You probably won’t believe me – but – quitting my job and saving my pennies have been the easier decisions when planning a year-long trip around the world. Even deciding to travel solely with carry-on luggage was seemingly stress-free.
Honestly, the hardest part is what to take! Given we’ve decided to travel more like minimalist’s than maximalist’s, deciding what to take in seven kilos (standard carry-on limit) is paramount! And the vessel in which we carry our things is just as important.
In some people’s eyes, backpacking is synonymous with travelling light, sacrificing quality for cost and sometimes being a little dirty and a lot unkept. But what if you could find seven kilos of good quality gear, made to last, made without harming or impacting the planet. To that I say – challenge accepted.
I’d scoured hiking stores and online sites from near and far selling plenty, but nothing was quite right. To any gear obsessive like me you will know, this is a long and rather exciting task. My pre-requisites were, it needed to be:
- Carry-on dimensions
- No less than 40L so that we could fit our seven kilos comfortably
- Comfortable for hiking (I plan on trekking a lot while we’re abroad)
- Waterproof (or come with its own pack cover)
All seemingly easy to find right?
Well, my final request made the search even narrower. It needed to be ethically made, and if possible, made in Australia. I’m sometimes embarrassingly patriotic when it comes to Australian made products, but mostly I’m just passionate about good ethics. Lately, it’s become increasingly difficult to find those two traits in the same item. And so – introducing – the Wing It backpack by Australia’s own One Planet.
Just to be sure it fit all my needs, I got in touch with One Planet directly to ask them a few questions about the Wing It bag, in the age of greenwashing and over “organi-fying” products, I was a sceptic. I wanted to be sure what they claimed to be doing was true. These were the questions I asked and their responses:
How is the Wing It backpack a sustainable product?
As a manufacturer one of the greatest things we can do for sustainability is build products locally, from locally sourced materials and ensure those products last. The Wing It is made in Melbourne, from our Waterloc canvas, which is specifically milled for us in a New South Wales. So, it’s a pretty Australian made product! Our Melbourne factory is completely co2 neutral and has been since 2005, a first for the outdoor Industry.
To ensure the Wing it is both comfortable and dependable, we’re careful with our material choices. Waterloc canvas has incredible strength, abrasion and water resistance and we canvas bind, this creates incredibly strong seams with double stitching. Where possible we use bar tacks to enforce key areas and handles.
The Exact Fit Mid harness is the little sibling of our (Exact Fit) bushwalking harness. It’s designed in 3 sizes, to fit all kinds of people and built to be comfortable and long lasting. We use closed laminated foams which are treated to resist mould, mildew and other bacteria.
The natural fabric durability and tough build quality is backed up by our repairs and servicing program, we can fix zippers, buckles, replace harness components etc. and all our repairs are done in our Melbourne factory.
Is your supply chain traceable? How do you trace your materials made overseas?
One of the best things about manufacturing our rucksacks in Australia is our ability to choose our fabric and component suppliers carefully. Ensuring high quality materials, great quality control and overview of our environmental footprint.
Over the last 38 years of manufacturing in Australia, we’ve sourced our raw materials from both Australia and overseas, through this process we’ve developed long standing relationships with top-end global suppliers and businesses. Working with the same companies over many years, has helped us to build trust and reliability in the goods we purchase and manufacture. We often visit the factories and offices of our supply chain in person.
How do One Planet reduce their waste? Do you recycle any offcuts?
To reduce waste, we first try not to create it, in manufacturing this certainly means minimising offcuts. In terms of finished goods and products, its summed up by our motto: “Make it Good, Make it work, Make it last.”
Make It Good: We design and manufacture quality products in a sustainable manner. In our Melbourne factory we make small batches (around 32 units), which allows a high degree of quality control and inspection of each batch.
Make It Work: We’re users and creators and outdoorsy adventure types, we make products that work for their intended purpose, they are functional and effective and always enjoyable to use (so they’ll hopefully be your favourite!)
Make It Last: We make products that are durable and have long usable lives. Preferring to repair over replace; we service, wash, clean and renew.
After hearing One Planet’s responses, I was sold! I don’t think I could have found a better possible fit for me.
But it doesn’t stop there – as with everything we carry, the same scrutiny will apply, and so you can be sure that every single thing we take has been carefully examined for its ethical qualities.
We’re specifically focused on Australian brands, not only because it reduces our carbon footprint, but also because we want to spread the word that Australian made (or at least Australian designed) products are not just great quality with great style, but also that they last longer than even we expect them to.
I’m really stoked I found the One Planet backpack and I look forward to road testing it around the world.
Stay tuned here on the blog and on Insty @whoislexiconnors for the road test of a lifetime, beginning with a one-way ticket to Athens.
Until then xo