Sunday, April 18, 2010



Outdoor Retailer, SLC UTAH

Words/Images Judith Ecochard

Everytime we hop a  subway, heading downtown, we get a few minutes (New York ones, that is)…to scope out our fellow passengers.

They are a kaleidoscope of humans, for sure, this being the BIG APPLE…but oddly enough, certain hauler brands occupy the backs of most.

And given our locale, we are always seeing VERY overpacked packs, in solid black of course, emblazoned with  Columbia Business School, Fordham Law etc.

Hey, if we were forking over that much in tuition, we’d advertise it too…like what Louis Vuitton bags were in the early 90’s…a symbol that ‘you’ve MADE IT.”


But a closer look reveals the easily identifiable mountain slash logo of one of our favorite brands…High Sierra.

And we always think…wow…these peeps should broaden their wear it all in black urban horizons because High Sierra makes incredibly colorful, trend driven graphics (nature, uran, plaid) totes, messengers…and wheeled/carry on bags …

All at amazing price points with top quality, small and major details (like zippered pulls that don’t break, something that annoys us immensly).

We took in some key new styles at Outdoor Retailer tradeshow…and some are available now…


New Yorkers carry their lives around…so it’s typical to strap on a smaller bag (purse, day pack)…and then carry another one---like a tote--- for the rest of the necessaries…like gym wear, stilettos/pumps (for the office), water bottles, change of clothes, etc.

Well…even the fashion tome Vogue profiled the tried and true labels of these holders recently…but we think they missed out on the fun ones by High Sierra,

Starting at $19.99 (wow) the Abigail is a large, wide-open, capacity tote made from durable (and easy clean) 600 denier Duralite®. It has an inner zipped mesh pocket with a key fob, a multi-pocket organizer, and another pocket for a water bottle or all the pens we always need and never find.  Wisely, the padded straps can double as shoulder straps, and the bottom is padded to protect.

And the padded carrying straps-- that seem impervious to ripping--- are in solids…and are eye catchy with the fab graphics. At these prices, we can go all matchy, matchy depending on which all black outfit we wear. The tote makes the outfit.

At a slightly higher price point, the larger Beatrice ($29.99), also of 600 denier Duralite®, and Mini Hex Ripstop)--- effortlessly organizes lives…with pockets for smartphones, a large zippered main compartment, an inner space for a 15inch laptop, a side one for a water bottle, PLUS a large multi organizer compartment with a key fob. Padded back and bottom...and shoulder straps that convert,

The Vivian ($39.99) resembles a stylish large shoulder bag neatly carried around via an adjustable strap.

A nice touch is the huge outer zippered utility pocket, and open cell phone pocket on back panelouter and zipped side pockets (yes for wet umbrellas, an organizer with key fob, and roomy enough for water bottles/pdas), and a Huge Plus…a padded computer sleeve that fits most 15 inch notebooks and iPads. Cushioned back, sides and bottom protects it all too---in tough 600-denier Duralite®.

BONUS …the terrific plaids, cartoon cloud prints…and all black versions.

Book bags…are a must for anyone who has an ounce of pity for all those burdened kids, slumped shoulders, hauling ridiculously weighty backpacks. Why not give them (and you) a cool option with a wheeled zipped book bag that’s anything but nerdy. Come to think of it, we could use one of these at tradeshows…as the telescoping pull up handle locks in position and stores away…giving carriers the option of wearing it like a pack too…thanks to contoured, adjustable sweat banning Vapel mesh padded shoulder straps and grab handle…and a padded back panel.

The two eye catchers we saw---…the Chaser ($49.99)

 and the Freewheel ($59.99)

... both have zipper front compartments--- with organizers/media/accessory pockets with head phone ports, key fobs, quick access, open side pockets, triangle clips to attach carbiners, reflective accent piping for night safety, AND corner guards and rub rails to protect against abrasion.

Getting around is easy too...with in-line skate style wheels and a single tube telescoping handle that stows away.

The Freewheel’s large front load main compartment is also CUSION ZONE padded for computer sleeves that can hold most 17 inch laptops--- making this an ideal do it in a day work bag...and a zippered accessory compartment for a headphone port. Corner mounted wheels make the going easy, in tandem with the single tube telescoping handle that stows away.  PLUS the contoured, adjustable Vapel™ mesh padded shoulder straps, (that tuck away)...make hauling options comfy.

And like other High Sierra bags…it’s over the rainbow for color and graphics…including a cool blueprint, blueprint/white phantom waves one.


Well, we haven’t suffered from being charged for carry on luggage…yet…so we are jazzed that High Sierra took the all things plaid for Fall 2010---into airline compartment overhead perfect--- Trapezoid Boot and Bucket Boot Bags.

Particularly fetching, is the Trapezoid Plaid/Black model one we coveted. A large main compartment with a handy U- shaped opening for gear, and two zipped side compartments with drainage/ventilation grommets that carry hold up to a men’s size 13. Padded backstraps and a convenient webbed grab handle--- makes this mass transit friendly too.

The Bucket Boot bag is also ‘stash and go’ friendly, with padded backstraps and a grab handle. PLUS: additional zipped pockets…for goggles etc on top of the lid, and on the front for hats, gloves, tools…plus a side mesh pocket…making this a hike/ride the mountain hauler too.

Here---love the Cool Gray Digi Camo textile.

Pictured here too…a wheeled carry on boot bag with the added tuck away mesh sport flap hidden in a zipped pocket that pops out to securely transport helmets, hidden padded backstraps stored behind the panel, and the recessed telescoping lightweight aluminum handle. No wobbles either…with corner mounted wheels.

We usually rent when we snowboard…but our clothing needs every time we travel for adventure… are enormous. High Sierra has a just right sized 28inch wheeled duffle, that’s made of airline baggage handler tough Diamond Ripstop Duralite®, 600 denier Duralite®. With a large main compartment for all the base layers, two large side compartments, zipped front accessory pocket for hats, gloves, tools etc, webbed neoprene padded handles wrapped for comfort, and a recessed telescoping handle that’ll survive any run to catch the plane… it just the right size for those long weekend jaunts.

INFO: High Sierra has a carrier for everything…we barely scratched the surface.

And join their Facebook page…a bag/pack is given away weekly.