand.


Nice and Simple | Bags in Progress.

Jul 11th, 2014 | Categories: Bags, Jake Gallagher, Japan, Made in the USA | by Jake Gallagher


At one point during my visit to her Garment District showroom, Chiharu Hayashi, the designer behind Bags in Progress, describes her bags as tool totes for everyday life. As she says this, Chiharu gleefully picks up one of her bags to show me how each interior has a specific purpose. One pocket is for an iPad, another is cut specifically fit a Moleskin, and one of the side slots is perfectly proportioned for a pair of sunglasses. A place for everything, and for everything a place.


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Mystery Ranch | The Apex of Packs

Jan 9th, 2014 | Categories: Al James, Bags, Made in the USA | by Al James


His name has been mentioned on this site before, but it bears repeating: Dana Gleason. He founded Kletterwerks in the 70s, then created (and eventually sold) the infamous backpack behemoth Dana Design. Since 2000 he’s been designing and hand-building backpacks in Bozeman, Montana under the name Mystery Ranch. They are the best packs he’s ever made and arguably some of the best packs available for purchase. Decades of research and experience go into each model and they are all absolute workhorses. Every Mystery Ranch pack is designed specifically for the unique tasks required of soldiers, firefighters, rescue professionals, hunters and mountain climbers.

This winter I bought a Mystery Ranch ASAP daypack for steelhead fishing in the Northwest. I stared into my closet full of canvas totes, weekend duffels and clever work briefcases and realized I had nothing that was suitable for hiking and bushwhacking into coastal steelhead streams with enough room for a day’s worth of extra layers, a lunch, a first aid kit, fly boxes and other fishing tackle. After a bit of research I landed at Mystery Ranch. What sold me on the ASAP was not only the waterproof 3-Zip design, but also the internal pocket configuration that takes the guess work out of accessing gear when it’s open. It has a built-in large hydration port, a grid of PAL webbing for lashing on an additional rod case and comes in 3 standard sizes and 4 colors options – multicam, black, coyote and foliage.

Kletterwerks: Resurrecting a Revolutionary Bag Co.

Nov 4th, 2013 | Categories: Bags, Jake Gallagher, Made in the USA, Outdoors | by Jake Gallagher


In the early seventies, Dana Gleason and his wife Laura were the passionate proprietors of one of the first true dedicated outdoors shops, Mountain Man, located in the shadow of the Black Hills Forest at the heart of Deadwood, South Dakota. Unfortunately this sleepy town did not share the Gleason’s enthusiasm for the outdoors, and so with their store faltering, the coupled decided to pack up their shop and move to the bustling metropolis of Bozeman, Montana.

Remarkably, during that frantic week in 1975 as Dana trekked back and forth between Deadwood and Bozeman, he was struck by inspiration not once, not twice, but five times, completing a handful of brand new bag designs as his final act in the shuttered South Dakota studio.

Those five designs would lay the groundwork for Kletterwerks (which roughly translates to “climbing factory” in German) the bag company that Dana founded once he had officially settled down in Bozeman.

Field Testing the new Goruck Duffel.

Sep 26th, 2012 | Categories: Bags, Made in the USA, Military | by Michael Williams

Way back in 2010 when I wrote about Goruck on this blog for the first time, this is what I had to say: “These Goruck bags are some of the best things I have seen in a long time — I’m expecting big things from the brand.” It really was the truth that I was expecting big things, and it seems very clear now that Goruck was up to the challenge. The tiny bag brand has gone from maker of just a few small packs, with one ACL comment smack-down under its belt, to an esteemed outfitter and widely respected cult-brand. When I spoke to Jason McCarthy for the first time in the fall of 201o, I remember specifically asking when the Goruck duffel bag is coming out. “Be patient,” Jason said.  Well, never would I have guessed that it would have taken the this very deliberate brand two solid years to bring a duffel bag to market. But don’t fret friends, the wait is officially over. Today Goruck officially released its Mil Kit and Civvy duffel bags.

Jason and co-founder Jack Barley happened to remember my long ago interest in the duffel and were kind enough to give me one of the first bags to test out. There was no promise of a quid pro quo, but you would have to be crazy to think I wouldn’t want to get this long-awaited Goruck duffel on ACL.