- Buyer's Guide
It all happened on the ground level of Summer OR, 2016. There we were, Andy and I, combing through the Pacsafe booth, jamming with their team, Phil and Marcus. There was energy in the air. And a ‘new look’ hanging across the shelves and hangers. The guys were in the process of reimagining the brand, and the spoils were coming through for Spring ‘17. Their signature anti-theft features were still fixed at the brand’s core, but toned down, dressed in more handsome and urban-styled packages. And we were digging. This was a move we were keen to support.
The conversation kicked on. We spoke about what was in the pipeline for Pacsafe, top secret stuff, a move to more collabs. Then the guys thanked us for the Carry Award given to their Z400… and then things came together.
Phil sparked: “What if we do a collab?”
A collab with our favorite anti-theft brand? We were totally down. But what?
And then it struck us. What if we could make a Carry Award winner… better? Take the already epic Z400 and turn it up a notch. Keep its DNA but refine it. Finesse it into something the ‘style-savvy gent’ would dig.
The rest, as they say, is history.
Fast-forward to Winter OR ‘18, the collab talks had ebbed and flowed, ideas fired back ‘n’ forth, swatches traded in the mail, and we were ready to connect in person and zero in on the final design, make it right.
On deck that day was Senior Editor and Special Project Lead, Taylor Welden, making it right, like only he knows how.
Mike, Managing Editor.
New Denver digs. And Taylor on the case.
Fresh off the flight from Austin to Outdoor Retailer’s new location in Denver, I’m excited to see the brand new digs and rub elbows with industry friends. But I’ve got one focus on the task at hand, the Pacsafe x Carryology collab.
Phil, Mel, and I meet under the giant blue bear outside of OR and walk across the street to a workspace, throwing down our laptops, sketchbooks, and piles of fabric swatches and 3D printed hardware bits.
The goal with any and all of these collabs is to allow the brand’s voice to shine through in the final product, with a unique Carryology twist and refinement, and above all… make it “special”. After a few coffees and pleasantries, we dive straight in.
We had a champion product to start with, as mentioned above, a Carry Awards winner, the Z400. So going all Xzibit on it shouldn’t be too hard, right? The Z400 shoulder bag features eXomesh slashguards, a slashguard strap, a Roobar anti-theft anchor lock, custom interlocking zip pullers, and a whole lot more.
From rugged to refined
First and foremost, we looked at the “easiest” thing to swap out, the exterior fabric. Obviously this affects the feel, look, and performance of the briefcase, so it’s an important one. The P600D Sprayed PU surface on the original bag was rugged, subdued, and low-key (all the things we love for a briefcase geared for business travel). But for the more refined gent we thought we’d tone it down and raise up the refinement and handfeel.
After swatch upon swatch, we landed on a lovely weave (200D Nylon and 600D polyester blended) that was soft to touch but wouldn’t pill and fluff up, in a colorway that would nail it in the office and after hours – Black Sand. It’s low-key, refined, durable, and heathered, allowing it to look the part while traveling or with a suit.
Further into refinement, we sketched up some leather zipper pullers. Nice and thick for a nice handfeel and more importantly, grip. We played with the length of the pullers so they’d be easy to tuck away into the secure zip tab.
Pare it back and give it pop!
The internals of the original were an organizer’s dream but for the minimalists we decided to pare it back, just a touch, to make it simpler and lighter. So now there’s everything you need and nothing else.
As you all know, interior fabric liner color is always a huge deal for us and bright colors are always better for visually identifying small items inside versus muted colors. We browse through a few dozen liner samples and have an instant agreement upon this “orange peach” colorway. Different from our first Carryology collab high-vis vibes, but more suited to moments when you’re taking out documents in meetings. Still pop. Still playful. But subtle.
And when you’re running Black Sand on black leather you need a little bit of playfulness to work off the all-business exterior. The perfect balance between exterior classy and interior fun and function.
Vegetable-tanned leather. And a lil' contrast.
The icing on the cake to finalize the finishing details? Sure, webbing handles are strong and durable and work just fine, but we wanted this to be classy and special (there’s that word again). We opted for vegetable-tanned leather grab handles with latch and stud to keep them tidy and together when not in direct use.
After playing with all sorts of ideas on the label, we agreed that following the leather direction with the handles made perfect sense. Black leather, of course – we love all-black monochrome colorways, if you’re not familiar with our style yet – but after staring at the collective elements, we opted for a touch of contrast stitching to match the colorful interior, which adds just a touch of character and playfulness, just like Carryology, right?
Now, let's get to the exciting part: the reveal!
The Grand Reveal
Is happening tomorrow! On July 5th, 8pm EST (New York) time, we’ll be unveiling the briefcase.
And you guys, our readers, will have exclusive first dibs, two full days before the public. These briefcases are limited edition – only 150 pieces available online – so make sure you’re one of the lucky ones!
Mark your calendars. Get ready for the big reveal. And keep an eye on your inbox or our blog for the exclusive shop link.
LA – July 5th, 5pm
London – July 6th, 1am
Vancouver – July 5th, 5pm
Sydney – July 6th, 10am
Singapore – July 6th, 8am
Berlin – July 6th, 2am
Paris – July 6th, 2am
Tokyo – July 6th, 9am