Hi, my name is Jeremy Dougherty and the founder of Maroon Bell Outdoor. As you might already know, I’m the designer for all of our original designs. The reason I started Maroon Bell five years ago was to develop a brand of clothing that was versatile while being fashionable.
Honestly, I'm not crazy about the word “fashionable” but I haven’t found a good replacement, so if you have any suggestions, we're all ears. Today, I wanted to tell you about my first backpack design, The Weekender.
Inspiration Behind Our BagI named this bag “The Weekender” because of my own experience over the last 15 years. I grew up in Colorado, but spent 7 years at the beginning of my career in Washington, DC. During my time there we traveled a lot of weekends. One thing I loved about the east coast were the limitless opportunities of 3-day adventures.
Whether we were catching the bus to New York, camping in the Blue Ridge Mountains or driving up to the beaches in Delaware, a good backpack was my travel companion. It was imperative I had a bag that was tough, but usable. I needed an accessible bag that could keep my laptop safe from the elements, wasn’t too bulky and could be thrown in the back of a car, train, bus or airplane.
Smart Design & Materials
When I designed The Weekender, I took pieces of different bags I had used over the years and tried to integrate them into what would be our first backpack. For me, the single most important aspect of this design was its ability to stand up against the elements. There's nothing more frustrating than being on a weekend adventure and having your bag with everything you own get soaking wet.
Our solution was to use 600 PVC coated polyester as our base. This fabric is enormously tough, almost completely waterproof, UV protected (meaning it won’t fade) and it comes in brilliant colors. In addition to the core textile, I wanted this bag to have a leather bottom and trims throughout. We decided to use 2.4 MM thick cow crunch hide in dual tone. This gives the bag a unique look and strengthens the foundation even more.
A Place for All the Essentials
Now that we had the contents of the bag protected from moisture, we needed to add pockets, zippers and compartments that created a usable dynamic. For the first three years in operation, Maroon Bell would pop up at dozens of festivals and events. Our goal was to bring the line to the streets and meet as many consumers as possible.
During this time, a backpack might have been the most important item I had. This was where I kept the iPad, money, POS (point of sale) devices like credit card readers and my jacket, gloves and keys. All of the backpacks I used accomplished some of these goals but not all of them. I was always having a tough time quickly accessing specific tools without unloading the entire pack.
Keeping You Secure
The one component I always wished a backpack had was a deep, vertical front pocket. This would be great because if it was deep enough, I could put belongings in there I needed quick access to, such as an iPad, passport or wallet, and they wouldn’t fall out. So, The Weekender got a vertical front pocket.
I also wanted a security pocket inside the pack. A compartment where I could put keys or a passport and know they would not get lost, so we added that as well. We also wanted a pocket with an invisible magnet on the side where I could put a phone and easily access it.
Finally, we added a padded inside pocket for your laptop. This makes the back usable for work or anytime you need to bring electronics with you.