About two years ago, one of the (now defunct) podcasts I listened to did an interview with Brian Frankle from ULA Equipment. ULA is a small sewing shop that Brian runs out of his garage, making backpacks.
He talked about his philosophy in the interview, and he sounds like exactly the kind of people I want to do business with.
One of the reasons I can’t stand the mainstream industry, and I’m glad I’m not a part of it. Is that, you know, innovation for the sake of innovation is always kind of a silly recipe in my mind. My goal is to come up with the perfect pack…and then just keep making the damn thing. There’s no reason to just change something for the sake of changing it.
[There’s] been a major, major shift, in my opinion, in how things are built. Things are just built very, very poorly now. And it’s not because the Asians, (where most of the stuff is made) it’s not because they’re not skilled. They’re incredible craftsmen but the people building it just don’t demand it. Because it’s so cheap that the way they warranty things, instead of just buying or building something that’s good from the get-go […] that it’s easier just to warranty by giving someone something new as opposed to just building something durable from the get-go.
— Brian Frankle – TrailCast #20
I’ve been mulling around the idea of a new Backpack for two years now, and I’ve been getting back into hiking and stuff a little more lately. So I emailed Brian and we talked about backpacks and my sasquatch-like bodily dimensions, and I settled on a Catalyst.
My new pack will be hand made, in the USA. It’ll be 6 pounds lighter than my current pack, and it’ll have a sleeve for a hydration bladder (which my current pack does not have). Plus it’s a lovely green color, so it will blend in nicely with the woods.
Brian says I will have my new pack in 2 or 3 weeks, so I need to get busy looking over my maps to plan out a nice overnighter to take it on. I’ll post pictures and stuff when it gets here.