I’ve been know to own a bag or two. A guy needs to keep his gear properly stowed, especially living in New York City where you constantly need to tote your “tackle” around town. Enter Goruck, the new maker of bad ass black ballistic nylon bags that pack all the toughness (and quality) of mil-spec gear, but designed with civilians in mind. Jack Barley and Jason McCarthy (a fellow Ohioian — hat tip) founded Goruck to improve upon existing military issue packs. McCarthy in particular has first hand experience with such equipment through his service in the special forces.
The world of technology bag design needs a hug. Walk into an Apple store and you are surrounded by amazing design. The company puts the highest emphasis on white space and fonts and materials. Then you see the bag selection and it all goes to shit. I recently discovered the Portland-based label The Good Flock and quickly ordered their Pendleton Native American print wool iPad case — one of the best I have seen. I own a black Apple case for the iPad that converts into a stand (which is admittedly very handy), but the material is a little too neoprene-like for my tastes. Neoprene is like that terrible synthetic blanket you get at a cheap motel. Just the thought makes me shudder.
The Good Flock offers a series of different cases for everything from a Blackberry to a laptop in a series of Pendleton wool options. Everything is made in the United States and sold at good prices. The only thing I would change is maybe the button on the laptop series. That looks a little too “sewing circle” for me. All in all, nice looking bags, good prices and American made. Well played all the way. [The Good Flock]
Recently I purchased a bag from Frost River in Duluth, Minnesota. When the bag arrived I was pleasantly surprised how nice it was, though it was a bit larger than I had anticipated. I emailed the company and very painlessly exchanged the original bag for a slightly smaller option. As expected, the folks at Frost River couldn’t have been more nice, which seems to be a common thread amongst Minnesotans.
It does seem that some Frost River offerings are similar in shape and material to other Minnesota bag makers, though Frost River does a great job of differentiating itself with many of its products. Speaking of, Frost River has a ton of different items in its line. Everything from bicycle panniers to goods for the “cabin” and beyond. I especially like the Waxed Canvas Pistol Rugs and the Ash Baskets. The company does all of its own sourcing and manufacturing, and offers a great value for money. [Frost River official site + product photos]
One of my favorite bag companies out there is Minnesota’s J.W. Hulme. The company makes classic looking canvas and leather bags, plus a variety of different accessories. It is one of those rare brands that I want one of everything from. I was introduced to the bags years ago, when they supplied carry-alls to Orvis. The two have since gone their separate ways in what I believe to be an amicable split. Either way, it must be water under the bridge at this point. Thankfully J.W. Hulme survived and lives on to supply good looking bags to those who appreciate well made things. Perhaps Orvis and J.W. Hulme can revisit things now that Orvis taking a renewed interest in American make with their U.S. Patent collection. (More on that coming soon.)
The new Sporting Originals canvas bags (the lightly colored ones like the above) are just hitting stores (including select Steven Alan and Barneys stores) now — in case you were wondering. Also, pictured below are some of the company’s SS11 bags (the gray canvas and leather items). It is great to see the brand progress and apparently prosper. There was a recent Wall Street Journal article about how the brand has navigated a tumultuous past few years. It was interesting to see that ACL made it into that piece. It also makes me proud to know change is being made for the positive and people are keeping their jobs. At the end of the day, that is what really matters. Well, that and there are sturdy American-made bags in this world.
Something of a debate we had going at Brimfield — how much would you pay for this vintage No.3 Duluth Pack canvas bag? The company still makes a very similar bag (if not the same) which is available online. But vintage can be more fun than new and this bag looks to be in especially good shape. Plus, this nice old bag also predates that circular logo-badge that the new bags have, which is a good thing. So the question is, how much would you pay for this bag at a flea market, cash and carry?
If I was tasked with making ACL into a physical space, I don’t know if I could do better than the Ace Hotel New York. It is funny that one of the few really cool things I have seen at the Las Vegas apparel trade shows today was a bag from a hotel company. One could argue that the Ace is a lifestyle (and I wouldn’t disagree), a lifestyle that is pretty much perfectly in step with ACL (or vice versa). At any rate, the folks at Ace definitely have their shit together when it comes to hotels or locking bank bags with bowling shirt embroidery. Well played indeed.
A new addition to The American List is Maryland’s C.R. Daniels, which sells a variety of goods under the Dandux label. The company manufactures all different sorts of canvas and molded plastic items; everything from conveyor belts to the plastic seats for Black Hawk helicopters. So if anyone gives you shit about your canvas tote bag, just let them know that is was rolling off the production line right next to part of a damn Black Hawk, that outta shut them up. The basic black and natural canvas bags are priced at an affordable $26.95, have a killer Dandux label and are all made in the USA — you can’t beat it with a stick. All of the Dandux canvas goods can be seen here.