Archival Clothing - Made in USA

Posts Tagged ‘canvas’

Announcing Handy Bag

April 4th, 2019

Since Archival closed, Tom and I have been meeting for pizza and plotting a new bag brand. We love bags and still think the world is missing a few models.

Our latest project is called Handy Bag (or Handy for short).

We’re keeping things simple, functional, affordable and durable.

In May, we will be releasing one bag, a zip top musette, in two colorways: olive and gray.

Our ingredient list will look familiar to Archival Clothing fans: canvas duck, metal hardware/rivets and zippers, and cotton webbing.

This time, we’re sourcing materials that are easier to buy in smaller quantities and lend themselves to repurposing across multiple models. Look for bags made of dry finish canvas duck in a narrower range of colors and metal hardware in nickel rather than brass.

As with Archival, Handy bags will be sewn in Springfield, Oregon, by a top quality shop that specializing in heavy duty product offerings for the bike industry (Terry Shuck, the owner, used to work for Burley design).

Where will you find Handy?

Tom and I kicked around the idea of managing everything by mail order ala Zo bags.

Zo Bike Messenger bags
Mail order inspiration: Zo Bag order form from the 1990s

Instead, we’re collecting emails and planning to send out an announcement once the first bags are ready for sale (most likely in early May). We will also keep followers updated on our assorted social channels.

For the time being, we are keeping everything small scale and fun. In the end, we’re making bags that our missing from our own collections. Reversing a popular U/X mantra: we are our end users (and very best customers).

We will also be hosting a pop up show in Eugene, Oregon, in May (details TBD).

Email me ( if you would like to be added to our mailing list.

Also, if you want to stay posted on our project, keep an eye on the Archival blog and follow us on Instagram @tombonamici @gridwax @archivalclothing

Tom selecting canvas duck for our first production run
Tom selecting canvas duck for our first production run

plans to restart something small and sustainable. We missed making bags that

Archival Shelter: Wall Tents

December 10th, 2010

by Tom Bonamici

As mentioned in a prior post, Archival Clothing friend (and first-generation AC Rucksack owner) Will D. lived in a wall tent for a year. After he visited me in Brooklyn, we’ve been chatting about traditional bedrolls and other projects to kit him out for his upcoming Trackers NW courses.

Though I doubt I’d be able to install a wall tent anywhere in Brooklyn (unless someone has a secure backyard to offer…), that hasn’t stopped me from doing some hypothetical shopping. I’ve been impressed by the Davis Tent and Awning products – I’ve got to support anyone posting a strength test of their fabric using a leather worker’s clamping horse and a fish scale.

Shots from the Davis Tent Photo Gallery:

Do Not Miss this video showing the seventeen-foot long Cowboy Bedroll.

Archival Baggage: Filson Passage Line

July 16th, 2009

Original Filson luggage line-up, plus bonus catalog footage, late 80s/early 90s:

All Filson ensemble w/accessory luggage

Gone: poplin duckbills and Rood’s satchel

Filson garment bags

Original pricing would make you weep
And selections from the new Passage Line (2009):
Identifiably Filson?
Business pack with key fob

Lodge collection companion?

Filson just released a new line of luggage called Passage. Unfortunately, I have to include the collection in the retail category of Why was it made? Rather than canvas or leather, the Passage bags are made out of unattractive synthetic twill (“ballistic quality nylon”). Country of origin is listed as “overseas.” On their own, on a practical, functional level, I’m sure the bags would be considered OK by the floatplane demographic (catalog selling points include “compact yet roomy” and “perfect for overnight travel”). But there’s nothing about these bags that visibly connects them back to the historical Filson aesthetic–not the fabric, not the styling, not even the embossed leather Filson stamp. To me, they look like pricier versions of the gift bags given away at department store cologne counters. Or–more likely, department store remakes of Filson or Barbour field bags.

Nevertheless, I forgive Filson for this Lodge-esque collection since they’re still producing almost all the styles from their original canvas twill collection plus the fine new tin cloth bags. I already own and adore the Filson tin cloth tote (currently in redesign) so I’m saving up for this tin cloth shell bag:
Use value t.b.d.

Shopping from the past: Steele Canvas Basket Company

May 7th, 2009
At your local library

Canvas work-top table/bench (Steele Canvas Basket Co.)

Six-bushel laundry basket (Steele Canvas Basket Co.)

Thanks to Andy at Reference Library for reintroducing the Steele Canvas Basket Company as a modern, U.S. source for totes, laundry bins and canvas work tables. I first read about the Steele Canvas Co in High Tech: Industrial Style and Sourcebook for the Modern Home, an amazing, Seventies-era design book featuring a number of canvas based storage solutions. Given the book’s date of publication, I had assumed that most of the canvas manufacturers had either gone of out of business or moved production overseas. However, to my surprise, I saw Reference Library’s post on a special edition of a Steele Canvas tote commissioned by Andy in heavy duty black canvas. While waiting for Andy to bring out a next generation version of his tote (w/longer handles!), I ordered a diminutive tote of my own directly from Steele. What’s great about Steele is that they let you semi-customize your bag–permitting you to decide on final shoulder strap length, zipper/no-zipper and canvas panel color configurations. My contact at Steele was even kind enough to send me a few examples of totes created for Japanese clients (see below).

In a future post, I’ll publish some more vintage images from the Steele Basket archives along with photographs of a friend’s soon-to-arrive, custom canvas laundry bin.

Some samples headed to Japan

If synthetics are your thing

Out of the past

Place holder tote

Archival News: Brady Norfolk bag on sale

November 24th, 2008

For interested parties seeking a wee sized British fishing-type bag (sized for wallet, camera and a deck of playing cards), UK based Brady bags is offering their Norfolk style bag at a discount (close-out)? I first saw this style Brady bag being sported by the founder of Rivendell Bicycle Works when I visited the bicycle company two years ago. Though the bag is diminutive, it’s quite functional and does not show any design or build compromises even though it’s marketed for town rather than field use. I use mine as a bicycle commuting bag with my tin cloth Filson tote handling the large cargo spillover.

For reference, here’s a spot sidewalk inventory of what I can fit into the Norfolk from the flickr group, The Items We Carry.

Shopping From Television: Mills Canvas Bags

December 15th, 2007

Since I’ve been sick, I’ve been relishing my access to A.M. talk television. My favorite program–as a kind of legacy selection from earlier incarnations–is the Martha Stewart show or simply MARTHA. I’m not too fond of the audience applause factor or the set design kitchen from which Martha emerges at the beginning of each show. However, I do love Martha Stewart’s restlessly perfectionist sensibility and sleuth hound approach to food and objects. Over the last few weeks, Martha has been running a “secret sources” segment where she reveals the source for some hard (for the rest of us?) to find Martha approved artifact. Recent examples include ribbon candy, pottery, pet jackets and a Japanese department store in Manhattan. For the most part, I’ve been indifferent to her finds (but imaged my own guest star selections and how I might revive the fortunes of various struggling, defunct or near obsolete brands). However, last week, Martha Stewart stole a page from Archival Clothing by featuring a brand of canvas boat tote which I swore had not been in production for ages: Mills brand canvas bags. We’ve owned a green Mills tote for many years and I was certain that it was dead brand (the label alone looks like something sewn on the dockyards in the early nineteen thirties).