I have the most awesome bag in the world!!
You may recall (though probably not), eons ago, I had purchased a couple of absolutely FAN-tastic bags from Alpine Threadworks when Neil used to sell his wares at the Bearspaw Farmer’s Market out of the back of his VW camper van.
Last week on Facebook, I noticed that Neil had posted a message saying that he still had time to do a few product orders and gear repair items before his departure to Bali for some fantastic surfing & diving.
I’ve been in the market for a new oxygen bag for awhile now and had not found anything that I like. It’s really hard to find a bag at the best of times, never mind one that you need for an oxygen tank which has peculiar dimensions and still be able to carry a few other things like a wallet, keys, cell phone & whatever else a girl might need. Thinking about it, I have 3 different bags that I’ve been using for the past two years — two backpacks and the super cute bag that Miss R made for my birthday a few years ago that she says is called a barrel bag — to me it looks like a mini duffel, but longer than typical duffel proportions.
Unfortunately, there are times when I really just don’t want to be carrying around a backpack. They aren’t cute, pretty, or stylish. Not. At. All. So where does that leave me? One day I was searching through all my bags desperately looking for something, really anything, that I could use to carry around my oxygen that wasn’t ugly and wasn’t a backpack — I think we were going somewhere that required me to look nicely put together and a backpack does not do anybody’s attire justice. It may have been Lil’E=MC^2‘s baptism, but I’m not sure. Anyhow, I happened to notice that my beautiful Rita bag was hanging on the doorknob and thought maybe, just maybe, it might be large enough to hold my oxygen. So I held my breath, put the tank inside and amazingly enough, it zipped up with room to spare! Happy day!! You wouldn’t believe how ecstatic I was at this discovery. So not only did I have a bag that fit my oxygen tank, but it was adorably cute AND it was a bag that I’ve always loved.
I’ve been using my beautiful Rita bag as my go-to bag, but unfortunately, it was never designed to to carry that much weight. Yarny goodness & crochet projects? Yes. Wallet, keys, sweat rags (ew), and other essentials? Of course! But +5lb oxygen tanks? Not really. I am surprised that it’s been holding out for as long as it has. It’s an absolutely well-made & sturdily constructed bag for what it was designed to do, but when you ask the poor dear to hold way more than it should be capable of, I am afraid that is asking just too much.
[Enter new bag, stage left!]
If you are in the market for a new bag for outdoor pursuits of any kind or just needing a bag that can withstand the rigours of everyday life, please, please, PLEASE give Neil at Alpine Threadworks a call. This is my third bag from him, my first custom order, and I am so, so, so happy with the work he did. His stuff is top notch, high quality, 110% through & through. It is absolutely, positively, worth every single dollar to support a local small business owner who does such excellent work!
I am so thrilled with my bag, I can’t properly express how much I am in love with my new Oxygen carrier. Seriously guys… this bag is an absolute beauty.
I swear, it’s going to last me through any upcoming apocalypse and there’s no way in hell a Zombie could tear this thing apart.
Neil’s standards are incredibly high, obviously, seeing as he wants the stuff he makes to be as tough as he is for the extreme sports he does. I think (and certainly hope!) Alpine Threadworks is doing well with all the awesome work Neil does in the spring, summer & fall. I think it must be rare to find someone who is able to teach what he loves in the winter, be able to enjoy the outdoor lifestyle he is happy living and experience the world in the most amazing way possible — I think it’s very cool.
Loving my Rita bag so much, I had Neil borrow the original to replicate it, with a few changes:
* We made it a bit larger – to accommodate for my largest tank & its accompanying hardware.
* The bag is a sort of gunmetal/charcoal grey with dark puple shoulder pads & pockets for accent colour.
* The inside’s practically waterproof and fluorescent yellow so you can SEE what’s inside it’s opened up.
* Shoulder straps are adjustable with padding — having padded straps makes total sense when you’re hauling around a 10lb tank.
* Has double zippers with a loop at either end of the bag to help facilitate opening & closing — OMG this was an amazing addition that I didn’t know about until I saw it!
* Speaking of zippers — they are huge on the bag & slightly smaller on the pockets. All have simple pulls on them, which make things so much easier for me to grasp.
*Large grommet — put on either side of the zipper so I can fish my hose through whichever side I feel like.
*Pockets — flat & zippered, one on each side, perfect place to store keys & reuseable shopping bags!
I’m a little embarassed… I loved it so much when I saw it, I huggled the bag with a huge grin on my face after I put the oxygen tank inside when he gave it to me ^_^;
All in all, it’s a pretty damn smexy lookin’ bag and is an absolute thing of beauty and I am not the only one who thinks so, either — a side note in the email that Neil sent me when the bag was finished and ready to be picked up, “In my completely non-biased opinion, it looks damn good!”
To order any Alpine Threadworks products or to discuss a custom project, please contact Neil Warren and tell him I sent you!