With more features than you can shake a stick at, you might think that using an Ethnotek messenger or backpack to transport your gear would be like using a Leatherman to pick up a toothpick. But you, my friend, would be wrong. A million features are one thing, but a million carefully selected details means everything you want in a simple design, and nothing you don’t. It means that you use every element, every day. I’m not saying that there’s no learning curve, but take your time. These bags offer all of the pieces that you expect, and then several nice ones that maybe you didn’t. Beautiful, smart design, tough construction and a responsible supply chain. What more could someone like me ask for?
Nice Threads Man
Every Ethnotek bag has a removable and replaceable front called a Thread that serves as, “a flag that says, I care!” Each Thread is a direct trade, ethical textile that carries the deep cultural heritage and story of its origin. Direct trade means a high level of transparency concerning both working conditions and payment procedures. These hand-dyed and woven fabrics are only sourced in person and bought directly from artisans or villages. All of the Threads are limited editions and made in very small batches that are never repeated. This exclusivity is fostered by the time consuming and detail oriented handcraft of the source. Your bag is genuinely unique, but when you are inspired to carry a new look or share a new culture, instead of purchasing a new bag, you can buy just a new Thread from Ethnotek. It’s always worthwhile to check back with the Ethnotek Web site often for new Thread additions.
Ethnotek’s passions for culture and travel are infectious, and the company encourages customers and friends to keep an eye out and notify the company of any interesting ethnic textiles that they encounter on their own travels. Through this process Ethnotek creates demand for traditional practices that are currently threatened. Through this method the company never dictates the design or imposes on local artists who are free to express themselves through this non-intrusive supply chain.
Ethnotek Travel Backpacks
An Ethnotek backpack is a serious and unique travel companion with a message. Let’s talk modern accessories. The padded laptop compartment is side-loading and accessible without opening the main compartment and big enough to carry up to most 17″ devices. This makes it not only incredibly easy to get to, but also very secure. The huge roll-top and massive buckle also offer incredible security. Both sides have mesh pockets, ideal for storing snacks or a water bottle, and the right side has a zip-access pocket that fits your passport, phone, or mp3 player perfectly. No more digging! Whether hiking up a mountain trail, or running to Terminal A, the padded, ergonomic back panel with vents will keep you comfortable and cool. Plus, the padded shoulder straps, and all-important sternum strap help the bag stay in place when you’re running to catch that bus.
One of the best things about these packs is how versatile they are. Thanks to the roll-top, compression straps and light 2.6 lb weight, they can be loaded to the max or minimally packed to maintain a surprisingly low profile. Even with generous dimensions, these packs are carry-on friendly and always the right size. Check out the beautiful, removable Threads strutting from complex patterns from Ghana, bold colors from Guatemala or the work of a master-weaver in India!
Ethnotek Messenger Bags
Messengers, the newest edition to the Ethnotek products won’t dispoint loyal backpack owners or Ethnotek newbies. The padded laptop compartment has clever, removable bumpers that offer snug protection for your 13″ or 15″ laptop. As you might anticipate, the front zip pocket is complete with organizers and a zip compartment perfect for your tunes player. The removable seat belt shoulder strap is a nice convenience, with the added comfort of a generous padded section and diagonal stabilizer strap. If any of you have ever tried to cycle without one, you know how crucial that last feature is. In fact, I strongly discourage trying to ride a bike without one, embarrassing situations will ensue.
The rear of the messenger has a low profile luggage handle pass-through, which is invaluable when traveling with a rollie bag. A nice detail is the ability to zip the pass-through closed to use as a pocket when you don’t have other luggage. The yogis and artists out there will appreciate compression straps at the base of the bag perfectly made to cinch down a yoga mat or tube protection for your next masterpiece. With all of these features you might expect a weighty transport system, but the Ethnotek Messenger tips the scales at a feathery 1.8 lbs. This surprisingly light bag is actually made from 840-denier, water-resistant, ballistic nylon (translation: bomb proof) and the bag is lined with woven fabric, handcrafted in Vietnam. Now we’re talking. Like the backpacks, the messenger bags wear an exhibition of culture and responsibility. The Threads are beautiful pieces like the 100% recycled patchwork from Hmong textiles, woven rainbows from artisans in Guatemala, or my favorite, 1 of the 25 existing handmade Threads from Ghana.
Keep an Eye on Ethnotek
Ethnotek is made up of a compact and passionate team that are deeply involved in global travel and spreading cultural awareness. Although they have achieved their goal of creating handmade global culture that is useful and practical, something tells me that there is more to come from this socially responsible company. I encourage you to read through the company blog and enjoy the Ethnotek videos which give you a really good idea of what actually goes into these incredible bags. Rumors of a sub $99 day pack and possibly a rain cover are circulating, so keep these guys on your radar.