For all of us, awesome bags and clothing are as important as pins and patches that we put on them. It has to be the right fit. It needs to look perfect. So I thought I should put together a list of my favorite bag brands that I think are perfect for Asilda Store products.
If you know my background, I started with running my photo blog and writing about camera straps and bags. I loved doing reviews and enjoyed getting new gear to test out. When I switched to running the store, this blog eventually became just as big of a part of what I want to write.
I pulled all my past reviews, looked at all the brands I really love, found some new ones that I find interesting. And so this is how this list was born. I’ll start with the bags/brand I’ve used before and then switch to some new interesting finds that I’d like to test out in the future.
Most of these bags and companies have a certain aesthetic that I really enjoy. This list is my personal selection and the ratings are a matter of personal choice too. I’ve always said that there is no perfect bag for all of us. We’re unique and have unique needs and interests. The idea here was to pull everything together to have a central hub for awesome carry selection.
Origin: Denver, CO | Price: $169 | Bag: Kettlersack
Topo has so many things that I like about the brand! Visually, their style is unique. They are like no other and I’m a fan of USA made goods. I visited their Denver store and met with the head of marketing a few years back. They company is really taking care of their conversational communication style, how their present their products visually, and yet still these bags are not crazy mass produced. So you get that exclusivity element.
I love how easy the zippers are, pockets are in right places, the bags feel light when you carry them even loaded. Did a review of the Light Hip Pack 2 years ago. And I think in a way I was creating some first Asilda Store patches and pins with the idea that they should go well with Topo bags.
Origin: Seattle, WA | Price: $120 | Bag: Day Pack
Filson is mentioned in pretty much every bag guide and they’re true to their traditions. You purchase a $300 Filson bag knowing that it’ll be in your family for decades. It’s one of these things that you have for a very long time and I’m a big fan of some new cheaper backpacks as well as their more traditional designs. This bag is one of those rare below $150 price level bags that is actually pretty sweet!
Filson bags are made in Seattle and I was into this brand that I flew to Seattle to check out their products in the original factory store and production building. Later, I did a review of a few bags on the photo blog and we did a giveaway with Filson. Because of these bags, I also met Matt (@mattywestside) who’s been a fantastic advisor for Asilda Store from the beginning.
Origin: Portland, OR | Price: $250 | Bag: Voyager Daypack
Portland is a magical place that I think fuels up passions of many creators. Tanner Goods is one of the workshops that has been consistently making awesome designs and I really like their series of backpacks. I tested their Camera Field bag last year and definitely want to get my hands on the $450 backpacks.
All Tanner Goods leather/canvas bags are handmade in Portland. I get that the price might put some people off, but then again you buy a piece of lifestyle we all want to have and something that will grow old together with you. Not to be too sentimental, but I do think that we don’t need a bunch of stuff in our lives. Just a few essentials that we keep for years to come.
Origin: UK | Price: $259 | Bag: Hadley Pro
Originally a camera bag brand, Billingham makes some of my favorite bags from England. They have a bit more urban look than the previous three, but Billingham Hadley Pro is probably the best bags in terms of price/security/comfort/design for photographers. And who is not a photographer these days? We all are.
Origin: Tacoma, WA | Price: $219 | Bag: Camera Bag
Black Anchor made its debut on Kickstarter last year and didn’t raise enough funds. I think they’ll work out how to find their place on the market, but I have to tell you this little bag is probably my favorite daily carry right now. Horween leather, waxed canvas, and also handmade in Washington state - that’s the three things that make my heart skip a beat. The full review is on my photo blog.
Origin: NYC | Price: $279 | Bag: The Prince Street
Big props go to Tracy Foster for creating Ona Bags and growing it into the company we know today. Long lasting, awesome looking, well-made, and with awesome photos of products, Ona has been able to carve out a big piece of the camera bag market for itself. Ona is one of those companies where what you see on the website and in social media - all these inspirational product shots by them and other photographers - they are an exact match of the product you buy.
Sometimes I see something cool online and then something completely different comes in the mail. I mean, it’s just not what I thought it would be. Ona has this perfect 100% hit on the mark to delivering on their promise. You buy what you see and in the last 5 years every Ona Bags buyer can tell you these bags stood up to the test of time.
Origin: UK | Price: $259 | Bag: Wax Large Daypack
I discovered Barbour about a year ago and since then became a big fan of the brand. Mostly famous for their waxed canvas hunting “looking” jackets, this 100+ year old company continues the tradition of quality goods, design standards, and attention to trends. I have one of their coats, but recently also found their messenger bags and backpacks. Would be great to get my hands on one of these, but from now I can just admire them from my screen. Didn’t know they make bags, maybe you didn’t know either.
Origin: UK | Price: $325 | Bag: Rivington Backpack
As an avid cyclist with a cool bike that has a retro look, but really is new, I am a big fan of Brooks bike saddles. While on a trip in Minneapolis, I walked into one of the bike shops that has the full selection of Brooks bags. These are some nice carry options I must say! Looks like the company continues to invest in other product lines and bags are one of of them.
Origin: UK | Price: $449 | Bag: The Wilder
We’re just 50 miles away from each other, but for some reason I was never able to connect with the crew from Bradley Mountain. I get it, this whole vintage theme is in the air, but it takes business skills to take something like canvas backpacks into a brand worth following and buying from. They also often have promotions and so you can wait out a bit to get an awesome deal.
Origin: UK | Price: $206 | Bag: Assynt 28
Foggy fields and forests attract me a lot. These guys happen to be in Scotland, but I think they somehow have this PNW vibe in their products and imagery. Anyways, Trakke is an awesome little company that has some interesting backpacks, messenger bags, and accessories. I do like their modular setup and the concept of buying extra support straps only when you need them. I’m waiting to get my first bag from them to review in person, but for now take a look at what they have on the web.
I wish I could spend more time getting more bags and doing more reviews, but the goal was to give you a comprehensive list, so I picked a dozen more awesome brands that I find interesting and worth your look. Here are more interesting brands you should know about:
Speaking of cool places... This photo above was taken in Olympic National Park this last summer and I've always wanted to have one of these, even though I don't have a yellow raincoat on. I thought that's somewhat of a requirement for viral images on Instagram. Just kidding.
Chances are, you already know about Carryology. It's the hub for all bag news and they do a fantastic job with always keeping it fresh, interesting, and edgy too. They recently opened the first retail store in Australia and definitely are the first site I check for bag news.
If you like websites that curate certain products, like bags, take a look at te koop in Canada. And if you're into curated collections beyond just bags, you should check out Huckberry (they sent beautiful emails too) based in San Francisco. Both have online stores you can order from.
I get that some people prefer to buy from even smaller shops, like me. By that I mean there is no staff of 5-10 people that are on the team running the business every day. I get help, but I'm still the one overseeing everything. So I thought I should look on Etsy and share some of the cool smaller brands that I like:
Peg and Awl https://www.etsy.com/shop/PegandAwl
Kruk Garage Atelierhttps://www.etsy.com/shop/KrukGarageAtelier
Old Soul Bagshttps://www.etsy.com/shop/OldSoulBags
This whole concept of having too many bags should go away. If this is what you like to buy, so be it. At this point, we all are making money for ourselves and I'm glad I can just get what I want without answering to anyone on the spending. I tried to make this bag list as comprehensive as possible and I hope you found this info useful. I mentioned quite a few brands here and to all of them I take my hat off because there are months of behind the scenes work that we might never ever get a glimpse of.
Final words: Be adventurous, explore. And carry quality gear. If you're wondering how to apply patches on all this goodness, here is the next good 5 minute read and video:
Thanks for shopping on Asilda Store and I hope you enjoy your inspiration boost items!