Nov. 29, 2019Does your morning commute involve a boat? For many Mainers, the trek from home to work – or school – is exactly that, a trek, one that often involves walking, ferry rides, bicycles, and other types of transport (sometimes even snowmobiles and skis if the weather is really bad… I’m not exaggerating).
While some may malign their daily commute, for those of us who live in this beautiful state, the journey is something to be savored (spoiler alert: for those who’ve never visited, Maine is gorgeous) – except when you have to carry a bunch of stuff. Wherever you live, it’s safe to say we rely on durable goods to transport our essentials in all types of weather, especially in climates that enjoy four (or five, or six) distinct seasons, like Maine. And if the zipper were to blow out on your bag or backpack? It’s a recipe for disaster. This is exactly what was on the mind of Charley Friedman as he would make his way from his home on Peaks Island, a small residential island off the coast of Maine, to the mainland.
For anyone who’s required to bring anything larger than will fit in a small shoulder bag or purse to school or work, you know how frustrating the schlepp to and from your destination can be when your gear is less than ideal. For Friedman, who grew up on the island, the dissatisfaction with his own gear is partially what led him to think about creating his own. That, and a summer spent working in a sailyard in the nearby town of Yarmouth.
For those unfamiliar, sailcloth is very, very durable, and when his grandfather’s old leather wallet finally bit the dust, Friedman whipped a new one together using scraps of racing sailcloth and an industrial sewing machine. The result was a simple, unfussy wallet that was both incredibly lightweight and extremely durable – basically, the perfect wallet for no-nonsense Mainers and those who like to keep it simple when it comes to gear. In short order, Friedman was soon making wallets for friends and family and refining his process and design – and soon, Flowfold was officially launched with the Recycled Sailcloth Vanguard wallet as the flagship product.
Anyone who’s a fan of the outdoors knows that excess weight and sub-par craftsmanship can make or break the experience. Who wants to deal with a broken zipper and heavy pack in the middle of a hike? Flowfold, now going into their 10th year, focuses on crafting lightweight, highly durable goods – from leashes to backpacks – that will sustain over time, so you don’t have to think about buying another pack for a long time. With regular audits and 36 percent of materials coming from recycled sources, Flowfold has remained true to their core set of values from the start, and they’ve made a name for themselves in the process, partnering with major outdoor retailers, like iconic Maine brand L.L. Bean, and being picked up by R.E.I and Backcountry.com. Not only that, but the company continually focuses on giving back (at the time of writing, every order of $50 donated a leash to the Animal Refuge League of Greater Portland).
But don’t just take our word for it. These are packs, bags, and wallets that have been put through the ringer. Take the Uhuru 25L Hiking Pack, a striking design, sure, but what really sets this durable backpack apart is the process the team went through to ensure it lived up to its namesake: Uhuru Peak. To put it to the test, the Flowfold team actually hiked Mount Kilimanjaro with the pack on their backs, setting a new standard for gear testing and backpacks alike. Suddenly, conventional gear testing just doesn’t seem comprehensive enough.
With winter adventures on the horizon and holiday shopping in full swing, why not choose a backpack, leash, or tote that you’ll have for years to come? Crafted with a passion for sustainability and durability, Flowfold creates gear made to work, whether you’re schlepping books to school or working toward the 4,000-footer club.
Have you used a Flowfold backpack? Share your experience with us on social by tagging @AvocadoMattress and @FlowFold!